Innovation that cures and cares

Each person who walks through the doors of a Northwell Health facility has a unique story to tell. They may be delivering a new life, fighting a rare condition or simply staying on top of their preventive care. We all need different things to find our healthiest selves, but we all have the same needs as people: To be listened to, to be accepted, to be empowered — to know somebody cares.

Innovation is in our DNA at Northwell Health. In every corner of our organization, people are working to design lifesaving devices, discover innovative cures and find creative solutions to challenges of every size. But health care isn’t just about innovation; it must be driven by empathy. While we are proud of the strides we have made, our greatest successes are defined by our ability to impact patients’ lives.

On the pages that follow are the stories of incredible innovations by our surgeons, physicians, researchers, nurses and other caregivers — and the patients who inspire us.

Kicking his way back

Osteoarthritis was a fight like no other.

 

Mark O’Mard has beaten countless opponents competing in mixed martial arts (MMA). Osteoarthritis, though, gave him a bout like no other.

Winning his first MMA fight strengthened Mr. O’Mard’s passion for the sport. But while running to train for his next MMA fight, his right leg hurt consistently. An orthopaedic surgeon diagnosed him with hip osteoarthritis — also known as “wear-and-tear” arthritis.

Due to significant damage to Mr. O’Mard’s cartilage, he needed total hip replacement surgery. He consulted Sreevathsa Boraiah, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon at Long Island Jewish Medical Center and North Shore University Hospital and member of Northwell Health’s Orthopaedic Institute. Dr. Boraiah performed a novel approach that preserves muscle and connective tissue, called capsule-sparing anterior total hip replacement.

Mr. O’Mard went home the day after surgery and returned to his dojo after two weeks of at-home physical therapy. He slowly introduced martial arts back into his routine. “As the months went by, I started running — something I hadn’t been able to do for years,” he said. “It took time to regain enough flexibility in my hip to kick, but once I started kicking again, my kicks were strong. My friends joke that I have a bionic hip because I’ve gained even more power in my leg.”

With his new hip, Mr. O’Mard took first place in his first karate tournament after surgery. He also returned to kickboxing and MMA competition and won the main event at the Fall Brawl VII.

A robotic assist for stroke

Putting in the effort and seeing results.

 

Although Rosedale limousine driver Leighton Bravo, 54, often encouraged family members to see a doctor, he didn’t make time to care for himself. His occupation made it easy to sit most of the day and eat out of convenience. Sharing congested roads with angry drivers added stress. Then one day last summer, Mr. Bravo’s right foot began to drag. He thought it was from being tired and working long hours. When he dropped his cell phone several times later that night, a concerned family member urged him to go to Long Island Jewish Medical Center. There, doctors diagnosed a slow-acting stroke and began the necessary treatment to start him on the road to recovery.

Mr. Bravo started working to regain the use of his right arm and leg almost immediately. As an inpatient in Glen Cove Hospital’s rehabilitation program, his recovery work involved using the G-EO System robotic-assisted gait trainer, a realistic simulator used by physical therapists to customize each rehab session.

“There are fewer than a dozen G-EO robots in the U.S.,” said Craig Rosenberg, MD, acting chair of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Glen Cove Hospital and director of rehabilitation strategic initiatives for Northwell Health’s Eastern Region. “Glen Cove’s physical rehab program provides uncommon access to a tool that helps patients make great strides toward a strong recovery.”

Inspired by the progress he saw other rehab patients make using the device, Mr. Bravo applied himself. “This machine makes you move naturally,” Mr. Bravo said. “A screen shows when you are putting too much weight on your good leg, so you can adjust.” After two weeks, he could move his right arm and stand with support. The next week, he transitioned to outpatient rehabilitation, where his improvement continued. “My mantra is, ‘If you do the work and put in the effort, you’ll see the results,’” he said.

Role models

 

Olivia Macchio underwent six rounds of chemotherapy over five months for Burkitt’s lymphoma. During her time at Cohen Children’s Medical Center, she developed close friendships with youngsters and hospital staff members.

Olivia is now cancer-free. As a Cohen Children’s ambassador, she wants to inspire children who are dealing with illness.

Cancer care is just one clinical specialty where Cohen Children’s Medical Center continues to improve outcomes for kids.

In the 2017-2018 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Children’s Hospitals, Cohen Children’s earned top-50 scores in nine of 10 disciplines, including top-25 placement for cancer, neonatology, neurology and neurosurgery, pulmonology and urology.

