Tags Posts tagged with "Stony Brook Medicine"

Stony Brook Medicine

Reese Tiller, right, with his physician Dr. Laura Hogan, division chief of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and director of the Pediatric Oncology Survivorship Program at SBCH, during the July 27 10th anniversary event. Photo from Stony Brook Medicine

Stony Brook Children’s Hospital gathered doctors, nurses, physicians and staff to celebrate their 10th anniversary of pediatric care this Tuesday, both in person and virtually. 

Throughout the years, SBCH has provided innovative research, clinical trials and breakthrough techniques to benefit pediatric patients. The hospital has more than 180 skilled pediatric specialists who cover more than 30 specialties.

“We have a long history of caring for children, and it was with the generational knowledge and passion that we made the commitment to create an institution that would better meet the needs of nearly half-a-million children in Suffolk County,” said Maurie McInnis, president of Stony Brook University. 

Even during the pandemic, SBCH had pediatric investigators on duty, researching the effectiveness the COVID-19 vaccine has on children. 

During the event, photos were displayed showing the history of Stony Brook Children’s Hospital. Photo from Stony Brook Medicine

Holbrook high schooler Reese Tiller attended the event and shared his experience with the children’s hospital that helped treat him when he had a cancer diagnosis. 

After a soccer accident left Tiller with a concussion, it was SBCH who found out through testing that he had a large mass on his chest which was discovered to be leukemia. 

“I was extremely confident that Reese was in the best place and was only going to get the best care possible,” said his mother Jaimi Tiller.

The Tiller family expressed their gratitude for SBCH and the effort it put into curing Reese’s illness. The hospital kept the family, including Reese, informed on every update possible. 

“The second I got there, I felt loved and cared for,” Reese said. 

The transition to the children’s hospital was easy for the Tiller family and despite being there for treatment, the overall feeling of the hospital was welcoming for all. 

SBCH has become a vital part of the academic and clinical mission of SBU and Stony Brook Medicine, which aim to provide the highest quality of education and training. 

With the dedication and passion of Stony Brook’s health care workers, SBCH has become a regional and national leader in children’s health care, and the first children’s hospital in the nation that created a center for the treatment of pediatric multiple sclerosis.

“You should all be proud of the outstanding clinical quality and breadth of services Stony Brook Children’s provides,” said Dr. Margaret McGovern, vice president for Clinical Programs and Strategy for SBM. “For me personally, it has been an honor to work with all of you and see your dedication and passion for improving children’s lives has been a daily inspiration.”

Coffee and snacks are available, and snacks have been individually wrapped during the pandemic. Photo from Stony Brook Medicine

The Ronald McDonald Family Room — a part of Stony Brook Children’s Hospital — has served as a sanctuary for parents and family members who have a child that is in prolonged care of the facility.

Officially opening in 2013, the purpose of the family room is to provide a respite space for parents to spend their downtime while their child is being treated in the hospital, whether that be long or short term. 

However, since the pandemic began, the lounge promptly shut down and is currently awaiting the green light from the hospital to reopen.

“It is sad because it shut down a great resource room,” said Tricia Telemaque, host and board member of the family room. “When we open really depends on the day-to-day and what happens with COVID. However, we are on alert and ready to go back full force.”

Coffee and snacks are available, and snacks have been individually wrapped during the pandemic. Photo from Stony Brook Medicine

The lounge emulates an apartment-style environment with countless amenities for family members such as a fully stocked kitchen, private showers and laundry machines.

Pre-pandemic, volunteers would solicit the community to have restaurants, pizza places and bigger chains such as Chick-fil-A and McDonald’s deliver food that the volunteers would serve to the families of the sick children. The lounge offered breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Providing emotional support for families is another key aspect of the volunteer work. Having a person to talk to could serve as a stress reliever for the unfortunate circumstances going on in a parent’s life.

“I remember one day I was sitting in the room and this one woman was folding her laundry and she asked, ‘Could I just sit and talk to you because talking to someone while folding laundry feels normal’ so it really is more of a solace room,” Telemaque said. 

