Teens in Hospital Get New Hangout

New Teen Lounge Opens at Children’s Regional Hospital at Cooper

The Cooper Foundation, in partnership with the Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation and the Ravitz Family Foundation, today celebrated the opening of the new Teen Lounge at Children’s Regional Hospital at Cooper.

“This new Teen Lounge is designed to be a special place for our adolescent patients, where they can take a break from their hospital stay, have fun and meet others their own age who can relate to what they are going through,” said Susan Bass Levin, President and CEO of The Cooper Foundation.  “We are especially thankful to the Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation and the Ravitz Family Foundation for their generous support in making this important project a reality.”


The Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation and the Ravitz Family Foundation each donated $10,000 for the creation of the Teen Lounge, which is outfitted with a flat-screen television, comfortable couches and chairs, two computer consoles, gaming systems, board games, books and much more.

“For teens confined to a hospital, the opportunity to have fun in a well-equipped, inviting environment truly assists in the healing process,” said Gisele DiNatale, Co-founder of the Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation. “Many hospitals have playrooms that are available for younger children, but when our daughter Alicia was hospitalized, we realized that teens need a welcoming space that they can call their own.”

The Children’s Regional Hospital at Cooper treats approximately 500 adolescent patients annually, with 25 percent of those patients facing a life-threatening illness.

“We are honored to support the Teen Lounge at Cooper,” said Steve Ravitz, Chairman of the Ravitz Family Foundation. “Now teenagers being treated at Cooper have a place where they can hang out, play games and just be a kid for a while.”

In addition, Cooper’s Child Life Team will provide programming and activities geared specifically toward teenage patients.

“An essential part of providing comprehensive, family-centered health care is recognizing the importance of the environment in helping our patients feel better. That is especially important for children and teens,” said Adrienne Kirby, President and CEO, Cooper University Health Care. “We are so thankful for this new Teen Lounge because it enhances the care we provide and helps alleviate the fear and stress associated with hospitalization.”


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Cooper Among South Jersey Hospitals to Launch Collaborative to Improve Access to Behavioral Health Services

04_2015_behavorialCooper University Health Care is among the five major health systems in southern New Jersey, the New Jersey Hospital Association (NJHA) and the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers that has launched the South Jersey Behavioral Health Innovation Collaborative (SJBHIC) to evaluate the current behavioral health landscape and provide innovative recommendations on how to improve the system. The year-long project will include engaging key stakeholders, encompassing patients, families and providers in an effort to better identify the challenges they face.

In addition to Cooper, collaborative members include Inspira Health Network, Kennedy Health, Lourdes Health System, Virtua, the New Jersey Hospital Association and the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers.

The health systems first came together after the 2013 Tri-County Community Health Needs Assessment (Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties) identified greater access to mental health and substance abuse services as one of the top five health issues facing the region.

To understand the challenges in the current system, the collaborative will begin gathering data from the five participating hospitals on how patients flow through their network of providers, analyze the data and then apply evidence-based and best practices along with innovative system changes that will better serve individuals with behavioral health conditions.

“Mental illness robs individuals of both dignity and decades of life expectancy; but, unfortunately, the current system is heavily focused on those times a person is in crisis,” said Adrienne Kirby, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cooper University Health Care. “Waiting until a crisis is imminent is an ineffective way to treat a chronic health condition. We need a new approach that facilitates more proactive management of mental illness. Cooper is proud to partner with our colleagues to find new opportunities to care for these patients who need our help.”

As part of the collaborative’s learning process, the five hospital CEOs and their project teams attended a kick-off event on April 15, 2015, to hear James Schuster, MD, MBA, Chief Medical Officer for the Community Care Behavioral Health Organization, discuss his award winning and groundbreaking project, “Optimizing Behavioral Health Incomes by Focusing on Outcomes that Matter Most for Adults with Serious Mental Illness.”

Schuster’s work focuses on the successful integration of primary care and behavioral health care and the SNJBHI plans to examine his best practices to see if they can be applied to communities in southern New Jersey.

