Click Above to Share

Better Health Better Living

FALL 2013  

Stay Connected to Stony Brook

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter View our videos on YouTube
Visit Our Website

Join Our Mailing List

In This Issue

Suffolk County's First Aortic Center Opens at Stony Brook Medicine 

Detecting Lung Cancer Early: New Program for High-Risk Candidates 

Stony Brook Hosts Inaugural Women's Health Day 

"Walk for Beauty" Supports Cancer Research at Stony Brook 

Stony Brook Children's Welcomes New Pediatric Kidney Specialist 

Diagnostics: The Bedrock of Good Medicine 

Eagle Scout Project Transforms the Landscape at Stony Brook Heart Institute 

Adventure Camp for Teens With MS Celebrates 10 Years 

At the Helm: Introducing Stony Brook's Newest Leaders 

Investing in the "Best Ideas in Medicine" 

650 Walk the Walk for Crohn's and Colitis 

Pink Glove Dance

Stony Brook's Focused Areas of Excellence

Stony Brook Heart Institute  



 Stony Brook
Neurosciences Institute


Stony Brook Digestive Disorders Institute 

Tell Us What's
on Your Mind

Provide feedback about Stony Brook Medicine through Patient Voice. Share compliments, concerns and ideas, and ask questions.


Convenient and direct telephone access to healthcare professionals who can answer questions and provide physician referrals.
(631) 444-4000

Ask the Expert Library

Stony Brook Medicine's online library of
health-related articles, podcasts and videos.

Shorter PET/MRI Exams With Faster, More Accurate Results Now Available on Long Island

Mark Schweitzer, MD, Chair of Radiology, and the new Siemens Biograph mMR

Having a simultaneous PET/MRI scan has several benefits, not the least of which is a much lower level of exposure to radiation than with a PET/CT -- a benefit that's important to patients who have to undergo multiple scans, as well as to sensitive populations such as children. For patients with cancer, it also means their doctors can more quickly diagnose and stage their cancer, and more accurately localize the tumor.

During the testing itself, patients need minimal changes in positions between tests, which in turn, allows physicians to compare tests more easily and get information as accurately and quickly as possible. Whereas with a separate PET and MRI, scans of the same spot may produce slightly different images because body parts are continually in motion. When performed simultaneously, the images are completely aligned, resulting in exceptional precision and image quality.

In September, Stony Brook Medicine installed a simultaneous PET/MRI scanner -- the first on Long Island and the 10th in North America. Called the Siemens Biograph mMR system, it was cleared for use by the FDA in June 2011 and will also be used for cardiac imaging, psychological disorders and neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis. For more information, visit Stony Brook Medicine's imaging website.


Suffolk County's First Aortic Center Opens at
Stony Brook Medicine

Aortic Center Team from left, James R. Taylor Jr., MD, Chief, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, and Co-Director, Stony Brook Heart Institute; William E. Lawson, MD, Interim Chief, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, and Co-Director, Stony Brook Heart Institute; Shang A. Loh, MD, vascular surgeon; Apostolos K. Tassiopoulos, MD, Chief, Vascular Surgery Division; Thomas V. Bilfinger, MD, ScD, Director, Thoracic Surgery; Allison J. McLarty, MD, Co-Director, Ventricular Assist Device Program; and Harold A. Fernandez, MD, Deputy Chief, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, and Co-Director, Stony Brook Heart Institute

Stony Brook Medicine has opened Suffolk County's first multidisciplinary Aortic Center -- combining the expertise of specialists in vascular surgery, cardiothoracic surgery, cardiology, cardiac imaging, radiology and anesthesiology to provide comprehensive and coordinated care for the full spectrum of conditions affecting the aorta.

"The creation of the Aortic Center formalizes the longstanding, multidisciplinary teamwork that has made Stony Brook a leader in the treatment of aortic problems, as well as the region's referral center for complex and high-risk cases," said Apostolos Tassiopoulos, MD, Professor of Surgery, and Chief, Division of Vascular Surgery at Stony Brook Medicine. "Our goal is to provide a highly accurate diagnosis of all aortic conditions and treatment plans deploying the most effective, least invasive therapies available."

