• Where Caring Meets Cutting Edge

    From Progressive Cancer Treatment To Holistic Family Wellness To The Latest Advancements In Neonatology, The City’s Hospitals Take Comprehensive Health Care To The Next Level

    By New York Family


    New York is known for having the best of
    everything, and our medical centers are no exception. The city’s hospitals
    combine the latest advancements in technology and world class health
    professionals with an inspiring commitment to improving the lives of others. And
    yet, each of the city’s hospitals maintains its own identity and boasts its own
    amenities, special services or departments that distinguish it from the rest.
    To help families get to know some of the city’s hospitals and their respective
    areas of expertise—from adolescent health centers to pediatric oncology to
    special surgery—we spoke with leading doctors, nurses and administrators at 12
    medical centers about what makes their facility a uniquely valuable city
    resource for families.

    Memorial-SloanKetteringCancerCenter; Pediatrics Department
    Dr. Paul Meyers; Vice Chair

    What do you enjoy about working for
    Memorial Sloan-Kettering?

    I like that
    there’s an enormous “esprit de corps” among the staff.Everyone is always willing to go the extra
    mile and make things happen for the kids here.

    How is a
    pediatric cancer unit different from an adult cancer unit?

    brighter, there is more color, there are more activities. In most hospital
    units, when visiting hours are over, there’s an expectation that family members
    will go home. Our expectation is that they’ll stay. What makes pediatric
    oncology special is that you’re dealing with a life threatening illness, but
    you’re also developing a lifetime relationship with a young person and their

    services do you offer that make a difference for children?

    We have
    teachers that assist children with their schoolwork. We have Child Life
    therapists who work with kids, helping them to adapt and understand what’s
    happening to them. When a child has a serious illness there can be a tremendous
    impact on siblings, and it’s one of our responsibilities to ensure that those
    siblings are receiving appropriate attention and counseling.

    should parents look for when choosing a children’s cancer center?

    They should
    look for the experience of the staff. How many publications have the
    professionals put into peer reviewed medical literature? Do they belong to
    appropriate professional societies, and do they hold leadership positions? Are
    there appropriate numbers of nurses, Child Life therapists, social workers,
    occupational therapists and physical therapists to care for the kids?

    What makes Memorial
    Sloan-Kettering special?

    What makes
    us special is the long tradition of focus exclusively on cancer, the enormous
    accomplishments that have been made by our research scientists and clinical
    physician scientists, and the dedication of all the staff to one goal: the
    conquest of cancer. —Elisabeth Frankel Reed

    1275 York Avenue; 212-639-2000; mskcc.org.

    1downtown.jpgNew YorkDowntownHospital; Wellness and PreventionCenter
    Dr. Robbi Kempner, Chief of the
    Division of Breast Surgery

    What brought you to the Wellness And PreventionCenter?

    different things. First of all, we are essentially the only hospital now south
    14th Street, which is very much an under-served community. Not
    only do we now have a business community, but we have an enlarging residential
    community in the lower
    Manhattan area. Also, the Wellness and PreventionCenter was a very attractive opportunity because
    there is an emphasis on women’s health, and it’s the only women’s center in
    Manhattan that offers comprehensive
    services—it’s not just for breast surgery and gynecology, we also have internal
    medicine and cardiology.

    What do you enjoy about working for this
    hospital in particular?

    The collegiality
    of the environment; it’s a small institution, and we all know each other. I also
    like the patient population. We’re local and we’re helping people who live
    locally, so it’s having a small neighborhood within
    New York City.

    What should families look for when
    choosing a wellness center?

    want to look for multi-disciplinary care—they want to find somewhere where they
    can get “one-stop shopping” under one roof, where everyone in their family can
    be taken care of. You also want to make sure that the proper diagnostics are
    CAT Scans, and things of that nature.

    What makes the Wellness and Prevention
    center unique?

