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Where Caring Meets Cutting Edge

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-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; 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?

It’s
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
family.

What
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.

What
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 York Downtown Hospital; Wellness and Prevention Center
Dr. Robbi Kempner, Chief of the
Division of Breast Surgery

What brought you to the Wellness And Prevention Center?

Many
different things. First of all, we are essentially the only hospital now south
of
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 Prevention Center 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?

Families
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
available—X-ray,
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.

What
makes NewYork-Pesbyterian unique?

Between the
Komansky Center 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
Center

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
them.

How do you connect with teens
specifically?

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
worlds.

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

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.


NYU Langone Medical Center; Division of Pediatric Cardiology
and Critical Care

Dr. Ralph Mosca, Chief

What
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.

What
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.

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

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.

What
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
Avenue
, 212-523-4000; wehealny.org.


NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/ Columbia University Medical Center; 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
NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan
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
New
York
State for
newborn cardiac care, and we get referrals for cardiac surgery and others from
every other center in the
New
York
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 Learning Center 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
Infirmary?

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
excellent?

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;
childrensnyp.org


Lenox Hill Hospital; Labor And Delivery Ward
Mia Patunas-Rubin, Nurse Manager

What makes the labor and delivery unit at
Lenox Hill Hospital 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.

What
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.

What
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.