The Aortic Center's extensive experience with minimally invasive interventions permits treatment of a wider range of aortic patients, resulting in shorter hospital stays and fewer postoperative complications. Treatment options at the Aortic Center range from medical therapy and monitoring for patients with milder conditions to innovative, minimally invasive surgical procedures. For more information about the Aortic Center, call (631) 444-2683.


Detecting Lung Cancer Early: New Program for High-Risk Candidates

Stony Brook's Lung Cancer Evaluation Center (LCEC) team: front row from left, Maureen Farrell, Sunday Campolo-Athans, NP, and Denise Vidal; back row from left, April Plank, DNP, Thomas Bilfinger, MD, ScD, Co-Director, LCEC, and Sajive Aleyas, MD, Co-Director, LCEC

Did you know that a large percentage of lung cancer cases are detected when a patient is undergoing tests for an entirely unrelated matter? That's because lung cancer in its earliest stages often has no symptoms. When found in its earliest stages, lung cancer is 80 percent curable. When detected in its later stages, it has a much poorer prognosis.

That's why Stony Brook Medicine's Lung Cancer Evaluation Center (LCEC) -- which is designated as just one of two Centers of Excellence in Suffolk County for Lung Cancer Screening by the Lung Cancer Alliance -- is launching a new lung cancer screening program. Designed for Suffolk County residents at the highest risk, it involves an annual low-dose radiation CT scan and a comprehensive evaluation by the LCEC lung cancer specialists.

The new program follows proposed federal guidelines targeting current and former smokers. The U.S. Preventive Task Force believes these guidelines could prevent 22,000 of the 160,000 lung cancer deaths annually.

Based on these guidelines, annual CT screening is recommended for current and former smokers ages 55 to 80 with a history of smoking equivalent to a pack a day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years. The recommendation also applies to those who have quit smoking in the past 15 years. Other candidates for screening include people ages 50 to 80 who have smoked a pack a day for 20 years and have one additional risk factor, such as radon exposure, occupational exposure, lung disease, history of cancer or family history of lung cancer.

Additionally, the skilled, multidisciplinary team of experts at the LCEC ensures appropriate follow-up and immediate action if cancer is detected.

To schedule an evaluation, call the LCEC at (631) 444-2981.


Stony Brook Hosts Inaugural Women's Health Day

Women's Health Day

Gail Sheehy, left, New York Times best selling author of Passages, is all smiles with one of her fans at Stony Brook Medicine's first Women's Health Day on Oct. 19 in Melville. Sheehy was the keynote speaker for the event, which featured Stony Brook's own medical experts on a variety of health topics for women. Sheehy spoke on "Sex and the Seasoned Women: Pursuing the Passionate Life," celebrating the surge in vitality among Baby Boomer women's lives, and entertained the crowd of 200 in attendance with stories of women she has interviewed.  


"Walk for Beauty" Supports Cancer Research
at Stony Brook

Walk for Beauty

Janet Taormina of Patchogue (center), breast cancer survivor honoree for the 2013 Walk for Beauty, cuts the ribbon to start the walk held on Oct. 20. She is surrounded by, from left, community honoree Jim Condron, Vice President and Market Manager of WALK AM/FM Radio, and his daughter Sophia; Gloria Rocchio, President, Ward Melville Heritage Organization; Edward P. Romaine, Supervisor, Town of Brookhaven; community honoree Leah S. Dunaief, Editor and Publisher, Times Beacon Record newspapers; and Steve Englebright, New York State Assemblyman (D-Setauket).

Co-sponsored by Ward Melville Heritage Organization and Stony Brook Medicine, the walk has raised more than $1.175 million for breast cancer research at Stony Brook University since its inception in 1994. In addition, the walk has helped pay for prostheses and wigs for patients in need.


Stony Brook Children's Welcomes New Pediatric Kidney Specialist

Robert Woroniecki, MD
Robert P. Woroniecki, MD

There's a new resource in Suffolk County for children with kidney disorders. Recently, Robert P. Woroniecki, MD, a board-certified pediatric nephrologist, joined Stony Brook Children's Hospital as Chief of the Division of Pediatric Nephrology. He will be working to expand the division to help make advanced services more accessible to children with acute and chronic kidney problems in the community.

