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John T. Mather Memorial Hospital

Barbara Zinna. Photo courtesy of Mather Hospital

Mount Sinai resident Barbara Zinna, a Mather Hospital, Northwell Health volunteer, was elected to a one-year term as president of the Nassau-Suffolk Council of Hospital Auxiliaries. Her term expires June 2020.

Zinna, an auxilian for 30 years, says one of her major roles as an auxilian is to raise awareness about the community services her hospital offers. Evidence of that commitment occurred when the Mather Auxiliary received the Healthcare Association of New York State’s Best Auxiliary Award in 2017. Also current president of Suffolk County Homemakers, an organization with 26 chapters throughout Long Island, Zinna previously served Mather Hospital’s Auxiliary as its president for four years. 

In her role as president of the Nassau-Suffolk Council of Hospital Auxiliaries, Zinna will continue to lead this organization of hospital volunteers that is aligned with the Nassau-Suffolk Hospital Council, the organization that represents Long Island’s not-for-profit and public hospitals.

Hospital auxilians play a vital role in the delivery of compassionate care at each of their facilities and are major fundraisers for their respective institutions. 

Collectively, Long Island’s volunteer auxilians raise millions through gift shop and thrift shop sales, fashion shows, boutiques and other events. In addition, they are actively involved in advocating on federal, state and local levels on behalf of their hospitals and the thousands of patients that these institutions serve each day.

File photo

Suffolk County Police Sixth Squad detectives are investigating a motor vehicle crash that seriously injured a motorcyclist in Miller Place April 7.

Margaret Befanis, of Port Jefferson Station, was driving a 2017 Nissan Sentra eastbound on Route 25A and was turning left into North Country Plaza when a 2017 motorcycle, being operated by Joseph Sinacore, of Miller Place, struck the car at around 1:40 p.m.

Sinacore, 27, was airlifted via Suffolk County Police helicopter to Stony Brook University Hospital with serious injuries. Befanis, 69, was transported to John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson with minor injuries.

The vehicle and motorcycle were impounded for a safety check. Anyone with information about this crash is asked to call the sixth squad police at 631-854-8652.

Being a hospital patient for any length of time is not likely an experience that engenders tranquility or inner peace for most, but local artists and hospital staff are doing their best to change that.

The 3 North Patient Care Unit at Port Jefferson’s John T. Mather Memorial Hospital, a newly constructed intermediate care unit on the third floor, is now furnished with paintings from artists who donated their work to be displayed for and enjoyed by patients and staff.

The hospital hosted a reception to thank the artists, including Irene Ruddock, president of Setauket Artists, who played a leadership role in getting the idea off the ground.

“The art installation endeavor was the inspiration of Dr. Shug-Hong Young, a cardiologist at Mather Hospital, who purchased one of my paintings which he donated to the hospital’s newest wing,” Ruddock said.

She said Young then took the idea to Mather president, Kenneth Roberts, who liked the concept and requested works featuring Long Island waterways and boats be displayed.

“This is actually a wonderful opportunity and a wonderful meeting of community members and artists with their local community hospital resource,” Roberts said. “We put a brand new wing on with private rooms with computers in the rooms so we don’t have all of the [computers on wheels] or [workstations on wheels] out in the hallways, so nothing is crowded. So we have this brand new nursing station with beautiful finishes, but the one thing we didn’t have was artwork.”

Ruddock was tasked with selecting paintings from her group’s members that fit the bill.

“I chose art that would add to the beauty of the already beautiful space, create a peaceful, serene environment that might provide a sense of spiritual healing,” she said. “I wanted paintings that touch people’s hearts and souls — ones that were memorable and draw you right into the painting.”

Young explained why he donated Ruddock’s initial painting, and why he thought it would brighten up the wing.

“It came to me that if we could bring all of these local artists [works] to the hospital, because many of the artworks reflect local scenes — the beach, the port, the pond — that would make patients feel they are not isolated, they are still connected to the beautiful environment,” he said.

Emily Emma, nurse manager for 3 North who recently transferred to the position, said she asked colleagues in her unit if there was anything she could do to elevate their work and the care they provide to patients, and a common theme emerged in the answers.

