The Chanin T. Mast Center for the treatment of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is the only HCMA accredited HCM program in NJ and one of only two leading centers on the East Coast.
Led by world-renowned HCM specialists Matthew Martinez, MD, and Martin Maron, MD, with the expertise of Ethan Rowin, MD, rounding out this award-winning team. The addition of Dr. Martinez, who is also the medical director of Atlantic Health System’s Sports Cardiology at Morristown Medical Center and co-director of the Mast Center, enhances our already strong programs, giving more patients access to world-class expertise, and enabling us to implement innovative research projects to improve care for athletes and patients living with HCM.
Atlantic Health System Cancer Care provides our patients access to the most promising and life-saving trials, research and innovations in the communities where they live and work.
Cutting-edge initiatives include the following:
Breakthrough Oncology Accelerator
In affiliation with the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) of Phoenix, AZ, Atlantic Health System Cancer Care has created the nation’s first Breakthrough Oncology Accelerator, a pioneering research and clinical collaboration that offers multiple early- and late-phase clinical trials. “The accelerator is designed to improve patient access to life-saving therapies through more rapid deployment of new research trials and novel payment mechanisms post-approval,” said Eric Whitman, MD, medical director for Atlantic Health System Cancer Care.
Community Oncology Research Program
Atlantic Health System Cancer Care is the lead affiliate of the Atlantic Health Cancer Consortium (AHCC), the only New Jersey-based Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) designated by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). “Covering 73 percent of the state’s population, the AHCC NCORP presents a substantial opportunity to advance scientific understanding of cancer prevention, screening, control, treatment and care delivery research within a large and diverse population,” said Missak Haigentz, MD, medical director of Hematology and Oncology for Atlantic Health System and principal investigator for AHCC NCORP. Learn More
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Our echocardiography lab initiated a program with Atlantic Health System to teach pediatric echocardiography to sonographers throughout the system. We also established the congenital cardiac MRI and CT program. In our first year, we performed nearly 200 cardiac MRI studies, MR angiograms and cardiac CTs referred by more than 30 pediatric cardiologists from the New York/New Jersey area and continue to grow rapidly.
Our social worker, Cathy Cerutti, had a highly successful year, providing support and programs for our pediatric cardiology community such as:
Sponsored by the pediatric cardiac surgical division at Columbia’s Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, our division also organized the inaugural meeting of the New Jersey Pediatric Cardiology Society with a dinner meeting.
Stuart Kaufman, MD, medical director of the Pediatric Echo lab for Morristown Medical Center, co-authored a research abstract that was accepted to the Heart Valve Society annual meeting in Abu Dhabi: “Comparing the Outcomes of Mitral Valve Repair and Replacement in Congenital Heart Disease." Dr. Kaufman also joined the staff of Hackettstown Medical Center to provide interpretation of noninvasive cardiac testing.
Anjali Chelliah, MD, was invited to speak at the American Academy of Pediatrics NJ Chapter Conference in Somerset, NJ, and presented “Advanced Cardiac Imaging for the General Pediatrician." She also co-authored three research publications and two abstracts.
In 2019, funded by generous donations to the Foundation for Morristown Medical Center, we became one of the few Pediatric Liver Centers in the country, and the only one in New Jersey, to purchase a FibroScan® machine. This device allows a clinician to painlessly measure the stiffness of the liver often replacing the need for a liver biopsy.
Working with our board-certified Pediatric Hepatologist, Nadia Ovchinsky, our Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Stephanie Schuckalo has been conducting pioneering work on the use of the FibroScan® in evaluating children with fatty liver disease, with increasing cases as a result of our national pediatric obesity epidemic.
This team was invited to present their findings at the 2019 national meeting of the North American Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (NASPGHAN).
Joel Rosh, MD, director of the Pediatric IBD center, was selected to be the lead primary investigator of ustekinumab as a new therapy for Pediatric Crohn’s disease. This global clinical trial has entered its second phase and Dr. Rosh was invited to the European Crohn’s and Colitis Congress in Amsterdam and to Digestive Disease Week in Chicago to present the results from the first phase of this study.
The goal of our Amplified Musculoskeletal Pain Syndrome (AMPS) Program is to improve the physical and emotional health of our patients while helping them regain function and improve their ability to participate in daily activities, with a decrease in the severity of their pain.
The grant money provided by generous donations to the Foundation for Morristown Medical Center helped fund the Occupational Therapy (OT) component of this program. The increase in OT hours has benefited our patients as we plan to enhance music therapy, as well as purchase supplies for cognitive behavioral therapy, such as our “coping boxes” that participants help to fill during their four weeks in the program. Items in the coping box include a monthly membership to a gym such as Planet Fitness to encourage continued movement, and a month’s membership for a meditation App such as Calm, Headspace, or Curable to help participants learn how to relax their mind and body. The box also contains a stress ball, journal, mindfulness coloring book, markers, a calming jar, resistance band and various coping reminders.
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The ED entrance was redesigned to allow security guards improved visibility of the triage desk and walkway. This enhancement has improved both patient and security safety while creating a welcoming atmosphere. The renovation has been well received by both patients and employees.
The new PT will work to improve ambulation and discharge outcomes by creating safe plans for those under our care who are being considered for discharge, decreasing the likelihood of patient falls.