Like Olivia, we want to give kids more to look forward to.

“I always try to stay positive,” Olivia said. “And I want to tell kids to be positive, too.”

Helping COPD patients breathe easier

Telehealth component expands access, improves quality of life.

 

Patients with end-stage lung illnesses such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can improve their quality of life through exercise and rehabilitation. Negin Hajizadeh, MD, of Northwell Health’s Department of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care, is studying the eff ects of exercise science on a population whose every breath can be a struggle — while also paying special attention to treatment disparities found predominantly among African- American and Hispanic populations with end-stage lung disease.

Dr. Hajizadeh’s study, funded by the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), measures whether Northwell’s Chronic Pulmonary Disease Management Program (CPDMP) is as good as or better than referrals to regular pulmonary rehabilitation programs. The CPDMP offers social worker support and continuity, and addresses barriers to access issues by bringing pulmonary rehabilitation into the home and conducting sessions in different languages.

There may be no cure for COPD or emphysema, but there are things that can be done to improve the quality of breathing and a patient’s life. “Telehealth allows us to expand access and provide oversight of exercise under the eyes of a remotely located respiratory therapist. We supply an exercise bike and conduct supervised exercise sessions twice a week via a remote web-conferencing platform. Here at Northwell, we have devised an intervention that can improve quality of life for all patients with severe lung disease, regardless of whether they are able to make it to a physical outpatient location for rehabilitation.”

Family planning for cancer survivors

Long-term digital planning tool helps survivors think through options.

 

Medical researcher Catherine Benedict, PhD, relates a story of a 32-year-old career-driven woman she met in graduate school who has inspired much of her current research. “She was a devout Catholic who had a three-year-old daughter,” Dr. Benedict said. “Ten days after finding out she was pregnant with her second child, she received a breast cancer diagnosis.”

The woman terminated her pregnancy, had a double mastectomy and received cancer treatment that left her out of commission for a full two years. During that time, she faced many issues that ran the gamut from the physical and financial to the emotional and social. “Like others in this woman’s situation,” Dr. Benedict explained, “she was faced with the question of: ‘Who am I postillness?’ without any real tools to help her satisfactorily answer the questions.”

Cancer in young adults and adolescents impacts education and careers, Dr. Benedict said. There is greater medical debt and lower income as a result. “One of the things I began to focus on was: how were survivors trying to have a family? How did they view fertility both before they began treatment and afterwards in survivorship?”

The goal of her research is to understand how fertility decision-making plays out in survivorship so that a resource tool can be created for those who are impacted that instructs them through various stages of post-cancer family planning.

“Our solution,” Dr. Benedict said, “is to create a website that off ers support with family planning decision-making. It’s a long-term planning tool that helps survivors think through options, determine what is most important to them and prepare for the future.”

A lifetime of impact

 

As health care progresses, so too must the education of future healthcare professionals. Philanthropic support ensures our students and researchers receive the advanced and innovative training needed to deliver the highest level of care — and set the standard for patient care.

Less than a decade ago, Northwell Health leaders established a new school of medicine. With its seventh class and full contingent of 400 students now admitted, the school was renamed last fall. The Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell honors the lifetime giving of the philanthropists who most recently donated $61 million in transformational gifts to Northwell Health.

The Zuckers’ extraordinary generosity supports our future doctors, nurses and researchers. A $50 million endowment provides scholarship support for students at the Zucker School of Medicine for generations to come. Another $10 million will create and endow the Barbara Hrbek Zucker Emerging Scientists Program at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, and an additional $1 million supports scholarships for the Hofstra Northwell School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies.

“Their latest gifts are a testament to the Zuckers’ leadership as philanthropists who recognize the vital role of medical education and research in transforming the future of medicine,” said Northwell’s president and CEO, Michael Dowling.

“From the inception, the medical school has been close to our hearts,” said Mr. Zucker. “Barbara and I feel it is incumbent on us to help young people achieve their dreams to be physicians. Future doctors can decide what they are passionate about in medicine, not what is necessary to pay back a loan. That’s why we did this, and we are lucky to be able to do it.”

Fighting HIV with technology

Using mobile applications and targeting high-incidence areas.

