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Better Health Better Living

SUMMER 2013  

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In This Issue

New Option for Valve Replacement Surgery 

Ronald McDonald Family Room Opens 

Right Place, Right Time: Access to Advanced Trauma Services Makes Difference for Teen 

New Treatment for Liver Cancer 

Teen With Traumatic Brain Injury Returns to Say Thanks 

Successful Surgery Helps Patient With ALS 

Hand Surgeons Reattach Hands of Sheet Metal Worker 

Introducing Stony Brook's Newest Leaders 

Investing in the "Best Ideas in Medicine" 

Save the Date for Women's Health Day 


 Learn about skin cancer prevention and steps you can take to keep safe for the rest of the summer from Stony Brook Medicine expert Maribeth Chitkara, MD.

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Long Island's Only Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity Center Opens at Stony Brook Children's Hospital

In response to a growing need in Suffolk and Nassau counties, Stony Brook Children's Hospital has launched the Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity Center. The hospital has been providing treatment of celiac disease and gluten sensitivities for more than a decade.

The only one of its kind on Long Island, this dedicated center makes diagnosis, treatment, management and support of celiac disease and gluten sensitivities accessible in one place. The multidisciplinary team, consisting of board-certified pediatric gastroenterologists, nurse practitioners and dietitians, provides advanced diagnostics, ongoing assessments and family support, including education, dietary guidelines, eating strategies and tips on living gluten free. For more information, call (631) 444-8115.


New Option for Valve Replacement Surgery Gives New Hope to Older Patients

From left, Luis Gruberg, MD, FACC; Jonathan B. Weinstein, DO, FACC; Smadar Kort, MD, FACC, FASE; Allen Jeremias, MD, MSc, FACC; Harold A. Fernandez, MD, FACS; and James R. Taylor Jr., MD, FACS

Stony Brook University Hospital is performing a new FDA-approved minimally invasive procedure to replace the aortic heart valve through a small chest wall incision without open-heart surgery, as an alternative for patients with limited access to the aorta through their femoral (thigh) arteries.

First performed at Stony Brook University Heart Institute on May 29, the transapical procedure is a new approach to transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). TAVR can be performed by inserting a catheter into the vessels in the groin (transfemoral) or directly into the heart (transapical) to reach the aorta. The procedure allows the diseased valve to be replaced without open-heart surgery.

"The transapical approach is for patients who have inadequate peripheral arterial access for the transfemoral approach," says James R. Taylor Jr., MD, FACS, Professor of Surgery at Stony Brook University School of Medicine; Chief, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery; and Co-Director, Stony Brook University Heart Institute. "This approach helps us better treat older patients who often have small-caliber femoral and iliac arteries with limited access."

Ronald McDonald Family Room
From left, Kenneth Kaushansky MD, MACP, Senior Vice President, Health Sciences, and Dean, Stony Brook University School of Medicine; New York State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle (R-Port Jefferson); Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD; Margaret M. McGovern, MD, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Pediatrics, and Physician-in-Chief, Stony Brook Children's; Matthew Campo, Executive Director, Ronald McDonald House of Long Island; Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket); and L. Reuven Pasternak, MD, Chief Executive Officer, Stony Brook University Hospital

Ronald McDonald Family Room Opens at Stony Brook Children's Hospital

When we say we practice patient- and family-centered care, we mean it. Stony Brook Children's Hospital knows that supporting families is critical to a child's recovery. This philosophy became visible on Aug. 1, during the grand opening celebration of the Ronald McDonald Family Room on the 11th floor of the hospital.

"Few things are tougher than having a hospitalized child," says Margaret M. McGovern, MD, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Pediatrics, Stony Brook University School of Medicine, and Physician-in-Chief, Stony Brook Children's. "By partnering with the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island, we can bring support, comfort and respite to parents and siblings during this stressful time, especially for those who have to travel back and forth to the hospital to be close to their child."

The space includes a living, kitchen and dining area, private bathroom, laundry facilities, transportation services, meal program, computer access, storage space and complimentary beverage service for families. It will be staffed by volunteers and workers from the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island.