    What sets
    us apart from other centers is the fact that we are affiliated with the
    NewYork-Presbyterian Healthcare System, and we are dedicated to providing the
    best clinical and technical services to our patients—we provide both screening
    and treatment. Also, our women’s health [department] provides gynecologic and
    breast health services, including medical screening, diabetic and cardiology
    screening, as well as gynecologic services and menopause management. State of
    the art breast imaging is available, as well as breast surgeons, who coordinate
    care across the services. —Katie Garton

    170 William Street, 212-312-5000; downtownhospital.org.


    1cornell.jpgNewYork Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center; Phyllis and
    David Komansky Center for Children’s Health

    Dr. Laura Forese; Chief Operating Officer

    What are
    the key components of a great pediatric center?

    What makes
    a great pediatric center is the focus on the patient and his or her family.
    With any child, it’s never just a single patient; it’s at least one other
    [person] or an entire family. The doctors are focused on that, the
    housekeeper’s focused on that—the person who is drawing blood, the
    anesthesiologist who is going to put a child to sleep for a procedure. To me,
    that’s the most important thing, bar none.

    What other amenities do you offer that others perhaps don’t have?
    We believe that we are really equipped to care for the whole child. We’re not
    focused just on illness. It’s more about, who is this child and what’s our best
    opportunity for getting them back to their real lives? Whether it’s an acute
    episode or a chronic episode, whether it’s an emergency department visit for an
    injury or it’s a child who’s been newly diagnosed with cancer and everything in
    between, we believe we can provide that service in a way that is what people
    would want for their loved ones.

    makes NewYork-Pesbyterian unique?

    Between the
    KomanskyCenter for Children’s Health and the
    Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, there’s nothing that we don’t excel in. Our
    ability to have two world-class medical centers and two medicals schools, for
    our physicians to have the ability to connect all the way from basic science
    and research to the bedside is amazing. There’s nothing we haven’t seen. It is
    an opportunity that we’re so fortunate to have here in
    New York City. —Rachael Horowitz

    525 East 68th Street, 1-877-NYP-WELL; nyp.org.

    Mount Sinai Medical Center; Adolescent Health

    Dr. Angela Diaz, Director

    What makes Mount Sinai’s adolescent center unique?

    We have
    tremendous expertise and we love working with teenagers. Also, everything is
    free, which is great and easy for young people. And we’re the largest [in the
    city] because of this—we see over 10,000 people every year.

    What should parents look for when
    choosing an adolescent health care provider?
    Teenagers need to have a doctor who
    is comfortable talking to them about specific questions, who is comfortable
    speaking with parents, and who can maintain relationships between the parents
    and the teenagers. It’s important for doctors to spend some time alone with the
    adolescent, because that’s when we have the time to do anticipatory prevention
    and wellness, and talk to them about wearing seatbelts, nutrition, exercise—
    all that kind of stuff.

    What specific services distinguish
    you from other hospitals?
    We have a program for
    kids who are overweight, who then work with a nutritionist and exercise three
    times a week. We have programs for teenagers who have children; we have a
    parenting program where we see them as a family unit and see the mother, father
    and the baby at once. We also have programs for teens that have been involved
    in sexual abuse or incest, programs for teens that have eating disorders,
    programs to prevent substance abuse. We have a full range of family planning
    available here. And we treat mental health, too—if a teenager is depressed or
    suicidal, they can come here with their parents and friends and we’ll work with

    How do you connect with teens

    We have a
    program called TEXT in the City, which we text the kids health information like
    wellness, physical fitness and how to protect themselves. So through texting,
    we’re trying to keep them engaged and informed. —Katie Garton

    One Gustave Levy Place, 212-241-6500; mountsinai.org.

    1beth.jpgBeth Israel Medical Center; The Continuum Center for Health and Healing
    Dr. Benjamin Kligler, Vice Chair of the Department of Integrative Medicine

    What brought you to the Continuum Center?
    I wanted to practice integrative medicine, meaning bringing together all
    the good parts of conventional medicine with some of the useful strategies from
    other healing arts, like herbal medicine and other alternate therapies. I
    wanted a place that would support that kind of approach to practice.


    How do
    you balance holistic medicine with conventional medicine?

    I try to
    save conventional medicine for situations where it’s really needed. For
    example, if a child has pneumonia, he should have an antibiotic. But if a kid
    has an ear infection, for example, up to 80% of those will clear up by themselves
    in a few days. So we might suggest some herbal medicines or show the parents
    massage techniques to use to help the kids feel better, and save stronger
    medications for the situations that demand them.