Through donor funding, the ED was able to add a pharmacy along with a 24-hour pharmacist position. The ED team is able to quickly retrieve medications from the pharmacy to treat patients immediately and provide better quality of care, especially for stroke patients. We measure door to medication time routinely and pride ourselves on our quick action to improve stroke outcomes with the speedy delivery of our clot-dissolving medication.
The Rapid Treatment Unit (RTU) is used to evaluate short-stay patients. Eighteen artificial skylights that mimic daylight and offer an added visual of clouds, trees and blue skies were installed in the RTU, fostering a remarkable sense of peace.
In addition, we were able to provide a comfortable waiting room within the unit for patients and their families.
Fluid warmers are used in the trauma setting to deliver large volumes of fluid or blood for rapid replacement. These infusers are used daily for high acuity patients and assist in life-saving measures.
The LUCAS® device delivers high-quality chest compressions to cardiac arrest patients in the ED. These devices help to prevent staff fatigue and allow the staff to complete additional patient tasks. With ongoing COVID-19 concerns, this device helps to protect ED staff from exposure as well.
The Panda Warmer™ is a heater designed to comfort and maintain the body temperature in infants. An in-bed scale provides easy infant weighing.
A robotic cat pilot study was initiated in 2019 to evaluate the impact of a robotic cat or a stuffed animal on the anxiety levels of patients with dementia in the ED setting. The study is still in progress, but preliminary qualitative outcomes are positive. Patients are calmer and the need for additional medications and interventions have decreased.
Yvette Vieira, MMH, HEC-C, manager of Palliative Care and Bioethics for Atlantic Health System shared the incredible transformation her grandmother, Gigi (pictured above with her cat, Cookie), underwent after they purchased a robotic cat to be her companion:
Wall-mounted hallway TV stations placed in patient treatment areas have provided diversion and entertainment. The compact TVs attach to the wall on an accordion mount. Patient and family feedback have been positive.
In 2016, Susan Sameth was hospitalized at Morristown Medical Center twice, and wanted to find a way to express her gratitude. “Every time I walk into the ED, I see the importance of the work being done," Sameth said. The Sameth ED Continuing Education Fund was born, helping ED nurses and medical staff acquire specialized certifications and advanced degrees, and, in 2019, six patient care technicians were able to pursue nursing degrees, three nurses obtained their BSN and five nurses pursued graduate or doctoral degrees.
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Our 2019 Magnet presentation included the impact a dedicated certification coordinator had on our program, with certification rates steadily rising to 44.9 percent in the first quarter.
Most recently for National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators (NDNQI):
“Adaptation and innovation have been part of our nursing culture for years and the goal now is to prepare the nursing practice for the future of nursing excellence.”
- Carol Jones, MSN, RN, NE-BC, Chief Nursing Officer, Morristown Medical Center.
Funded through philanthropy, CNIR serves as an incubator for nurses to develop new approaches, products or pathways that improve patient care.
CNIR projects include an examination of the impact pet therapy has on reducing anxiety experienced by hospitalized seniors, a study exploring patient knowledge about their implanted cardiac device and a study on the effects of Jin Shin Jyutsu techniques to reduce nurses’ stress and increase their resiliency.
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During a recent bedside visit, clinician Geri Moss spoke with a Marine veteran who needed to upgrade his disability benefits. She connected him with Welcome Home Vets of New Jersey (WHVNJ). The patient was discharged from the hospital, but eventually returned to our hospice unit before passing away. Geri asked about the family’s wishes; his wife wanted him to be laid out in a Marine uniform but didn’t have one on hand. WHVNJ & True North were committed to making the family’s wish happen. A fellow veteran from WHVNJ found a uniform in the correct size and delivered it to the funeral home. The wife was grateful for the final respectful tribute to her husband. The valiant effort resulted in True North and the Behavioral Health Department receiving an “Extraordinary Caring” award from Atlantic Health System.
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The adult Atlantic Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center of Excellence is a multidisciplinary service that offers personalized care to patients with Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.
We are involved in several phase-two and phase-three clinical trials involving novel biologics and small molecules aimed at restoring the immune balance and developing novel biomarkers to help guide the choice of immunotherapy while uncovering the relation between obesity and gut inflammation.
In collaboration with the American Gastroenterology Association we are defining the role of stool transplant in patients with Clostridium Difficile infection and identifying side effects.
Our research has been presented at national and international meetings in 2019 and several manuscripts are submitted for publication.
Photopheresis or extracorporeal photochemotherapy (ECP) is a treatment that uses ultraviolet (UV) light to activate a medication called methoxsalen that works in the blood to prevent diseased cells from reproducing themselves.
In 2019, the Emil P. Bisaccia, MD, Center for Photopheresis at Morristown Medical Center:
Unrestricted funds directly support the community through initiatives such as diabetes control. The goal of the program was to reduce the percent of uncontrolled type 2 diabetes patients by the end of December 2019, utilizing a Community Health Worker (CHW) to focus on underserved Internal Medicine Faculty Associates (IMFA) patients with poorly controlled diabetes.
“It wasn’t a good prognosis. It was either going to turn out very bad, or very good. It turned out very good, but he was hanging on a thread for a while.”
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