HackensackUMC Named Certified Scleroderma Center by Scleroderma Foundation

September 29, 2014 05:03 PM

The Pediatric Rheumatology & Immunology section at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital, Hackensack University Medical Center (HackensackUMC) has been named a certified Scleroderma Center by the Scleroderma Foundation.  HackensackUMC qualified for the designation with the following criteria:

-Demonstrates expertise in scleroderma including research

-Conducts clinical trials in scleroderma

-Conducts educational activities about scleroderma, and provide information about the advances in the care and treatment of patients with scleroderma to healthcare professionals and the public

“We are honored and delighted to receive this designation and to continue to work towards improving the outcome of pediatric patients with scleroderma,” said Suzanne Li, M.D., Ph.D., the pediatric rheumatologist at HackensackUMC who has led national and international scleroderma studies.  “We have great collaboration among all our physicians, including pediatric rheumatologists, dermatologists, and radiologists, who are focused on providing excellent care for these patients.”

All institutions designated as a center have been reviewed by the Scleroderma Foundation's Medical Advisory Board to ensure patients are provided with resources about diagnosis, care, and research. HackensackUMC has demonstrated diagnostic and clinical research expertise in Scleroderma.   The Center sees patients up to age 22 who have juvenile localized scleroderma (such as circumscribed morphea, linear scleroderma, as well as other subtypes), systemic sclerosis, and other sclerosing diseases. 

A major focus for the Center has been to evaluate and establish standardized ways to assess the presence and activity of juvenile localized scleroderma (jLS), which can be very difficult to document and assess from visit to visit.  Dr. Melissa Liebling, a pediatric radiologist, and Dr. Li have worked to develop ultrasound as a tool for jLS. Ultrasound can detect signs of activity in the tissues underlying the skin lesion, which can improve the evaluation and monitoring of patients.  Dr. Li is now chair of the Scleroderma, Vasculitis & Rare Diseases research committee of the Childhood Arthritis & Rheumatology Research Alliance (CARRA), which is the pediatric rheumatology research network for the U.S. and Canada, with over 100 sites and more than 400 pediatric rheumatologist members (>95% of such specialists in North America). Dr. Li has co-led work to develop standardized treatment regimens for jLS for CARRA and is currently conducting a multi-center pilot study to conduct jLS comparative effectiveness studies of the treatment regimens. She is working with other pediatric rheumatologists in the US on developing standardized regimens and tools for juvenile systemic sclerosis.

The Scleroderma Center at HackensackUMC includes the following pediatric rheumatologists: Suzanne Li, M.D., Ph.D.; Kathleen Haines, M.D.; Yukiko Kimura, M.D.; Ginger Janow, M.D.; and Jennifer Weiss, M.D.; pediatric dermatologists: Helen Shin, M.D.; and Emily Berger, M.D.; and pediatric radiologists: Melissa Liebling, M.D.; and Michael McGuire, M.D.

Scleroderma is a chronic connective tissue disease in which the immune system causes inflammation in the skin. The inflammation triggers connective tissue cells to produce too much collagen, which results in the skin becoming tighter and loss of normal skin structures.  In children, both the localized and systemic form are associated with other organ involvement aside from the skin. The localized form often causes joint, muscle, growth, and other problems, while the systemic form can affect the joints, lungs, digestive tract, heart, and other organs.

The Pediatric Scleroderma Center at HackensackUMC sees patients on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. but the office is open Monday through Friday.  For more information or to make an appointment, please call 551-996-5306 or email pedsrheum@hackensackumc.org.   

About the Scleroderma Foundation

The Scleroderma Foundation is the national organization for people with scleroderma and their families and friends. It was formed January 1, 1998, by a merger between the West Coast-based United Scleroderma Foundation and the East Coast-based Scleroderma Federation. The national office is headquartered in Danvers, Mass.

The Three-Fold Mission includes

Support: To help patients and their families cope with scleroderma through mutual support programs, peer counseling, physician referrals and educational information.

Education: To promote public awareness and education through patient and health professional seminars, literature and publicity campaigns.

Research: To stimulate and support research to improve treatment and ultimately find the cause of and cure for scleroderma and related diseases.

For more information visit: http://www.scleroderma.org/

About Hackensack University Medical Center

HackensackUMC, a nonprofit teaching and research hospital located in Bergen County, NJ, is the largest provider of inpatient and outpatient services in the state. Founded in 1888 as the county’s first hospital, it is the flagship hospital of Hackensack University Health Network, one of the largest health networks in the state comprised of 1,250 beds, nearly 10,000 employees and 2,700 credentialed physicians. HackensackUMC was listed as the number one hospital in New Jersey in the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospital rankings for 2014-15. It is one of the top 30 hospitals in the nation by receiving 11 national specialty rankings, including a national ranking for the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital in Neurology and Neurosurgery in the 2014-15 Best Children’s Hospitals. The children’s hospital is housed with the Donna A. Sanzari Women’s Hospital in the Sarkis and Siran Gabrellian Women’s and Children’s Pavilion, which was designed with The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center, and was included on the Green Guide’s list of Top 10 Green Hospitals in the U.S. HackensackUMC is among Healthgrades® America’s Best 100 Hospitals in five different areas, is one of Healthgrades America's 50 Best Hospitals™ for eight years in a row, and received the Healthgrades Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence™ 12 years in a row. The medical center has also been named a Leapfrog Top Hospital, and received 23 Gold Seals of Approval™ by the Joint Commission – more than any other hospital in the country. It was the first hospital in New Jersey and second in the nation to become a Magnet® recognized hospital for nursing excellence; receiving its fifth consecutive designation in 2014. HackensackUMC is the Hometown Hospital of the New York Giants and the New York Red Bulls and Official Medical Services Provider to The Barclays PGA Golf Tournament and the NY/NJ Super Bowl XLV111 Host Committee. It remains committed to its community through fundraising and community events. To learn more, visit: www.HackensackUMC.org.   




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