Meet the Instructors for our New Breast Cancer Rehabilitation Course!

This October, Herman & Wallace is excited to bring a new course, Rehabilitation for Breast Cancer Patients, to White Plains, NY!  This course will be taught by Susannah Haarmann, PT, CLT, WCS and Christine Cabelka, MPT, CLT, WCS.

Susannah Haarmann Christine Calbeka

Pelvic Rehab Report sat down with Susannah and Christine to ask them a bit about the course.

What can you tell us about this continuing education course that is not mentioned in the course description and objectives that are posted on-line?

Susannah: I would say that even though this course is entitled, “Rehabilitation for the Breast Cancer Patient,” much of the knowledge and skills learned in this course will transfer to other oncology populations. For example, we address fatigue, neuropathy, cardiomyopathy and osteoporosis, which are side effects many oncology patients report. I believe the demand for rehabilitation oncology programs will rise in the future. Clinicians attending this course have so much to bring to the table in terms of their current knowledge and skill-sets. It is my hope that blending the information and treatment approaches in this course with other specialty knowledge will bring about great inspiration and a whole host of creative treatment ideas!

Christine: We’re so excited to be teaching this course.  We’re hoping to take the participants on the journey that the patients go through.  Throughout the course the participant will be provided with multiple examples of what they may see in the clinic so they can begin building that image of a patient in their heads.  They’ll be provided with the insight and reflection from real patients regarding their journey through breast cancer diagnosis, treatment, and recovery.

What inspired you to create this course?

C: Working with cancer patients inspired me to co-create this course.  Seeing the lack of comfort from my colleagues working with the cancer population I wanted to create something that would provide any practitioner the knowledge and confidence to work with cancer patients, even if they don’t have training in lymphedema management.  Not all patients will have access to therapists with advanced training in the oncology population, so being able to provide a high-quality course designed to train more practitioners will hopefully provide patients with better access to care.

S: When breast cancer patients and health care practitioners become aware of the potential of oncologic rehabilitation and the positive impact we can make, the current lack of services in this area is often seen as a travesty. Skilled rehabilitation providers are rare, and in-depth education addressing medical intervention and lab-based treatment approaches is difficult to find.  As a result, many preventable side effects are not being addressed, referrals are not being made, and many patients are missing out on receiving these beneficial services.

My initial inspiration for creating this course came while working as a resident at Duke University and Medical Center. As a therapist at an educational institution, we received referrals from states away. Many times our patients were commuting hours to consult our rehab services or living locally on a short-term basis for treatment. Our team would make every attempt to find therapists in the patient’s area who were skilled in oncologic care and lymphedema treatment, but often times our searches were futile. In addition to being a rare commodity, often times I found confusion among therapists regarding medical interventions or standardized treatment approaches. I was inspired to create the course in order to ‘connect-the-dots’ for rehab professionals passionate about oncology care.

However, I feel my greatest inspiration for creating this course will come while teaching it; I can make a splash by treating one patient at a time, but educating practitioners who can then go out into the world and treat, we can really make waves!

What resources and research were used when writing this course?

S: Oh my goodness, the time performing literature reviews and collaborating with expert health care practitioners in the area of breast oncology was immense! With that said, I still feel like we only scratched the surface and I am very dedicated to the evolution of this course as new findings and materials are born! Specifically, the American Cancer Society’s journal ‘Cancer’ published a special issue entitled, “A Prospective Surveillance Model for Rehabilitation for Women with Breast Cancer;” the article reviews and expert opinions in these synopses were a great starting point. As a certified lymphedema therapist through the Norton School of Lymphedema, I definitely found myself delving into former course materials. Some of the best leads and most rewarding learning opportunities, however, came from collaborating with other practitioners within the field, such as nurse practitioners in plastic surgery, breast cancer nurse navigators, nutritionists, Pilate’s instructors, etc.   Rehabilitation for the breast cancer patient truly is an integrative approach and we have a lot to learn from each other!

C: Numerous research articles were reviewed and cited.  Issues and supplements of the Cancer journal are presented.  We also were able to gain permission to use material from public cancer sources such as the American Cancer Society, National Institute of Health, National Lymphedema Network, and

Can you describe clinical/treatment approach/techniques covered in this continuing education course?

C: We’ll be covering a mix of everything from evaluation to treatment techniques.  Based on the side effect of treatment being discussed we’ll be providing and/or reviewing techniques for evaluation of sensation, balance, and screening for lymphedema.  We’ll also be providing instruction on manual techniques for treatment of axillary webbing.  Specific intervention ideas for each treatment side effect will be covered.

S: Treatment techniques for this course run the gamut from exercise prescription for core strengthening status post breast cancer reconstruction to hands-on manual therapy for lymphatic cording. Although treatment approaches are impairment-based, this course supports the Prospective Surveillance Model which aims at preventative styles of treatment as well.

Why should a therapist take this course? How can these skill sets benefit his/her practice?

S: I have many answers to this question, but I will choose my top 3:


A therapist should take this course because breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women, rehabilitation for the oncology patient is underutilized, and I guarantee there are cancer patients in your area that would greatly benefit from your services.


I think that many therapists shy away from working with the oncology population because it may be considered depressing. However, the work can be incredibly rewarding and that is why this is one of my favorite populations! It is so evident to me on a daily basis how much my abilities as a therapist impact my breast cancer patients’ lives and often in a very short period of time. Frequently my oncology patients say therapy is their favorite form of treatment and that makes me smile!


A therapist who successfully completes this course, and makes a good relationship with an oncologist in their area, may create the potential for a greater number of referral sources to their clinic, thereby adding value and demand to their practice.

C: Therapists should take this course to build on their existing skills and give themselves the confidence to work with this patient population.  We’re hoping to provide the tools needed for a therapist to recognize the need for early lymphedema intervention.  Also to provide the skills to be able to work with breast cancer patients at any stage, from early on in the diagnosis, to 5 years into their survivorship.

This course is a must for clinicians who are eager to learn more about breast cancer rehab.  Seats are limited – register today!

H&W Institute Founder and Instructor Hollis Herman...
Pelvic Organ Prolapse and Pregnancy

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to

All Upcoming Continuing Education Courses