“Most of them had said, ‘We would really like some artwork on the walls,’” Emma said. “Patients can’t get enough of them. It’s really a nice peaceful journey to get through their progression of health.”

Jim Molloy, a Miller Place-based artist, was among those who donated a piece to the hospital that he called “Turning Tides.”

“I think that’s what art is about — it’s about brightening up someone’s day,” Molloy said. “If somebody can look at a piece of art and kind of escape for a while, then that makes me feel good, it makes them feel good — it’s perfect.”

Ruddock thanked Roberts, Young and Emma for their efforts in bringing the idea to fruition, as well as Mather employees Nancy Uzo, vice president of public affairs, and Laura Juliano, director of annual giving. Juliano said artist Renée Caine also provided invaluable help during the planning and installation phases of the idea. Caine donated one of her own works.

“By far, the most rewarding aspect of the project was the reaction of the patients, caregivers and staff to the paintings,” Ruddock said. “One staff member said of Michael Kutzing’s painting of a sailing vessel, ‘I mentally take a ride on the boat every day on the Long Island Sound to breathe in the air.’”

Choppy conditions in Port Jefferson Harbor forced the cancellation of the race portion of the 2018 Village Cup Regatta Sept. 8,  but the annual fundraiser was a success anyway.

For the ninth year, the Port Jefferson Yacht Club and the Port Jefferson Village Center were the home for the event, which features a parade past the village-owned pier at Harborfront Park, a race out in the open water between sailboats representing the village and John T. Mather Memorial Hospital, and a banquet to conclude the festivities. This year, conditions weren’t conducive to holding the race, but the event still raised about $70,000 for two worthy causes, according to Mather’s Facebook page.

Funds raised by the regatta will be split between Mather Hospital’s Palliative Medicine Program and the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research.

For the sixth year,  actor/director and local resident Ralph Macchio served as community ambassador for the event. Macchio helps to publicize the important work of the two programs funded by the regatta. His wife, Phyllis, is a nurse practitioner in Mather’s Palliative Medicine Program.

By Alex Petroski

Who knew walking could do so much good.

The Fortunato Breast Health Center, John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson’s arm dedicated to treatment of breast cancer, played host to Families Walk for Hope, a fundraising event May 5 featuring a five-mile walk through Port Jefferson and Belle Terre villages. The event raised more than $81,000 for the center as of midday May 7. To donate to the center, visit familieswalkforhope.kintera.org.

John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson is set to join Northwell Health. File photo from Mather Hospital

A historic change at a nearly 90-year-old Port Jefferson institution has been finalized.

John T. Mather Memorial Hospital will officially finalize an affiliation agreement with Northwell Health Dec. 21, according to a Mather board member, who asked not to be referred to by name. Leadership from Mather Hospital signed a letter of intent to join Northwell, New York’s largest health care provider, in August, though the sides had not yet finalized the terms of the agreement at that time. It is the first time in the hospital’s history it will be affiliating with a larger health system, and a signing ceremony is set to take place Thursday, Dec. 21, at 3 p.m. in a conference room at the hospital. The board member said he expects Northwell Health president and chief executive officer Michael Dowling as well as Mather board of directors chairman Ken Jacoppi to attend the signing.

Mather Hospital is set to join Northwell Healht. Photo from Huntington Hospital

“We’re very pleased Northwell has committed to making an investment in our community and bringing their extraordinary capabilities to our community,” the board member said. “They’ve committed to preserve our culture of patient safety.”

The board member said part of the agreement is that Mather’s board and CEO will remain in place through an initial period of five years, allowing the hospital to remain “largely self-governing” during that time with collaboration and cooperation from Northwell. The Mather board member did not specify the total length or any other specifics of the agreement. A spokesperson from Mather confirmed the ceremonial signing will take place Dec. 21 and that the agreement has been reached, but declined to confirm any details relating to the contract.

The board member summed up what the change might mean for hospital patients going forward.

“In the near term the experience should not change at all,” he said. “We happen to believe that’s a good experience, generally speaking. In the long term Northwell has greater capabilities than we do and we’ll gain those. They’re committed to supporting our residency program as well.”