According to her, the children admitted in the hospital also have siblings who come to the lounge and are often forgotten about. The volunteers make sure there are plenty of books and toys to play with, not only for the child admitted but for their siblings too. 

“The intent is to not have any white coats [doctors] in the lounge,” Telemaque said. “So, it’s not a place where doctors and nurses can come in.” 

One of the biggest goals for Ronald McDonald House Charities is to bring awareness to Long Islanders about what the lounge is and its purpose for the families that use it. 

Since the pandemic began, the organization has continued to work hard for families who were suffering through the COVID period. However, donations of food have become more complicated due to the need to have items individually wrapped such as chips and granola bars. 

The family room relies fully on donations from the surrounding community and businesses, as it serves approximately 3,600 families a year, so fundraising is essential for their need to remain active. 

“When I started working in the room, I was amazed at how few of my friends knew that there was a Ronald McDonald [room] here in Stony Brook,” Telemaque said. “So simple awareness that there is such a need for something like this is very important and I think that is an underserved opportunity.” 

The Ronald McDonald Family Room at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital has an area where families can sit and talk. Photo from Stony Brook Medicine

Among many parents who have used the family room, Karen Maher said using the room has been a huge stress reliever on both her and her daughter, who is undergoing cancer treatment.

“I look at the Ronald McDonald House as a blessing,” Maher said. “They really helped my daughter’s treatment go much easier for me and her. They’d bring little gifts for her too, something as simple as a teddy or a blankie.” 

With the help of the lounge and their conveniences, Maher was finally able to get the rest and relaxation she needed.

For more information on how to donate to the Ronald McDonald Family Room in Stony Brook Children’s Hospital, visit www.rmhcnym.org or call 516-775-5683. 

Pixabay photo
Dr. On Chen. Photo from Stony Brook Medicine

Now that temperatures are on the rise and humidity is surging , it is important to protect our hearts from the hazards of the summer sun. On Chen, MD, interventional cardiologist and Director of the CCU and Telemetry Units, Outpatient Cardiology Services and the Lipid Program at Stony Brook Medicine, has some suggestions to help you stay heart-safe all summer long.

People with an existing heart condition need to be careful with warmer temperatures, but even a healthy heart can be put under stress when temperatures climb. Following are tips for helping to make your summer heart-safe:

  1. Hydrate. Adequate hydration is nothing less than your best friend as the summer heat moves in. Drinking plenty of water helps regulate your temperature, helps your heart pump more easily and keeps all your organs functioning properly. Remember to drink before you are thirsty, and avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages, which can dehydrate the body. And, it is important to know that some common heart medications can make you more vulnerable to high heat and increase your hydration needs. Talk to your doctor about your specific hydration needs.

  2. Staying Cool. If you don’t have access to air conditioning, cold compresses (an ice-pack or ice-water filled bottle) applied to your ‘pulse points’ — the areas where your veins are closest to your skin’s surface, including wrists, neck, temples and armpits — can help you cool down.

  3. Eat Water-Rich Foods. You get about 20 percent of your water from the foods you eat. A hot weather diet that emphasizes cold soups, salads and fruits can both satisfy hunger and provide extra fluid. Strawberries, watermelon, peaches, cucumbers, celery, tomatoes, peppers and spinach, are all fruits and veggies that are 90 percent or more water.

  4. Know Heat Illness Warning Signs. Spending too much time in extreme heat may lead to heat exhaustion and, in turn, heatstroke, two serious heat-related illnesses in which your body can’t control its temperature.

    1. Heat Exhaustion Symptoms: Heavy sweating, nausea or vomiting, muscle cramps, tiredness, dizziness and fainting. Treatment: Move to a cool place, loosen clothing, use cold compresses, sip cool (not cold) water. If symptoms persist, call 911.

