Health and Wellness

17 people to watch in health in 2015

By Brooke Perry, (201) Magazine    

(201) Magazine brings attention to 17 individuals who are making a difference in the health and welfare of Bergen County residents. These men and women are dedicated to improving the health and well-being of our communities. Whether they’re raising awareness about the dangers of food allergies, providing substantive relief for men and women who suffer from chronic pain, preventing illness through lifestyle modification, building support networks for cancer patients, developing outreach programs for the Korean-American community, or leading a growing health care system, their passion for teaching and helping others is deserving of both recognition and respect.

Asit K. Shah, MD, PhD, Associate Chief of Orthopedics at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center
It’s not every day that a mechanical engineer decides to go on to earn a Ph.D. in tissue engineering before heading to medical school to specialize in orthopedics, but that was the career path of Dr. Asit K. Shah, the associate chief of orthopedics at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center and a partner at Englewood Orthopedic Associates.
Shah specializes in minimally invasive hip and knee surgery, adult hip and knee reconstruction, and complex revision surgery of the hip and knee. But it’s his groundbreaking total knee implant – Freedom Knee – that is poised to revolutionize how surgeons perform knee replacements around the world.
“It is a 40 percent bone conserving option that was designed in 2005 and, after four years of approvals, went to market in 2009,” he says.
Ever the innovator, he is currently exploring the use of different bio-materials, including light-weight aerospace plastics and wear-resistant plastics with an eye toward making a completely metal-free knee. Keenly interested in bone-metal interaction, he believes, “eventually, we’ll be 3D printing a knee implant while you’re being operated on.”
“One day knee implant will be bio-invisible,” he says. “The body will no longer even know there is even an implant there.”
Shah is also exploring the myriad ways Google Glass will transform the operating room experience. He’s especially excited about a concept he calls the “surgical swing analysis.”
“It’s similar to a golf swing analysis and, as surgeons, we all think we perform like a PGA pro, but this technology has the capacity to break down a surgeon’s technique and highlight areas for improvement,” he says.
courtesy of englewood hospital and medical center
Asit K. Shah, MD, PhD, Associate Chief of Orthopedics at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center
It’s not every day that a mechanical engineer decides to go on to earn a Ph.D. in tissue engineering before heading to medical school to specialize in orthopedics, but that was the career path of Dr. Asit K. Shah, the associate chief of orthopedics at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center and a partner at Englewood Orthopedic Associates.
Shah specializes in minimally invasive hip and knee surgery, adult hip and knee reconstruction, and complex revision surgery of the hip and knee. But it’s his groundbreaking total knee implant – Freedom Knee – that is poised to revolutionize how surgeons perform knee replacements around the world.
“It is a 40 percent bone conserving option that was designed in 2005 and, after four years of approvals, went to market in 2009,” he says.
Ever the innovator, he is currently exploring the use of different bio-materials, including light-weight aerospace plastics and wear-resistant plastics with an eye toward making a completely metal-free knee. Keenly interested in bone-metal interaction, he believes, “eventually, we’ll be 3D printing a knee implant while you’re being operated on.”
“One day knee implant will be bio-invisible,” he says. “The body will no longer even know there is even an implant there.” Shah is also exploring the myriad ways Google Glass will transform the operating room experience. He’s especially excited about a concept he calls the “surgical swing analysis.”
“It’s similar to a golf swing analysis and, as surgeons, we all think we perform like a PGA pro, but this technology has the capacity to break down a surgeon’s technique and highlight areas for improvement,” he says.
Aimee Seungdamrong, MD, Director of Fertility Preservation, University Reproductive Associates
For young women diagnosed with cancer who are preparing for chemotherapy, radiation or “any treatment that may affect their future fertility,” Dr. Aimee Seungdamrong is a lifeline. As director of fertility preservation at University Reproductive Associates in Hasbrouck Heights, the reproductive endocrinologist is both medical professional and trusted advisor.
“It’s an emotionally fraught moment and my job is to explain to my patients exactly what their fertility options are,” she says.
Seungdamrong is encouraged by the increasing number of oncologists who now recommend their cancer patients consider the effects of chemotherapy or radiation therapy on their fertility and the options for fertility preservation before beginning treatment. 
“In the past, in the rush to begin radiation or chemotherapy, patients really weren’t counseled about their options regarding fertility, but with advances in cancer treatment and higher survivorship, the focus has shifted from not only saving the patient’s life but also providing for a full, long and healthy life after cancer, which may include building a family,” she says.
Affiliated with Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, University Reproductive Associates offers patients unique opportunities to participate in clinical procedures and research studies, such as ovarian tissue cryopreservation, an experimental procedure in which eggs and ovarian tissue are removed and frozen for potential use later.
“We are the only area program participating as a site for the Oncofertility Consortium’s National Physicians Cooperative,” says Seungdamrong of the initiative sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.
In addition to her work at University Reproductive Associates, she is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark. Though juggling a very full schedule, at the end of the day, this mother of two is happy to “give this wonderful gift to families,” she says. “Having a child is life altering and I can’t imagine anything better than shepherding my patients through this. I love the process of helping them grow their families.”
Anne-Marie Caruso / (201) Magazine
Aimee Seungdamrong, MD, Director of Fertility Preservation, University Reproductive Associates
For young women diagnosed with cancer who are preparing for chemotherapy, radiation or “any treatment that may affect their future fertility,” Dr. Aimee Seungdamrong is a lifeline. As director of fertility preservation at University Reproductive Associates in Hasbrouck Heights, the reproductive endocrinologist is both medical professional and trusted advisor.
“It’s an emotionally fraught moment and my job is to explain to my patients exactly what their fertility options are,” she says.
Seungdamrong is encouraged by the increasing number of oncologists who now recommend their cancer patients consider the effects of chemotherapy or radiation therapy on their fertility and the options for fertility preservation before beginning treatment. “In the past, in the rush to begin radiation or chemotherapy, patients really weren’t counseled about their options regarding fertility, but with advances in cancer treatment and higher survivorship, the focus has shifted from not only saving the patient’s life but also providing for a full, long and healthy life after cancer, which may include building a family,” she says.
Affiliated with Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, University Reproductive Associates offers patients unique opportunities to participate in clinical procedures and research studies, such as ovarian tissue cryopreservation, an experimental procedure in which eggs and ovarian tissue are removed and frozen for potential use later.
“We are the only area program participating as a site for the Oncofertility Consortium’s National Physicians Cooperative,” says Seungdamrong of the initiative sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.
In addition to her work at University Reproductive Associates, she is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark. Though juggling a very full schedule, at the end of the day, this mother of two is happy to “give this wonderful gift to families,” she says. “Having a child is life altering and I can’t imagine anything better than shepherding my patients through this. I love the process of helping them grow their families.”
Amanda Missey, Executive Director, Bergen Volunteer Medical Initiative
Though she is new to the Bergen Volunteer Medical Initiative, Amanda Missey is no stranger to the workings of Bergen County nonprofits. Missey joined the organization as executive director in May 2014, following 18 years with the Volunteer Center of Bergen County, where she launched signature programs like Bergen LEADS. Her new post seems perfect for the career nonprofit professional.
“We’re filling a void on a few fronts,” she says, explaining the organization’s mission to “serve a whole group who did not have access to healthcare by tapping a whole group of retired physicians who wanted to volunteer but didn’t have a place to do it.”
The Bergen Volunteer Medical Initiative is the only organization in Bergen County providing free primary healthcare to low-income working adults. Currently, its volunteer staff includes 25 doctors, 20 nurses, eight nurse practitioners and an assortment of dieticians, social workers and specialists. “Some are retired, but many are still working and generously donate their time,” she says.
