| / Our Champions
The impact on the health of the communities we serve is greatly enhanced by the level of philanthropic support we receive, made possible by the generosity of community-minded citizens who have decided to make a difference. This commitment is reflected by the programs we offer ranging from access to care for the medically underserved to management services for the chronically ill. Some of our most important outreach activities and programs are critical to the communities we serve and at the core of our goals as a health system.
Gratitude showcases inspiring stories of supporters whose gifts help further our mission.
Summer 2014 Fall 2013
The Leon Lowenstein Foundation and the Bendheim Family
In every sense, the Leon Lowenstein Foundation, with support from the Bendheim family, exemplifies a legacy of giving to help the community. For over seventy years, the North Shore-LIJ Health System has been fortunate to have the Leon Lowenstein Foundation and Bendheim family’s compassionate, dedicated support as witnessed by the many areas, programs and buildings bearing their name.
At its core, the Lowenstein Foundation is driven by a mission of purpose and passion. Their legacy of giving began in 1941 with a gift made by the late Leon Lowenstein, who was an early benefactor of The Zucker Hillside Hospital (formerly known as Hillside Hospital). Mr. Lowenstein, Chairman and CEO of the M. Lowenstein Corporation, an international Fortune 500 textile company, served as the President of the Foundation since its creation in 1941 until 1976. John M. Bendheim and the late Robert Bendheim, Mr. Lowenstein’s nephews, served as successor trustees of the Foundation with Robert serving as President until 2007, when John’s four children, John Jr., Joanna, Andrew and Tom and Robert’s two children Kim and Lynn assumed leadership. Over the past three decades, the Bendheim family has upheld Mr. Lowenstein’s legacy by providing leadership support for many important initiatives at the North Shore-LIJ Health System.
The Foundation’s most recent gift supported the renovation of one of two pediatric intensive care units (PICUs) at Cohen Children’s Medical Center. In recognition of their gift, the hospital named the PICU for the Leon Lowenstein Foundation and in honor of John M. Bendheim and his late wife, Maxine.
“Our family is proud to support this new facility that will take care of children who have the most complex and serious illnesses,” said Mr. Bendheim. “Through this new unit, we can sustain my family’s values and honor their long history of devotion to the North Shore-LIJ Health System.”
The renovation project involved a comprehensive redesign with a bright, cheerful motif, conducive to comfort and healing. Improvements include a family lounge with an openness that warmly welcomes family members and brings a much-needed respite from the bedside. The new unit also has greater privacy and comfort for children and their families; each room is equipped with a sleep sofa for parents, a wardrobe for patient/family belongings, and other amenities. The private rooms allow for parents to stay comfortably by their child’s bedside, upholding Cohen Children’s philosophy that the entire family should receive care when a child is critically ill. This approach helps the recovery and emotional well-being of children and their families.
For one family, the improvements provided a sense of comfort and security at a very scary time. “At three days old, my son was rushed to Cohen Children’s, where emergency heart surgery was performed,” shares one mom. “My husband and I were distraught, confused and overwhelmed but were comforted by his post-operative treatment in the PICU. It provided the exemplary care when we needed it the most.”
“Now, more than 30 years after its last face-lift, the newly renovated PICU permits our remarkable physicians, nurses and other members of the interdisciplinary team to deliver care in a unit that is state-of-the-art in terms of design, operations and technology,” said Peter Silver, MD, Chief of Pediatric Critical Care at Cohen Children’s. “The Leon Lowenstein Foundation and the Bendheim family’s leadership have had an incalculable impact on the success of the health system. Their extraordinary philanthropy helps us live up to our commitment to redefine the standard of healthcare.”
Mr. Bendheim has been a dedicated member of the North Shore-LIJ community since the 1980s, serving as a trustee and now, a lifelong trustee. He built a lasting legacy at the health system in 1985 that established the John M. Bendheim Endowed Child Psychiatry Fellowship to advance child and adolescent psychiatry and help train psychiatry residents, currently held by Christoph Correll, MD, Medical Director of the Recognition and Prevention Program (RAP) at The Zucker Hillside Hospital.
For more than seven decades, the Leon Lowenstein Foundation and Bendheim family has have made gifts in support of many transformational projects, which include among them donations to help establish a new ambulatory care and adolescent pavilion at The Zucker Hillside Hospital and an endowed endoscopy suite at Cohen Children’s.
The Michael J. Fox Foundation Supports Novel Parkinson’s Study
A three-year, $568,941.07 grant from The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research has allowed The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research to launch a groundbreaking new research study focused on identifying potential biomarkers for Parkinson’s disease (PD). Biomarkers are critical for identifying and tracking the onset and progression of PD, ultimately leading to better preventive therapies and improved disease management for patients.
The study is highly innovative in its use of two imaging technologies—positron emission tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)—to measure the activity of brain networks in patients with PD. The study will compare the effectiveness of each technique in detecting which circuits become activated in PD, as well as the network-level responses that occur in the brain during treatment. In this way, novel applications of brain imaging technology will enable identification of neural biomarkers of early-stage disease and will open the door to early intervention.