    2. Heatstroke (also called Sunstroke) Symptoms: Fever of 104 degrees or more; severe headache; behavioral changes; confusion; hot, red skin; no sweating; rapid heartbeat and loss of consciousness. Treatment: Heatstroke is a life-threatening medical emergency. Call 911 immediately. Quickly move the individual to a cooler place, use cold compresses, do not give anything to drink.

  5. Know Your Numbers. See your doctor to get a careful look at your “numbers,” including your cholesterol and triglyceride levels, your blood pressure and more. Knowing your numbers and your risk factors are an important part of heart health, especially before engaging in warm-weather activities.

  6. Timing is Everything. Avoid being outdoors during the hottest times of the day, when the sun is at its strongest and temps are at their highest. Your cardiovascular system has to work harder on a hot day in an effort to keep your body cool. In fact, for every degree that your body temperature rises, your heart has to pump an additional ten beats per minute. Everyone is at risk in extreme heat, but high temperatures and humidity are particularly stressful for those who already have a weakened heart.

  7. Be Sun Savvy. A sunburn can dehydrate you and impede your body’s ability to cool. If you’re going to be outside during the peak sun of the day, be sure to apply sunscreen 30 minutes before you head out. Reapply every couple of hours.

  8. Dress for Sun-cess. Think loose, light-colored clothing (to help reflect heat) that is made of a lightweight, breathable fabric like cotton. Add well-ventilated shoes, a wide-brimmed hat, shades and sunscreen and you’re good to go.

  9. Pace Yourself. Make your warm weather workouts shorter and slower, aim for morning or evening when the temps and humidity are lower, choose shady pathways and trails or an air-conditioned space. Work with your healthcare team to develop a plan that is best for you.

  10. Listen to your body. If you aren’t used to regular exercise, are over 50, have heart disease or have questions about your heart health, see your doctor before participating in any strenuous outdoor summer activities.

Although anyone can be affected by heat illness, people with heart disease are at greater risk.

For more information, visit www.heart.stonybrookmedicine.edu or call (631) 44-HEART.

In addition to the bypass surgery, Stony Brook surgeons regularly perform the full spectrum of cardiac lifesaving procedures including Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), Mitral Valve Repair, Electrophysiology and Cardiac Catheterization. Photo from Stony Brook Medicine

The Cardiothoracic Surgery Division at Stony Brook University Heart Institute has earned a distinguished three-star rating from The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) for its patient care and outcomes in isolated coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) procedures in 2020. The three-star rating, which denotes the highest category of quality, places Stony Brook University Hospital among the elite for heart bypass surgery in the United States and Canada. The Stony Brook Heart Institute received two back-to-back three-star ratings from The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) in 2017 and 2018, and now an overall three-star rating for 2020.

This elite rating is reflective of our entire organization’s commitment to quality and safety — from preoperative planning to thorough coordination among multidisciplinary team members — for the optimal outcome for the patient receiving cardiac care,” says Margaret McGovern, MD, PhD, Dean for Clinical Affairs and Vice President, Health System Clinical Programs.

“At Stony Brook, we take great pride in our comprehensive heart program that has a long legacy of bringing the highest quality standards to benefit our patients and their families,” says Carol Gomes, Chief Executive Office, Stony Brook University Hospital. “And we remain laser-focused on serving our community with the most advanced technology, our outstanding cardiovascular staff and the full spectrum of lifesaving cardiac interventions.”

“The three-star rating is a testament to our team’s deep commitment to bringing the best in cardiac care to our community,” says Henry J. Tannous, MD, Co-Director of the Heart Institute, Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery and General T.F. Cheng Chair, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University. “Patients can have peace of mind knowing they’re getting care from one of the top-rated facilities in the nation.”

The STS star rating system is one of the most sophisticated and highly regarded overall measures of quality in health care, rating the benchmarked outcomes of cardiothoracic surgery programs across the United States and Canada. The star rating is calculated using a combination of quality measures for specific procedures performed by an STS Adult Cardiac Surgery Database participant. For 2020, 6.1% of participants received the three-star rating for isolated CABG surgery.

