Division of Neonatology

Stony Brook University Medical Center

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    Overview Welcome to the Division of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine. In partnership with the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, we are a New York State Department of Health-designated Regional Perinatal Center. As a regional resource, the Center is responsible for establishing the highest level of neonatal and obstetrical care and education for ourselves, as well as for the majority of the hospitals in Suffolk County, Long Island, and beyond. Annually at Stony Brook Medicine, there are approximately 1,000 admissions to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), 100 neonatal transports, 200 maternal transports, 90 newborns weighing less than 1,500 grams and 4,000 inborn deliveries. Based on New York State Department of Health Data, Stony Brook has the best record of any Regional Perinatal Center in achieving growth of premature infants prior to discharge—a best practice based on the belief that good nutrition at this stage benefits the baby’s neurodevelopmental outcome. Our mission is to become nationally recognized for family-centered and quality-focused neonatal care, excellence in teaching, and contributing to and promoting cutting-edge research.


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    In 2011, Stony Brook Children’s opened a new state-of-the-art NICU along with a new Labor & Delivery Suite in one convenient location.

    Features of this facility include:




      • A 46-bed NICU that is also the first NICU in New York State to have all-private rooms. This means that babies have their own rooms, which, in turn, allows the nursing staff to better control the environment—critical factors such as lighting, noise and temperature. This setting is optimal for the developmental care of babies. It also is optimal for family-centered care because the privacy encourages and empowers parents to bond with their babies and be involved in the care plan.

      • The ability to keep NICU twins in the same room

      • A new Labor & Delivery Suite, including 10 labor suites with private baths and recovery rooms.

      • Expanded maternity urgent care capacity that can deal with any kind of obstetric emergency 24/7. This includes three state-of- the-art operating rooms adjacent to the labor suites and a dedicated anesthesiologist, who is also available 24/7.

    View our new Mother/Baby Care video: The Right Place at the Right Time, providing an inside look at what it's like to give birth at Stony Brook.



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    Contact UsThe neonatology physician office can be reached by calling (631) 444-7653. Expectant parents can meet with one of our neonatologists and a full array of pediatric consultants (for example, pediatric surgeons, neurosurgeons, geneticists, cardiologists, hematologists and others) depending on the baby’s needs at birth. This team discussion can help prepare the parents for the expected care of their baby. 


    The NICU is located on Level 5 of the hospital adjacent to the Labor & Delivery Suite.  A NICU tour also is available to help familiarize families with the equipment and setting where the baby will stay. It is also another opportunity for parents to ask questions. Tours can be scheduled with the neonatologist covering the Labor and Delivery Suite along with the Nurse Manager by calling the same number as above.


    Neonatology Offices 
    Health Science Center Building, 11th Floor, Room 060
    Division of Neonatology/Department of Pediatrics
    Stony Brook Children's
    Stony Brook, NY 11794
    Phone: (631) 444-7653
    Fax: (631) 444-8968


     



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    Our Team


    The neonatal team includes eight board-certified or board-eligible attending neonatologists, six neonatal fellows, nine neonatal nurse practitioners, more than 110 dedicated neonatal nurses, a discharge coordinator, a neonatal social service worker, a dedicated neonatal nutritionist and lactation consultant, a bereavement counselor, chaplaincy services, an ethicist, a discharge coordinator, nurse educators, helpful receptionists, dedicated respiratory therapists and other ancillary support staff. All are committed to delivering compassionate, family-centered, medically advanced and developmentally sensitive care to the smallest and sickest babies. For complex neonatal disorders, we have full-time attending consultants in every subspecialty of pediatrics available, such as cardiology, neurology, infectious disease, surgery, and whatever else the baby may need.


     


    To ensure optimal patient safety and best outcomes, we use a strategy called Team STEPPS. This evidence-based success story from the US Department of Health teaches staff leadership skills, meticulous monitoring of patients, and mutual support and communication techniques. The Division of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine also provides the highest level of quality and safety for best outcomes by having attending neonatologists in-house 24/7. All of our attending neonatologists are faculty of the Stony Brook School of Medicine. This means our attending neonatologists remain on the leading edge of advancements in their areas of expertise and they conduct both laboratory and clinical research.