Dr. Woroniecki comes to Stony Brook from New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, where he served as the Medical Director of Pediatric Nephrology at Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital. He has been named one of the "Best Doctors in America" from 2009 to 2012 and rated as one of "America's Top Pediatricians" during the same time period.

In addition, Dr. Woroniecki is an expert in pediatric hypertension, nephrotic syndrome and transplant medicine. At Stony Brook, he plans to develop a model of multispecialty care that includes cardiology, urology and endocrinology to treat the complex problems associated with childhood obesity, metabolic syndrome and high blood pressure, which may result in kidney disease. He also is a dedicated researcher who brings original research on nephrotic syndrome to Stony Brook.

Call (631) 444-KIDS (5437) for more information or to schedule an appointment.


Diagnostics: The Bedrock of Good Medicine

An incorrect diagnosis wastes time and resources, may lead to complications and is discouraging to patients.

That's why Stony Brook Children's Hospital has made such a significant investment in state-of-the-art diagnostic technologies and the recruitment of physicians who are expert diagnosticians. Our expanded capabilities include:

  • Celiac disease. Pediatric gastroenterologists at our new Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity Center use blood marker testing, minimally invasive upper endoscopy and other tests to diagnose this disease that is notoriously difficult to identify. Once a diagnosis is confirmed, patients work with our multidisciplinary team to make dietary changes that typically show results soon afterward. 
  • Heart problems. Stony Brook's Chief of Pediatric Cardiology, James Nielsen, MD, is an internationally known expert in identifying acquired and congenital heart disease in children. Dr. Nielsen and his team see infants, children and even pregnant mothers carrying a fetus with suspected heart problems at our new echocardiography laboratory. Dr. Nielsen also specializes in pediatric cardiac MRI, which is particularly useful in following children who have had surgery for congenital heart disease. 
  • Pulmonary disorders. With a new pulmonary function testing laboratory to diagnose and treat chronic lung diseases in children, Stony Brook Children's is now the only hospital on Long Island and one of the few in the country performing infant pulmonary lung testing (iPFT) to measure the lung function in the tiniest of premature babies. The center also offers other testing to assess breathing problems in children.
  • Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring. Newly recruited pediatric nephrologist Robert P. Woroniecki, MD, is an expert in pediatric hypertension (high blood pressure). When hypertension is identified and treated early, children and teens can control one of the biggest risk factors leading to heart disease, kidney disorders and metabolic syndrome, including diabetes.

To learn more, visit Stony Brook Children's or call (631) 444-KIDS (5437).


Eagle Scout Project Transforms the Landscape at Stony Brook Heart Institute

Eagle Scout Project
John Kostic III (center) and some of the Boy Scouts from Mt. Sinai Troop 384 who helped with the garden, from left, Andrew Holomshek, William Lamparter, Duncan Brune and Joe Cucchiaro

Each time Pamela Kostic, RN, Chest Pain Coordinator at Stony Brook University Heart Institute, passed by the fourth floor atrium garden adjacent to the Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit (CTICU) and Burn Unit, she wished it could be improved. The garden space needed to be revived with new plants, updated landscaping and fresh paint.

As it turned out, her own teenage son, John Kostic III, was just the person to make it happen. A Boy Scout in Mt. Sinai Troop 384, John was looking for a project that could help him to achieve his Eagle Scout rank. The garden provided the perfect challenge.

John created a detailed plan for beautifying the garden, which he submitted to his Scout leader and Stony Brook University Hospital administration. Once his plan was approved, he recruited fellow scouts from his troop to assist.

Over the summer, John and his team spent many days cleaning, painting and planting hostas, hydrangeas, ivy and annuals in flat and tiered spaces. Now the refurbished garden is a lush, beautiful space, filled with light, lovely plants and benches for visitors.


Adventure Camp for Teens With MS Celebrates
10 Years

More than 10 years ago, Lauren Krupp, MD, Program Director, Lourie Center for Pediatric MS, and Maria Milazzo, RN, MS, PNP-C, Nurse Practitioner, asked "what if?" What if kids who have multiple sclerosis (MS), a relatively rare diagnosis in children and teens, didn't have to feel so isolated? What if there was a place where they could gather and participate in "normal" summer camp activities safely? What if kids could come regardless of their ability to pay?