Assisted by a small clinical staff to ensure continuity of care, the all-volunteer team sees approximately 1,000 patients per year. “Our patients must be employed and fall between 100 percent and 300 percent of federal poverty guidelines,” she notes.
An expert in corporate volunteering, leadership and service, Missey delights in putting her fundraising skills to work, especially on those unfamiliar with the work of the Bergen Volunteer Medical Initiative. “I’ve spent my entire career in the nonprofit world,” says Missey, who is currently an ambassador for the Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce and co-chairs its Nonprofit Committee. Past positions include serving as past president of the YMCA of Great Bergen County, as well as the Hackensack Rotary Club. 
When she’s not building awareness for the 5-year-old organization, she’s nurturing relationships with Bergen County hospitals, organizing fundraising events and meeting with potential donors. “We do a lot with a little bit of money,” she says.
Anne-Marie Caruso / (201) Magazine
Amanda Missey, Executive Director, Bergen Volunteer Medical Initiative
Though she is new to the Bergen Volunteer Medical Initiative, Amanda Missey is no stranger to the workings of Bergen County nonprofits. Missey joined the organization as executive director in May 2014, following 18 years with the Volunteer Center of Bergen County, where she launched signature programs like Bergen LEADS. Her new post seems perfect for the career nonprofit professional.
“We’re filling a void on a few fronts,” she says, explaining the organization’s mission to “serve a whole group who did not have access to healthcare by tapping a whole group of retired physicians who wanted to volunteer but didn’t have a place to do it.”
The Bergen Volunteer Medical Initiative is the only organization in Bergen County providing free primary healthcare to low-income working adults. Currently, its volunteer staff includes 25 doctors, 20 nurses, eight nurse practitioners and an assortment of dieticians, social workers and specialists. “Some are retired, but many are still working and generously donate their time,” she says.
Assisted by a small clinical staff to ensure continuity of care, the all-volunteer team sees approximately 1,000 patients per year. “Our patients must be employed and fall between 100 percent and 300 percent of federal poverty guidelines,” she notes.
An expert in corporate volunteering, leadership and service, Missey delights in putting her fundraising skills to work, especially on those unfamiliar with the work of the Bergen Volunteer Medical Initiative. “I’ve spent my entire career in the nonprofit world,” says Missey, who is currently an ambassador for the Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce and co-chairs its Nonprofit Committee. Past positions include serving as past president of the YMCA of Great Bergen County, as well as the Hackensack Rotary Club.
When she’s not building awareness for the 5-year-old organization, she’s nurturing relationships with Bergen County hospitals, organizing fundraising events and meeting with potential donors. “We do a lot with a little bit of money,” she says.
Saray Stancic, MD, Stancic Health and Wellness, LLC
Nearly 20 years ago, Dr. Saray Stancic, was a third-year medical resident working long hours in a Newark hospital. Unexpectedly diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at the age of 28, her focus abruptly shifted from healing others to healing herself.
After nearly a decade of chronic illness, taking several drugs with numerous side effects, Stancic – by then an infectious disease specialist – happened upon a medical journal article that touted the benefits of blueberries in MS patients. Through far from proven a cure-all, the blueberry study sparked Stancic’s curiosity and laid the foundation for a personal crusade to prevent chronic illness by helping patients modify their lifestyles.
“The majority of chronic illnesses are truly preventable,” she says. “Over several years, I witnessed the consequences of chronic disease and my current approach seeks to prevent these deleterious outcomes and offer patients improved quality of life.”
In January 2014, Stancic opened Stancic Health and Wellness in Ridgewood, a practice devoted to educating and empowering her patients to achieve optimal health through lifestyle modification. “I’m not saying there is a quick fix, but I believe that every patient can achieve wellness,” she says. “When I see one of my patients coming off of a diabetes drug – well, there is nothing more satisfying.”
Stancic’s field is called “lifestyle medicine,” an emerging area that’s just beginning to gain traction in the established medical community. Her highly personalized approach favors intervention over medication and invasive procedures. “Today’s physicians are often relegated to symptom management,” she says, “with little time devoted to uncovering the underlying cause of a chronic condition.
“There is growing body of scientific data supporting the importance of optimal nutrition in disease prevention. I focus on diet and exercise, on which foods have medicinal properties. This is not about calorie restriction or deprivation. I’m teaching them how to choose fresh nutrient-dense foods that taste good. Twenty years from now, I hope there is a physician like me on every street corner.”
Anne-Marie Caruso / (201) Magazine
Saray Stancic, MD, Stancic Health and Wellness, LLC
Nearly 20 years ago, Dr. Saray Stancic, was a third-year medical resident working long hours in a Newark hospital. Unexpectedly diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at the age of 28, her focus abruptly shifted from healing others to healing herself.
After nearly a decade of chronic illness, taking several drugs with numerous side effects, Stancic – by then an infectious disease specialist – happened upon a medical journal article that touted the benefits of blueberries in MS patients. Through far from proven a cure-all, the blueberry study sparked Stancic’s curiosity and laid the foundation for a personal crusade to prevent chronic illness by helping patients modify their lifestyles.
“The majority of chronic illnesses are truly preventable,” she says. “Over several years, I witnessed the consequences of chronic disease and my current approach seeks to prevent these deleterious outcomes and offer patients improved quality of life.” In January 2014, Stancic opened Stancic Health and Wellness in Ridgewood, a practice devoted to educating and empowering her patients to achieve optimal health through lifestyle modification. “I’m not saying there is a quick fix, but I believe that every patient can achieve wellness,” she says. “When I see one of my patients coming off of a diabetes drug – well, there is nothing more satisfying.”
Stancic’s field is called “lifestyle medicine,” an emerging area that’s just beginning to gain traction in the established medical community. Her highly personalized approach favors intervention over medication and invasive procedures. “Today’s physicians are often relegated to symptom management,” she says, “with little time devoted to uncovering the underlying cause of a chronic condition.
“There is growing body of scientific data supporting the importance of optimal nutrition in disease prevention. I focus on diet and exercise, on which foods have medicinal properties. This is not about calorie restriction or deprivation. I’m teaching them how to choose fresh nutrient-dense foods that taste good. Twenty years from now, I hope there is a physician like me on every street corner.”
Robert A. Kayal, MD, FAAOS, Kayal Orthopaedic Center, PC
“It’s like a tailor-made suit,” says Dr. Robert A. Kayal, explaining his pioneering work in customized patient-specific total knee replacement. “Using MRI imaging and custom 3D models of a patient’s knee joint, we are able to create a new knee designed specifically for his or her body and lifestyle.”
An orthopaedic surgeon and specialist in outpatient joint replacement procedures, Kayal is one of only a handful of surgeons in the tri-state area performing computer-assisted high-fidelity knee replacements. The technique is truly revolutionary, he explains. “Some surgeons continue to do knee replacements using antiquated techniques I learned 20 years ago when I was a resident, but this is a cutting edge advancement with tremendous patient benefits over traditional knee replacement surgery.”
Essentially, Kayal, founder of Kayal Orthopaedic Center in Ridgewood and Franklin Lakes, performs a virtual surgery on a computer one month before a patient’s actual knee replacement. Using MRI imaging, Kayal is able to study and correct the knee deformity and create a perfectly sized and aligned knee replacement.
“The technology allows the joint to be custom-fitted to the patient’s unique bony anatomy, speeding rehabilitation and optimizing surgical outcomes,” he says. “The model becomes a precise surgical tool that guides bone cutting, joint alignment and implant insertion.”
This minimally invasive procedure eliminates the need for intramedullary rod insertion and significantly minimizes the bleeding, swelling, stiffness and pain associated with conventional knee replacement surgery.