    What should families look for when
    choosing a holistic family practitioner?
    I think you want a doctor that is knowledgeable in both mainstream medicine
    and the alternative cares. You need a doctor who is going to know when
    something serious is going on that may require emergency care—we don’t treat an
    appendicitis with herbs, we take [patients] to the hospital to get their
    appendix out. So you want to find a doctor who has [his or her] feet in both

    What’s the one thing that you would like
    parents to know about the

    I think the
    most important thing is we see ourselves as supporting families in becoming
    healthier, rather than treating diseases. We put a lot of value on our
    preventative work and supporting families in making decisions [and developing
    habits] that will keep them healthy. —
    Katie Garton

    First Avenue and 16th Street, 212-420-2000; wehealny.org.

    NYULangoneMedicalCenter; Division of Pediatric Cardiology
    and Critical Care

    Dr. Ralph Mosca, Chief

    brought you to NYU Langone?

    I’ve been
    here since June of 2009, about 18 months, but I’ve been doing congenital cardiac
    surgery since 1992. I was very impressed by [the hospital’s] desire to bring
    together the people necessary to build a world class, premiere congenital
    cardiac program, in an area that has really been under-served for a long time.
    NYU hasn’t yet had the opportunity to build a specialty program in neonatal and
    infant pediatric cardiac surgery. That’s one of my specialties and I wanted to
    take that challenge.

    What is
    a typical day like for you?

    During the
    day or evening before surgery, I’ll meet with the parents of the patients, and
    explain what’s going on with the kid’s heart, and what we need to do to fix it.
    I’ll discuss why the surgery needs to be done now, and what the potential risks
    of the operation are. They’ll also get a tour of the unit, and see what other
    babies look like after surgery. The next morning the babies are prepped and
    brought to the operation room. Each operation takes about four hours or so, and
    we do two surgeries a day, two or three times a week. At the end of the day is
    rounds, where we go and see the patients from the day and the preceding days.

    should parents look for when looking for a pediatric cardio center?

    The way of
    the world now in taking care of all kids is family-centered care. Although it’s
    going to be scary because your kid has heart disease, we want it to be very
    family friendly—somewhere where parents can be in the room virtually at all
    times, in an area that’s kid-friendly. We’ve put together a brand new unit with
    social workers, child life experts, psychiatrists, and of course the experts in
    cardiology, intensive care, nursing and anesthesia.

    —Amy Spiro

    550 First Avenue, 212-263-7300; med.nyu.edu

    1luke.jpgSt. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center; The Child and
    Family Institute

    Dr. Daniel M.Medeiros, Director

    What makes a great children’s mental health institute?

    I think integrated care is the most important component. We try to treat the
    child and the family with whatever issues they have. We don’t rule out kids
    with substance issues, or kids who may have mental retardation if they also
    have a pediatric disorder. If we feel that we can appropriately treat them, we
    do so here. We don’t say, “This is really not our responsibility,” and send
    them somewhere else.

    makes The Child and Family Institute special amongst other facilities in the

    Comprehensive care. One of our models is our Day Program. We work in
    collaboration with the Department of Education [in] a school program [in which]
    teens see themselves as being in a specialized school, but they receive individual
    and group therapy every day. Half of the kids have just a mental health
    disorder, the other half also have a comorbid substance disorder. They are all
    treated intensively in this unit, which means the teens with mental health
    disorders are getting prevention and early intervention, because they’re at
    risk for substance disorders. Studies show that 80% of adolescents with
    substance disorders have a mental health disorder, but if they are treated in a
    substance service, they often don’t have their mental health issues addressed.
    The state is now moving in the direction [of providing integrated services],
    but we’re ahead of the curve.

    other specific services do you offer that other institutes in the city perhaps
    don’t have?

    It’s not
    easy to find treatment for a child who has a history of emotional
    dysregulation and cutting and burning and suicidal attempts. A lot of places
    don’t feel they can handle that level of care, but because we provide DBT
    [Dialectical Behavioral Therapy], we are able to do so.