Right Place, Right Time: Access to Advanced Trauma Services Makes Difference for Teen

From left, Jane McCormack, RN, Trauma Program Manager; Therese Luckingham, EMS; James Vosswinkel, MD; Doris Quigley; Theresa Quigley; Brian Morelli, MD; James Barsi, MD; and Surgical Intensive Care Nurses Kelly Brady, RN, Peter Frisone, RN, and Jennifer Mullenburg, RN
From left, Jane McCormack, RN, Trauma Program Manager; Therese Luckingham, EMS; James Vosswinkel, MD; Doris Quigley; Theresa Quigley; Brian Morelli, MD; James Barsi, MD; and Surgical Intensive Care Nurses Kelly Brady, RN, Peter Frisone, RN, and Jennifer Muilenburg, RN

Last summer, 17-year-old Doris Quigley found out why it is so important to have a Regional Trauma Center in the community when she dove into a sandbar and sustained a spinal cord injury. The off-duty lifeguard was transported by ambulance and medevac helicopter to Stony Brook University Hospital, where a trauma team, led by James Vosswinkel, MD, Chief, Trauma, Emergency Surgery and Surgical Critical Care, whisked her into surgery. Time from the accident site to state-of-the-art trauma services? Less than one hour.

"In cases like these, it's critical to have access to high-level care because every minute makes a difference," says Dr. Vosswinkel. After his team diagnosed her injury, Doris was transferred to one of the operating rooms available to trauma patients 24/7. A five-hour-plus operation followed, performed by Brian Morelli, MD, orthopaedic spine surgeon, and James Barsi, MD, a specialist in pediatric orthopaedics.

Doris' recovery included inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient therapy and work with a physical trainer. The fast access to advanced medical care probably made the difference between never walking again and her status today, where she can walk independently with a leg brace and crutches. In fact, she was able to graduate with her high school class and will be attending Tulane University in 2014.

"Treating these most serious of injuries is, quite simply, what we do here at Stony Brook every day," says Dr. Morelli. "We have all the right elements in place -- expert physicians and surgery teams, experienced nurses, an excellent intensive care unit, caring staff and an amazing trauma team -- so the high level of care we provide is the norm, not the exception."


New Treatment for Liver Cancer

Carl Tack, MD
Carl Tack, MD

Stony Brook University Cancer Center is the only cancer program in Nassau and Suffolk counties using a new minimally invasive infusion system to treat patients with liver cancer. Called the Surefire Infusion System, the FDA-approved procedure delivers cancer-fighting agents directly to tumors without surgery.

Treatment involves inserting a catheter into the affected organ through an artery. The catheter delivers the therapeutic beads directly to the malignancy with a highly sophisticated expandable tip that blocks the beads from scattering to healthy tissue. Studies show that the infusion system delivers 99 percent of the dose to the intended area versus standard catheters, which allow nearly 30 percent of the cancer-fighting agent to escape into and possibly harm noncancerous tissue.

"The system is a major advance because tumors can be treated without major surgery," says Carl Tack, MD, an interventional radiologist. "And unlike traditional chemotherapy, it doesn't expose the entire body to cancer-fighting drugs. There are very few side effects, so it is very well tolerated. The treatments can significantly extend a person's lifespan with a good quality of life."

In July, Dr. Tack became the first physician in New York State to use a new, smaller bead called Oncozone-40 in combination with the Surefire system to treat liver cancer. Because the new bead requires a smaller catheter, it has the ability to go deeper into the tumor and deliver more powerful medication. This pioneering treatment also opens up the field of viable candidates -- 90 percent are eligible versus 70 percent from the traditional treatment. "As we treat more patients and have continued success, Oncozene-40 could become the new standard of care," Dr. Tack says.

Arielle Budnick
Arielle Budnick, center, and from left: Steven Budnick, Stacy Heller Budnick, and Alley Budnick; Fred Gutman, MD; Michael Egnor, MD; Nancy Strong, NP; and Jane McCormack, RN

Teen With Traumatic Brain Injury Returns to Thank Those Who Made Her Recovery Possible

When a child suffers a traumatic brain injury or is diagnosed with a neurological disorder and needs ongoing treatment, it's reassuring to know that there's a world-class pediatric neurosurgeon just minutes away. Just ask Arielle Budnick, 18, from Queens, NY. Arielle is fully recovered one year after a life-threatening traumatic brain injury resulting from a 2012 Memorial Day weekend skateboarding accident when she was not wearing a helmet.

After emergency neurosurgery at Stony Brook Children's Hospital, follow-up surgery last July and many months of rehabilitation, she returned to Stony Brook on May 16 to personally thank Stony Brook Medicine neurosurgeons Michael Egnor, MD, and Fred Gutman, MD, and the pediatric intensive care specialists who made her recovery possible. Dr. Gutman, who is Director of Stony Brook Medicine's Neurosurgery Inpatient Service, performed an emergency craniectomy on Arielle. Dr. Egnor, who is Director of Pediatric Surgery and Suffolk County's only board-certified pediatric neurosurgeon, oversaw the case and performed a follow-up bone flap surgery on Arielle.