“It’s incredible because a traditional procedure could take up to two hours and this technique can be done in less than a half-hour, meaning the patient has less time under anesthesia and a much lower risk of infection,” he says.
For patients, the most incredible thing may be the recovery time. “Many of my patients need a bilateral knee replacement and, not too long ago, we’d space these procedures three to six months apart,” Kayal says. “Now, patients can do their second knee just two weeks after the first.”
Chris Marksbury / (201) Magazine
Robert A. Kayal, MD, FAAOS, Kayal Orthopaedic Center, PC
“It’s like a tailor-made suit,” says Dr. Robert A. Kayal, explaining his pioneering work in customized patient-specific total knee replacement. “Using MRI imaging and custom 3D models of a patient’s knee joint, we are able to create a new knee designed specifically for his or her body and lifestyle.”
An orthopaedic surgeon and specialist in outpatient joint replacement procedures, Kayal is one of only a handful of surgeons in the tri-state area performing computer-assisted high-fidelity knee replacements. The technique is truly revolutionary, he explains. “Some surgeons continue to do knee replacements using antiquated techniques I learned 20 years ago when I was a resident, but this is a cutting edge advancement with tremendous patient benefits over traditional knee replacement surgery.”
Essentially, Kayal, founder of Kayal Orthopaedic Center in Ridgewood and Franklin Lakes, performs a virtual surgery on a computer one month before a patient’s actual knee replacement. Using MRI imaging, Kayal is able to study and correct the knee deformity and create a perfectly sized and aligned knee replacement.
“The technology allows the joint to be custom-fitted to the patient’s unique bony anatomy, speeding rehabilitation and optimizing surgical outcomes,” he says. “The model becomes a precise surgical tool that guides bone cutting, joint alignment and implant insertion.” This minimally invasive procedure eliminates the need for intramedullary rod insertion and significantly minimizes the bleeding, swelling, stiffness and pain associated with conventional knee replacement surgery.
“It’s incredible because a traditional procedure could take up to two hours and this technique can be done in less than a half-hour, meaning the patient has less time under anesthesia and a much lower risk of infection,” he says.
For patients, the most incredible thing may be the recovery time. “Many of my patients need a bilateral knee replacement and, not too long ago, we’d space these procedures three to six months apart,” Kayal says. “Now, patients can do their second knee just two weeks after the first.”
Christina De Marco, RN, MSN, APN-C, AOCNP, Clinical and Administrative Director, Infusion Center, Englewood Hospital and Medical Center
In a setting that might tax the average person’s ability to stay positive, Christina De Marco remains upbeat. “We’re all cancer survivors, whether we’re the patient, the family member or the care giver. Cancer affects everyone,” she says. 
De Marco serves as the clinical and administrative director of Englewood Hospital and Medical Center’s Infusion Center, where she implements treatment plans of hundreds of cancer patients and is widely credited with building a network of hope and support for those living with cancer.
Her nursing career spans more than 35 years, serving first as a certified critical care nurse and later transitioning to a rehabilitation nurse. After losing a family member to cancer, she decided to shift her focus to oncology nursing. “The most gratifying part of my job is that I can make a difference in someone’s life, even if it’s just offering a hand-holding session,” she says. “I’m happy that we can provide all the latest technology that a big medical center can provide, yet do it in such a nurturing environment. Patients don’t feel like they have to go far to get the care they need.”
In an average day, DeMarco will see 65-70 patients in the hospital’s Infusion Center. “Some are here for a quick injection and others are here all day,” she says, “but every patient offers a very new experience that affects our life in a very special way.”
When she needs to unwind, she runs. She’s completed six half-marathons and dozens of 5K and 10K runs, often to benefit organizations like the Leukemia Lymphoma Society, for which she’s raised more than $15,000. In that same spirit of awareness and education, she also sponsors an event at the hospital each month that spotlights a type of cancer.
“Just little events to help build awareness,” she says.
courtesy of Englewood Hospital and Medical Center
Christina De Marco, RN, MSN, APN-C, AOCNP, Clinical and Administrative Director, Infusion Center, Englewood Hospital and Medical Center
In a setting that might tax the average person’s ability to stay positive, Christina De Marco remains upbeat. “We’re all cancer survivors, whether we’re the patient, the family member or the care giver. Cancer affects everyone,” she says. De Marco serves as the clinical and administrative director of Englewood Hospital and Medical Center’s Infusion Center, where she implements treatment plans of hundreds of cancer patients and is widely credited with building a network of hope and support for those living with cancer.
Her nursing career spans more than 35 years, serving first as a certified critical care nurse and later transitioning to a rehabilitation nurse. After losing a family member to cancer, she decided to shift her focus to oncology nursing. “The most gratifying part of my job is that I can make a difference in someone’s life, even if it’s just offering a hand-holding session,” she says. “I’m happy that we can provide all the latest technology that a big medical center can provide, yet do it in such a nurturing environment. Patients don’t feel like they have to go far to get the care they need.”
In an average day, DeMarco will see 65-70 patients in the hospital’s Infusion Center. “Some are here for a quick injection and others are here all day,” she says, “but every patient offers a very new experience that affects our life in a very special way.”
When she needs to unwind, she runs. She’s completed six half-marathons and dozens of 5K and 10K runs, often to benefit organizations like the Leukemia Lymphoma Society, for which she’s raised more than $15,000. In that same spirit of awareness and education, she also sponsors an event at the hospital each month that spotlights a type of cancer.
“Just little events to help build awareness,” she says.
Kyung-Hee Choi, Founder and Vice President, Korean Medical Program at Holy Name Medical Center
A former J.P. Morgan managing director who was rocked by the events of 9/11, Kyung-Hee Choi left Wall Street to parlay her top-tier finance and management skills into volunteerism. Soon, she found her niche, helping fellow first-generation Korean-Americans access culturally sensitive medical services.
“Did you know that, for the Korean population, warm water is more comforting than ice-cold water? And writing a Korean patient’s name in red ink is considered bad luck?” she asks, expressing the cultural considerations of concern to Bergen County’s fastest growing ethnic group.
Based at Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, the Korean Medical Program was founded by Choi, who continues to serve as its vice president. The program is a natural fit for Bergen County, where Korean-Americans account for nearly 7 percent of the population.
Choi has recruited more than 85 Korean-American physicians and 30 registered nurses to the program, which has two objectives: provide culturally sensitive medical services to Korean-American people in the greater New York and New Jersey area, while also offering essential community outreach programs that provide screenings to uninsured and under-insured people who would otherwise not have access to care. The program serves more than 45,000 Korean-Americans annually including 10,000-plus who receive free screening services.
“We do this because we know that Koreans have a higher-than-normal risk of developing certain illnesses, like hepatitis B, and are also susceptible to diabetes and mental health issues,” she says.
Although she never dreamed the Korean Medical Program would touch so many lives, this was exactly what she had in mind when she took early retirement in 2002.
“I wanted to give back,” she says. “So many people had helped me along the way to achieve my American dream and many of my colleagues were involved in volunteer work. I wanted to contribute my fair share.”
After serving on the Northern Valley Regional High School Board and the board of Pascack Valley Hospital, she founded the Korean Medical Program to “help eliminate the problems caused by cultural and language barriers.”
From stocking waiting areas with Korean media and providing a Korean-speaking navigator to every patient, to arranging a free shuttle service for elderly patients (complete with a Korean-language driver), Choi is committed to even the smallest cultural niceties. Her hard work has served to improve the quality of life for Korean-Americans in Bergen County while making Holy Name Medical Center the hospital of choice of the area’s Korean-American population. She even makes sure that MeeYeok-Gook, a nutrient-rich seaweed soup, is served to postpartum mothers.
