FHMC Receives the First Green Your Cuisine Grant

Submitted by: Laura Wang, RD, CDN, CLC Women’s Health Dietitian, Flushing Hospital

Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Food & Nutrition Department was a recipient of the first Green Your Cuisine grant from The Fund for Public Health in New York City.

The grant was created to encourage healthy eating through nutrition education and cooking demonstrations.

The hospital earned the grant as a result of its hard work in implementing many community outreach initiatives which include a series of seminars and workshops.

These events were held at local libraries, schools and various community centers throughout Flushing and Corona. Flushing Hospital Registered Dietitians Marsha Sommervil and Laura Wang educated the community about ways to incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables into their daily diet.  Cooking demonstrations were also conducted where participants learned how to prepare healthy and delicious meals.

During each event, guests received Health Bucks which are $2 vouchers that can be used at New York City Green Markets to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. The vouchers are a provision of the Green Your Cuisine grant.

The Food and Nutrition Department’s workshops have been widely successful. Participants have shown great appreciation for what they learned and have verbalized that they now have the knowledge needed to make healthy eating a part of their daily routines.


Flushing Hospital Recognized as a Bariatric Center of Excellence

Patients seeking surgical treatment for severe obesity and its related conditions now have a high-quality choice for receiving treatment at a nationally accredited program that meets the highest standards for patient safety and quality of care, close to home.

Flushing Hospital Medical Center (FHMC) announced its Bariatric Surgical Center has been accredited as a Comprehensive Center under the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP®), a joint program of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).  There are only 16 centers that have achieved this accreditation in New York City.

According to Sanjeev Rajpal MD, Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Director at Flushing Hospital, “To earn the prestigious designation, the hospital met essential criteria for staffing, training and facility infrastructure and protocols for care, ensuring its ability to support patients with severe obesity.”  As part of its commitment to quality assurance, Flushing Hospital participates in a national data registry that yields semiannual reports on the quality of its processes and outcomes, identifying opportunities for continuous quality improvement.

The Flushing Hospital Bariatric Surgical Center opened in 2014 and has performed over 200 bariatric [weight loss surgery] procedures with outstanding outcomes.   The center upholds the MBSAQIP standards by offering patients a high quality, multidisciplinary program that includes surgical and non- surgical interventions aimed to improve long-term, weight loss success.

In the United States, around 15.5 million people suffer from severe obesity, according to the National Institutes of Health.  Obesity increases the risks of morbidity and mortality because of the diseases and conditions that are commonly associated with it, such as type II diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. Metabolic and bariatric surgical procedures have proven to be effective in the reduction of comorbid conditions related to severe obesity.

Flushing Hospital offers a variety of weight-loss surgery procedures, based on the specific needs of their patients.  Surgical options including Gastric Bypass, Lap Band, Sleeve Gastrectomy and Gastric Revisions are performed by a highly trained team of surgeons, led by Rajpal, using minimally invasive techniques and in some cases, the aid of the highly advanced da Vinci Robotic Surgical Platform.

The multidisciplinary team at Flushing Hospital’s Bariatric Surgical Center also provides many compassionately delivered services to help patients succeed in every step of their weight loss surgery. The Center offers close physician monitoring, pre and post-surgical psychological evaluations, personalized diet and nutritional counseling as well as ongoing education and support groups.

For more information about the Bariatric Surgery Services at Flushing Hospital or procedures performed by our doctors, please call 718-670-8908.

Twice the Blessings and Honor

Baby Girl Shirin

The birth of the first baby in the New Year is one of the most anticipated and celebrated moments across New York City.  To receive the recognition as the hospital to deliver the City’s first baby is one that garners great pride.

Flushing Hospital Medical Center is proud to announce that it has had the distinguished honor of delivering the first baby born in New York City in 2018. “It’s an absolute thrill to have the honor of being the hospital where the first baby of the New Year is born,” stated Public Affairs spokesperson Dr. Andrew Rubin.