In August, state Sen. Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) voiced opposition to the agreement, saying he would have preferred Mather affiliate with Stony Brook University Hospital.

“I don’t think it’s a good decision,” LaValle said at the time. “For 50 years-plus there’s been a culture in place if people needed tertiary care they would go from Mather to Stony Brook. Stony Brook will still be in place, will still offer services and people if they choose can go to Stony Brook.”

Mather Hospital vice president of public affairs Nancy Uzo said in August Stony Brook was considered an option for affiliation and offered an explanation by email.

“Our goal through this process is to ensure that our communities continue to have access to advanced, high-quality care and superior satisfaction close to home, and to serve the best interests of our medical staff and employees,” she said.

Dowling commented similarly about Mather Hospital’s reputation around the letter of intent signing in August, and as to why Northwell would be a good fit for Mather.

“Mather Hospital is known for patient-centric care both in the community and throughout the industry,” he said. “That deeply embedded sense of purpose is the type of quality we want to represent Northwell Health, along with an excellent staff of medical professionals and physicians. Together, Mather and Northwell will play a crucial partnership role expanding world-class care and innovative patient services to Suffolk County residents.”

A public relations representative from Northwell did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

This story was updated Dec. 19 to include a Mather spokesperson’s confirmation of the signing ceremony.

By Ernestine Franco

The Sound Beach Civic Association brought together a number of health professionals at a health and wellness expo Oct. 21.

At the health fair, professionals were on hand to provide blood pressure screenings, nutritionists discussed how to live a healthier life, representatives from the police department collected unused and unwanted medication and the Sound Beach Fire Department provided tips for calling 911 in case of an emergency

Participants, screeners and presenters participating in the even included: The Chiropractic Joint, The Community Growth Center, Ear Works Audiology, Echo Pharmacy,
Harbor View Medical Services, John T. Mather Memorial
Hospital, the LI Chapter of NYC + PANDAS/PANS Awareness Group and NY PANS Awareness Group, North Shore Youth Council, Rite Aid, Santi Yoga Community, Senior Callers, Suffolk Center for Speech,  Suffolk County Health Department, Suffolk County Police Department’s 7th Precinct., Wellness and Chiropractic Solutions and Young Living Essential Oils.

Patty Pulick, a Sound Beach resident, said she absolutely loved the health fair.

“The various tables were very informative,” she said. “I got my sugar checked, learned about healthy alternatives and discussed hearing issues. It was great that the SCPD was there so I could dispose of my unused medications. I hope they have it again.”

Civic association president Bea Ruberto extended her gratitude to BPN Home Improvement Inc., Echo Pharmacy, Harbor View Medical Services, John T. Mather Memorial Hospital, Matt’s One Stop, Pern Editorial Services, Schwamb Plumbing and Heating and St. Charles Hospital, who sponsored the event.

“I would also like to give a special thank you to all the volunteers who worked tirelessly to coordinate this event, as well as Bonnie Boeger, a Coldwell Banker residential broker who provided water,” Ruberto said. “As everything else we work on, it’s the generosity of the people in the Sound Beach community that made this event possible.”

Indulging in a delicious, fresh specialty doughnut can be done guilt free in Port Jefferson this month.

East Main & Main, a doughnut shop in Port Jefferson Village that opened in June and is named for the intersection it overlooks, has embraced the spirit of national Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In October, among the shop’s made fresh in-house daily selections has been an assortment of pink-decorated themed treats meant to honor the occasion and raise money for a worthy cause.

Port Jeff annually recognizes breast cancer awareness thanks to the Fortunato Breast Health Center Services at John T. Mather Memorial Hospital, the driving force behind Paint Port Pink, a month-long community outreach effort in the village with the mission of raising awareness about breast cancer, sharing information and education and fostering solidarity in the community. Every day this month, East Main & Main owners Lisa Harris and Robert Strehle have brainstormed new pink doughnuts to offer to customers, and a portion of the sales for each of the commemorative pastries will be donated to the Fortunato center’s Fund for the Uninsured at the end of the month. The fund is comprised of money from community donations and fundraising initiatives to offer discounted or no-cost mammography screenings to qualified patients.