“It’s a 600-year-old Korean tradition and my mother served it to me every day after my girls were born,” Choi says.
courtesy of Holy Name Medical Center
Kyung-Hee Choi, Founder and Vice President, Korean Medical Program at Holy Name Medical Center
A former J.P. Morgan managing director who was rocked by the events of 9/11, Kyung-Hee Choi left Wall Street to parlay her top-tier finance and management skills into volunteerism. Soon, she found her niche, helping fellow first-generation Korean-Americans access culturally sensitive medical services.
“Did you know that, for the Korean population, warm water is more comforting than ice-cold water? And writing a Korean patient’s name in red ink is considered bad luck?” she asks, expressing the cultural considerations of concern to Bergen County’s fastest growing ethnic group.
Based at Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, the Korean Medical Program was founded by Choi, who continues to serve as its vice president. The program is a natural fit for Bergen County, where Korean-Americans account for nearly 7 percent of the population.
Choi has recruited more than 85 Korean-American physicians and 30 registered nurses to the program, which has two objectives: provide culturally sensitive medical services to Korean-American people in the greater New York and New Jersey area, while also offering essential community outreach programs that provide screenings to uninsured and under-insured people who would otherwise not have access to care. The program serves more than 45,000 Korean-Americans annually including 10,000-plus who receive free screening services.
“We do this because we know that Koreans have a higher-than-normal risk of developing certain illnesses, like hepatitis B, and are also susceptible to diabetes and mental health issues,” she says.
Although she never dreamed the Korean Medical Program would touch so many lives, this was exactly what she had in mind when she took early retirement in 2002.
“I wanted to give back,” she says. “So many people had helped me along the way to achieve my American dream and many of my colleagues were involved in volunteer work. I wanted to contribute my fair share.”
After serving on the Northern Valley Regional High School Board and the board of Pascack Valley Hospital, she founded the Korean Medical Program to “help eliminate the problems caused by cultural and language barriers.”
From stocking waiting areas with Korean media and providing a Korean-speaking navigator to every patient, to arranging a free shuttle service for elderly patients (complete with a Korean-language driver), Choi is committed to even the smallest cultural niceties. Her hard work has served to improve the quality of life for Korean-Americans in Bergen County while making Holy Name Medical Center the hospital of choice of the area’s Korean-American population. She even makes sure that MeeYeok-Gook, a nutrient-rich seaweed soup, is served to postpartum mothers.
“It’s a 600-year-old Korean tradition and my mother served it to me every day after my girls were born,” Choi says.
Ali Mazandarani, DC, CCRD, CCPCP, MedWell Spine, OsteoArthritis & Neuropathy Center
Known as Dr. Maz by his appreciative chiropractic patients, Dr. Ali Mazandarani is a specialist in non-surgical orthopedic treatment of spine and joint pain. The author of How to Live Pain Free & Happy, Mazandarani is creator of The Maz Method, a drug-free approach to addressing chronic conditions such as sleep difficulty, fatigue, fibromyalgia, memory loss, anxiety and depression. 
“We can eliminate symptoms once and for all, once we have addressed their true cause,” he says. “Many of my patients have been from doctor to doctor and are prescribed medications they will be on for life that only address their symptoms, not the true cause [of their condition]. Our job is to find the headline, the true cause.”
In most cases, Mazandarani notes, it is an autoimmune condition. “Autoimmune conditions attack the entire body, causing organs to falter,” he says, pinpointing the thyroid gland, pancreas, liver, gut function and joints. “As a result, patients experience chronic sleep deprivation, cloudy thinking, low sex drive, low energy, mood swings and other symptoms.”
Mazandarani’s “Maz Method” addresses all of the body’s organs at the same time, essentially diagnosing from the inside out. “It’s a comprehensive and unique method for addressing chronic symptoms, including chronic pain,” he says.
His toolkit includes oxygen therapy; organic drug-free pharmaceutical grade supplements; and non-invasive smart brain therapy. Mazandarani and his physician partners at MedWell Spine, OsteoArthritis & Neuropathy Center in Midland Park aim to offer quick relief. Same-day consultations in their Midland Park office focus on “helping patients uncover the causes concealed within their symptoms.”
“I have patients who tell me that, for the first time in seven years, they slept through the night, or, for the first time ever, they can pick up their grandchildren,” says Mazandarani, whose accolades include recognition by the Honor Legion of the Police Departments of the State of New Jersey for his work with police officers and their families. In addition to helping thousands of patients get to the root of their condition, he has pledged to offer free healthcare to police families that have no health insurance.
“I am passionate about adding value to people’s lives so they can be active and enjoy a pain-free lifestyle with their family and children,” he says.
Anne-Marie Caruso / (201) Magazine
Ali Mazandarani, DC, CCRD, CCPCP, MedWell Spine, OsteoArthritis & Neuropathy Center
Known as Dr. Maz by his appreciative chiropractic patients, Dr. Ali Mazandarani is a specialist in non-surgical orthopedic treatment of spine and joint pain. The author of How to Live Pain Free & Happy, Mazandarani is creator of The Maz Method, a drug-free approach to addressing chronic conditions such as sleep difficulty, fatigue, fibromyalgia, memory loss, anxiety and depression.
“We can eliminate symptoms once and for all, once we have addressed their true cause,” he says. “Many of my patients have been from doctor to doctor and are prescribed medications they will be on for life that only address their symptoms, not the true cause [of their condition]. Our job is to find the headline, the true cause.”
In most cases, Mazandarani notes, it is an autoimmune condition. “Autoimmune conditions attack the entire body, causing organs to falter,” he says, pinpointing the thyroid gland, pancreas, liver, gut function and joints. “As a result, patients experience chronic sleep deprivation, cloudy thinking, low sex drive, low energy, mood swings and other symptoms.”
Mazandarani’s “Maz Method” addresses all of the body’s organs at the same time, essentially diagnosing from the inside out. “It’s a comprehensive and unique method for addressing chronic symptoms, including chronic pain,” he says.
His toolkit includes oxygen therapy; organic drug-free pharmaceutical grade supplements; and non-invasive smart brain therapy. Mazandarani and his physician partners at MedWell Spine, OsteoArthritis & Neuropathy Center in Midland Park aim to offer quick relief. Same-day consultations in their Midland Park office focus on “helping patients uncover the causes concealed within their symptoms.”
“I have patients who tell me that, for the first time in seven years, they slept through the night, or, for the first time ever, they can pick up their grandchildren,” says Mazandarani, whose accolades include recognition by the Honor Legion of the Police Departments of the State of New Jersey for his work with police officers and their families. In addition to helping thousands of patients get to the root of their condition, he has pledged to offer free healthcare to police families that have no health insurance.
“I am passionate about adding value to people’s lives so they can be active and enjoy a pain-free lifestyle with their family and children,” he says.
Jodie Katz, MD, Family Physician and Instructor, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction at Valley Health System
Whether she’s seeing patients in Valley Medical Group’s Waldwick clinic, teaching a structural yoga class or leading a group of overstressed Bergen residents through Valley’s Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, Dr. Jodie Katz is anchored in the present moment.
“Believe it or not, even when people think they are paying attention, they’re not,” she says. “Studies show that we are paying attention to what we’re doing about half the time.”
Katz became a proponent of the MBSR program 10 years ago when, while working as a conventional family physician, she realized something was missing.
“I was treating patients who were living with chronic illness and it was restricting their lives,” she says. “I felt there was a way they could live with what was going on in their lives without feeling trapped.
“Mindfulness has existed conceptually and as a practice in Eastern meditative traditions for more than 2,000 years,” she says, “but Jon Kabat-Zinn [who founded the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School] took it out of that context and placed it in a completely secular format, making it available to a broader audience.”