“The Society of Thoracic Surgeons congratulates STS National Database participants who have received three-star ratings,” said David M. Shahian, MD, chair of the Task Force on Quality Measurement. “Participation in the Database and public reporting demonstrates a commitment to quality improvement in health care delivery and helps provide patients and their families with meaningful information to help them make informed decisions about health care.”

The STS National Database was established in 1989 as an initiative for quality improvement and patient safety among cardiothoracic surgeons. The Database includes four components: the Adult Cardiac Surgery Database (ACSD), the Congenital Heart Surgery Database (CHSD), the General Thoracic Surgery Database (GTSD), and the mechanical circulatory support database (Intermacs). The STS ACSD houses approximately 7.4 million surgical records and gathers information from more than 3,500 participating physicians, including surgeons and anesthesiologists from more than 90% of groups that perform heart surgery in the US. STS public reporting online enables STS ACSD participants to voluntarily report to each other and the public their heart surgery scores and star ratings.

“The STS rating is based on the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery’s experience in coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery, and we believe that the quality and expertise illustrated by the top rating is reflective of the entire Heart Institute’s dedication to excellence in patient care,” says Dr. Tannous.

About Stony Brook University Heart Institute:

Stony Brook University Heart Institute is located within Stony Brook University Hospital as part of Long Island’s premier university-based medical center. The Heart Institute offers a comprehensive, multidisciplinary program for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease. The staff includes full-time and community-based, board-certified cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons, as well as specially trained anesthesiologists, nurses, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, respiratory therapists, surgical technologists, perfusionists, and other support staff. Their combined expertise provides state-of-the-art interventional and surgical capabilities in 24-hour cardiac catheterization labs and surgical suites. And while the Heart Institute clinical staff offers the latest advances in medicine, its physician-scientists are also actively enhancing knowledge of the heart and blood vessels through basic biomedical studies and clinical research. To learn more, visit www.heart.stonybrookmedicine.edu.

About STS:

The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) is a not-for-profit organization that represents more than 7,500 surgeons, researchers, and allied health care professionals worldwide who are dedicated to ensuring the best possible outcomes for surgeries of the heart, lung, and esophagus, as well as other surgical procedures within the chest. The Society’s mission is to advance cardiothoracic surgeons’ delivery of the highest quality patient care through collaboration, education, research, and advocacy.

From left, Eleanor Lalima and Lisa Figueroa Filosa. Photo from Stony Brook Medicine

Two best friends on Long Island are now sharing a bond like no other, a set of kidneys.

Eleanor Lalima of Ronkonkoma and Lisa Figueroa Filosa of Deer Park have been best friends since they met in the 1st grade. Through getting married and having children of their own, the duo have stayed close throughout their more than 30 year friendship, so it wasn’t a surprise to anyone they knew when Lisa answered the call to help out when her friend needed her most.

Eleanor has been battling kidney disease since age 16. Not only did she face the disease, but she lost both her mother and her brother to kidney disease. While a patient at Stony Brook University Hospital (SBUH), Eleanor learned her next treatment option was receiving a kidney transplant. 

Soon after, Eleanor put out a call for help on Facebook. Several of Eleanor’s family and friends reached out right away to get tested including her lifelong best friend Lisa. Lisa was actually the first to get tested and called Eleanor to tell her she had a good match for a transplant.

“My mother was on the transplant list for over 8 years due to her rare blood type and she didn’t get the same chance I have now,” says Eleanor. “To get a kidney in such a short time is really amazing and it gives me a chance at a better life.”

Dr. Wayne Waltzer, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Urology and Director of Kidney Transplantation Program at Stony Brook University Hospital, and Dr. Frank Darras, Clinical/Medical Director of the Renal Transplantation Program at Stony Brook University Hospital, who cared for other members of her family, played a large role in Eleanor’s treatment at Stony Brook.