 

With nearly 40,000 people infected with HIV each year in the U.S., Northwell Health’s Center for AIDS Research and Treatment at North Shore University Hospital is looking at unique ways to ensure patients take their antiviral medication. Prominent among these initiatives is the use of mobile applications, video therapy and data to establish “heat maps” that identify areas with a high prevalence of HIV and sexually transmitted diseases in metro New York.

For example, a team led by Joseph McGowan, MD, the center’s medical director, is piloting an app that allows patients to log on when they take antiviral medication. Submissions are then monitored by a clinician and reminders are sent to patients when medications are overdue. The app is currently being studied to encompass all patient medications to help address comorbidities. A second app, geared toward young men who have sex with other men, utilizes social media as an intervention. This app allows patients to interact with a peer educator, known as a “peep,” and features a comic-strip serial that educates and informs. Once in the app, users can also log medication times and see important health data.

To help target the communities of highest incidence, the team utilized REDCap, a web-based software application, that serves as the center’s clinical and translational research database. Information from Northwell patients, the New York State Department of Health and Northwell’s Core Lab is collected and analyzed to identify those areas that have a high rate of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. The team utilizes this information to conduct targeted outreach to communities to engage those living with undiagnosed HIV, those with HIV not receiving care and those who are at high risk to help prevent infection.

A second chance after overdose

New steps in a spiraling epidemic.

 

Kevin Parker was living a classic, storied life — he had a happy childhood, and he was an honor student and star athlete. Then, as with many before him, addiction came crashing in. “I was in a car accident and injured my back,” said Mr. Parker, a Staten Island resident. “I tried alternatives to pain meds, but after a while, nothing worked, and I started taking them, needing higher and higher doses.” Before he knew it, he was hooked. When his prescriptions ran out, he hit the streets to fuel his $500-a-week habit. After years of abusing pills, an overdose nearly cost him his life. “I was rushed to the hospital in a coma, suff ered multi-organ failure and went into cardiac arrest multiple times.”

Mr. Parker contracted sepsis, his leg was amputated and he was given Last Rites. Miraculously, he woke from his coma weeks later. “When I came out of the coma, I had to face my family. It was the worst feeling of my life,” he said. “I was lying in a bed with tubes and machines to keep me alive. My leg was gone. That was my wake-up call.”

Since then, Mr. Parker had to learn to talk and walk again. His first words focused on telling his story to others. His 180-degree turn brought him to college to pursue a healthcare career, and back to where he was treated at Staten Island University Hospital, where he began volunteering as a peer mentor to help others with addiction. His is but one story of a spiraling crisis that doesn’t discriminate.

Northwell Health recognizes the depth and scope of the opioid epidemic problem and is working with many partners to address it. Currently, eight Northwell work groups are addressing the crisis from a variety of angles, including treatment, education and prescription disposal. Perhaps the group with the biggest impact is SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment). SBIRT promotes the “We Ask Everyone” process and universally screens patients for substance use and determines the risk level by asking each patient questions to identify whether they may benefit from support or treatment. Eight Northwell emergency departments use this protocol, including Cohen Children’s Medical Center, which addresses the issue with adolescent children. Students at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell are also being trained in this practice to recognize and address the signs of addiction.

Prostate cancer decision-making

Program leads patients to options that best suit their needs.

 

A prostate cancer diagnosis is always diffi cult news to accept. And it’s during this time of distress that patients have to make important treatment decisions that can impact their future quality of life.

To ease the decision-making process for patients, Michael Diefenbach, PhD, professor and director of behavioral research for Northwell Health’s Departments of Medicine and Urology, and his team developed Healium, a software program funded by the American Cancer Society that can help lead patients to a treatment option that best suits their personal preferences.

In addition to active surveillance, there are two main treatment options for prostate cancer: surgery or radiation. Healium helps patients decide which option best suits their needs based on answers to the program’s treatment-specific and quality-of-life questionnaire.

Phase I of Healium’s trial began in summer 2017 with 20 patients. ”We meet with patients an hour before their doctor’s visit to discuss treatment options and go through the Healium program,” Dr. Diefenbach explained. “To complete the evaluation, we follow up with participants six weeks later to obtain their feedback about the program’s usefulness.” In Phase II, the clinician is informed of the patient’s quality-of-life preferences to better personalize communication and increase patient satisfaction.

Two strokes before 30

She recognized symptoms and reacted.

 

After suffering two strokes just months apart, Alexandra Adams, 29, of Queens now shares her harrowing ordeal in hopes of educating others about the importance of recognizing the signs and symptoms of a stroke and getting immediate help.