On Monday, January 1st at 12:01 a.m., the hospital’s labor and delivery team welcomed baby girl Kazi Ariana Shirin.  As reported, the bouncing baby arrived a few days earlier than her anticipated due date to ring in the New Year.  Ariana’s parents Tania and Nazir were grateful to the staff for ensuring the safe and successful delivery of their first-born child.  The baby’s father told New York Daily News reporters, the baby’s birth “Was a big celebration. All the nurses, doctors, they cooperated. And we were so amazed because we feel very special.” (Full Daily News article http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/queens/baby-2018-born-flushing-hospital-queens-article-1.3731089)

The joy of baby Shirin’s birth felt familiar to several members of the team because it was only last year that Flushing Hospital celebrated the delivery of baby boy Nathan Peralta; who also nabbed the title of New York City’s First Baby. He was born at 12:08 a.m.

Baby Girl Bari

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center rang in 2018 by celebrating its first birth for the New Year at 1:08 a.m.  Baby girl Bari arrived safely thanks to the hospital’s labor and delivery team, who worked tirelessly to ensure a positive outcome.  The baby’s mother Fatima and grandmother Indranie shared this statement with the community, “A special thank you to all the doctors and nurses at Jamaica Hospital for all you have done to welcome my little angel into this world, safely. You are the best.”

Congratulations to the families on their newest additions. We wish them a lifetime of happiness.   Our congratulations also go to the staff at Flushing and Jamaica Hospital that assisted with these special deliveries. Your hard work and commitment to patient safety are greatly appreciated by all.



Congratulations to This Month’s GEMS

Every month, employees at Jamaica Hospital who go above and beyond to help coworkers, patients and visitors are nominated for the G.E.M award.

G.E.M stands for Going the Extra Mile and recipients are recognized for their hard work, team spirit, kindness, and professionalism.

This month’s G.E.M award goes to the MediSys Disaster Relief team which includes staff from Jamaica and Flushing Hospital Medical Center. Each team member was recognized for their volunteer efforts in providing medical and humanitarian aid to people living in Puerto Rico affected by Hurricane Maria.

Flushing Hospital Promotes the Great American Smokeout

Last month, Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Smoking Cessation Team joined with the American Cancer Society and participated in The Great American Smokeout.

The American Cancer Society encourages everyone to take part in the nationwide event which helps to make people aware of the dangers of using tobacco products as well as the tools that are available to help them quit smoking.

The Smoking Cessation Team hosted an informational table in the hospital’s lobby. Visitors and employees were given information on the best ways to quit and the reasons why quitting is beneficial to their health.

Smoking cigarettes affect many aspects of health. Tobacco smoke contains about 7000 chemicals, including low concentrations of such strong poisons as ammonia, cyanide, arsenic and formaldehyde.  It also contains 69 carcinogens – substances that are known to cause cancers in humans. Direct association has been established between smoking and cancers of the lung, mouth, nose, throat, larynx, esophagus, colon and rectum, stomach, pancreas, cervix, bladder, kidney and blood.

Flushing Hospital’s Smoking Cessation Team strongly encouraged smokers who stopped by the table to quit, so that they can avoid or minimize the negative effects smoking could have on their health. They also educated smokers about the hospital’s Freedom from Smoking Program and shared the following tips to help them quit smoking:

  • Get ready: set a quit date and throw out all cigarettes and ashtrays from your home.
  • Get support: tell your family, friends and doctor about quitting plan. You can also search the internet for support groups.
  • Learn new behaviors: distract yourself from the urge to smoke by doing physical activities- Exercise or go for a walk.
  • Get medication: combining medication like nicotine patches or Zyban with behavioral adaptation and family support quadruples your chances of success.
  • Be prepared for relapse and difficult situations- most people try to quit a few times before succeeding.

If you would like to learn more about quitting smoking call the Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Smoking Cessation Team at 718-670-3146.

Jamaica Hospital’s 126th Anniversary Rainbow Ball

On November 18, 2017, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center celebrated the important milestone of serving the community for 126 years.  The momentous occasion was commemorated at the hospital’s annual Rainbow Ball dinner- dance and fundraiser which took place at Citi Field. Over 500 guests were in attendance.