“Kidney disease can take a toll on an entire family. Being a transplant surgeon and being able to assist in restoring one’s quality of life is truly a rewarding experience,” said Dr. Darras. “But the true hero here is Lisa. Without her none of this would have been possible!”

On May 25, spirits were high as Eleanor and Lisa went in for surgery at SBUH. The surgery was a success and the friends were discharged within a week.

“Just when you think a lifelong friendship can’t be any stronger, you share a kidney,” said Lisa.

Kidney disease affects an estimated 37 million people in the U.S. (15% of the adult population; more than 1 in 7 adults). It is the leading cause of death in the U.S. according to the National Kidney Foundation, causing more deaths than breast cancer or prostate cancer.

For more information about Kidney Transplantation Services at Stony Brook Medicine, visit stonybrookmedicine.edu/patientcare/transplant.

Eric Rashba, MD, Director, Heart Rhythm Center; Puja Parikh, MD; Interventional Cardiologist; and Smadar Kort, MD, Director of Non-Invasive Cardiac Imaging, in Stony Brook’s Advanced Multifunctional Cath/EP Lab. Photo by Jim Lennon/ SB Medicine

Stony Brook University Heart Institute is now offering its patients the latest generation of the Watchman FLX™ device, which provides protection from strokes for people who have atrial fibrillation (AFib), a type of arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat, that is not caused by a heart valve problem.

Eric Rashba, MD, Director, Heart Rhythm Center holding the new Watchman FLX device. Photo by Jim Lennon/SB Medicine

Stony Brook is one of a select number of sites in New York State to offer the new Watchman FLX device. The procedure, which closes off the part of the heart where 90% of stroke-causing clots come from, will be done in Stony Brook University Hospital’s new Advanced Multifunctional Cath/EP Lab. The large, 845-square-foot multi-functional laboratory has been carefully designed and outfitted with state-of-the-art technology to allow the Heart Institute physicians to perform a full range of procedures.

People with AFib, the most common type of heart rhythm disorder, have an increased risk of stroke by 5 times on average. Blood thinners are often prescribed to help prevent strokes but “some experience bleeding problems or have other reasons why blood thinners aren’t the best option,” explains Eric Rashba, MD, Director, Heart Rhythm Center at Stony Brook Heart Institute.

The Watchman device, which is about the size of a quarter, provides an alternative to the lifelong use of blood thinners (anticoagulants) for people with AFib by blocking blood clots from leaving the heart and possibly causing a stroke.

The design of the newer, Watchman FLX device used by the Heart Institute offers significant advantages to the patient, including:

  • Advanced safety due to the new framing of the device that allows for more long-term stability and a more complete seal

  • Enhanced procedural performance that allows the physician to better maneuver and position the device during the procedure

  • A broader size range to permit treatment of a wider range of patient anatomies

“At the Stony Brook Heart Rhythm Center, in the hands of our expert team, we are excited to bring this latest innovation to effectively provide protection equivalent to anticoagulants for preventing strokes and avoiding the risk of serious bleeding,” said Dr. Rashba. “It has saved lives and improved my patients’ quality of life.”