Initially Kabat-Zinn developed the MBSR program to treat chronic pain, however it quickly expanded to people with a variety of medical issues and those with everyday stress. “It is one of the most well researched of all the integrative practices, with more than 1,000 articles in peer-reviewed literature,” she says.
Through Valley’s Integrative Healing Services, Katz has taught mindfulness skills to more than 200 people. “Essentially, when I teach mindfulness, I show people how they can cultivate their capacity for presence, how to be fully awake in their own lives with openness, kindness and curiosity,” she says. “When they begin looking at their lives in this way, they begin to foster their own reserves for resilience and for meeting life just as it is.”
According to Katz, an estimated 70 percent of visits to primary care physicians are for stress-related illnesses. “We must take seriously what stress does to people,” she says, “and start offering them tools to work differently with events in their lives.”
courtesy of Valley Health System
Jodie Katz, MD, Family Physician and Instructor, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction at Valley Health System
Whether she’s seeing patients in Valley Medical Group’s Waldwick clinic, teaching a structural yoga class or leading a group of overstressed Bergen residents through Valley’s Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, Dr. Jodie Katz is anchored in the present moment.
“Believe it or not, even when people think they are paying attention, they’re not,” she says. “Studies show that we are paying attention to what we’re doing about half the time.”
Katz became a proponent of the MBSR program 10 years ago when, while working as a conventional family physician, she realized something was missing.
“I was treating patients who were living with chronic illness and it was restricting their lives,” she says. “I felt there was a way they could live with what was going on in their lives without feeling trapped.
“Mindfulness has existed conceptually and as a practice in Eastern meditative traditions for more than 2,000 years,” she says, “but Jon Kabat-Zinn [who founded the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School] took it out of that context and placed it in a completely secular format, making it available to a broader audience.”
Initially Kabat-Zinn developed the MBSR program to treat chronic pain, however it quickly expanded to people with a variety of medical issues and those with everyday stress. “It is one of the most well researched of all the integrative practices, with more than 1,000 articles in peer-reviewed literature,” she says.
Through Valley’s Integrative Healing Services, Katz has taught mindfulness skills to more than 200 people. “Essentially, when I teach mindfulness, I show people how they can cultivate their capacity for presence, how to be fully awake in their own lives with openness, kindness and curiosity,” she says. “When they begin looking at their lives in this way, they begin to foster their own reserves for resilience and for meeting life just as it is.”
According to Katz, an estimated 70 percent of visits to primary care physicians are for stress-related illnesses. “We must take seriously what stress does to people,” she says, “and start offering them tools to work differently with events in their lives.”
Rochelle Shoretz, Founder and Executive Director, Sharsheret
When she was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 28, Rochelle Shoretz recognized the need for a breast cancer organization sensitive to the cultural needs of young Jewish women and their families.
“I had never heard of anyone in her 20s with breast cancer and I felt compelled to connect with women my age who were facing the same situation,” recalls the mother of two.
What began as an informal support group formed around her dining room table has grown into a national nonprofit offering support to women of all Jewish backgrounds – and, in fact, all women and men who are diagnosed with breast cancer or are at increased genetic risk.
“Sharsheret is the Jewish community’s response to breast cancer and the only organization addressing the unique concerns of Jewish women and their families,” she says. “One in 40 Jewish men and women of Ashkenazi descent carries a mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene, so while we provide support to all, part of our mission is to educate the Jewish community about that risk and to provide support that is culturally appropriate.”
The organization’s founder and executive director, Shoretz is well-qualified – both professionally and personally – to spearhead its myriad programs. A two-time cancer survivor who continues to have chemotherapy treatments every week, she’s a role model for anyone diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer. A former law clerk to United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Shoretz serves on the Federal Advisory Committee on Breast Cancer in Young Women.
Sharsheret was recently awarded a five-year grant by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study its core programs to help create an organizational model for other high-risk populations. From its grass-roots beginnings, Sharsheret was named a recipient of the New York Sate Innovation in Breast Cancer Early Detection and Research Award and chosen as a member of the LIVESTRONG Young Adult Alliance (now known as Critical Mass). Shoretz is particularly grateful to the hundreds of local volunteers who assist in the office, spearhead events and help raise awareness.
“What we started here in Bergen County is having a national impact,” she says.
courtesy of Sharsheret
Rochelle Shoretz, Founder and Executive Director, Sharsheret
When she was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 28, Rochelle Shoretz recognized the need for a breast cancer organization sensitive to the cultural needs of young Jewish women and their families.
“I had never heard of anyone in her 20s with breast cancer and I felt compelled to connect with women my age who were facing the same situation,” recalls the mother of two.
What began as an informal support group formed around her dining room table has grown into a national nonprofit offering support to women of all Jewish backgrounds – and, in fact, all women and men who are diagnosed with breast cancer or are at increased genetic risk.
“Sharsheret is the Jewish community’s response to breast cancer and the only organization addressing the unique concerns of Jewish women and their families,” she says. “One in 40 Jewish men and women of Ashkenazi descent carries a mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene, so while we provide support to all, part of our mission is to educate the Jewish community about that risk and to provide support that is culturally appropriate.”
The organization’s founder and executive director, Shoretz is well-qualified – both professionally and personally – to spearhead its myriad programs. A two-time cancer survivor who continues to have chemotherapy treatments every week, she’s a role model for anyone diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer. A former law clerk to United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Shoretz serves on the Federal Advisory Committee on Breast Cancer in Young Women.
Sharsheret was recently awarded a five-year grant by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study its core programs to help create an organizational model for other high-risk populations. From its grass-roots beginnings, Sharsheret was named a recipient of the New York Sate Innovation in Breast Cancer Early Detection and Research Award and chosen as a member of the LIVESTRONG Young Adult Alliance (now known as Critical Mass). Shoretz is particularly grateful to the hundreds of local volunteers who assist in the office, spearhead events and help raise awareness.
“What we started here in Bergen County is having a national impact,” she says.
Abbey Braverman, Volunteer, Food Allergy Research & Education, Inc.
When her 2-year-old daughter suffered a life-threatening reaction to peanuts, Abbey Braverman did more than get educated about food allergies. She joined forces with an organization now known as FARE (short for Food Allergy Research & Education, Inc.), a McLean, Va.-based nonprofit that is the world’s largest private source of funding for food allergy research. The organization advocates for the more than 15 million Americans with food allergies, including Braverman’s daughters, Heather, 17, and Julia, 15, who are severely allergic to peanuts and shellfish.
To help raise money for a cure and to provide parents, schools, healthcare providers, employers and others with the vital information they need, Braverman signed on more than 12 years ago to co-chair the organization’s annual spring luncheon in New York City. The event draws more than 700 guests – including many players in the food allergy community – and raises more than $1 million each year. She’s also involved in FARE’s Bergen-based events, including a recent Runway Trends for Fall 2014 fashion show at Neiman Marcus in Paramus that “educates guests on food allergies while raising much-needed funds for research and awareness.” Her husband and daughters also do their part. Heather, now a college student and aspiring actress, has spoken at conferences in Washington D.C. on food allergies while Julia sings at FARE’s annual Walk for Food Allergy events in Ridgewood.
“We’re getting closer to finding a cure but you can never rest easy when your child has a food allergy,” says the Cresskill mom, who once worried about more manageable things like peanut butter in lunch boxes and always having an EpiPen within arm’s reach. “As they get older, some things become easier to navigate and some things become harder,” referencing unknowns like boyfriends and “a subtle form of bullying that comes from not understanding how serious food allergies can be.”
Chris Marksbury / (201) Magazine
Abbey Braverman, Volunteer, Food Allergy Research & Education, Inc.
