Joseph M. Sanzari Children's Hospital at HackensackUMC Opens Josephine Elle Hartung-Rispoli Research Lab

July 8, 2015 03:34 PM
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The HackensackUMC Foundation held a ribbon cutting at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital to dedicate the Josephine Elle Hartung-Rispoli Research Lab.
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The HackensackUMC Foundation recently held a ribbon-cutting to officially open the Josephine Elle Hartung-Rispoli Research Lab at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at HackensackUMC.

Josephine Elle Hartung-Rispoli was a beautiful, courageous seven-year-old, who passed away after a 13 month battle with a rare, malignant brain tumor.  Since her death in 2011, Josephine’s family has worked to honor her memory through various initiatives and has partnered with the HackensackUMC Foundation to open the Josephine Elle Hartung-Rispoli Research Lab.

“This lab creates a dedicated space that will allow clinicians to conduct research only steps away from their patients,” said Robert C. Garrett, president and chief executive officer, Hackensack University Health Network.  “As healthcare continues to evolve, we know that research provides the crucial link that is needed to better understand certain diseases and successfully treat patients.” 

Josephine’s parents, Heidi Hartung-Rispoli and Francis Rispoli, of Saddle River, raised $500,000 to fund the lab and garden that bears their daughter’s name.  The lab is unique because of its location within the children’s hospital. It is also the only lab of its kind in the state, which will help doctors and researchers find new therapies to treat children with cancer and other diseases.

“HackensackUMC has a commitment to research and innovation,” said Jeffrey R. Boscamp, M.D., HackensackUMC vice president and chief academic officer and chairman and physician-in-chief of the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital.  “Currently, we have 117 clinical studies for pediatric patients.  I am grateful for the commitment of the Rispoli family to this project and for their support of our children’s hospital.  This lab will ensure that Josephine’s legacy will carry on and help many other children who are courageously battling their illnesses.”

 “Clinical research has always been an integral part of the children’s hospital since its inception in 1987,” said Alfred P. Gillio, M.D., co-director, Institute for Pediatric Cancer & Blood Disorders, Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at HackensackUMC.  “This is a major step forward for the children’s hospital and with this lab, we plan to develop and participate in phase 1 and 2 experimental and therapeutic clinical trials, with an emphasis on new, targeted therapies for children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases.”

In 2012, Josephine's Garden was established on the fifth floor of the children's hospital after a fundraising project by Josephine’s parents. The garden was designed by Heidi Hartung-Rispoli as a therapeutic space symbolic of life and a journey.  The space, which is reserved for use by pediatric patients and their families, includes a whimsical fountain of frogs, overlapping circles of orange, blue and brown to represent fire, water and earth - the elements of life, several planting beds and hand-drawn butterflies and flowers, which was artwork taken directly from Josephine’s kindergarten book.  In the center is a 12 foot hand-hewn pine statue that Heidi calls the “warrior pole” where children can carve their names.

“Josephine spent much of her last year at the children’s hospital and, in a sense, it became her home,” said Heidi Hartung-Rispoli. “Having the research lab and garden established in her name keeps Josephine’s memory alive and that is truly comforting for us. And, it’s our way of continuing to take care of her."

Photo:  The HackensackUMC Foundation held a ribbon cutting at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital to dedicate the Josephine Elle Hartung-Rispoli Research Lab. 

From left to right:Maureen Keating, RN, vice president, Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital, HackensackUMC; Derek Hanson, M.D., Pediatric Neuro-Oncology, Institute for Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorders; Jeanette Haugh,RN, APN, CCRC, supervisor, Children's Hospital Research; Stasia Rispoli, Josephine’s sister; ­­Linda Stanton, administrative director, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology/BMT and Critical Care Services;  Alfred P. Gillio, M.D., co-director, Institute for Pediatric Cancer & Blood Disorders;  Jeffrey R. Boscamp, M.D., HackensackUMC vice president and chief academic officer and chairman and physician-in-chief, Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital; Heidi Hartung-Rispoli, Josephine’s mother; Michael B. Harris, M.D., co-director, Institute for Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorders, chief, Pediatric Hematology-Oncology;  Francis Rispoli, Josephine’s father; and Robert C. Garrett, president and chief executive officer, Hackensack University Health Network.  In front: Violet Rispoli, Josephine’s sister.

 

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 one of Healthgrades America's 50 Best Hospitals™ for nine years in a row, and received the Healthgrades Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence™ 13 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 was Official Medical Services Provider to The Barclays PGA Golf Tournament and the NY/NJ Super Bowl XLVIII Host Committee. It remains committed to its community through fundraising and community events. To learn more, visit: www.HackensackUMC.org.   

 

 

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