Wai Law. Photo from Stony Brook Medicine
Wai Law, 54, of Bethpage will be running 555 miles starting June 25 on the newly completed Empire State Trail from Buffalo to Battery Park, NYC in order to raise funds for The Thomas Hartman Center for Parkinson’s Research at Stony Brook University. Last year, he raised more than $10,000 and completed 103 miles from New Paltz to Citi Field Queens in 24 hours.
His goal this year is to complete 555 miles in about 10 days unassisted while pushing a baby/pet jogging stroller stocked with supplies and light camping gear. 
Wai explains, “For me, outdoor activities, running in particular, are more than just forms of exercise. It is also a powerful way to help various organizations, communities, and families. I run for those who can’t, I run to raise funds for important medical research, and I run to help pay for expenses that a family may need while dealing with a medical crisis.” 
These runs have tremendous meaning to continue the efforts to increase awareness of Parkinson’s, raise money for research and honor the memory of Ruben Almodovar, the father of Wai’s longtime friend of 15 years, Dennis Almodovar, 53, of Massapequa. Ruben Almodovar battled Parkinson’s for 12 years, from 2005 to 2017, and passed at 80 years old.  
Dennis and Wai bonded 15 years ago at a charity event and have since entered and completed many long runs or marathons. 
“We are very grateful to Wai and Dennis for leading this extraordinary initiative in support of The Thomas Hartman Center for Parkinson’s Research at Stony Brook University,” said Dr. Alfredo Fontanini, chair of the Department of Neurobiology & Behavior at Stony Brook University. “Their friendship, support and ability to raise awareness for Parkinson’s disease are truly inspiring. This year’s event is absolutely incredible, running 555 miles, in 10 days, unassisted is an exceptional feat and we will be rooting for Wai.”
To get ready for the big run on June 25, this coming Saturday, June 12 at Sunken Meadow State Park in Kings Park, friends and other supporters from Stony Brook will meet in Parking Lot 1 and gather from 7am to 10am to run along the boardwalk and throughout the park. For those wishing to donate to the center’s Parkinson’s research, here’s the form

The Hartman Center was established in 2013 within the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at Stony Brook University through a generous gift from the Thomas Hartman Foundation for Parkinson Research that was matched by the Simons Foundation, according to Fontanini. Every year, the Center awards grants to support innovative research projects at Stony Brook University. The goal is to advance our understanding of Parkinson’s disease and help the development of new therapeutic approaches.

“The support from the Hartman Center has helped jump starting a series of very innovative research projects. It brought new researchers into the field and sparked new collaborations between scientists at Stony Brook University,” Fontanini said. “The projects supported by the Center are typically multidisciplinary. They rely on new technologies and methods to open new alleys of research or address under-studied problems in the field. Over the years, the Center funded work aimed at understanding the genetic and molecular causes of Parkinson’s disease or the neurobiological bases of motor and non-motor symptoms.”

Wai also added a second charity to raise money for: Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and established “Wai’s 50 Yard Stroller Challenge” to encourage the public’s active involvement. To participate, members of the public are encouraged to find a stroller, cart, wheel barrel, or something else to push. Add some weight to it and run 50 yards for The Thomas Hartman Center for Parkinson’s Research at Stony Brook University and the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. Donate $5 (or more) to one or both charities. When you complete the challenge, post it on your social page (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), tag @empirestatetrailb2brun and use #strollerchallenge, and challenge 5 friends.
To follow Wai Law’s journey on Facebook, visit: https://www.facebook.com/EmpireStateTrailB2BRun.

Stony Brook University Hospital Diabetes Program team members celebrate 2019 Pinnacle Award for Quality and Patient Safety. Photo from Stony Brook Medicine

Stony Brook University Hospital has received a two-year Advanced Inpatient Diabetes certification from The Joint Commission after a comprehensive review of its diabetes program.

Stony Brook becomes the seventh hospital in New York State and the first hospital in Suffolk County to achieve advanced certification. Only 66 hospitals nationally have achieved this distinction after a rigorous three-day review by Joint Commission surveyors.

Certification demonstrates continuous compliance with The Joint Commission’s performance standards. As the Joint Commission’s “Gold Seal of Approval®” for Advanced Inpatient Diabetes, it reflects a healthcare organization’s commitment to providing safe and quality patient care.

“This achievement demonstrates the outstanding quality of care that our faculty and staff provide for patients with diabetes,” said Carol Gomes, MS, FACHE, CPHQ, Chief Executive Officer of Stony Brook University Hospital. “Our entire diabetes team is uniquely equipped and qualified to help our patients address the daily challenges they face in managing their disease.”

“I am overjoyed that the Stony Brook Medicine Diabetes Program has been recognized for excellence by The Joint Commission and am honored to be among only a handful of hospitals nationwide with this certification,” said Joshua D. Miller, MD, MPH, Medical Director of Diabetes Care for Stony Brook Medicine, Assistant Dean and Associate Professor of Medicine for Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University. “This achievement acknowledges the dedication of our team to patients living with diabetes and showcases our shared commitment to providing the highest quality care to the community here on Long Island.”

