Montefiore Doing More Logo
November 5, 2018


Operation IDD Gene Team, a revolutionary initiative between the Rose F. Kennedy Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (IDDRC) and Children's Hospital at Montefiore (CHAM), has resulted in groundbreaking research for rare genetic diseases that cause intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Gene Team's mission is to advance the study of rare diseases while providing education and support for families, who often feel alone and at a loss for information. When genetic testing reveals a patient's rare genetic disorder, a request is sent to the nearly 100 IDDRC members, which include faculty at Einstein and Montefiore, seeking researchers interested in working with the particular gene. The process results in formation of multidisciplinary teams of scientists and clinicians, each bringing unique perspectives to study and develop treatments for these rare diseases.

The Gene Team organizes informative sessions to share with parents what is known about the involved gene and how research advances about specific diseases could best be achieved. In one instance, the team brought together families from around the world who were affected by a rare disease, along with internationallyrenowned physicians and scientists for a think-tank meeting to share information, research and experiences. "Families see that somebody really cares," says Melissa Wasserstein, MD, Chief, Pediatric Genetic Medicine, CHAM, and Associate Professor, Pediatrics, Einstein. "They feel like a whole team is behind them and going the whole nine yards to help their child."

Discover more at


Montefiore-Einstein has received a $3.3 million federal grant to establish New York's only Learning Health System (LHS) Center of Excellence. EXPLORE will be one of only 11 such centers in the nation training diverse teams to accelerate advances in quality across the system to benefit patients. Initiatives will include improving sepsis care and enhancing patient transfer from acute care to skilled nursing facilities, among others.

In recent years, a multidisciplinary group of Einstein and Montefiore researchers and clinicians have coalesced around the LHS approach. Breaking down technical and operational barriers, using artificial intelligence, and leveraging skills across a range of disciplines, they have improved care and, most importantly, saved lives.

"This grant validates our leadership in the field and our ability to apply academic rigor to this approach, not only by providing training, but making our findings generalizable, thereby helping patients around the country," says Diane McKee, MD, co–principal investigator on the grant, Professor, Family and Social Medicine, Einstein, and Family Physician, Montefiore. Dr. McKee will co-lead EXPLORE with Michael Rinke, MD, PhD, Associate Professor, Pediatrics, and Chinazo Cunningham, MD, MS, Associate Chief, Internal Medicine, Montefiore and Einstein.

EXPLORE is seeking applicants—from physicians and nurses to pharmacists and data scientists—who have a demonstrated interest and background in quality improvement. Visit for details or to apply.


The exciting new YES Gallery will host its grand opening on November 7 in the corridor just off the Moses main lobby. Montefiore's Child Outpatient Psychiatry Division and Montefiore's Fine Art Program teamed up to create the gallery as a rotating exhibition space for the Youth Empowerment Series (YES). Each project invites a professional artist to lend their expertise to young people engaged in an ongoing series of group reflection, communication and art projects, as they learn how to practice mindfulness and make positive choices when facing challenges or mental health issues.

The YES Gallery is the result of a collaboration between Jenny Seham, PhD, Clinical Director of Montefiore's Arts and Integrative Medicine Program (AIM) in Psychiatry, and Olivia Davis, Curator for the Fine Art Program and Collection at Montefiore. This past summer the AIM program held its first YES three-week art intensive with 12 children and local Bronx artist Lady K Fever. Together they created paintings and sketches of incredible quality and power.

The grand opening of the YES Gallery on November 7, from 3:30 to 5:30 PM, will feature 12 works, interactive performances by the teen artists, and opening remarks. They will be joined by Jonathan Alpert, MD, PhD, Chair, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Professor, Psychiatry, Neurosciences and Pediatrics, and Peter Semczuk, DDS, MPH, Senior Vice President and Executive Director, Moses Campus.