    —Tiffanie Green

    St. Luke’s Division: 1111 Amsterdam Avenue, Roosevelt Division: 10000 10th
    , 212-523-4000; wehealny.org.

    NewYork-PresbyterianHospital/ ColumbiaUniversityMedicalCenter; Neonatology
    Dr. Richard Polin, Director

    What makes a great neonatal unit?

    It takes a
    village to provide high quality care. It doesn’t just take doctors—of which we have
    about 28 full faculty here, and nurses, which we have over 200 in our NICU—but
    also respiratory therapists, nutritionists, pharmacists, social workers. You
    need all those components, plus an investment by the hospital to have the
    greatest technology available.

    What should parents look for if they come to need to put their child in a
    neonatal unit?

    [A unit] that
    is full service, so that if they need a procedure, they don’t have to be
    transferred into another institution. Secondly, maternal fetal medical
    specialists who can provide the highest quality care, because the [health] of
    the newborn baby is often related to the care received prior to delivery.

    What makes the NICU at
    Stanley Children’s Hospital unique?

    We can provide every available technology, whether surgical
    or medical, so we don’t think about transferring babies out. We’re the leading
    cardiac surgical program in
    State for
    newborn cardiac care, and we get referrals for cardiac surgery and others from
    every other center in the
    metropolitan region. We have a
    family-centered intensive care unit, in which we try to involve families rather
    than exclude them from the ICU.

    How do you foster the
    family-oriented atmosphere in the ICU?

    We invite parents on rounds. We try to have the family
    participate in the care of their infant. Of course, a critically ill baby will
    have to be kept in one location, but as soon as they are beyond the critical
    phase we try to have [the families] involved with care, whether it’s just
    having skin-to-skin contact, changing a diaper or recording music or stories
    [for the baby to listen to]. —Tiffanie Green

    622 West168th Street, 1-877-NYP-WELL; nyp.org.

    New York Eye and Ear Infirmary; The Pediatric Hearing and Learning Center
    Dr. Ronald Hoffman, Medical Director (And Director of the Ear Institute)

    What makes the Pediatric Hearing and LearningCenter unique?
    The Pediatric Hearing is the only facility of its kind in the tri-state area,
    because all of the services are provided at one site by clinicians who are
    second to none in their expertise. A parent might come through the door and
    say, “I think my baby has hearing loss.” So our pediatric iridologists test the
    child. If the child is diagnosed with hearing loss, we have a social worker
    that meets with the family to discuss what services are available. We then fit
    the child with a hearing aid before sending the child to our speech and
    learning therapist, the early intervention advisor and an education specialist,
    all of which are [on site]. And that’s what makes the New York Eye and Ear
    Infirmary so special.

    What do you enjoy about working there?

    I love kids, I love the science that surrounds
    deafness and hearing loss, and I love being a part of team that makes peoples’
    lives better. That’s why you go into medicine, right? These kids are a special
    sub-population that needs a lot of support.

    What’s the one thing that you would
    like parents to know about
    New York Eye and Ear

    I’d like parents to know that we’re committed
    to maximizing their child’s success in the hearing world. We have a commitment
    to making their child auditory, oral, hearing and speaking while not using sign
    language, and we have a commitment to maximizing their child’s educational
    success, which is the best single predictor for life success. So in other
    words, if children get through regular school and can communicate on their own,
    they have a much better likelihood of being successful in life. —Katie Garton

    310 East 14th Street;212-979-4000; nyee.edu.

    Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York-Presbyterian
    Kevin Hammeran, Senior Vice President And Chief Operating Officer

    What are the key components of a children’s hospital that make it truly

    The first thing is
    the strength and caliber of its clinical staff. All of our physicians are
    Columbia faculty, which is a great strength
    here. The second thing is the nursing cognate. Nurses are really the glue; they
    are the ones that hold the hospital together. Doctors are in and out of cases,
    but the nurse is always there. The third thing is what I call strength of
    program. It’s not just whether you have pediatric cardiology or pediatric
    orthopedics; it’s the level of specialization below that. So, if you come to
    our Digestive Diseases service, we have an expert in celiac disease, an expert
    in hepatology, and so on.

    What other specific services do you offer
    that other hospitals in the city perhaps don’t have?