Joshua D. Miller, MD, MPH. Photo from Stony Brook Medicine

Dr. Miller in particular acknowledged the contributions of Danielle Kelly, MS, ANP-C, RN, CDCES, lead inpatient diabetes nurse practitioner; Paul Murphy, BS, CSSBB, Assistant Supervisor of Quality; Sue Robbins, MS, RN, CPPS; and Nancy Cohen, MA, RN, in the Department of Regulatory Affairs; inpatient diabetes educators Patty Skala, RN, MA, MSN, CDECS, BC-ADM, and Mary Rieff, RN, CDECS; and members of the Diabetes Advisory Committee. He also cited Eileen Gilmartin, Michael Kaufman, Anthony D’Aulerio and team from Stony Brook Medicine’s Information Technology Department for their efforts to transform Stony Brook Medicine into the region’s leader in diabetes care.

Stony Brook’s diabetes team is among the best in the nation,” Dr. Miller said. “As a person living with type 1 diabetes for over 21 years, I have tremendous pride in the care Stony Brook Medicine provides to patients living with the disease and consider myself privileged to work alongside individuals so dedicated to improving the lives of those we serve.”

Since Dr. Miller joined Stony Brook in 2013, the hospital has made a significant commitment to diabetes treatment and education, building the first comprehensive diabetescenter in the region. In 2019, the program received the Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS) 2019 Pinnacle Award for Quality and Patient Safety.

To achieve Joint Commission certification, a team of reviewers evaluated Stony Brook’s compliance with related standards, including program management and delivering and facilitating clinical care. Certification recognizes healthcare organizations that provide clinical programs across the full range of care for patients with diabetes. The review process evaluates how organizations use clinical outcomes and performance measures to identify opportunities to improve care, as well as to educate and prepare patients and their caregivers for discharge.

“Advanced Inpatient Diabetes Certification recognizes healthcare organizations committed to fostering continuous quality improvement in patient safety and quality of care,” says Mark Pelletier, RN, MS, Chief Operating Officer, Accreditation and Certification Operations, and Chief Nursing Executive, The Joint Commission. “We commend StonyBrook for using certification to reduce variation in its clinical processes and to strengthen its program structure and management framework for diabetes patients.”

“Our teamwork has powered a transformational journey for patients with diabetes at Stony Brook,” Gomes said. “By focusing on specific opportunities for improvement, we are enhancing quality of care and clinical outcomes.”

For more information about the Stony Brook Diabetes Center, visit https://www.stonybrookmedicine.edu/patientcare/diabetes.

CVS Pharmacy

People might soon be able to grab their prescriptions, a bag of potato chips and pick up soap as they head into a new therapy service at their local CVS.

The nation’s pharmacy retail giant has started a new service at several of their stores across the U.S. — offering both walk-in and scheduled sessions for mental health treatment. These appointments are available beyond typical daytime hours, including nights and weekends.

According to a spokesperson with CVS Health, the company began adding licensed clinical social workers trained in cognitive behavioral therapy to 13 locations in the Houston, Philadelphia and Tampa metro areas in January of this year.

These providers will offer mental health assessments, referrals and personalized counseling either in person or via telehealth through MinuteClinics inside CVS HealthHUB store locations.

The spokesperson said the company is planning on expanding to 34 locations this spring. 

“We anticipate expanding mental health services into additional markets in the coming months,” the representative said in an email. “We expect to have more detailed information soon.”

Rite Aid and Walmart have started similar programs, too. 

Dr. Adam Gonzalez.
Photo from Stony Brook Medicine

And although MinuteClinics and the like are not available in New York state yet, Dr. Adam Gonzalez, director of behavioral health and founding director of the Mind-Body Clinical Research Center at the Stony Brook Renaissance School of Medicine, said this could potentially be a good day if such facilities were to come close to home. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about many challenges and disruptions to our way of life,” he said. “We have seen an increase in depression, anxiety, increased stress overall and grief responses. Recent mental health data from the CDC also highlights an increase in mental health problems, especially among young adults, and importantly, unmet mental health needs.”

