July 2, 2015

From the Desk of the Interim President and CEO

Nancy Hamstra

Our Healthcare Heroes

When University Hospital successfully transitioned to a standalone medical center, the employees and administrators were thinking of only one thing: continuing to seamlessly provide the best possible care to our patients.

When Dennis Boos and his team erected a special treatment center for possible Ebola patients that became a national model, he too, had only one thing on his mind: saving the lives of the patients and safeguarding the healthcare providers who would diagnose and treat them.

I’m sure no one thought of himself or herself as a hero. In fact, if you asked them, they would be the first to say they were simply doing their jobs.

Both the hospital and Dennis Boos and his team were nominated for consideration as Healthcare Heroes in the 2015 competition sponsored by NJ BIZ. We were delighted to learn that they were named finalists: UH for the Hospital of the Year, and Dennis Boos, Director of Community Training and Emergency Management, as an Innovation Hero. No, we didn’t take top prize, but it was a great honor to be among the finalists, who were recently honored at a breakfast at The Palace at Somerset Park.

Dennis Boos
Dennis Boos

Here is an excerpt from Dennis’s nomination: “The challenge the Ebola virus presented was unprecedented. The dynamic, constantly changing environment required extraordinary preparedness and vigilance, which Dennis demonstrated. His tireless efforts are that of a true healthcare hero.”

And a portion of the nomination for UH read: “Navigating the transition from 30-plus years as part of UMDNJ to a standalone medical center was a challenge and opportunity that we met with everything we had.  Our success story was unexpected by everyone except our 3,300 employees.  They became a formidable force of healthcare heroes dedicated to shaping a meaningful future, as University Hospital morphed into something new.” 

Congratulations, all.
Nancy Hamstra
Nancy Hamstra, MPA
Interim President and CEO

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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

Community Service Far and Wide

Ben Szirth, PhD, and Sumana Kommana
Ben Szirth, PhD, and Sumana Kommana, MIS 4 at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, presented a workshop on Vision Threatening Diseases at the annual Islamic Community Health Collaborative health fair in June.

Thanks to a corps of dedicated volunteers, University Hospital brings health screenings to all corners of the Greater Newark community, to schools, places of worship, festivals and street fairs. Ben Szirth, PhD, is one of the staunchest supporters of this outreach effort, and the line is always long when he and his students set up their equipment to do eye tests.

Dr. Szirth was attracted to Newark 13 year ago because he saw need and opportunity to work with the community to educate about Vision Threatening Diseases (VTD). “Many times in underserved communities we don’t see patients until they can’t see,” he explains. “The key is prevention and before that comes education.” And that has been his medical mission, not only in this city, but in Haiti, Syria, and Florida – where he’s going to Disney World.

Dr. Szirth and a group of students are off to Orlando for Fourth of July week to participate in a global gathering of children with Type 1 diabetes and their family members. The group – including the students - will pay their own way to work with some of the nearly 2,800 children who come to learn more about their disease and how to manage it. This is Dr. Szirth’s 10th year traveling to the event to help with screenings and educational sessions about diabetic retinopathy. “With early detection and treatment of the disease, significant vision loss can be avoided,” he notes. “That’s why it is so important for those with diabetes to have eye examinations every year.”

It’s also why Dr. Szirth believes that eye testing is an important addition to UH health fairs to screen for and educate about VTD, including glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration. A faculty member at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, he is Director of Teleophthalmology, a branch of telemedicine that delivers eye care through digital equipment and telecommunications technology. His dedication and enthusiasm are potent motivators for his students. “I ask a lot of time, effort and commitment,” he says. “In return, I believe that seeds are planted that will make these medical students better doctors, and they will somehow continue this commitment through their own careers.”

A Tribute to Jim Gonzalez

Donald T. DiFrancesco and James R. Gonzalez
UH Board Chairman Donald T. DiFrancesco presents James R. Gonzalez, MPH, FACHE, with a plaque for his outstanding service
Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. and James R. Gonzalez
Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10th District) with Mr. Gonzalez

At the special meeting of the UH Board of Directors on June 29, Chairman Donald T. DiFrancesco presented James R. Gonzalez, MPH, FACHE, with a plaque recognizing Mr. Gonzalez’ contribution to the hospital. It read: The UH Board of Directors and Staff acknowledge with gratitude, James R. Gonzalez, MPH, FACHE, for his example of leadership, his enduring commitment and his legacy of service to University Hospital. Serving as President and CEO, 2011-2015.

Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10th District), arrived for a personal tribute to Mr. Gonzalez and to present him with a flag that had flown over the Capitol Building in Washington. In addition, Mr. Gonzalez received a Joint Resolution from the New Jersey Legislature sponsored by Senator Ronald Rice, Assemblywoman Cleopatra Tucker and Assemblyman Ralph Caputo; a Commendation from the Essex County Freeholder Board sponsored by Freeholder Vice President Brendan Gill; a Proclamation from Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and a Resolution from the Newark Municipal Council.

Mr. Gonzalez is President and CEO of Broadway House for Continuing Care in Newark, an affiliate of University Hospital.

UH Goes to Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park Music Festival

Part of UH’s mission is to care for the community in which it resides. We will be doing exactly that at the 2015 Lincoln Park Music Festival’s Sustainable Health and Wellness Village. Hospital and RBHS volunteers will provide information on a variety of healthcare topics, including asthma and diabetes management, and will perform blood pressure, HIV, cholesterol, diabetes and eye screenings. Clinical breast exams will be available, and there will be mental health education sessions.

The festival, which begins on Friday, July 24, and runs through Sunday July 26, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., is free and open to the public. On Friday there will be a special Senior’s Village with health screenings and information tailored to that age group.

For more information go to: http://lpccd.org/arts-culture/music-fest/

Mark the Date and Donate

Lincoln Park Music Festival

Next Thursday, July 9, there will be another blood drive in the B-Level Grand Foyer of the MSB, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. If you were unable to get to the blood drive that was held a few weeks ago, this is your chance. Every donor will receive two free tickets to a Mets home game at Citi Field.

To make an appointment go to http://tinyurl.com/uh-rbhs or call 1-800-933-BLOOD (25663). Walks-ins are always welcome.