Ms. Adams, who worked at a physical therapy practice, was experiencing all the signs and symptoms of a stroke, though she didn’t know it. She ignored the symptoms at first but was finally convinced to go to North Shore University Hospital the following day. She learned a valuable lesson. That initial hesitation to go to the hospital could have been catastrophic. When symptoms returned a few months later, she recognized them and her husband rushed her to the emergency department.

“It was about 20 minutes from when I woke up until I arrived at the hospital,” Ms. Adams said. “But in those 20 minutes I had extremely slurred speech, I lost complete movement of my left arm (while in the car) and I wasn’t able to get myself out of the car by the time we got to the hospital.”

Luckily for Ms. Adams, Rohan Arora, MD, who attended to her the first time, was on duty and able to make a fast and important call in her treatment. “There is a misconception that stroke is something that only occurs in the older population, but the truth is that stroke can also occur in the very young as well,” said Dr. Arora. “Ms. Adams is a perfect example of a young stroke patient who benefited from education provided to every stroke patient and his or her family during the hospitalization.”

Since her two strokes, Ms. Adams has become an advocate for creating stroke awareness in young adults and has shared her story in Health Story, Northwell Health’s monthly podcast, in the hopes of educating others.

The big picture in neurosurgery

A new tool called the video exoscope gives Lenox Hill Hospital neurosurgeons and their teams high-resolution, three-dimensional visualization in the operating room.

 

David Langer, MD, the hospital’s chair of neurosurgery, helped to develop the minimally invasive device, which provides ultra-high-def video, higher magnification and increased lighting of the surgical field. Lenox Hill Hospital is one of four centers worldwide and the first on the East Coast to use the system.

The video exoscope is much smaller and less cumbersome than traditional OR microscopes and its ergonomics reduce surgeon fatigue. And while conventional units provide the surgical team with only 2D images, the new technology gives them 3D monitors with 4K resolution — four times the resolution of a high-definition television — so they can see the same images as the surgeon.

“This is certainly going to be the future of operative neurosurgery,” said Dr. Langer.

Exercising control over diabetes

High-touch, evidence-based care changes lives at the Friedman Diabetes Institute.

 

Clinical social worker Deborah Langosch, PhD, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes more than 50 years ago. Disease management at that time was “primitive,” she remembers.

“We had glass syringes that we had to boil,” the 61-year-old Brooklyn resident said. “You would get one shot of insulin a day, no matter what.”

How things have changed. Ms. Langosch now gets her care at Lenox Hill Hospital’s Gerald J. Friedman Diabetes Institute, which provides a full-service approach to managing the disease, from down-to-earth services such as education sessions on nutrition to cutting-edge tools like insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors. “Diabetes is a complex disease that often requires multispecialty care,” said Leonid Poretsky, MD, director of the institute and Ms. Langosch’s physician. “That’s what we provide at the Friedman Diabetes Institute.”

Exercise plays an important role in helping Ms. Langosch manage her diabetes. She works out daily during the week and takes frequent long-distance bike rides with her husband, Mark. But her varying activity levels also make her glucose levels harder to predict, so she uses a continuous glucose monitor and an insulin pump. She worked closely with Marina Krymskaya, NP, assistant director of the Friedman Diabetes Institute, to learn about the tools.

“Dr. Poretsky and Marina work in partnership with me,” said Ms. Langosch. “They let me know about new treatments and options and help me weigh decisions in a very respectful way.”

“Ms. Langosch is truly committed to managing her diabetes and being well,” Dr. Poretsky said. “That attitude, when paired with the hands-on, evidence-based care available at the Friedman Diabetes Institute, is exactly what patients need to manage this disease.”

Critical cardiac care comes to eastern Long Island

 

“Establishing a comprehensive cardiac program is a game changer for our region,” noted John Kanas, long-time resident of Long Island. “During a heart attack, time is life. If cardiac care can be performed here in a timely way, we will save lives and strengthen the communities we serve.”

It’s that desire to make a profound difference in people’s lives that led John and Elaine Kanas to make a $5 million gift from the John and Elaine Kanas Family Foundation to support Peconic Bay Medical Center’s cardiac care program.This gift is among the largest in the hospital’s history.