When her 2-year-old daughter suffered a life-threatening reaction to peanuts, Abbey Braverman did more than get educated about food allergies. She joined forces with an organization now known as FARE (short for Food Allergy Research & Education, Inc.), a McLean, Va.-based nonprofit that is the world’s largest private source of funding for food allergy research. The organization advocates for the more than 15 million Americans with food allergies, including Braverman’s daughters, Heather, 17, and Julia, 15, who are severely allergic to peanuts and shellfish.
To help raise money for a cure and to provide parents, schools, healthcare providers, employers and others with the vital information they need, Braverman signed on more than 12 years ago to co-chair the organization’s annual spring luncheon in New York City. The event draws more than 700 guests – including many players in the food allergy community – and raises more than $1 million each year. She’s also involved in FARE’s Bergen-based events, including a recent Runway Trends for Fall 2014 fashion show at Neiman Marcus in Paramus that “educates guests on food allergies while raising much-needed funds for research and awareness.” Her husband and daughters also do their part. Heather, now a college student and aspiring actress, has spoken at conferences in Washington D.C. on food allergies while Julia sings at FARE’s annual Walk for Food Allergy events in Ridgewood.
“We’re getting closer to finding a cure but you can never rest easy when your child has a food allergy,” says the Cresskill mom, who once worried about more manageable things like peanut butter in lunch boxes and always having an EpiPen within arm’s reach. “As they get older, some things become easier to navigate and some things become harder,” referencing unknowns like boyfriends and “a subtle form of bullying that comes from not understanding how serious food allergies can be.”
Minaxi Jhawer, MD, Director of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center
On Mondays mornings in a conference room at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, many of Dr. Minaxi Jhawer’s gastrointestinal patients are learning new ways to cope with their cancers, thanks to a free therapeutic yoga program for triple negative breast cancer patients she established last year.
“We are thrilled to extend this program to all cancer patients,” says Jhawer, director of the hospital’s Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology. “Treating cancer needs to be more complete and holistic. We hope patients will enjoy the benefits of yoga – breathing and meditation – as a way to relieve stress and achieve a better sense of well-being.”
The classes align with the center’s mission to provide individualized, humanistic care, says Jhawer, who secured funding to launch the program last year and expand it to include all cancer patients this year. The highly respected hematologist-oncologist came to Englewood Hospital and Medical Center five years ago from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where she specialized in gastroenterology-related cancers.
Deeply passionate about improving care for people with stomach, pancreatic, colon and small bowel cancers, Jhawer is encouraged by exciting advances in the field.
“We have new drugs that target specific parts of the cancer and have fewer side effects,” she says. “Overall, we’re seeing better results in a group that has a very high mortality rate. These are some of the most aggressive cancers.”
A clinical associate professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Jhawer continues to be actively involved with colleagues and clinical trails at Memorial Sloan Kettering and Weill Cornell Medical Center, relationships she feels enable her to provide collaborative care for GI patients while remaining in close proximity of their Bergen County homes.
“I am thrilled to be delivering this same high level of care on this side of the bridge,” says Jhawer, who regularly presents her research and clinical work at national conferences, including the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and in national and international medical journals.
courtesy of Englewood Hospital and Medical Center
Minaxi Jhawer, MD, Director of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center
On Mondays mornings in a conference room at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, many of Dr. Minaxi Jhawer’s gastrointestinal patients are learning new ways to cope with their cancers, thanks to a free therapeutic yoga program for triple negative breast cancer patients she established last year.
“We are thrilled to extend this program to all cancer patients,” says Jhawer, director of the hospital’s Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology. “Treating cancer needs to be more complete and holistic. We hope patients will enjoy the benefits of yoga – breathing and meditation – as a way to relieve stress and achieve a better sense of well-being.”
The classes align with the center’s mission to provide individualized, humanistic care, says Jhawer, who secured funding to launch the program last year and expand it to include all cancer patients this year. The highly respected hematologist-oncologist came to Englewood Hospital and Medical Center five years ago from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where she specialized in gastroenterology-related cancers.
Deeply passionate about improving care for people with stomach, pancreatic, colon and small bowel cancers, Jhawer is encouraged by exciting advances in the field.
“We have new drugs that target specific parts of the cancer and have fewer side effects,” she says. “Overall, we’re seeing better results in a group that has a very high mortality rate. These are some of the most aggressive cancers.”
A clinical associate professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Jhawer continues to be actively involved with colleagues and clinical trails at Memorial Sloan Kettering and Weill Cornell Medical Center, relationships she feels enable her to provide collaborative care for GI patients while remaining in close proximity of their Bergen County homes.
“I am thrilled to be delivering this same high level of care on this side of the bridge,” says Jhawer, who regularly presents her research and clinical work at national conferences, including the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and in national and international medical journals.
Jennifer McCarthy, MAS, NRP, MICP, Paramedic Science Director/Professor at Bergen Community College
A licensed paramedic for 22 years, Jennifer McCarthy heads Bergen Community College’s recently launched Paramedic Science program, one of only five in the state and the only degree-mandatory program.
Her assistant? SimMan, a high-fidelity simulation manikin with “a pretty cushy life,” she says. He’s one of eight life-like manikins who populate a simulated residential apartment, an ER receiving area and an ambulance, allowing McCarthy to “mimic the real EMS treatment environment and teach scene awareness.” The manikins can be on the bed, the couch or the floor surrounded by scene clues that are essential for effective paramedic care. They show students the variety of emergency situations they can find themselves in and allow them to hone their critical thinking skills.
“This full progression from the home to the ambulance to the ER doesn’t exist anywhere else in the Northeast,” McCarthy says. “We are giving students the skill set to be effective in every situation and to be confident in their inter-professional interactions with colleagues.”
The Bergen Community College Paramedic Science program is the only program that has a waiver from the New Jersey Department of Health that allows students to go through clinical rotations at multiple locations.
“Our students will get hands-on experience at seven clinical affiliates, enabling them to see each facility’s best practices, which educate them for immediate entry into the workforce,” she says.
“What many people don’t realize is that paramedics have far more education than emergency medical technicians. Paramedics have completed 1,500 hours of coursework (versus 250 hours) and, essentially, are trained to deliver the same level of care that a patient would receive in his or her first 20 minutes in the ER,” she adds, noting that paramedics are employed by and dispatched from a hospital in New Jersey.
For McCarthy, teaching a new generation of paramedics is profoundly satisfying.
“Seeing the light-bulb moment when a student learns to read an EKG or masters another skill in this very intense, science-based curriculum is incredible,” she says. “I love helping students learn the skills I hold so dear.”
courtesy of Bergen Community College
Jennifer McCarthy, MAS, NRP, MICP, Paramedic Science Director/Professor at Bergen Community College
A licensed paramedic for 22 years, Jennifer McCarthy heads Bergen Community College’s recently launched Paramedic Science program, one of only five in the state and the only degree-mandatory program.
Her assistant? SimMan, a high-fidelity simulation manikin with “a pretty cushy life,” she says. He’s one of eight life-like manikins who populate a simulated residential apartment, an ER receiving area and an ambulance, allowing McCarthy to “mimic the real EMS treatment environment and teach scene awareness.” The manikins can be on the bed, the couch or the floor surrounded by scene clues that are essential for effective paramedic care. They show students the variety of emergency situations they can find themselves in and allow them to hone their critical thinking skills.
“This full progression from the home to the ambulance to the ER doesn’t exist anywhere else in the Northeast,” McCarthy says. “We are giving students the skill set to be effective in every situation and to be confident in their inter-professional interactions with colleagues.”
The Bergen Community College Paramedic Science program is the only program that has a waiver from the New Jersey Department of Health that allows students to go through clinical rotations at multiple locations.