    We have a Family Advisory Council here, [which
    is comprised of] parents who had a child admitted and spent significant time
    with us. We use them extensively in designing our spaces and in program development,
    which infuses all of our thinking and programs with the parent perspective.

     What makes
    NewYork-Presbyterian special amongst children’s hospitals?

    Clinical volume and experience. If a mechanic fixes your car, for instance, do
    you want someone who dabbles in cars every once in a while, or do you want
    someone whose entire focus is on, not only cars, but that particular model? In
    a sense, that’s what we are. We are all about kids. We have the depth to take
    care of just about anything that the child needs. When you come here, you don’t
    find one cardiologist, you find 25 of them with separate specializations in
    cardiology. —Tiffanie Green

    3959 Broadway, 1-800-245-KIDS;


    LenoxHillHospital; Labor And Delivery Ward
    Mia Patunas-Rubin, Nurse Manager

    What makes the labor and delivery unit at
    LenoxHillHospital great?

    We have
    excellent physicians who are predominantly private practitioners and very good
    at what they do, and we have great nurses. We have an excellent Maternal-Fetal
    Medicine group that supports and diagnoses high-risk patients, and many of the
    nurses and staff are trained and certified in fetal monitoring and high-risk
    obstetrics. We also do a lot to promote patient safety, like post-partum
    hemorrhage drills, which is one the leading cause of maternal death, so that the
    staff can work as a team and everyone is trained in the same practice.

    should expectant parents look for when choosing a hospital to give birth?

    They should
    look for a hospital that not only supports their birth choice, but also look
    for a family-focused, friendly atmosphere where the staff is supportive of
    their choices. They should also look for anesthesia coverage—we have 24-hour
    anesthesia coverage. We also have a level 3 NICU, so that we don’t have to
    transfer the newborns out.[Families
    should look for] a place that can respond to any level of emergency that they
    may have during pregnancy or labor.

    would you like people to know about your labor and delivery unit?

    We’re a
    very patient-focused unit. We try very hard to be respectful of the patient’s
    choices, and we offer a great deal of services to make them comfortable. The
    staff is very knowledgeable and supportive during the actual experience—no
    matter how they did it, epidural or not, [we want the patient to feel] well
    taken care of. —Megan Maxson

    100 East 77th Street, 212-434-2000; lenoxhillhospital.org.

    1special.jpgHospital For Special Surgery
    Dr. Roger Widmann, Chief, Pediatric Orthopedics

    What brought you to the Hospital for
    Special Surgery? 

    Sixteen years
    ago I was looking for a job, and the Hospital for Special Surgery was looking
    for a pediatric orthopedist. HSS has a long held reputation as an adult
    orthopedic hospital, and this [position] was an opportunity to develop the
    pediatric orthopedic service, which is what we have done in terms of branching
    out, increasing our sub-specializations and bringing in experts in different
    areas of care.

    What do you enjoy about working for this hospital in particular?

    [I enjoy] the unique combination of high-tech medical care with a caring staff
    of nurses, physical therapists and pediatricians. We provide state-of-the-art
    surgical intervention and rehabilitation, and we have all the things that an
    excellent children’s hospital provides, such as pediatric sub-specialists and a
    large physical therapy department. So we can do all these high-tech things, but
    we also have a personal approach, and it’s nice to combine both of those things
    in one setting.

    What should families look for when
    choosing a pediatric orthopedics center?
    They should look for sub-specialization within the field. Twenty to 30
    years ago pediatric orthopedists did everything from the neck to the tips of
    the toes, and over the last 20 years there has been significant
    sub-specialization. Everyone has a specific focus in terms of their clinical
    and surgical interest. 

    What other amenities do you offer
    that other hospitals in the city perhaps don’t have?

    Our staff; our operating room nurses and our therapists are all geared
    specifically and entirely towards musculoskeletal problems and orthopedic
    surgery. When you have surgery at HSS you are getting pediatric sub-specialty
    orthopedic nurses, which are a rarity, but that’s the standard here. Everyone
    from the top down is completely focused on orthopedics.

    —Jill Valente

    535 East 70th Street, 212-606-1000; hss.edu.

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