Montefiore is the first hospital in the Bronx offering a nonsurgical weight loss procedure for people with mild to moderate obesity. This provides a new option for adults with a body mass index (BMI) between 30 and 40, for whom diet and exercise have not been successful; the procedure is a less invasive alternative to bariatric surgery. "It really benefits patients who are obese but not obese enough to warrant surgery," says Sammy Ho, MD, Director, Pancreaticobiliary Services and Endoscopic Ultrasound, Montefiore.

A dual balloon is placed in the stomach during an outpatient procedure that typically takes 20 minutes using conscious sedation (light anesthesia). It is inflated with saline, causing patients to feel full and less hungry. The balloon remains in place for six months, during which time patients have the option to receive daily diet and exercise coaching to encourage new habits and lasting results.

As part of the launch of this new procedure, Montefiore's Division of Gastroenterology will be offering six free procedures to Montefiore and Einstein associates. If you are interested, please contact Anthony Spina, NP, at


CHIME Names Montefiore One of Healthcare's Most Wired

Montefiore has been named one of CHIME Healthcare's Most Wired for 2018, continuing a record of high ratings for healthcare IT. The CHIME industry honor highlights Montefiore's ongoing commitment to innovation, infrastructure, cyber security and improved patient care.

"Our clinicians are dependent upon our integrated clinical and financial platforms," says Jack Wolf, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Montefiore Health System. "It is of paramount importance that we remain at the forefront, as technology allows for scalability to meet our growth, and continues to be a driver helping to shape the future of patient care."

Dr. Juan Rocca Receives Prestigious EL Award
Juan Rocca, MD, Transplant Surgeon, Montefiore, has received El Diario's 2018 EL Award for dedication to the Latino community. A member of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons and the New York Center for Kidney Transplantation, Dr. Rocca is dedicated to providing his patients the best treatments available for terminal liver illnesses and diseases.

Dr. T. S. Dharmarajan elected to Fellowship of the Royal College of Edinburgh
T. S. Dharmarajan, MD, MACP, AGSF, Vice Chair, Medicine, and Clinical Director, Geriatrics, Wakefield Campus, has been nominated for election to Fellowship of the Royal College of Edinburgh. He will be honored in November 2018 in Edinburgh, United Kingdom.




Researchers at Montefiore Medical Center are conducting a study in women with breast fibroadenomas which require treatment. Fibroadenomas are benign (noncancerous) breast tumors (lumps). This research will study an experimental device (Echopulse System) which provides high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) ablation of soft tissue. This treatment is an alternative to open surgical removal of fibroadenomas.

To take part you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have been diagnosed with having fibroadenomas in the breast and currently have at least one fibroadenoma in the breast
  • Meet all other eligibility criteria, which the research team will discuss with you.

You may not participate in this study if you:

  • Have calcified fibroadenomas in your breast
  • Have a history of breast cancer
  • Have breast implants
  • Have participated in another investigational drug or device study

Reimbursement or compensation for participating will not be provided.

Call Magdalena Mamczur-Madry at 718-920-3576 or email to learn more.



Children's Hospital at Montefiore (CHAM) was the first and only children's hospital in New York to partner with Reimagine End of Life in the Reimagine Week event, a citywide exploration of death and celebration of life. On October 27, the theme of remembrance was expressed in a moving memorial created by Montefiore associates and families as they transformed the Moses West Garden and CHAM Lobby with stars representing our children who have died. "This event is just one of the ways we help families honor and remember their children," says Sarah Norris, MD, Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Pediatrics, Pediatrics–Critical Care Medicine.

For more information on Reimagine End of Life, visit




November is Diabetes Awareness Month.
Visit to learn more about events close to you.


Wednesday, December 19 | 6:00 – 11:00 PM
The Marina Del Ray
One Marina Drive, Bronx, New York 10465

$45 Associates/$75 Guests (cash only)

More information to follow with campus contacts to purchase tickets. For other questions, call Nancy Pecorelli at 718-920-8368.

Published by the Department of Marketing and Communications. Please email story ideas to the Department of Marketing and Communications at Update is produced for Montefiore associates to keep them apprised of Montefiore news, events, clinical innovations, research and recognitions.