“Our students will get hands-on experience at seven clinical affiliates, enabling them to see each facility’s best practices, which educate them for immediate entry into the workforce,” she says.
“What many people don’t realize is that paramedics have far more education than emergency medical technicians. Paramedics have completed 1,500 hours of coursework (versus 250 hours) and, essentially, are trained to deliver the same level of care that a patient would receive in his or her first 20 minutes in the ER,” she adds, noting that paramedics are employed by and dispatched from a hospital in New Jersey.
For McCarthy, teaching a new generation of paramedics is profoundly satisfying.
“Seeing the light-bulb moment when a student learns to read an EKG or masters another skill in this very intense, science-based curriculum is incredible,” she says. “I love helping students learn the skills I hold so dear.”
James M. Record, MD, JD, FACP, Vice President, Academic Affairs at St. Joseph’s Healthcare System, and Associate Dean, New York Medical College
“I wear a lot of hats,” Dr. James Record says modestly of his daily schedule – a masterful juggling act that encompasses the myriad academic initiatives of St. Joseph’s Healthcare System, as well as seeing patients and serving as Associate Dean of New York Medical College’s Regional Branch Campus at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson. As vice president of Academic Affairs, he’s involved in all manner of education programs (including medical, dental, nursing, pharmacy and health professions) while managing research, community outreach, the simulation training laboratory, library – “essentially anything that comes under Academics,” he says.
In addition, he leads a team of residents who see uninsured patients. In fact, it was the hospital’s reputation for charity care that first drew Record.
“The attitude at St. Joseph’s is, ‘you take care of everyone,’ and people here really believe in that mission,” he says. “It’s the reason I’ve stayed here 14 years.”
Record is implementing an innovative inter-professional education system that aims to re-imagine the medical school curriculum.
“Historically, medical students spend their first two years in the class, in strange isolation from patient care. Our aim is to invert the paradigm, institute clinical experience more thoroughly and immediately so that critical interpersonal and inter-professional skills can be ingrained early,” he says. “Training doctors, nurses and pharmacists together helps students better understand different clinical perspectives and ultimately results in better, more informed decision-making and care. Currently, patients have dozens of separate care delivery teams and students will need to master the complicated dynamics to provide effective care.”
After earning his medical degree, Record went on to study law.
“My original goals always included medical teaching. The law degree had more to do with enjoying pursuing a renaissance education,” he says, “but that training has helped me in surprising ways.”
courtesy of St. Joseph’s Healthcare System
James M. Record, MD, JD, FACP, Vice President, Academic Affairs at St. Joseph’s Healthcare System, and Associate Dean, New York Medical College
“I wear a lot of hats,” Dr. James Record says modestly of his daily schedule – a masterful juggling act that encompasses the myriad academic initiatives of St. Joseph’s Healthcare System, as well as seeing patients and serving as Associate Dean of New York Medical College’s Regional Branch Campus at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson. As vice president of Academic Affairs, he’s involved in all manner of education programs (including medical, dental, nursing, pharmacy and health professions) while managing research, community outreach, the simulation training laboratory, library – “essentially anything that comes under Academics,” he says.
In addition, he leads a team of residents who see uninsured patients. In fact, it was the hospital’s reputation for charity care that first drew Record.
“The attitude at St. Joseph’s is, ‘you take care of everyone,’ and people here really believe in that mission,” he says. “It’s the reason I’ve stayed here 14 years.”
Record is implementing an innovative inter-professional education system that aims to re-imagine the medical school curriculum.
“Historically, medical students spend their first two years in the class, in strange isolation from patient care. Our aim is to invert the paradigm, institute clinical experience more thoroughly and immediately so that critical interpersonal and inter-professional skills can be ingrained early,” he says. “Training doctors, nurses and pharmacists together helps students better understand different clinical perspectives and ultimately results in better, more informed decision-making and care. Currently, patients have dozens of separate care delivery teams and students will need to master the complicated dynamics to provide effective care.”
After earning his medical degree, Record went on to study law.
“My original goals always included medical teaching. The law degree had more to do with enjoying pursuing a renaissance education,” he says, “but that training has helped me in surprising ways.”
Robert C. Garrett, President & CEO at Hackensack University Health Network
This isn’t Bob Garrett’s first time on our list. We profiled the president and CEO of Hackensack University Health Network five years ago, just as he took the reigns of Hackensack University Medical Center. Since then, he’s tackled healthcare’s shifting landscape with skill and grace, steering Bergen County’s largest medical center through a maze of acquisitions, mergers, partnerships and affiliations that have bolstered its position and set it on a course for success.
In October, Hackensack Health Network and Meridian Health announced plans to merge their operations into one integrated health care system, a move that Garrett embraces for reasons that confirm his patient-first point of view.
“First and foremost, it offers an opportunity to provide better and broader access to high quality healthcare,” he says. “I believe that, at the end of the day, we will expand access to services and develop a vast array of new non-hospital services to conveniently serve people throughout New Jersey and beyond.”
The merger will likely be completed by fall of 2015. He and Meridian Health’s John Lloyd will serve as co-CEOs for a period of 30 months, after which Garrett will become its sole president and CEO. “John has been at Meridian for 30 years and I’ve been here 33 years. We are excited to build on the great work we’ve accomplished at our health systems and to make Hackensack Meridian Health not only the best in New Jersey but the nation,” says Garrett.
Following the merger, the $3.5 billion healthcare entity will comprise 11 hospitals and be “the state’s largest and finest healthcare system,” he confirms. Despite its size, Garrett’s day-to-day philosophy has not changed. “I still believe it is important to connect with those who are delivering care day in and day out,” he says.
Although the merger will create an organization with more than 23,000 employees, Garrett is up for the challenge. “In the last three or four years, we’ve gone from one hospital to four,” he says. “It takes time and effort but it’s critically important to connect with those on the front line.”
Colleagues agree that Garrett’s passion for the personal touch is his most endearing and admired quality. As if the merger weren’t enough, Garrett is also finalizing details for the launch of the hospital’s own private school of medicine.
“The ‘University’ in our name has always reflected that we are a medical center anchored by academic tradition, but this will put us in a whole new category,” he says. “There is a physician shortage in northern New Jersey and the nation and a new medical school in the region is a game changer.”
courtesy of Hackensack University Health Network
Robert C. Garrett, President & CEO at Hackensack University Health Network
This isn’t Bob Garrett’s first time on our list. We profiled the president and CEO of Hackensack University Health Network five years ago, just as he took the reigns of Hackensack University Medical Center. Since then, he’s tackled healthcare’s shifting landscape with skill and grace, steering Bergen County’s largest medical center through a maze of acquisitions, mergers, partnerships and affiliations that have bolstered its position and set it on a course for success.
In October, Hackensack Health Network and Meridian Health announced plans to merge their operations into one integrated health care system, a move that Garrett embraces for reasons that confirm his patient-first point of view.
“First and foremost, it offers an opportunity to provide better and broader access to high quality healthcare,” he says. “I believe that, at the end of the day, we will expand access to services and develop a vast array of new non-hospital services to conveniently serve people throughout New Jersey and beyond.”
The merger will likely be completed by fall of 2015. He and Meridian Health’s John Lloyd will serve as co-CEOs for a period of 30 months, after which Garrett will become its sole president and CEO. “John has been at Meridian for 30 years and I’ve been here 33 years. We are excited to build on the great work we’ve accomplished at our health systems and to make Hackensack Meridian Health not only the best in New Jersey but the nation,” says Garrett.