This gift will help Peconic Bay to establish the first comprehensive cardiac program on eastern Long Island, where the seasonal population doubles during warmer months. Currently, residents and visitors experiencing cardiac emergencies must travel a significant distance for care.

Mr. and Mrs. Kanas are active members of the eastern Long Island community and generous benefactors to Peconic Bay Medical Center. In 2009, the Kanases helped to establish the Kanas Center for Advanced Surgery, which created state-of-the-art operating facilities that are considered among the best in Suffolk County.

“By anchoring Northwell Health’s eastern region, Peconic Bay Medical Center will significantly enhance our organization’s ability to meet the current and future health needs of full- and part-time residents of central and eastern Long Island,” said Michael Dowling, Northwell Health’s president and CEO. “Having the support of John and Elaine Kanas will help us get there, and we are truly grateful.”

The cardiac care program is part of a larger $60 million project to build a new critical care tower at Peconic Bay. The tower will be a two-story expansion of the existing emergency department and will house the cardiac care program, which will include two catheterization labs, an electrophysiology suite, recovery rooms and an intensive care/cardiac care unit.

Big news, tiny incision

A new approach to breast surgery

 

Elodie Trouche saw her sister suffer physical and emotional scars after breast cancer surgery and was determined to write a diff erent story for herself. A test revealed she was BRCA-positive, so Ms. Trouche set her sights on a preventive double mastectomy.

“I knew I had some time because I was having surgery as a preventive measure. I wasn’t sick,” she said.

Ms. Trouche spent two years searching for expertise in nipplesparing mastectomy (NSM), which preserves the entire breast, including the natural nipple and areola. She found Long island Jewish Medical Center’s Alan Kadison, MD, surgical oncologist, and Neil Tanna, MD, plastic and reconstructive surgeon. As part of an IRB-approved investigational study, the surgeons performed the country’s first robotic NSM and breast reconstruction surgery in early March.

Conventional forms of NSM involved incisions on the breast, Dr. Tanna said. “By doing the surgery robotically, incisions and scars are placed away from the breast, sitting instead on the chest wall near the armpit,” he added.

“We’re seeing very real advantages to using da Vinci technology for this type of surgery,” Dr. Kadison said, noting benefits such as reduced length of hospital stay with less pain and easier recuperation. “Most important of all, we’re striving for increased patient satisfaction.”

Helping kids like Elly

 

Little Elly Kuchynskas was in the fight of her life, when a sudden illness caused her organs to shut down. Fortunately for Elly, a team of pediatric experts at Cohen Children’s Medical Center helped usher her through a remarkable journey to recovery and wellness.

Each year, thousands of families travel long distances to seek advanced care for their children because they believe they have to. But Cohen Children’s is an exceptional jewel right here in our backyard that offers innovative treatments and solutions to all levels of illnesses and injuries.

Last fall, Northwell Health launched its first-ever integrated fundraising and direct response marketing campaign to help Cohen Children’s – recognized as one of the nation’s best children’s hospitals – continue to deliver life-saving care. This multi-year unique program promotes Northwell’s pediatric services while simultaneously focusing on the need for donor support of the hospital’s mission by investing in new technologies, therapies and research.

Cohen Children’s does not turn away patients – including those who are uninsured or unable to pay. Last year alone, the hospital provided over $11 million in financial assistance to families in need. Pediatric services throughout Northwell Health operate under the umbrella of Cohen Children’s, which means families get the highest standard of care, ranging from routine wellness checkups to treatment for life-threatening conditions like Elly’s, regardless of location.

“We’re mission-focused caregivers who rely heavily on the support of the communities we serve,” said Charles Schleien, MD, executive director of Cohen Children’s and senior vice president, executive director and chair of pediatrics at Northwell Health. “Donor support has enabled us to thrive in strengthening our research and clinical capabilities, as demonstrated by our U.S. News & World Report ranking among the nation’s top 50 children’s hospitals in nine pediatric specialties, including five in the top 25.”

Eliminating germs in 90 seconds

 

Northwell Ventures, the health system’s for-profit investment company, is a pioneer in a new movement that The Wall Street Journal says is mostly uncharted territory for hospitals and health systems – serving as a venture capitalist for health-tech start-ups. A prime example is its recent $3 million investment in PurpleSun, a company that has developed a device that disinfects operating rooms, patient rooms and stretchers with ultraviolet light.