"After this experience, I realize the true value of life," said Arielle. "It pays to wear a helmet, and none of this would have happened if I were wearing a helmet."


Successful Surgery Helps to Improve Breathing in Patient With ALS

Diaphragm Implantation Surgery
Gerry Hayden (left) and Dana Telem, MD

Famed North Fork chef Gerry Hayden has ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), a rapidly progressing, incurable and fatal neuromuscular disease, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, that affects approximately 30,000 people in the United States. He is also the first on Long Island to receive a NeuRx Diaphragm Pacing System (DPS) implant to help him breathe for a longer period without the assistance of mechanical ventilators. Surgeon Dana Telem, MD, performed this landmark procedure at Stony Brook University Hospital on March 8. "The breathing part of the disease is the worst," said Hayden. "If we can get the word out about DPS, it can help more patients with ALS."

Stony Brook Hand Surgeons and Kenneth Klapak
Kenneth Klapak (center) with from left, Mark Braunstein, MD, Mark Epstein, MD, Jason Ganz, MD, and Lauren Grossman, MD

Hand Surgeons Reattach Hands of Sheet Metal Worker

On May 16, Kenneth Klapak, a sheet metal worker from Staten Island had both of his hands nearly severed in a work-related accident in North Babylon. He was immediately airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital, Suffolk County's only Regional Trauma Center. There, a team of hand surgeons led by Jason Ganz, MD, and Mark Epstein, MD, re-established blood flow and meticulously reconnected the veins, arteries and nerves within a six-hour critical time frame. Though Klapak will have limited use of both hands, his prognosis is good. "I have nothing but praise for the hospital," said Klapak.


At the Helm: Introducing Stony Brook's
Newest Leaders

Over the past few years, Stony Brook Medicine has set course with an ambitious plan to achieve a new level of excellence. Already in place is a set of leaders with national reputations as innovators in research, education and clinical care, but the organization continues to attract top-notch physicians to lead its programs. Here's a look at the most recent leaders to join Stony Brook.

Joseph Laver, MD
Joseph Laver, MD

Joseph H. Laver, MD, has been named Chief Medical Officer of Stony Brook University Hospital and Professor of Pediatrics at Stony Brook University School of Medicine. Dr. Laver served as Executive Vice President and Clinical Director at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, where he headed the clinical care delivery and patient care quality, and oversaw all clinical programs at St. Jude. His focus at Stony Brook will center on building and maintaining excellence, and improving quality, clinical care delivery, clinical effectiveness and physician management as healthcare reform measures are implemented.

Ellen Li, MD, PhD
Ellen Li, MD, PhD

Ellen Li, MD, PhD, a gastroenterologist and research scientist investigating digestive diseases, has been appointed Chief, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, which specializes in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the digestive tract and liver. She will also lead a group of highly trained gastroenterologists and oversee the Interventional Endoscopy Center, the Gastrointestinal Motility Center and the Inflammatory Bowel Diseases Center. Dr. Li came to Stony Brook from Washington University School of Medicine in 2009. Since arriving here she has focused on using the research of Stony Brook's basic scientists to help improve people's health specifically in inflammatory bowel diseases, colon cancer and functional gastrointestinal disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome.

Mark Schweitzer, MD
Mark Schweitzer, MD

Medical scholar, educator and experienced hospital administrator Mark Schweitzer, MD, FRCPSC, has joined Stony Brook Medicine as Chair, Department of Radiology. He most recently served as Chief of Diagnostic Imaging and Chair of Radiology at University of Ottawa in Ottawa, Canada. At Stony Brook Medicine, Dr. Schweitzer plans to grow the imaging program and bring Stony Brook to the forefront in the use of imaging to understand the natural history and effect of interventions on disease. Cited as a perennial "Best Doctor," he has served as a consultant for many professional sports teams, including the New York Mets, New York Islanders, New York Nets, Philadelphia 76ers and Philadelphia Eagles, as well as the numerous college teams, the Pennsylvania Ballet Company and the 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

Mark Talamini, MD
Mark Talamini, MD

The Department of Surgery has found a new leader in Mark Talamini, MD, who has been appointed Professor and Chair. He comes to Stony Brook from University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine where he was the M.J. Orloff Family Endowed Chair in Surgery and Professor and Chairman of the Department of Surgery. Dr. Talamini will also take the helm as the Founding Director of the Stony Brook Medical Innovation Institute, where he will be charged with developing and testing new techniques and devices to solve challenges in surgical and procedurally based medical, pediatric and radiological specialties. Considered a pioneer in minimally invasive abdominal surgery, he is recognized as one of the leading authorities on laparoscopic and robotic-assisted surgery in the United States.


