October 23, 2014

A Message from the President and CEO

James R. Gonzalez

At a press conference on Wednesday, Governor Christie announced that University Hospital, along with Hackensack University Medical Center and Robert Wood John University Hospital, were named Tier II hospitals. Tier 1 hospitals are the four nationally designated medical centers with special facilities to treat Ebola patients: the NIH, Emory in Atlanta, Nebraska Medical Center and St. Patrick Hospital in Montana.

Tier II hospitals are those who will care for individuals who are to be evaluated after pre-screening at the airport and are able to receive and treat any suspected Ebola patient in the State. Tier II hospitals have both enhanced capabilities to receive and treat Ebola patients and have worked closely to develop those capabilities with the CDC and the New Jersey Department of Health. This designation is a vote of confidence in University Hospital’s superior ability to safely do whatever circumstances require. I am asking each member of the University Hospital community to be extra vigilant and sensible, as we encounter any individuals who may come to the hospital concerned about exposure to EVD.

The Governor also signed an executive order creating the Ebola Virus Disease-Joint Response Team, which includes key state officials. I will be part of the advisory group to the Joint Response Team, along with the CEOs of the other two Tier II hospitals.

As I reported yesterday, a patient was transported to University Hospital from Newark Liberty International Airport on Tuesday with mild symptoms potentially consistent with Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). After evaluation, the patient showed no symptoms of EVD and was discharged the following day.

This event took a total team effort with everyone involved to ensure that the patient’s visit went smoothly. Together, we were once again successful in responding to yet another major incident and I have special thanks for the efforts of Infection Control.

I want to assure you that since the issue of EVD emerged, key members of the hospital’s leadership team and I have been in close contact with the CDC and the NJ Department of Health. As information is available, it will be shared with the entire University Hospital community. Details may change quickly, and information may not be immediately available, but we will do our best to get it to you as close to real time as possible. However, we must take the time necessary to ensure that any information we share—with each other and with the public—is accurate.

And I remind you that only those authorized to release information to the media are members of our Public Affairs team. All media inquiries should be directed to Public Affairs at 2-6273 or 201-463-2335, which is the media phone line.
James Gonzalez
James R. Gonzalez, MPH, FACHE

Save the Date

Tuesday, October 28
Storytelling, Memory and Imagination in Working with Patients and Clients
A Symposium for Nurses and Other Healthcare Professionals
2-4 p.m.
Rutgers School of Nursing
Ackerson Hall
180 University Avenue
Presenter: Laura Simms, master storyteller and humanitarian

UH Website

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Published by the UH Department of Public Affairs. Send suggestions for items to include in UH Now to baumme1@uhnj.org

Kudos for the Command Center Staff

great job

University Hospital’s President and CEO James R. Gonzalez, MPH, FACHE, received the following email from Assistant Commissioner Christopher Rinn, New Jersey Department of Health Division of Public Health Infrastructure, Laboratories, and Emergency Preparedness. “It says a great deal about the caliber of our staff,” Mr. Gonzalez noted.

I would like to extend my appreciation to you and your team at the University Hospital Command Center for meeting with me yesterday.

The professionalism, leadership and level of preparedness exhibited by your Command Center team under very stressful circumstances were exceptional.

It’s been said that the success of emergency preparedness efforts will be determined by the relationships that have been established and strengthened before an incident occurs. I am confident in working with the University Hospital staff in response to the Ebola virus or to any other incident in the future.

Thank you for the opportunity to work side-by-side with your team. I look forward to doing so again in the future.


Christopher Rinn
Assistant Commissioner

New Jersey Department of Health

UH Takes Steps for Women’s Health

The UH/NJMS Team
The UH/NJMS Team

The 68-member UH/NJMS team joined walkers across the country this past Sunday to help fight breast cancer. The non-competitive event, sponsored by the American Cancer Society, honors survivors of the disease, raises awareness and research funds and helps to ensure that all women, no matter what their socioeconomic status, have access to mammograms.

Thanks to many generous donors, to date UH has raised about $7,000, but contributions are still coming in. The website for donating will remain open until December 31, so there is still time for you to join others who are helping to finish the fight against breast cancer.

More photos of the event are here.