     


     


    Neonatologists, Research Scientists and Nursing Leadership Biographies


    Shanthy Sridhar, MD (NICU Medical Director, Fellowship Director)
    Dennis Davidson, MD
    Joseph DeCristofaro, MD
    Marian Evinger, PhD
    Echezona Maduekwe, MD
    Jonathan Mintzer, MD
    Aruna Parekh, MD
    Jennifer Pynn, MD (Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Education Director, Assistant Fellowship Director)
    Esther Speer, MD


    Lynn Marie Antonawich, MS, RN (Assistant Director of Nursing, NICU)
    Adriann Combs, RN (Regional Perinatal Center Coordinator)


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    Services:Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Team
    Our neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP) team works collaboratively with the attending neonatologists. The nurse practitioner team makes workflow (rounds) highly efficient so attending physicians  can spend more time with families and students. Having such a stable NNP team provides continuity of safety and best practices for best outcomes over a period of months and years. Some of our NNPs have or are working toward doctorate degrees. Those with experience and advanced academic degree act as faculty members to teach neonatal fellows, pediatric residents, medical students and NNP students. They also play a critical role in simulation education and transport of critically ill babies from regional hospitals.  Besides PubMed, their publications can be found on CINAHAL Plus.


    Our Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Team includes: Siobhan Cassidy, NNP, Tram Dang, NNP, Nancy Enterlin, NNP, Kate Lindstadt, NNP, Charlene Lyons, NNP, Patricia Mele, DNP, Pam Minett, NNP, Patricia Schwarz, NNP and Kerry Walsh, NNP.


    Neonatal Transport Team. For babies born at level I, II and III hospitals in our region who need Regional Perinatal Center- level intensive care, a dedicated neonatal team with specialized equipment is available 24/7. Our state-of-the-art transport incubators include the ability to deliver nitric oxide for newborns with severe hypoxic respiratory failure. 


    Neonatal Follow-up Program. Because many of our NICU graduates need further medical care and close observation after discharge, our division provides an outpatient follow-up program every Monday afternoon. All high-risk patients are seen regularly to ensure continued developmental progress and appropriate interventions to keep them on track. Our NICU follow-up clinic is located a few minutes away from the hospital at 37 Research Way, Setauket, NY. Appointments are scheduled at the time of discharge and through (631) 444-KIDS.


    Neonatal Infant Apnea Program.The Infant Apnea Program at Stony Brook Children’s is the only center on Long Island that provides evaluation, testing, education and support for families with the following: 



    • Apnea of prematurity

    • Apnea of infancy

    • Infants who have experienced an apparent life-threatening event (ALTE)

    • Infants with breathing disorders

    • Siblings of SIDS victims

    • Home cardiorespiratory monitoring

    The program includes Joseph DeCristofaro, MD, Program Director, Nurse Practitioner Susan Katz DNP, RN, NP, and Doreen DeMeglio, RN. 


    Phone: (631) 444-3783
    Fax: (631) 444-9363
    For Appointments: (631) 444-KIDS



    Selective Brain Cooling Program. 
    Our NICU is the only regional center in Suffolk County that can provide selective brain cooling for near-term and full-term babies who have suffered birth depression (hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy).This therapy has been shown to improve survival and neurodevelopmental outcomes but must be initiated as rapidly as possible after birth. If a baby is born at another hospital and needs immediate help, this is another reason why our neonatal transport team is so vital for the region.


    Immunization of Newborn Close Contacts.Stony Brook is the first academic hospital in New York State to publish work describing the feasibility of immunizing parents of NICU graduates for pertussis (whooping cough), which is a growing problem in the United States due to waning of antibody protection from childhood in parents. Pertussis, like influenza or respiratory syncytial viral infection, can lead to extreme illness, especially in a NICU graduate who had a previous lung disorder. In the Stony Brook study, immunization of the parents occurred before or at discharge of their baby. As a result of Stony Brook’s lead, New York State has passed a law that promotes pertussis immunization to parents of NICU graduates. 