According to Gonzalez, a recent CDC report indicates that during August 2020 through this February “the percentage of adults with recent symptoms of an anxiety or a depressive disorder increased from 36.4% to 41.5%, and the percentage of those reporting an unmet mental health care need increased from 9.2% to 11.7%. Increases were largest among adults aged 18–29 years and those with less than a high school education.” 

“There is a great need for mental health awareness and treatment at this time,” Gonzalez added. “A silver lining of the pandemic has been the expansion and use of telehealth as a platform for treatment, allowing patients to participate in mental health treatment from the comfort of their home. However, a limiting factor for accessing care is the availability of providers.”

He said throughout the pandemic, SBU’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health saw a great increase in the need for mental health care — so large, it developed a call center.

“Throughout the pandemic we have consistently been receiving over 7,000 calls per month,” the director said. “Evaluating our outpatient data for the three months before the pandemic and the current last three months, there has been a 50% increase in number of visits scheduled for outpatient mental health services. Of note, the number of visits scheduled is limited by the number of providers available to provide services.”

With the need for mental health providers continuing to grow, Gonzalez said additional services — like the ones at the CVS pharmacy chain — could be helpful.

“I think having services available at CVS could help with normalizing mental health treatment and increasing access to care,” he said. “The more mental health service options available to the community, the better. One consideration is the type and quality of care to be delivered. Although it is important to increase access, we also want to make sure that the quality of care being delivered is high.”

But if and when the retailers open up shop on Long Island, Stony Brook Medicine is working on finding ways to reduce feelings of hopelessness and distress. 

“We are actively working on investigating various methods of delivering care to help with increasing access to treatment and addressing the mental health needs of the community,” Gonzalez said. 

These methods include expanding group-based services, utilizing a collaborative care model that involves working closely with primary care physicians and behavioral health care managers for medication management, and utilizing skills-based single-session interventions. 

“We have been working with Dr. Jessica Schleider in the Department of Psychology at Stony Brook University to implement and study a problem-solving single-session intervention,” he added. “Initial data indicates that these sessions help with improving agency — motivation for change — and reduce feelings of hopelessness and distress.”

Photo from Stony Brook Medicine

To kick off National Nurses week, Stony Brook University Hospital rolled out the red carpet for its nursing staff, cheering them on as they made their way into work.

On Thursday, May 6, the 6:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. shifts were welcomed into the hospital with a red carpet and balloons to thank them for their efforts — especially throughout the last year. 

Since the early 90s, May 6 through May 12 (ending on Florence Nightingale’s birthday), nurses across the country have been thanked for the work they do.

Photo from Stony Brook Medicine

But 2020 showed a new appreciation for nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic. SBUH decided last summer to put out the red carpet, as nurses ventured into work during the height of the coronavirus crisis. 

And for the second year in a row, more than 3,400 RNs, LPNs, nursing assistants, nursing station clerks and more were thanked as they readied a 12-hour shift like a celebrity.

Carolyn Santora, chief nursing officer & chief of regulatory affairs, said the red carpet was just one way of saying thanks. 

“Our nurses are stars, and they’re wonderful,” she said. “We wanted to show our appreciation.”

Santora said that throughout the whole week, nurses and nursing staff were recognized for their hard work. One day they were delivered ice cream, another they were given awards. 

“The staff, I can’t say they’re not weary and tired — it’s been a long, long year — but they’ve been incredible,” she said. “They come to work dedicated every single day, take care of our community and support each other in the process.”

Santora said the staff were appreciative of the hospital’s efforts. 

“The importance of this is understanding and recognizing them for their skills, for their dedication, for their talents and for their heart,” Santora said. “Taking care of all of these patients every single day, it’s just remarkable what they do.”