New Chief of Service Named

Dr. Nikolaos Pyrsopoulos

Nikolaos Pyrsopoulos, MD, PhD, MBA, FACP, AGAF, has been named Chief of Service for Medicine. Prior to his new appointment, Dr. Pyrsopoulos was Chief of Gastroenterology and Hepatology and Medical Director of the Liver Transplantation Program.

Dr. Pyrsopoulos earned a medical degree in his native Greece at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, School of Medicine. He completed a residency in internal medicine there and earned a PhD from the University of Athens. In 1998 he began conducting research in hepatology and liver transplantation at the Center for Liver Diseases at the University of Miami School of Medicine and completed a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in gastroenterology there. He was also awarded an MBA from the University of Miami School of Business. Before coming to UH, he was Chairman of Hepatology and Liver Transplantation at Orlando’s Florida Hospital. He is board certified in internal medicine, gastroenterology, and transplant hepatology.

Annual Conference is a Success

Drs. Basil Hubbi, Ogori Kalu, Jonathan Keith, Irving Miranda Dr. Karen Houck
(l-r, rear) Conference speakers Drs. Basil Hubbi, Ogori Kalu, Jonathan Keith and Irving Miranda (surgical resident) and (front) Dr. Karen Houck

More than 150 women listened to physicians from University Hospital speak on October 18, when UH teamed up with Rutgers New Jersey Medical School’s Department of Surgery to host the 3rd Annual Comprehensive Breast Health Conference. The theme of the free event was “Comprehensive Breast Care: Prevention, Treatment, Reconstruction and Recovery."

The prevention, evaluation and treatment of high-risk patients was presented by Ogori Kalu, MD, Director of Breast Surgery, while Karen Houck, MD, Director of Robotics, discussed reducing the risk of ovarian cancer in at-risk and high-risk women. Basil Hubbi, MD, radiologist and Chief of Breast Imaging and Intervention, talked about imaging screening in the high-risk patient, and Jonathan Keith, MD, plastic and reconstructive surgeon, discussed advances in breast reconstruction. Irving Miranda, MD, surgical resident, talked on breast cancer in young women.

Noted UH Psychiatrist to Speak at Conference

Dr. Petros Levounis
Petros Levounis, MD, MA

Petros Levounis, MD, MA, Chief of Service, Psychiatry, will head the list of speakers at the second annual Urban Mental Health conference. He will discuss Emerging Drugs of Abuse, and Motivational Interviewing. Douglas Opler, MD, UH attending psychiatrist on the consultation-liaison psychiatry service, will serve on a panel, “Practicum: Engaging the Totally Hopeless Patient.”

"Urban communities are often plagued by especially challenging addictions and mental health issues,” says Dr. Levounis. “Physicians often encounter patients with co-occurring substance use disorders but often lack specialized training. We hope this conference will bridge the gap in knowledge and increase participants’ awareness and comfort level in treating substance use disorders.”

The conference will be on Friday, November 7, from 7:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. in Rutgers NJMS,
B-556. Registration will only be accepted online through November 5. Those who complete the daylong seminar will receive CME and CEU credits.

For more information call Shri Patel at 2-0614, or patel118@njms.rutgers.edu

UH Welcomes New Reps

Marion Evans, Daniel Vargas, Jr., and Olivia Valentino-Davis
(l-r) Marion Evans, Daniel Vargas, Jr., and Olivia Valentino-Davis

Two new patient representatives have joined UH: Olivia Valentino-Davis and Marion Evans. Ms. Valentino-Davis is no stranger to UH; she has worked in the Patient Relations Department as an Administrative Coordinator and has experience working as a patient representative at East Orange General Hospital. Ms. Evans is new to UH, having worked as a patient representative at Clara Maass Medical Center. The two join Daniel Vargas in serving as members of the UH Patient Representative Team.

Don't Forget the Clothing Drive

clothing drive

You can help patients ward off the cold this winter by donating your clean, gently used clothing and shoes. The UH clothing drive is underway and donations are being accepted at the Department of Volunteer Services office, C-341, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. The only items UH cannot accept are underwear, formal attire and maternity clothes. The entire of list of items that are needed is here.

Everyone is hoping for a mild winter, but just in case Mother Nature is unkind, let’s help others be prepared.