Investing in the "Best Ideas in Medicine"

These generous friends have chosen to invest in Stony Brook Medicine, making a lasting impact on the region for years to come:

Lenny and Judie Ackerman hosted a reception for 200 friends at their East Hampton home to honor Stony Brook University Heart Institute staff who cared for Judie last year when she faced life-threatening heart complications. The Ackermans also presented a major gift to Stony Brook Medicine that will support the fellowship program in cardiology.

The Day One Foundation based in Hauppauge has pledged an additional $215,000, bringing their total commitment to $250,000, which has been matched by an anonymous donor, to support the expansion of Stony Brook Children's Hospital. Brian Travers, the Foundation's chairman, organizes an annual golf outing to raise the funds.

Charles A. Gargano, former U.S. Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago and long-time friend of Stony Brook University, pledged $750,000 to establish the Ambassador Charles Gargano Chair in Advanced Cardiovascular Imaging. The gift will be matched by the Simons Foundation Challenge and Jim and Marilyn Simons, creating a $1,500,000 philanthropic impact.

Filomena Lombardi donated $100,000 through the CURE MS Foundation of NY to support research in multiple sclerosis. These funds were raised in part through MS CUREiosity's Closet, a consignment shop in St. James.

The Stony Brook University School of Dental Medicine Simulation Lab was dedicated in recognition of a $100,000 scholarship the School received from Rick Nasti '78 and his wife, Maura.


Save the Date for Women's Health Day

Join us on Saturday, Oct. 19, 8 am to 1 pm, at the Melville Marriott for an informative and inspiring day as Stony Brook Medicine presents Women's Health Day.

Gail Sheehy
Gail Sheehy

The event will feature keynote speaker Gail Sheehy, who is a journalist, lecturer and author of 15 books including Passages, The Silent Passage, Sex and the Seasoned Woman and Passages in Caregiving.

During morning breakout sessions, Stony Brook Medicine experts will share the latest information, research and thinking, and answer questions about some of the topics that concern you most. These include heart disease, migraines, breast cancer, obesity, constipation, diabetes, exercise, plastic surgery, sleep disorders and caregiving.

Continental breakfast and a buffet lunch will be served. Call (631) 444-4000 by Sept. 1 and receive $5 off the $25 event fee. Treat yourself to a day devoted to health issues for women of all ages. Be sure to invite your daughters, mothers, sisters, other family members and friends as well.

Upcoming Events

Nutrition Management of Chronic Pain and Immunity Enhancement

Aug. 15, 5:15 to 6:15 pm, Center for Pain Management, (631) 638-0800

Learn how to incorporate healthy eating into one's daily life to help manage chronic pain, enhance immunity, combat stress and improve overall well-being.

Bariatric and Metabolic Weight Loss Seminars

Aug. 19 and Sept. 16, 5 to 7 pm, Cafeteria, Stony Brook University Hospital, Level 5, (631) 444-4000

Freedom from obesity is attainable with the right combination of tools and support. Participate in a discussion on the causes, health risks and treatment options, tailored to each patient's needs, lifestyle and goals. To register, call (631) 444-4000.

Concert Under the Stars

Aug. 20, 7 to 9:30 pm, Long Island State Veterans Home, 100 Patriots Road, Stony Brook, (631) 444-8606

This free outdoor event will be held rain or shine at the Long Island State Veterans Home, located on the Stony Brook Medicine campus, and will feature the West Point Military Jazz Band, the Jazz Knights, and a patriotic laser light show. Bring blankets and chairs, and enjoy an evening under the stars. For more information, contact the Long Island State Veterans Home at (631) 444-8606.

Learn to Be Tobacco Free

Aug. 22, 29, Sept. 5, 12, 19, 26 (classes), Oct. 24 (reunion), 6 to 7 pm, Stony Brook Education Center, 14 Technology Drive, Suite 1, East Setauket, (631) 444-4000

A six-week, one-hour-per-week program, plus a reunion that offers techniques to stop smoking and provides tips for stress management, relaxation and behavior modification. Smoking cessation medication provided for a nominal fee. Led by a public health educator from the Suffolk County Department of Health.