Hospital-acquired infections have long been the culprit for deficiencies in quality of care, poor industry report cards, extended patient stays, and lower reimbursement for care provided across the nation. So why not invest in a solution that can improve an entire industry the world over? At least, that was thinking behind the investment, according to Northwell Ventures Senior Vice President Tom Thornton. “We view this as a strategic investment,” Mr. Thornton said. “It will be important to the care of patients and we also can earn money on that investment.”

At Northwell Health, PurpleSun will be tested in clinical trials in health system hospitals and elsewhere, and then marketed to other hospitals and health systems. By offering the technology through monthly subscriptions to other providers, Northwell could earn back its investment and a good deal more – in addition to reducing the risk of surgical site and other infections.

The brainchild of Luis F. Romo, PurpleSun’s operating idea is a simple one: Use ultraviolet light to kill germs and microbes on equipment and in hospital rooms. “It takes a crew with mops and wipes a half-hour or longer to clean and disinfect an operating room,” Mr. Romo said. The PurpleSun technology cuts that time in half by disinfecting equipment or sections of a room while cleaning crews are at work through a series of modular panels that enclose equipment for 90-second cycles and wipe out all germs left behind on a surface.

Matters of the heart

 

Northwell Health and its hospitals collectively treat more heart failure patients than any health system in New York State. Northwell’s service area accounts for 46 percent of all heart transplants in the state. It was only fitting then that during heart month, February 2018, the Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital at North Shore University Hospital (NSUH) became home to Long Island’s first heart transplant, when Brooklyn resident Yvonne Fleming became the first recipient.

Ms. Fleming had experienced a heart attack that damaged 70 percent of her heart, along with increasing complications and hospital stays. In January, she was admitted to the Cardiac Care Unit (CCU) at Lenox Hill Hospital, where she met Gerin Stevens, MD, PhD, medical director of NSUH’s transplant program. After a three-week stay, she learned from Dr. Stevens and Brian Lima, MD, surgical director of the transplant program, that she would be a candidate for the first heart transplant surgery performed at the Heart Hospital.

Dr. Lima, his first assistant Syed Hussain, MD, the hospital’s lead heart procurement surgeon who was responsible for harvesting the donor heart, and the surgical team successfully transplanted the organ on February 19. As Ms. Fleming explained: “Just before the surgery began, I told the doctors that I was very confident about a good outcome. I prayed on it… I knew a heart transplant would keep me alive.” She was the first of three successful transplant surgeries performed at the Heart Hospital in February.

Led by renowned heart failure and transplant specialists recruited from prominent institutions across the country, the Heart Hospital is the first and only full-service destination for heart transplantation serving residents of Long Island, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island, with a team of physicians who have experience in more than 500 transplant cases.

“Northwell’s designation as a heart transplant program will be a life-saver for a population of more than seven million people who were otherwise forced to travel out of the area to undergo this complicated surgery and lifelong followup care,” said Alan Hartman, MD, senior vice president and executive director of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery at Northwell Health.

The Fin begins

 

Northwell Health is in a trial to produce and commercialize the Fin, its prosthetic swim leg, to enable the estimated 1.9 million Americans who have lost a limb to resume a more active lifestyle. The results of this trial will be sent to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration with the goal of partnering with the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs to make this life-changing prosthesis more widely available.

“We made something that didn’t exist yet and solved a specfic problem in a very spectacular way. My hope is that this device creates unforeseen opportunities for amputees everywhere,” said Northwell Health researcher Todd Goldstein, PhD, who designed and developed the new amphibious prosthetic.

The custom-fitted Fin, spearheaded by Northwell and two Long Island-based firms — a prosthetic design firm and a commercial-grade 3D-manufacturing company — solves a problem for so many amputees. Among the participants in a second round of clinical trials are:

– Kevin Vaughan, 28, a United States Marine Corps corporal and Purple Heart recipient, who was wounded in Afghanistan in September of 2011 when his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device (IED), costing him his left leg;

– James (Seamus) Doherty, 48, a below-knee amputee and commanding offi cer of the 90th Precinct Detective Squad in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, who was nearly killed while riding a motorcycle in a hit and run accident in Florida in 2002; and

– Janet McLaughlin, 67, who lost her left leg above the knee three years ago due to a sarcoma growing on her leg and will be the first above-the-knee amputee to be fitted for The Fin.