The Rainbow Ball is an opportunity for supporters of Jamaica Hospital to celebrate its accomplishments and raise funds for future projects.  Guests of honor are recognized each year for their dedication to the hospital. This year’s honorees were  Charles E. Callahan III; President of Plaza College and Thomas K. Rudzewick; President and Chief Executive Officer of Maspeth Federal Savings.

Hospital President and CEO Bruce J. Flanz commenced the evening by welcoming everyone and noting some of the hospital’s many accomplishments achieved in 2017.

For the remainder of the evening, guests enjoyed a delicious spread of food and desserts and danced to a live band.  The fun carried on during the raffle and grand prize drawing where contestants won trips, gift cards, and electronics.

In all the 126th Anniversary Rainbow Ball was a great success and we thank those who continue to support Jamaica Hospital in our endeavors.



Queens Welcomes Home the MediSys Disaster Relief Team

On Wednesday, November 15th, the MediSys Disaster Medical Response Team (DMRT) returned from their mission to Puerto Rico. The team flew home on a chartered aircraft and was met on the tarmac at Newark Airport by a MediSys welcoming committee who embraced them with handshakes and hugs.

The following Friday, each member of the DMRT attended a debriefing meeting where they discussed their experiences and missions they supported while on the island.

Later on that day, a welcome home reception and luncheon was held in their honor.  In attendance were Bruce Flanz, President of the MediSys Health Network; Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Mark Marino, MediSys Health Network Director of Pre-Hospital Care, as well as other key staff members.

At the event, each member of the DMRT was recognized for their humanitarian and volunteer efforts.  They were presented with three certificates of appreciation in recognition of their acts of compassion from the MediSys Health Network, the Hospital Association of New York State (HANYS) and the Borough President Melinda Katz.

The special moment was captured by several members of the media who photographed and interviewed the team about their experience on the island and helping the people of Puerto Rico.

You can read and view a few of those interviews here:








Jamaica Hospital Participates in American Hospital Association Webinar

Mr. Bruce J. Flanz, Chief Executive Officer of MediSys Health Network and Dr. Sabiha Raoof, Chair of Radiology and Chief Medical Officer at Jamaica and Flushing Hospitals were special guest presenters in a Physician Leadership Forum webinar sponsored by the American Hospital Association. This webinar was entitled “When the Radiologist Becomes the Patient: Radiologists as Hospital Change Agents”.

Mr. Flanz and Dr. Raoof spoke about the diversity of the patients that are seen at both Jamaica and Flushing Hospitals and how important it is to overcome challenges to meet their needs medically, culturally and linguistically. Dr. Raoof stated, “our strength lies in being able to offer culturally competent services through our diverse staff that understands the specific needs of our patients”.

Mr. Flanz expressed that cultural sensitivity is only one aspect of delivering high-quality care. He continued by stating “our network is transforming on several fronts. We are moving from quantity to quality, from inpatient to outpatient, from fee for service to value-based payment and from physician focused care to patient and family-centered engaged care”.

Dr. Raoof then spoke about how she learned first-hand what the patient experience is all about while she was a patient, and how important it is to communicate with the patient in order to make them feel comfortable  and to become more participatory in their care. Her experience led her to the “Make A Difference (MAD)” program which focuses on communicating better with our patients.

Dr. Raoof also provided a departmental perspective on how she and her staff are following the American College of Radiology’s Imaging 3.0 roadmap to provide patient-focused high-quality care.  Radiologists in her department are becoming more involved with patient care and seeking to improve the overall patient experience. This is being accomplished by being involved from the outset of the medical team’s plan of action.

Radiologists are no longer just interpreting scans and films. They are actually getting involved with the other clinicians who are consulting on which radiologic exams are necessary and how their results should be interpreted. Additionally, the Radiology Department uses an app called “Rate My Hospital” where patients are asked to provide feedback so that we can see how we are performing. All of these tools are focused on improving the patient’s experience and ultimately their care.