According to NJHA’s 2013 Acute Care Hospital Behavioral Health Volume Report, well over a half million patients were treated for psychiatric and substance abuse concerns and discharged back into the community. In 2013, 39 percent of the inpatient admissions from southern New Jersey residents had a primary or secondary diagnosis of behavioral health.

Between 2009 and 2013, the number of ED visits by southern New Jersey residents whose primary diagnosis was a behavioral health condition increased by 20 percent, and on average, more than 100 people a day from southern New Jersey come to EDs with behavioral health as their primary concern.

“One hospital and one clinic can’t solve this systemic behavioral health crisis, it operates at the community level. People are not getting the treatment they so desperately need,” said Jeffrey C. Brenner, MD, Director of Cooper’s Urban Health Institute and Founder and Executive Director of the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers.

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Cooper Learning Center Receives $10,000 Grant to Help Students With Reading Disabilities

The Cooper Learning Center has received a $10,000 grant from the Stan McKee Reading Foundation to provide individual learning therapy for children who have been identified in grades K, 1 and 2 as at risk for showing signs of dyslexia in the Brooklawn School District in Camden County, NJ.

“We are excited to receive the funding from the Stan McKee Foundation so that we can expand our services with the Brooklawn School District,” said Richard Selznick, PhD, Director of the Cooper Learning Center. “We have been hoping to establish a Reading Institute in Brooklawn where we could offer direct service to students at risk for dyslexia and showcase best practices. Now that we have funding, we can make it a reality and have an even greater impact.”

The funding was provided by the Stan McKee Reading Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization based in Boulder, Colorado, and established in honor of Stan McKee, a long-time grade school principal and an education/literacy professor. The goal of the organization is to provide funding for testing, intervention and effective tutoring for dyslexic students through partnerships with public and private schools.

The Cooper Learning Center was established in 1995 as part of the Department of Pediatrics at Cooper to help children who experience reading and learning disabilities. Since then, it has changed the lives of thousands of children by helping them learn to read. The program uses evidenced-based assessment and treatment methods.

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Media Statement From Cooper Regarding Prosecutor’s Report on John Sheridan 3/27/15

Our hearts are with the Sheridan family at this difficult time. Although the findings about his death and the death of Joyce are unfathomable to us, we will continue to remember John as a compassionate leader of Cooper who was committed to making positive change in Camden.

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Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome in the News

Actress Angelina Jolie recently revealed that she had surgery to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes two years after she underwent a double mastectomy to cut her cancer risk. According to Jolie, she carries a mutation of the BRCA1 gene, which sharply increases her risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Her mother was diagnosed with the latter at age 49 and died seven years later.

“Hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome (HBOC) is an inherited tendency to develop breast, ovarian and other cancers, and at a younger age than usual,” explained Generosa Grana, MD, FACP, Director of MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper. “The majority of HBOC is due to a mutation in either the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.”

These are not the only genes associated with hereditary cancer risk and a comprehensive assessment is pivotal.

Women with an inherited gene mutation have a 40 percent to 87 percent chance of developing breast cancer, compared to 12 percent of women in the general population. Women with a BRCA gene mutation also have a 10 percent to 44 percent chance of developing ovarian cancer. Men with a BRCA gene mutation are at a higher risk of developing breast and prostate cancer.

“Not everyone with the BRCA gene mutation should feel they must automatically leap to surgery,” said Dr. Grana. “The decision to proceed with surgery and the appropriate time for such will be a very individual one as it was for Ms. Jolie. However, men and women with a genetic BRCA mutation, as well as their family members, have a unique set of medical information and should consult with a physician to determine the appropriate medical care. There is an opportunity to follow specialized cancer prevention and early detection guidelines. Management plans include specific cancer screening exams, and/or preventive surgery and are tailored to each patient and their family by a team of specialists.”

A detailed family history and genetic testing are methods used to screen for the possibility of HBOC.

Further tests may be needed if the medical and family history review suggests the possibility of HBOC.

To schedule an appointment with one of the cancer specialists at MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper, call 1.855.MDA.COOPER (1.855.632.2667).

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