Treating diabetes without drugs

 

“Diabetes impacts our family, as it impacts millions of other families around the world, which is why we are passionate in our support of the Feinstein Institute’s innovative and scientific efforts in combating this debilitating condition,” said Charles Knapp, president of the Knapp Family Foundation, which last year provided $1 million to fund research to treat the disease.

The gift to Northwell Health’s Feinstein Institute for Medical Research (FIMR) funds a four-year research program exploring bioelectronic treatment in people with diabetes.

Diabetes currently has no known cure and affects as many as 387 million people worldwide. It’s a chronic disease characterized by abnormal blood glucose levels, which must be regulated by drugs or insulin that may have long-term side effects and are not always reliable.

Researchers at the FIMR will investigate whether a small bioelectronic device can be implanted to regulate the production of and cellular response to insulin. A team led by Chad Bouton, vice president of advanced engineering for Northwell Health and director of the Feinstein Institute’s Center for Bioelectronic Medicine, will use the Knapp Family Foundation support to develop this implantable device.

The Feinstein is conducting other clinical trials involving bioelectronic medicine to treat lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and paralysis.

“The new research program will support our development of devices that help the body heal itself, without relying on drugs,” said Mr. Bouton. “It will allow the patient’s own nervous system to provide new, safe treatment options for a condition plaguing so many Americans.”

For all women, all the time

 

More than a building. More than a program. The Katz Institute for Women’s Health provides a unique approach to health and wellness that has made it a regional leader in women’s health care and education. The vision of Iris and Saul Katz, who made the Katz Institute a reality nearly a decade ago, the institute gives women of all ages the tools, information and support needed to make healthy choices in every area and at every stage of their lives. From dietary recommendations to screenings to treatments, the institute’s approach recognizes the continuum of care and commitment to wellness all women need.

Through the Katz Institute, physicians and other medical professionals empower women by providing them with vital care and information on conditions that include breast and bone health, cancer genetics and prevention, skin care, sleeping, aging, weight management, heart health and so much more. As an example of that commitment to the larger community, the Katz Institute’s Celebrating Women’s Health Conference, held in May at the Long Island Marriott, attracts hundreds of participants of all ages in an information-packed day of workshops, seminars and health talks.

As Northwell cardiologists and leaders of the Katz Institute for Women’s Health, Jennifer Mieres, MD, senior vice president, Center for Equity of Care, and Stacey Rosen, MD, vice president of women’s health, published the consumer-friendly book, Heart Smart for Women: Six S.T.E.P.S. in Six Weeks to Heart Health Living.

First-Class Nurses

 

From the day it was established in 2015, the Hofstra Northwell School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies was destined to be a first-class global leader in interprofessional education, preparing the next generation of advanced practice nurses and physician assistants. With two large premiere organizations already having joined together to form a school of medicine, the nursing school further enhanced the joint commitment to advanced medical education by incorporating the diverse academic programs and infrastructure of Hofstra University with the wide-ranging clinical, research and educational resources of Northwell Health. In May 2018, the school’s first graduating class of 28 nurse practitioner students celebrated its convocation.

Founding Dean Kathleen Gallo, RN, PhD, senior vice president and chief learning officer at Northwell Health, who strategically transformed the health system into a learning-centered organization with the creation of the health care industry’s first and largest corporate university, the Center for Learning and Innovation (CLI) and the Patient Safety Institute, one of the nation’s largest patient simulation centers. “It’s exciting and quite timely both regionally and nationally for the school’s graduates,” said Dr. Gallo. Nurse practitioners are essential to meet the growing health care demands of an aging population, as well as expand access to high-quality health care.”

The Master of Science Program with a major in nursing, through an interprofessional learning model, graduates nurse practitioners who will provide quality, holistic, scientifically sound and patient-centered care while optimizing the health and well-being of diverse populations and communities for the betterment of humanity.

Awesome women support women scientists

 

In 2010, Betty Diamond, MD, professor and head of the Center for Autoimmune, Musculoskeletal and Hematopoietic Diseases at the Feinstein Institute, had a vision to build a community of mutual support and encouragement among female researchers throughout Northwell Health.

Seven years later, the group — Advancing Women in Science and Medicine (AWSM, pronounced “awesome”) — has raised over $800,000 that has been granted to female scientists in recognition of their innovation, mentorship and scientific achievement. These awards — supported by donors and ranging from $2,000 to $50,000 — are distributed at the annual AWSM Luncheon, to women in science, from high school students to senior researchers.