Mr. Flanz stated “Our greatest asset is our workforce. If we keep our workforce focused on three main priorities, taking care of their health, their families and then their work, they will perform very well. Transformational change at a safety net hospital will only take place if the workforce is reaching their individual potential. With continued hard work I have no doubt that we can reach our goal of becoming a high-reliability organization”.


Flushing Hospital Medical Center (FHMC) is proud to introduce Schwartz Rounds®. This program provides a forum and supportive environment for caregivers to discuss the human side of healthcare and the challenging emotional and psychosocial issues they face when caring for patients and families.

The Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare was created more than 20 years ago by Ken Schwartz, a healthcare attorney who died of lung cancer at age 40. Writing about his experience, he explained that what made “the unbearable bearable” was the compassion shown by his doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals. The Center’s vision is that “all patients receive compassionate care and all health professionals are supported in providing it”.

The Schwartz Rounds program is a result of this vision and is now implemented in close to 500 healthcare organizations in the US, UK and Canada—helping more than 200,000 health professionals to provide compassionate care to millions of patients.

“Participating in Schwarz Rounds gives us an opportunity to focus on the caregiver.  As medical professionals, we spend so much time taking care of others, we often forget that we also need to be taken care of,” stated Catherine Ferrari, RN, Administrator for Professional Services at FHMC.

At FHMC, Schwartz Rounds are coordinated by Planning Committee members: Catherine Ferrari, RN, Administrator for Professional Services; Rubin Silvestre, RN, Chief Nursing Officer;  Maria Smilios, RN, Director of Nursing; Margaret Belony, RN, Clinical Nurse Specialist; Dr. Lucan Rodrigues, Director Palliative Care; Arlene Burke, RN, Nursing Supervisor; Patricia Boucher, RN, Nurse Manager and Denise James, RN, Director, Case Management.

Rounds are offered bi-monthly where participants from multiple clinical and administrative disciplines attend a one-hour, case-based, interactive discussion. Each session begins with a brief introductory presentation of a case that includes a panel of health care team members who cared for the patient.  This presentation focuses on the psychosocial themes in caring for this patient and family. Audience members and the panel participate in a facilitated group discussion. Those who have had interactions with the patient or have had similar experiences contribute to the discussion.

The first Schwartz Rounds at FHMC took place in October and the second one is scheduled for January 2018. At the first session, an audience of over 200 individuals attended from all areas of the hospital. The results were overwhelmingly positive with the majority of participants stating that after the “Rounds” they had a better sense of belonging to a team, a new appreciation for their colleagues of other disciplines, more compassion for patients and families, as well as, new ideas and strategies for dealing with challenging situations.


Jamaica Hospital’s Cardiology Department Recognized as Leader in Heart Health

Jamaica Hospital’s Department of Cardiology has been recognized as being a leader in the treatment of heart patients.

The hospital recently received the Silver Performance Achievement Award from the Action Registry, which was established by the American College of Cardiology. This award recognizes Jamaica Hospital’s success in implementing a higher standard of care for heart attack patients by meeting aggressive performance measures as outlined by the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) clinical guidelines and recommendations.

The  Action Registry also acknowledges Jamaica Hospital’s team-based approach to consistently treat heart attack patients while adhering to national standards of care specifically with high-risk heart attack patients.

This achievement was published in U.S. News and World Report’s 2018 Best Hospital’s edition. The article lists every hospital across the nation to receive this honor, and it is with great pride that we boast that Jamaica Hospital was one of only three hospitals in New York City, and the only hospital in Queens to receive an achievement award from the Action Registry.

In addition to this honor, Jamaica Hospital’s Cardiology Department received the 2017 Get with the Guidelines Heart Failure Bronze Award. The award was given to the hospital by the American Heart Association and it demonstrates our commitment to treating heart failure patients with 85% or higher compliance to core standard levels of care as outlined by the American Heart Association for 90 consecutive days.

Both awards are reflective of the hard work and dedication of the hospital staff in caring for some of our most critically ill patients. Congratulations to all on a job well done.