Spearheading this cutting-edge study is David Eidelberg, MD, Director of the Center for Neurosciences and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Morris K. Udall Center of Excellence for Parkinson’s Disease Research at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research. Dr. Eidelberg is widely known for his pioneering work using functional imaging and network modeling to measure alterations in neural systems that occur in brain disease. “The generosity of The Michael J. Fox Foundation is not only providing the resources to help support this work,” said Dr. Eidelberg. “It is elevating the prominence of new approaches to discovering reliable biomarkers to help diagnose Parkinson’s disease earlier than ever before. This will also enable physicians to intervene before substantial progression has taken place."
Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder, with 50,000-60,000 new cases diagnosed each year, adding to the one million people who currently have PD in the United States. Today, treatment for those who suffer from Parkinson’s only temporarily alleviates symptoms.
The Ross Family
Young patients at Cohen Children’s Medical Center will now have the chance to play and learn from their bedside, even though hospitalized, because of the generous donation made by Billie and George Ross.
Their most recent donation supports an interactive patient system for pediatrics, called P-care that is geared to meet the unique needs of young patients and their families. Available in all rooms, the system features a lively, engaging interface of educational programs about common health conditions, like pneumonia and asthma, presented by animated characters that children can relate to. A family of a young patient shared, “P-care helps explain information in a simple, fun way that my daughter not only understands, but enjoys watching!” Patients also have access to age-appropriate movies, TV shows, games and the internet. As functional as it is fun, patients and caregivers can also make special requests right from the bedside.
“P-care has been a wonderful addition to the support services we provide to our young patients and families,” said AnnMarie DiFrancesca, Director, Child Life and Creative Art Therapies Program at Cohen Children’s Medical Center. “Our patients are better able to understand the hospital environment, while enjoying movies, gaming, educational and relaxation videos.”
Over the years, Mr. and Mrs. Ross have funded some of the most advanced lifesaving technology and quality of life programs for the children in this region, including the purchase of a Bronchotron, a portable ventilator used to transport babies with severe respiratory problems, funding of the Neonatal Stabilization Unit and the renovation of the Radiology Comfort Care Room.
AnnMarie remarked, “We are extremely grateful for the support of the Billie and George Ross Foundation for making this service available to our young patients and families. It allows kids to be kids even while they are in the hospital. That in itself is huge.”
Barbash Family Endowed Chair
Two cases of exceptional care have inspired a family to endow a chair in North Shore-LIJ’s Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery. Alan Hartman, MD, chair of cardiothoracic surgery, is the first chair holder.
The Barbash family’s support was in recognition of the extraordinary care provided to Lillian and the late Murray Barbash by Dr. Hartman at Southside Hospital. Over the past 15 years, Dr. Hartman performed aortic valve replacement and double bypass surgery on Mr. Barbash, who remained an active skier and sailor until he was 88 years old. In fact, Mr. Barbash would send post cards to Dr. Hartman every year from whatever black diamond ski slopes he was conquering.
Dr. Hartman also performed double bypass surgery on Mrs. Barbash, 86, in May 2010. She, too, remains extremely active and very involved in the local community.
Prior to his death, Mr. Barbash reaffirmed his wish to establish the endowed chair bearing Dr. Hartman’s name. Mrs. Barbash says that she and her husband were “inspired by Dr. Hartman, who is a great surgeon and human being.” Following the announcement at the Southside Hospital’s 2013 Gala on October 26, Dr. Hartman expressed his gratitude for the philanthropic support that will allow him to advance his work. “I am humbled by this recognition from Lillian and the late Murray Barbash,” he said. “It takes special people like the Barbash family to create this kind of legacy.”
“It’s important to give back to an organization that helps other people,” state the Erlichs, who have supported North Shore-LIJ for the last 10 years. Barbara and Scott Erlich sought care for all of three of their children at Cohen Children’s Medical Center (CCMC). Their relationship with CCMC became even more important, when their son David was a freshman in high school and fractured his left femur during a sledding accident.
The Florina Rusi-Marke Cancer Foundation was created as a way to honor the memory of Florina, who lived her life with optimism and full of energy until she lost her battle with breast cancer in 2003. Over the past five years the foundation has been able to carry on her legacy through its support of the cancer services at Staten Island University Hospital. These funds support programs that provide a relaxing and inviting environment for patients during treatment.
The memory of Richard Mark Smith lives on thanks to his exceptionally caring family and friends, who established the Richard Mark Smith Fund to support the LIJ Ambulatory Chemotherapy and Transfusion Unit (ACT), under the direction of Dr. Kanti Rai, Chief, CLL Research and Treatment Program.
For more than 50 years, the Joel Finkelstein Cancer Foundation (JFCF) has been one of North Shore-LIJ’s most dedicated partners, making major investments in primary facilities, technology, and research. Over its impressive history, JFCF has raised significant funds through special events and other initiatives, rallying the community and making a difference. .