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L. Reuven Pasternak

Stony Brook has the only regional Trauma Center in Suffolk County. File photo from SBU

By L. Reuven Pasternak, M.D.

Injury is the leading cause of death for all Americans under age 45. When an injury or trauma occurs, having fast access to comprehensive care can be the difference between life and death. Stony Brook Trauma Center was officially verified by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and designated by the New York State Department of Health as Suffolk County’s only Adult and Pediatric Level 1 Trauma Center earlier this month.

Level 1 Trauma Centers are the highest level centers, capable of providing a full range of services to the most severely injured patients. Stony Brook Trauma Center is also designated by New York State as the Regional Trauma Center (the highest level) for adults and children and serves as Suffolk’s only regional burn center through the Suffolk County Volunteer Firefighters Burn Center at Stony Brook Medicine.

Meeting the strict quality and safety requirements established by the ACS further proves Stony Brook’s standing in the community as a center of excellence, able to offer a full range of medical services and world-class patient care. Patients who are seriously injured by major trauma require immediate attention from a team of medical professionals who are specially trained to recognize and treat immediate threats to life.

Led by Dr. James Vosswinkel, trauma medical director, and Dr. Richard Scriven, pediatric medical director, Stony Brook Trauma Center cares for close to 2,000 patients annually — adults and children, who have sustained blunt, penetrating or thermal traumatic injury. Ninety-five percent of these patients have sustained blunt injuries — the majority from falls or from motor vehicle crashes. Twenty-five percent of the center’s patients are transferred in from one of the county’s 10 other hospitals and every day Stony Brook flight paramedics are on board Suffolk County Police Department helicopters, providing timely and advanced care directly at the scene of an injury.

As a Level I Trauma Center, Stony Brook participates in a national quality program called TQIP (Trauma Quality Improvement Program). In the most recent TQIP report, it was found that patients who were seriously injured and then treated at Stony Brook Trauma Center were much less likely to die or to develop a major complication than patients treated at other TQIP trauma centers.

Stony Brook Trauma Center is committed to not only treating injury but to preventing injury from occurring. The trauma center regularly conducts many community prevention programs in partnership with other local agencies. They include:

Teddy Bear Clinics: These school-based safety programs target the use of booster seats, rear-facing car seats and use of helmets for sports.

Senior Fall Prevention: These community-based programs educate older adults and their families on how to remain independent and safe. Evidenced-based programs, such as Tai Chi, that are designed to build core strength and prevent fall injury are taught.

Traffic Violators: A bimonthly program with the Suffolk County Traffic Court teaches the consequences of risky driving and offers techniques for behavior change.

Bleeding Control for the Injured (B-Con): To help community members cope with public emergency situations, this important program, which is provided at no charge to universities, community groups and schools, teaches key lifesaving skills, including hands-only CPR, tourniquet making and wound treatment.

To learn more about Stony Brook Trauma Center, visit www.trauma.stonybrookmedicine.edu.

L. Reuven Pasternak, M.D., is the chief executive officer at Stony Brook University Hospital and the vice president for health systems at Stony Brook Medicine.

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By L. Reuven Pasternak, M.D.

At Stony Brook University Hospital, we’ve created a culture of excellence based on health care tailored to meet each individual’s needs and preferences. We want to ensure that our neighbors, friends and families on Long Island who come to us feel comforted, respected and confident about the care they receive from Stony Brook.

Our dedication to providing quality care has earned recognition from numerous organizations in the medical community. Many departments have been recognized by their specialty associations for meeting standards that directly benefit patients:

•Our Endoscopy Unit was recognized for endoscopic quality and safety by the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.

Our Stroke Program was awarded the highest recognition possible for quality care by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With the Guidelines program.

•Our Trauma Center has been ranked in the top decile in the nation for specific outcome measures.

•Stony Brook’s Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory was awarded a bronze-level Beacon Award for Excellence and our Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit earned a silver-level Beacon Award for Excellence, both from the American Association of Critical Care Nurses.

•Our Pediatric Nephrology Program has achieved a ranking within the Top 50 Best Children’s Hospitals from U.S. News and World Report.

Our dedication to providing quality care has earned recognition from numerous organizations in the medical community.

•The prestigious Press Ganey Guardian of Excellence Award was presented to our Ambulatory Surgery Center in recognition of its high level of patient satisfaction.

•We have been named a top performer in a New York State Department of Health project to improve nutrition for preterm babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

The New York State Perinatal Quality Collaborative has recognized our performance in reducing elective early-term deliveries by 75 percent, to lower the risk of serious health problems and death for newborns.

And the New York State Department of Health has given us leadership positions in important health care initiatives:

•We received a planning grant to serve as the leader in building a regionalized health care system throughout Suffolk County through the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program.

•Stony Brook is spearheading a SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment) program, which will screen and provide early intervention and treatment for people with substance use disorders.

Quality of care and patient safety are and always will be our top priorities. We’re proud of the recognition Stony Brook University Hospital has won, but the real winners, of course, are our patients and the community.

L. Reuven Pasternak, M.D. is the CEO of  Stony Brook University Hospital and the vice president for Health Systems at Stony Brook Medicine.

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An exterior view of the Stony Brook University Cancer Center. Photo from SBU

By L. Reuven Pasternak, MD

Thanks to major advances in cancer prevention, early detection and treatment, many patients are enjoying longer lives and maintaining their quality of life, as the number of cancer survivors grows.

Anyone living with a history of cancer — from the moment of diagnosis through the remainder of life — is a cancer survivor, according to the National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation. In the United States alone, there are more than 14 million cancer survivors. That’s cause for celebration, and for the past 10 years, that’s exactly what we’ve been doing at Stony Brook University Cancer Center at our annual National Cancer Survivors Day event.

Stony Brook’s 11th annual celebration will take place on Sunday, June 14, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Cancer Center, and will feature a talk about the Cancer Survivorship Movement by inspirational speaker Doug Ulman. A three-time cancer survivor and a globally recognized cancer advocate, Ulman, with his family, founded the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. The nonprofit organization is dedicated to supporting, educating and connecting young adults who are affected by cancer. Ulman is also known for his work at LIVESTRONG and now as president and CEO of Pelotonia.

All cancer survivors are invited, whether they were treated at Stony Brook or not. In addition to Ulman’s talk, attendees can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, musical entertainment and light refreshments. They can also participate in the very moving Parade of Survivors. To register, visit www.cancer.stonybrookmedicine.edu/registration or call 631-444-4000.

Cancer Center staff members actively partake in the day’s events and look forward to reconnecting with patients. It’s gratifying for them to see the strides these survivors have made throughout the years to lead normal and productive lives after a cancer diagnosis.

National Cancer Survivors Day is just one of a number of ways Stony Brook reaches out to the community. The Cancer Center has created many initiatives and programs to help make life a little easier for patients with cancer, including support groups, cancer prevention screenings and the School Intervention and Re-Entry Program for pediatric patients.

As a leading provider of cancer services in Suffolk County, Stony Brook is constructing a state-of-the-art Medical and Research Translation (MART) building that will focus on cancer research and advanced imaging and serve as the home of our new Cancer Center. Located on the Stony Brook Medicine campus, this 245,000-square-foot facility will allow scientists and physicians to work side by side to research and discover new cancer treatments and technology.

The MART will double Stony Brook’s capacity for outpatient cancer services and enhance all cancer care for Long Island and beyond. And once it is completed in 2016, we’ll have one more reason to celebrate life after a cancer diagnosis.

L. Reuven Pasternak, MD, is the CEO of Stony Brook University Hospital and vice president for health systems, Stony Brook Medicine.