“Cancer in general is a cause that’s near and dear to my heart and this was something we were definitely going to jump on board with and participate in,” Harris said during a phone interview. She said she has an aunt who is a breast cancer survivor and knows many others, so the decision to participate was easy. “We just look forward to getting more and more involved in the community in any way that we can, especially for causes we believe in.”

Harris said the pink doughnuts have sold out every day so far and the customer response has been enthusiastic. Some of the flavors have included pink guava, peanut butter and jelly, pink lemonade, a “pink diva” doughnut with gold glitter and many more. None of the flavors have been or will be repeated, and Harris said it has been a little stressful coming up with new flavors, which she said they do on the fly each day, but a dedicated team of kid tasters and other customers have offered feedback and suggestions to share the creative burden.

“It’s all sorts of fun,” Harris said of the creative process.

On Oct. 4, the shop featured a strawberry pomegranate frosted doughnut, and a satisfied customer commented on a photo of the creation on East Main & Main’s Instagram account: “Yumm! The best flavor! Can’t wait for it to reappear in the spring — hopefully?”

Also featured the same day was the Pink Party, a strawberry frosted doughnut dipped in rainbow sprinkles.

“Hands down the best pink-frosted donut I’ve ever had,” another Instagram follower posted. “Thank you for that magic.”

Harris suggested the success of the October promotion has inspired the owners to seek out more month-long features aimed at raising money and awareness for worthy causes in the coming months.

The American Cancer Society reports that the chance of a woman having invasive breast cancer sometime during her life is about one in eight. Since there is still no sure way to prevent breast cancer, increased awareness, education and early detection are critical components of breast health care. The Fortunato center recommends that women apply the following the guidelines for early detection of breast cancer: first mammography by age 40 and yearly mammograms after age 40; clinical breast exams at least every three years beginning at age 20 and annually after age 40; and monthly breast self-examinations.

PRETTY IN PINK: Shops along East Main Street and, right, the sign at Mather Hospital during last year’s Paint Port Pink event. Photo from Mather Hospital
Month-long events planned in celebration of Paint Port Pink
Astoria Bank will once again present Paint Port Pink to benefit the Fortunato Breast Health Center at Mather Hospital. Above, employees of the Port Jefferson Station branch at last year’s event.

Throughout the month of October, Paint Port Pink, John T. Mather Memorial Hospital’s annual breast cancer community outreach, will once again light up Port Jefferson to raise awareness about the disease, share information and education and foster solidarity in the community.

Presented by Astoria Bank, the outreach encourages women to get their annual mammograms and learn more about breast health. The American Cancer Society reports that the chance of a woman having invasive breast cancer sometime during her life is about 1 in 8. While the vast majority of breast abnormalities are benign, they can cause great anxiety for a woman and her family. Since there is still no sure way to prevent breast cancer, increased awareness, education and early detection are critical components of breast health care.

 

The Fortunato Breast Health Center at Mather Hospital recommends that women follow the American Cancer Society‘s guidelines for early detection of breast cancer: first mammography by age 40 and yearly mammograms after age 40; clinical breast exam at least every three years beginning at age 20 and annually after age 40; and monthly breast self-examination.

Among the new Paint Port Pink offerings this year are two Paint Night fundraisers — one at Comsewogue Public Library in Port Jefferson Station, on Friday, Oct. 13, from 6 to 8 p.m., and at Muse Paintbar in the Harbor Square Mall in Port Jefferson on Thursday, Oct. 26, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Friends, co-workers and family members can have fun painting while supporting the Fortunato Breast Health Center’s Fund for Uninsured. Fee is $45 for each workshop and preregistration is required; $15 from every registration fee at the library and 45 percent from the Muse Bar event will benefit the Fund for Uninsured.

Local retail community partners will offer special events throughout the month to benefit the Fund for the Uninsured including:

Panera Bread in Port Jefferson Station will hold a special fundraising night on Thursday, Oct. 5, from 4 to 8 p.m. with a percentage of all purchases (must present qualifying flyer, available on www.paintportpink.org) donated.

Amazing Olive in Port Jefferson will hold a special olive oil tasting on Thursday, Oct. 12, from 7 to 9 p.m. with 10 percent of the tasting fee donated.