Hampton Classic

Aug. 25-Sept. 1, 240 Snake Hollow Road, Bridgehampton, (631) 537-3177

Returning for its 38th year of world-class equestrian competition, the Hampton Classic features six show rings, a Boutique Garden with more than 70 vendors and a wide selection of dining options. The EMS system of Stony Brook University Hospital provides ALS-level ambulance service during the week of the show.

Diabetes Education

Sept. 9, 10, 11, 6 to 9 pm, Stony Brook Education Center, 14 Technology Drive, Suite 1, East Setauket, (631) 444-0580

Diabetes professionals and advisors share self-care tips on diet, meal planning, exercise and medications, and discuss new treatments for all types of diabetes, including type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. Pre-registration is required and insurance coverage is discussed at registration.

Walk for Weight Loss

Sept. 21, 9 am, Stony Brook University Campus, (631) 638-2029

Join us for Long Island's first 1/2-mile or 3-mile community walk to celebrate anyone working to achieve and maintain a healthy weight: friends, family, co-workers, fellow Long Islanders...or yourself. The registration fee of $20 and sponsorship donations support the Bariatric and Metabolic Weight Loss Center at Stony Brook.

Candlelight Ceremony

Sept. 23, 5:30 to 7 pm, Stony Brook University Cancer Center, (631) 444-4000

In recognition of Gynecologic Oncology Awareness Month and Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, this special evening honors patients and their families affected by gynecologic cancers. A reading of patients' names will follow the ceremony. Open to the community. Call (631) 444-4000 to RSVP by Sept. 4.

Mall Walkers

Sept. 25, Food Court, Smith Haven Mall, Lake Grove, (631) 444-4000

Stay active by walking in the Mall before the stores open. Walkers will also receive blood pressure screenings starting at 8 am, and hear an informative lecture from one of Stony Brook Medicine experts at 9 am.

Sunrise Fund Day: Help Tackle Childhood Cancer  

Sept. 28, 6 pm, Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium, Stony Brook University, (631) 632-WOLF (9653)

Cheer on the Stony Brook Seawolves as they take on the Towson Tigers, and feel good knowing that a portion of the ticket price will support the Sunrise Fund programs for pediatric hematology/oncology patients at Stony Brook University Cancer Center. To purchase tickets, call Stony Brook University Athletics at (631) 632-WOLF (9653).

Take Steps for Crohn's and Colitis

Oct. 6, 11:30 am (pre-Walk festivities, check-in and registration), 1 pm (Walk start), Stony Brook University Campus

Put on your walking shoes for this 2.3-mile walk and help Stony Brook Medicine and the Long Island chapter of the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America raise money for crucial research and a future that's free from Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. For more information and to register, visit Stony Brook Medicine's team page.

Women's Health Day

Oct. 19, 8 am to 1 pm, Melville Marriott, 1350 Walt Whitman Road, Melville, (631) 444-4000

Join us for an informative and inspiring day with keynote speaker Gail Sheehy, journalist, lecturer and author of 15 books including Passages and Sex and the Seasoned Woman. Morning breakout sessions, led by Stony Brook Medicine experts, will offer information and resources, and answer questions about topics, including heart disease, migraines, breast cancer, obesity, constipation, diabetes, exercise, plastic surgery, sleep disorders and caregiving. Continental breakfast and a buffet lunch will be served. Call (631) 444-4000 by Sept. 1 and receive $5 off the $25 event fee.

Walk for Beauty

Oct. 20, 8:30 am (check-in), 9:30 am (Walk start), Stony Brook Village Center, (631) 444-4000

Celebrating 20 years, this 4K and 6K walk raises awareness about breast cancer and funds for breast cancer research at Stony Brook University. This year's Walk for Beauty honorees are Jim Condron, Vice President/Market Manager WALK AM/FM Radio, Leah S. Dunaief, Editor and Publisher, Times Beacon Record Newspapers, and Janet Taormina, breast cancer survivor, Patchogue. The registration fee is $25. Registration forms can be obtained online or by calling (631) 444-4000.

Better Health Better Living is produced by the Office of Communications at Stony Brook Medicine.


This information is intended to educate people about subjects pertinent to their health, not as a substitute for consultation with a personal physician.


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