And so, the Teen Adventure Program was born. Celebrating 10 years as the only camp in the U.S. for adolescents with MS, the camp is run by the Stony Brook Children's Hospital Lourie Center for Pediatric MS. It relies on an all-volunteer professional staff -- including social workers, physicians, nursing students and neurology residents -- as well as teen mentors made up of veteran campers. The one-week camp, located in Rhode Island, draws campers from across the nation. Generously funded by donors, it is completely free to those who attend.

For most campers, it is the first time meeting other teens with MS. It also may be the first time participating in activities such as kayaking, rock climbing, sailing and a ropes course that stretches their limits safely. The week is also sprinkled with education sessions and healthy lifestyle training from professionals, and all-important peer mentor-led discussion groups. Campers return home more confident, less isolated and with a new perspective on their lives. Just as critical is the connection with other teens, which, thanks to social media, allows them to remain connected and supportive of each other year-round.

Learn more about the Teen Adventure Program. 


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 at Stony Brook.

Joel Saltz, MD, PhD
Joel Saltz, MD, PhD

Joel Saltz, MD, PhD, formerly Chair of Biomedical Informatics at Emory University, was recently appointed to lead the newly established Department of Biomedical Informatics as the inaugural Cherith Chair. Establishment of this new department fulfills one of several key elements of Stony Brook's strategic plan and its NYSUNY 2020 plan approved by New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher in 2011. It will allow researchers to not only analyze large biomedical science data sets but also to analyze databases of patient medical records to generate testable hypotheses on the origins of various diseases, including cancer, cardiac disease and neurological disorders, and the response to their treatment.

James A. Vosswinkel, MD
James A. Vosswinkel, MD

Another new area at Stony Brook is its Division of Trauma, Emergency Surgery and Surgical Critical Care, which was created to reflect Stony Brook University Hospital's expert capacity to provide around-the-clock care for trauma and emergency surgery patients as Suffolk County's only Regional Trauma Center. Stony Brook trauma surgeon James A. Vosswinkel, MD, was named the division's Chief. In addition to providing 24/7 care for trauma and emergency surgery patients, the division cares for patients in the hospital's Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU). An Assistant Professor of Surgery at Stony Brook University School of Medicine, Dr. Vosswinkel has served as Director of the SICU since 2008 and as Chief of the Section of Trauma and Critical Care since 2011.


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:

The Suffolk County Volunteer Firefighters' new gift to the Burn Center at Stony Brook Medicine brings their total giving to $1 million. The Burn Center will soon be renamed the Suffolk County Volunteer Firefighters Burn Center in appreciation of their generosity.

The Rotary Club of Stony Brook raised $40,000 for Stony Brook Children's Hospital thanks to their 2012 and 2013 "Dancing With the Stars" fundraising parties. The gift will be matched by an anonymous donor for a total impact of $80,000.

Mickey's Memorial Event took place on Oct. 10 to benefit Stony Brook Children's Hospital. The event raised more than $50,000, surpassing the goal set by the family of Mickey DeMartis to name a room in Mickey's memory at the new Stony Brook Children's Hospital, scheduled for construction from 2013 to 2016. The gift will be matched by an anonymous donor for a total impact of more than $100,000.


650 Walk the Walk for Crohn's and Colitis

Team captains Ellen Li, MD, PhD, Chief, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, and Ramona Rajapakse, MD, gastroenterologist, Stony Brook Digestive Disorders Institute at the Take Steps for Crohn's & Colitis Walk

Taking a walk on a brisk, fall day can do you good. But, when a large group of people get together to walk for a cause, it can be good for many.

On Oct. 6, approximately 650 walkers met on the Stony Brook University campus for an afternoon of fun and camaraderie to help raise funds for research and awareness of Crohn's disease and colitis. Co-sponsored by Stony Brook University Digestive Disorders Institute and the Long Island Chapter of the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America, the annual Take Steps for Crohn's & Colitis Walk, led by team captains, Ellen Li, MD, PhD, Chief, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, and Ramona Rajapakse, MD, gastroenterologist, Stony Brook Digestive Disorders Institute, brought in more than $68,000 to date.

Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are inflammatory diseases of the bowel, broadly categorized as inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD. More than 1.4 million American adults and children are affected by these digestive diseases.