Bounce Blow Dry Bar in Port Jefferson on Friday, Oct. 13, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. will offer blow outs for $20 with 10 percent of the proceeds donated.

Pindar Vineyards Wine Store in Port Jefferson will hold a wine tasting on Saturday, Oct. 14, from 3 to 7 p.m., with 15 percent of all Rosé or Summer Blush wine purchases donated.

Fedora Lounge Boutique Hair Salon, Port Jefferson, will hold a $20 hair cut-a-thon on Saturday, Oct. 14, from noon to 4 p.m. with 100 percent of the proceeds donated.

Five Guys Burgers and Fries in Port Jefferson Station will hold a special fundraising night on Wednesday, Oct. 18, from 4 to 10 p.m. with 10 percent of all purchases donated.

East Main & Main, Port Jefferson, will offer a day of donut tasting on Saturday, Oct. 21, with 10 percent of the proceeds from pink donut sales donated.

Photo from Mather Hospital
The Frigate in Port Jefferson will donate 100 percent of the proceeds from pink cupcakes sales throughout October.

Month-long promotions include:

•Amazing Olive, of Port Jefferson and Patchogue, will donate $1 from every bottle of olive oil sold and 40 percent of special pink ribbon soap purchases.

•Chick-fil-A, Port Jefferson Station, will donate a portion of all milk shake sales.

•The Frigate, Port Jefferson, will donate 100 percent of the proceeds from pink cupcake sales.

•Salon Blond, Port Jefferson, will offer $10 pink hair extensions with 100 percent of the proceeds donated.

•East Main & Main, Port Jefferson, will donate 10 percent of the proceeds from pink donut sales.

•Fedora Lounge Boutique Hair Salon, Port Jefferson, will offer pink hair extensions for $15 or two for $20 with 100 percent of the proceeds donated.

•The Soap Box, Port Jefferson, will donate 10 percent of the proceeds from sales of rose water and jasmine, “pink sugar kiss,” peony rose petal and mistral soap sales.

•The Pie, Port Jefferson, will donate a portion of the proceeds from sales of pink lemonade.

•Tommy’s Place, Port Jefferson, will donate 20 percent of the proceeds from sales of pink cocktails.

•Brewology295, Port Jefferson, will donate 100 percent of the proceeds from sales of its pink cocktail.

In addition, the Port Jefferson Free Library, Port Jefferson, will offer a Paint Port Pink workshop on Friday, Oct. 6, from 2 to 4 p.m. where visitors can drop in and make a commemorative button for those who have been affected by breast cancer. Mather Hospital will host a HealthU seminar and health fair on Oct. 28 from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (free but registration required).

Visit Port Jeff Liquors, Wink Design Group anf Theatre Three for more Paint Port Pink promotions.

Mather Hospital has distributed pink lights and flags to more than 100 community partners and will post photos of decorated shops and businesses each day on the hospital’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/matherhospital. On Wear Pink Day on Oct. 17, individuals who dress in pink are encouraged to take selfies and post them to Facebook with the hashtag #paintportpink.

Paint Port Pink’s sponsors include Long Island Physician Associates, LI Anesthesia Physicians, Long Island Bone and Joint, New York Cancer & Blood Specialists, Empire Bank, Local 342 Long Island Public Service Employees, STAT Health Management and Tritec Building Company.

For more information, please visit www.paintportpink.org.

All photos courtesy of Mather Hospital

Port Jefferson Village and John T. Mather Memorial Hospital squared off on the open seas for the eighth time Sept. 9 for the Village Cup Regatta, an annual event that features a parade, sailboat race, a reception and even remarks from actor Ralph Macchio. Representatives from both groups man vessels and race in the Long Island Sound near Port Jefferson Harbor for bragging rights and, more importantly, to raise money for cancer research. The Mather team won the 2017 incarnation of the race and proudly took the trophy back from Village Mayor Margot Garant, who had the cup since the village’s 2016 victory. In total, about $65,000 was raised for Mather’s Palliative Medicine Program and for the Lustgarten Foundation, which funds pancreatic cancer research. The event is hosted by the Port Jefferson Yacht Club.

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