About Joe Giacino, PhD

Dr. Joseph T. Giacino is the Director of Rehabilitation Neuropsychology at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Consulting Neuropsychologist in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Giacino's clinical and research activities are centered on the development and application of novel assessment and treatment methods for individuals with severe acquired brain injury (ABI) and disorders of consciousness (DOC). He served as co-chair of the Aspen Workgroup, responsible for developing the diagnostic criteria for the minimally conscious state (MCS) and was co-lead author of the Mohonk Report, a Congressionally-sponsored initiative to establish recommendations for lifelong care of patients with DOC. He currently chairs the VS/MCS Guideline Development Panel of the American Academy of Neurology which is responsible for revising existing guidelines for management of patients with DOC. He is principle investigator on a project funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) to develop novel fMRI paradigms to assess the integrity of language and visual processing networks in patients with DOC and serves as Project Director of a 12-site NIDRR-funded clinical trial of amantadine hydrochloride (AH) to determine whether AH facilitates functional recovery in patients with prolonged DOC. He also served as Co-PI of an FDA-approved pilot study of deep brain stimulation aimed at promoting recovery of speech and motor functions in patients with chronic post-traumatic MCS.


Clinical Interests:



Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital
300 First Ave.
Charlestown , MA 02129
Phone: 617-952-5000

Medical Education

  • PhD, Hofstra University

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Joseph T. Giacino, PhD is Director of Rehabilitation Neuropsychology and Research Associate in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital (SRH), Consulting Neuropsychologist in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and Adjunct Professor at the MGH Institute of Health Professions. He teaches Neuroethics and serves as a Capstone Seminar mentor in the Master’s program at the HMS Center for Bioethics. He directs the SRH Neurorehabilitation Laboratory which seeks to develop more precise neurodiagnostic procedures, outcome assessment measures and interventions for persons with severe brain injury and disorders of consciousness (DoC). He is the Project Director of the Spaulding-Harvard Traumatic Brain Injury Model System  and co-leads the Outcomes Core of the “Transforming Research and Clinical Knowledge in TBI” and “TBI Endpoint Development  projects, which aim to validate clinical, imaging, and genomic biomarkers to improve TBI diagnosis, prognosis and treatment. He is a Co-PI on a pilot clinical trial assessing, “Central Thalamic Stimulation for Traumatic Brain Injury” and recently completed a DoD-funded project that developed an Evidence-Based Clinical Outcome Assessment Platform (“EB-COP”) for evaluation of TBI outcome measures. He led expert panels that established the diagnostic criteria for the minimally conscious state and developed the 2018 AAN-ACRM-NIDILRR Practice Guideline on DoC. He also maintains numerous national and international collaborations aimed at improving care for patients with TBI.


  • Giacino JT, Ashwal S, Childs N, et al. The minimally conscious state: Definition and diagnostic criteria Neurology 2002;58:349-53.

    Giacino JT, Kalmar K, Whyte J. The JFK coma recovery scale- revised: Measurement characteristics and diagnostic utility. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2004;85:2020-9.

    Schiff ND, Rodriguez-Moreno D, Kamal A, Kim KHS, Giacino J, Plum F, Hirsch J. Functional MRI reveals large scale network activation in minimally conscious patients. Neurology 2005;64:514-23.

    Voss HU, Ulug AM, Dyke JP, Watts R, Kobylarz EJ, McCandliss B, Heier LA, Beattie BJ, Hamacher KA, Vallabhajosula S, Goldsmith SJ, Ballon D, Giacino JT, Schiff ND. Axonal re-growth in late recovery from the minimally conscious state. J Clin Invest 2006;116:205-11.

    Schiff ND, Giacino JT (co-lead author), Kalmar K, et al. Behavioral improvements with thalamic stimulation after severe traumatic brain injury. Nature 2007;448:600-4.

    Rodriguez-Moreno D, Schiff ND, Giacino JT, et al. A network approach to assess cognition in disorders of consciousness. Neurology 2010;75:1871-78.


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