Press ReleaseDate: 07-05-12
Name: Patti Verbanas Phone: 973-972-7273
Dr. Shabbar Danish and Cherie Castellano Honored as Healthcare Heroes
Following is more about the winners:
Innovation Hero: Shabbar F. Danish, MD, UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School; Assistant Professor and Director, Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
Dr. Danish specializes in the latest in stereotactic neurosurgery, which involves targeting small areas in the brain with techniques used to treat everything from Parkinson�s disease to brain tumors. This past December, Dr. Danish became the first neurosurgeon in the tri-state region and only the seventh in the nation to use laser ablation, a revolutionary, minimally invasive laser technology that utilizes light energy to treat epilepsy. Because laser ablation is a much less invasive approach than traditional surgery to treat epilepsy, it reduces the risk for many post-surgical complications such as infections, bleeding, speech difficulties and vision problems. The recovery time is much shorter, and in these cases, the patients generally return home within one to two days.
In 2011, Dr. Danish used this innovative technique to offer new hope to a patient who had undergone repeated surgeries for an intracranial ependymoma, a tumor that grows from the cells lining the ventricles of the brain. This particular brain tumor had proven to be quite aggressive, so opening the patient�s scalp yet again was not an optimal choice�especially since her scalp had not completely healed from the previous operations. Dr. Danish chose to use laser ablation because it is so minimally invasive that the entry hole through the skull is about the size of the end of a pen. Unlike traditional brain surgery, laser ablation can safely be repeated if necessary. The patient quickly agreed to move forward and continues to do well�so well that this is the longest period of time she has gone without a recurrence.
Education Hero: Cherie Castellano, MA, CSW, LPC, BCETS, UMDNJ-University Behavioral HealthCare, Program Director, Cop2Cop, NJVet2Vet, Mom2Mom
Castellano is the creator and director of three 24/7 helplines staffed by trained peer-counselors and backed by a staff of behavioral health professionals: Cop2Cop, the first legislated statewide law enforcement crisis helpline in the United States; NJVet2Vet, a helpline sponsored in conjunction with the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and which served as the basis for the national helpline Vets4Warriors that was launched in December 2011; and Mom2Mom, a helpline for New Jersey mothers of children with special needs. The helplines provide peer and clinical support services, clinical assessments, referrals, and, in the case of Cop2Cop, critical incident stress management to law enforcement officers and their families.
Her experience has confirmed her concept of �reciprocal peer support� in that properly trained peers with clinical partners can offer peer services and have an opportunity to draw upon their own resilience and share it with others. In this approach, peer support is healing for both the peer supporter and the peer in need. Castellano is recognized internationally as an expert in the field of behavioral healthcare and crisis intervention for law enforcement professionals. She has lectured extensively on related topics at international venues as well as prestigious national forums such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy. She is also a long-time advocate for supports for mothers with special-needs children. She has published more than 50 journal articles and two books, �Psychological Counterterrorism & World War IV� and �Law Enforcement Families: The Ultimate Back-Up.�
Journalists interested in interviewing Dr. Shabbar F. Danish or Cherie Castellano can contact Patti Verbanas at 973.972.7273 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) is New Jersey�s only health sciences university with more than 6,000 students on five campuses attending the state's three medical schools, its only dental school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions, a school of nursing and New Jersey�s only school of public health. UMDNJ operates University Hospital, a Level I Trauma Center in Newark, and University Behavioral HealthCare, which provides a continuum of health care services with multiple locations throughout the state.