Although the walk is over, donations are still being accepted at Stony Brook's team page. Learn more about the Stony Brook Digestive Disorders Institute.

Upcoming Events

Pink Glove Dance Competition Voting

Now through Nov. 8, visit the Pink Glove Dance website to view Stony Brook Medicine's entry in the dance video competition and vote for Stony Brook.

Bariatric and Metabolic Weight Loss Seminars

Nov. 4 and 18, Dec. 2 and 16, 5-7 pm, Cafeteria, Stony Brook University Hospital, Level 5, (631) 444-4000

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

Diabetes Education

Nov. 4-6, 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.

The Signs of Gynecologic Cancers Most Women Ignore

Nov. 4, 7-8 pm, Smithtown Public Library, One North Country Road, Smithtown, (631) 360-2480

Do you know the signs of gynecologic cancers? Do you know that some of these signs can be symptoms unrelated to the reproductive organs? Women know their bodies best, so recognizing the early warning signs is important. Learn from Melissa Henretta, MD, MPH, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine, when a common symptom is actually a signal to seek care from your doctor.

Film Screening of "Addiction Incorporated"

Nov. 6, 6-8:15 pm, Student Activities Center Auditorium, Stony Brook University, (631) 632-2945

The documentary, "Addiction Incorporated," is the story of a whistle-blowing research scientist that led to the first-ever federal regulation of the tobacco industry. A Q&A with former Los Angeles Times investigative journalist Myron Levin will follow the screening.

Alzheimer's Conference for Caregivers

Nov. 8, 8:30 am-3:30 pm, Hilton Garden Inn, 1 Circle Road, Stony Brook University, (631) 632-3160

This free conference includes discussions on a medical overview of Alzheimer's disease, communication and behavioral challenges, ethical issues and update on research. Sponsored by the Alzheimer's Disease Assistance Center of Long Island, the Department of Psychiatry and Stony Brook Medicine. To register or for more information, call (631) 632-3160.

Shine a Light on Lung Cancer

Nov. 14, 6:30-8 pm, Hilton Garden Inn, 1 Circle Road, Stony Brook University, (631) 444-2981

This fifth annual vigil will honor all those who are affected by lung cancer. Hosted by Stony Brook's Lung Cancer Evaluation Center. Register online or call (631) 444-2981.

Healthcare Marketplace Information

Nov. 18, 7 pm, Harborfields Public Library, 31 Broadway, Greenlawn, (631) 757-4200

"Bronze, silver, gold, platinum -- which one is right for me?" "What happens to COBRA?" "I'm unemployed, what happens to me?" "I work for a small company; where do I get insurance? What are my options?" James Fouassier, JD, Associate Director of Managed Care, Stony Brook Medicine, will lead a discussion on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. Call the Reference Desk at (631) 757-4200 to register.

Nutrition Management of Chronic Pain and Immunity Enhancement

Nov. 21 and Dec. 19, 5:15-6:15 pm, Center for Pain Management, Stony Brook Medicine, 3 Edmund D. Pellegrino Road, Stony Brook, (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.

Harvest Sunset Dinner

Nov. 21, 6-8 pm, Villa Lombardi's, 877 Old Patchogue-Holbrook Road, Holbrook, (631) 444-1454

Come to the fourth annual Harvest Sunset Dinner, a fundraising event presented by the Lourie Center for Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis (MS) at Stony Brook Children's Hospital. This year's honoree is Chef Guy Reuge of Mirabelle Restaurant at the Three Village Inn. The fee to attend is $100 per person. Proceeds from the event will support pediatric MS research at the Center. For more information, contact Dominique Stanley at (631) 444-1454.

Mall Walkers

Nov. 27, 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 on lung cancer screening at 9 am from Sajive Aleyas, MD, Co-Director, Lung Cancer Evaluation Center.

Avoiding Stress During the Holidays

Dec. 10, 7-8 pm, Middle Country Public Library, 575 Middle Country Road, Selden, (631) 585-9393

Learn how to beat the stress during the busy holiday season with tips and advice from Richard Murdoco, Family Medicine. Register online or by phone at (631) 585-9393.

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.


Stony Brook University/SUNY is an affirmative action, equal opportunity educator and employer.