Ona E. Bloom, PhD, an associate professor at the Center for Autoimmune, Musculoskeletal and Hematopoietic Diseases at the Feinstein Institute, was the 2012 recipient of an Educational Advancement Award funded by Susan Claster.

The award supported her attendance at the 2013 annual meeting of the American Spinal Injury Association, where she presented her scientific research and met several key leaders in the field. In 2015, Dr. Bloom’s team, which included collaborators she first met at the conference, was awarded a $1,676,895, three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to study the body’s responses to spinal cord injury.

“I am amazed that donating $2,500 led to $1.7 million in research support,” Mrs. Claster said. “It’s rare to find an opportunity where your donation grows so exponentially, and I feel so fulfilled due to my confidence that Dr. Bloom’s research will benefit millions of patients who are debilitated by spinal cord injury.”

To support Advancing Women in Science and Medicine, visit support.northwell.edu/AWSM

Feinsteins’ latest $25 million gift fuels the next frontier in research

 

When Leonard and Susan Feinstein’s son suffered a major brain injury in an auto accident 35 years ago, no long-term healthcare solutions existed to handle his needs. “Techniques to keep you alive got so much better, but the deficits you were left with posed a significant challenge for those responsible for caring for you — or you were just put into a nursing home,” Mr. Feinstein recalled.

The Feinsteins realized only research would yield treatments and cures to alter the way medicine is practiced and delivered.

Today, the Bed Bath & Beyond co-founder and his wife continue the tradition of research-focused philanthropy they began more than 30 years ago. Last year, the Feinsteins made a $25 million gift to advance the Feinstein Institute’s work in clinical trials, neuroscience, autoimmunity and bioelectronic medicine, which follows their initial $25 million commitment in 2005.

“Leonard and Susan Feinstein’s unwavering support of our research programs over many, many years has been absolutely key to the founding of the institute, the building of the institute and the launch of the Center for Bioelectronic Medicine,” said Kevin Tracey, MD, the Feinstein Institute’s president and CEO. “None of this would have happened without them.”

“The Feinstein Institute is pursuing many promising areas of research that can revolutionize the way medicine is practiced. How exciting is that?” said Mr. Feinstein, who also is a member of the Feinstein Institute’s board of directors and the Northwell Health board of trustees. “We are realizing useful applications and results now, and within five to 10 years, we will see cures for some of the most confounding human diseases. Not many research initiatives show that kind of promise.

“I’ve always believed that giving back is a great – and the right – thing to do. I wish everyone would,” he said. “We want our investments to inspire other people, companies and government to support this research as well, to move our work along as quickly as we can.”

A Virtual Lifesaver

 

At Northwell Health, clinicians and researchers use virtual technology to remotely check on patients and deliver lifesaving measures around-the-clock. Telehealth has become a powerful and essential collaboration and clinical tool that has become a critical component of 21st century health care delivery.

At the health system’s Telehealth Center in Syosset, specially trained doctors and nurses in the Electronic Intensive Care Unit (eICU) use secure remote video and audio monitoring to provide an added laye of care for critically ill patients at eight Northwell hospitals and ICUs across the health system. They monitor vital signs, test results and medications at all hours of the day and night – providing an extra layer of quality care. The eICU team helps prioritize emergencies and provide care as computer software technology helps them detect warning signs so they can alert the bedside team to intervene.

The Telestroke program (pictured here) is a prime example of how this life-saving technology works. For example, when a patient presents at an emergency department (ED) with stroke symptoms, board-certified emergency medicine physicians take immediate action. But because not all strokes present the same way, Northwell has made real-time consultations available with specialized stroke neurologists, providing patients with immediate critical care expertise. A portable video cart instantly connects patients to the Telehealth Center or to the homes or offices of stroke neurologists. Patients can be assessed without waiting for a specialist to get to their bedside.

“Northwell Health developed the Telestroke remote monitoring program to enable neurologists to examine patients when a stroke-certified neurologist was not physically available,” said Jeffrey M. Katz, MD, director of North Shore University Hospital’s Comprehensive Stroke Center. “The Telestroke program has helped us save countless patients who have been seen remotely by Telestroke neurologists.”

Telestroke currently exists in eight EDs across the health system and will expand to all Northwell hospitals over the next few years. Northwell also has telemedicine initiatives in place for psychiatry, home care and patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), heart failure and movement disorders.