Following the merger, the $3.5 billion healthcare entity will comprise 11 hospitals and be “the state’s largest and finest healthcare system,” he confirms. Despite its size, Garrett’s day-to-day philosophy has not changed. “I still believe it is important to connect with those who are delivering care day in and day out,” he says.
Although the merger will create an organization with more than 23,000 employees, Garrett is up for the challenge. “In the last three or four years, we’ve gone from one hospital to four,” he says. “It takes time and effort but it’s critically important to connect with those on the front line.”
Colleagues agree that Garrett’s passion for the personal touch is his most endearing and admired quality. As if the merger weren’t enough, Garrett is also finalizing details for the launch of the hospital’s own private school of medicine.
“The ‘University’ in our name has always reflected that we are a medical center anchored by academic tradition, but this will put us in a whole new category,” he says. “There is a physician shortage in northern New Jersey and the nation and a new medical school in the region is a game changer.”
Naana Boakye, MD, Bergen Dermatology
The daughter of a pediatrician and an OB/GYN, Dr. Naana Boakye recalls immediately what inspired her to go into medicine.
“When I was 14, my mom had adult acne and I went with her to the dermatologist. I loved everything about the interaction between patient and doctor. I knew this was what I wanted to do.”
That daily interaction is what drives Boakye’s practice, Bergen Dermatology, in Englewood Cliffs. Though skilled at utilizing all the cutting-edge treatments available to dermatologists today, she’s not afraid of harnessing the proven power of old-school tools in her quest to “enhance the appearance, self-image and well-being of my patients,” she says. “Take micro-needling, for example. This technique is making a big comeback. Essentially, it’s 12 micro-needles that cause little injuries to the dermis, thus stimulating collagen production. We’re seeing big improvements in acne scarring, wrinkles and overall skin texture.” The treatment complements a range of facial fillers, chemical peels and other services offered at her practice.
Likewise, she’s enthusiastic about PRP (platelet-rich plasma) therapies, which “have long been used in the orthopedic world but are beginning to be used, in conjunction with other treatments, for skin rejuvenation and the treatment of alopecia (hair loss).”
A board-certified dermatologist, Boakye estimates that about 60 percent of her practice is devoted to medical and surgical dermatology.
“I love this part of the work,” she says. “The field is becoming more evidence-based. We’re trying to understand the science behind everything. The more we learn about acne, for example, the better we can target its treatment.”
Embracing her Ghana heritage, she finds joy in connecting to patients of all cultures.
“I like to take my time, set realistic goals and outline all of my patients’ options,” she explains.
She’s also quick to dispel myths and old wives’ tales.
“Aggressively washing your face isn’t going to improve your acne. In fact, it may make it worse.”
In addition to the existing private label, medical-grade skin care line she offers in her office and online, she’s developing her own all-natural skin care line.
courtesy of bergen dermatology
Naana Boakye, MD, Bergen Dermatology
The daughter of a pediatrician and an OB/GYN, Dr. Naana Boakye recalls immediately what inspired her to go into medicine.
“When I was 14, my mom had adult acne and I went with her to the dermatologist. I loved everything about the interaction between patient and doctor. I knew this was what I wanted to do.”
That daily interaction is what drives Boakye’s practice, Bergen Dermatology, in Englewood Cliffs. Though skilled at utilizing all the cutting-edge treatments available to dermatologists today, she’s not afraid of harnessing the proven power of old-school tools in her quest to “enhance the appearance, self-image and well-being of my patients,” she says. “Take micro-needling, for example. This technique is making a big comeback. Essentially, it’s 12 micro-needles that cause little injuries to the dermis, thus stimulating collagen production. We’re seeing big improvements in acne scarring, wrinkles and overall skin texture.” The treatment complements a range of facial fillers, chemical peels and other services offered at her practice.
Likewise, she’s enthusiastic about PRP (platelet-rich plasma) therapies, which “have long been used in the orthopedic world but are beginning to be used, in conjunction with other treatments, for skin rejuvenation and the treatment of alopecia (hair loss).”
A board-certified dermatologist, Boakye estimates that about 60 percent of her practice is devoted to medical and surgical dermatology.
“I love this part of the work,” she says. “The field is becoming more evidence-based. We’re trying to understand the science behind everything. The more we learn about acne, for example, the better we can target its treatment.”
Embracing her Ghana heritage, she finds joy in connecting to patients of all cultures.
“I like to take my time, set realistic goals and outline all of my patients’ options,” she explains.
She’s also quick to dispel myths and old wives’ tales.
“Aggressively washing your face isn’t going to improve your acne. In fact, it may make it worse.”
In addition to the existing private label, medical-grade skin care line she offers in her office and online, she’s developing her own all-natural skin care line.
Sean R. Wilson, M.D., Structural Heart Disease Interventional Cardiologist at The Valley Hospital
With the addition of newcomer Dr. Sean R. Wilson, Valley Hospital’s highly regarded Heart & Vascular Institute adds expertise in percutaneous structural heart intervention, a relatively new approach to treating advanced and complex defects of the heart.
“In the past, open-heart surgery was used to correct heart abnormalities,” Wilson says. “However, in the last few years, significant strides have been made in the treatment of congenital and valvular disorders through medical imaging and catheter-based interventions.”
Using small punctures or incisions, Wilson and his team can access a patient’s heart, replacing the need for major surgery resulting in less pain, blood loss and a more rapid recovery. 
“Valley has embraced the rapidly expanding field of structural heart disease,” Wilson says. “We offer superb care and can provide all the latest treatment options that are available.”
At Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, Wilson is developing a new “heart team approach” to diagnose, treat and manage patients with valvular, congenital and other complex cardiovascular issues.
“It is a true collaborative effort, a cross-disciplinary approach to patient management creating an individualized treatment plan,” he says.
Each patient’s heart team includes his or her primary cardiologist or internist and other heart specialists, including Wilson, a cardiac surgeon, radiologist, anesthesiologist and advanced practice nurses.
A subspecialty that was almost unheard of just 10 years ago, the field of structural heart disease has undergone dramatic changes. The conditions that Wilson and his team are routinely treating include atrial septal defects, patent foramen ovale and paravalvular leaks, aortic stenosis and mitral regurgitation – all abnormalities that once required open-heart surgery.
courtesy of valley health system
Sean R. Wilson, M.D., Structural Heart Disease Interventional Cardiologist at The Valley Hospital
With the addition of newcomer Dr. Sean R. Wilson, Valley Hospital’s highly regarded Heart & Vascular Institute adds expertise in percutaneous structural heart intervention, a relatively new approach to treating advanced and complex defects of the heart.
“In the past, open-heart surgery was used to correct heart abnormalities,” Wilson says. “However, in the last few years, significant strides have been made in the treatment of congenital and valvular disorders through medical imaging and catheter-based interventions.”
Using small punctures or incisions, Wilson and his team can access a patient’s heart, replacing the need for major surgery resulting in less pain, blood loss and a more rapid recovery.
“Valley has embraced the rapidly expanding field of structural heart disease,” Wilson says. “We offer superb care and can provide all the latest treatment options that are available.”
At Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, Wilson is developing a new “heart team approach” to diagnose, treat and manage patients with valvular, congenital and other complex cardiovascular issues.
“It is a true collaborative effort, a cross-disciplinary approach to patient management creating an individualized treatment plan,” he says.
Each patient’s heart team includes his or her primary cardiologist or internist and other heart specialists, including Wilson, a cardiac surgeon, radiologist, anesthesiologist and advanced practice nurses.
A subspecialty that was almost unheard of just 10 years ago, the field of structural heart disease has undergone dramatic changes. The conditions that Wilson and his team are routinely treating include atrial septal defects, patent foramen ovale and paravalvular leaks, aortic stenosis and mitral regurgitation – all abnormalities that once required open-heart surgery.
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