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    Patient Resources


    Family Support Specialists Besides our full-time social worker, case manager and discharge nurse coordinator, we offer the following programs. For more information call (631) 444-9321. Sponsors of our program include the March of Dimes and New York State.



    • The Little Angel Fund. Run by a group of parents, this support program helps families of premature infants and other ill newborns navigate a difficult time in their lives. This includes support while the baby is in the NICU as well as after discharge, In addition, the program members act as a source of help and support for the bereaved. For more information, go to www.littleangelfund.org.

    • Car Seat Program. Ensuring the safety of infants once they leave Stony Brook is a priority for us. This is why we offer training to parents in how to install and properly use a car seat. We also offer assistance to those families who cannot afford a car seat. For more information call (631) 444-3783.

     

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    Research and Education


    Neonatal Research Center


    One of the unique aspects of the neonatal division is our work on basic and translational laboratory research. The center consists of three laboratories adjacent to the faculty offices. Neonatal fellows interested in laboratory research training have a robust environment for this work, which can be used as their scholarly work product needed for sub-board eligibility in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine. Being part of a large undergraduate and medical school provides many useful collaborative ties with other scientists. Some of the laboratory research that neonatal faculty members have been focusing on includes surfactant metabolism, catecholamine and endorphin release during hypoxia, neonatal immunology, new methods for detecting infection and new therapy for bronchopulmonary dysplasia. Two full-time scientists are part of the division and serve as outstanding fellow mentors. They also publish widely. Peer-reviewed publications for each of the neonatologists and research scientists can be found under their names in http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/ .


     


    Fellowship Training Program in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine


    Our Fellowship Program is an American Academy of Graduate Medical Education certified fellowship program in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine (3293521093). We are on a successful 10-year credentialing process, with the next overall review in 2022. We have six fellows. It is a three-year program for which we accept two fellows a year for training to become attending neonatologists.


    Our fellow applicants are physician graduates of USA Pediatric Residency Programs who are board-eligible or board-certified in Pediatrics. Their goal is  to subspecialize in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine. Our fellows are trained in medical knowledge, application of knowledge to patient care, practice-based best medical guidelines, communication, professionalism and system-based practices of health care. Our division provides them with a rigorous, highly organized curriculum and a large patient exposure.


    To enhance their training, we have a Neonatal Skills Lab in the NICU for training in procedures, as well as an outstanding state-of-the-art Neonatal Simulation Lab including photographic recording and actors. In addition, the fellows are required to have a scholarly research project completed by the end of their three-year training period. The Neonatal Research Center provides an excellent opportunity for fellows to meet this requirement if they are interested in basic or translational research. Clinical and performance improvement projects are also available with mentorship within our division,


    Fellow applicants must only apply to our program via ERAS (Electronic Residency Application Service) and are selected through the NRMP (National Residency Matching Program). We interview select applicants from July through September of the calendar year before fellows start on July 1. For a complete description of our fellowship program, go to FRIEDA on Line or call our office to request our fellowship manual. For further information, USA Pediatric residency-trained physician applicants may call our neonatal fellowship coordinator, Corinne DeMeo at (631)444-7653 or email her at Corinne.DeMeo@stonybrookmedicine.edu .


     



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    Appendix - Biographies


    Shanthy Sridhar, MD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Medical Director NICU, and Program Director of the Neonatal-Perinatal Fellowship Program. She graduated as a fellow from SUNY Downstate Medical Center and joined Stony Brook Medicine in 1999. Dr. Sridhar has been Instrumental in implementing daily IHI/Multidisciplinary Quality Improvement rounds on low birth weight infants since 2006.She  has been involved with many collaborative clinical trials and quality improvement studies in infection control, nutrition and oxygen therapy. Dr. Sridhar recently completed work as the onsite principal investigator for the NIPPV Study (Nasal Intermittent Positive Pressure Ventilation in Preterm Infants-Neonatal trials Group). She currently is the onsite principal investigator for the COT study (Efficacy and Safety of Targeting Lower Arterial Oxygen Saturation to Reduce Oxygen Toxicity and Oxidative Stress in Very Preterm Infants) and the on-site Principal Investigator for Synergistic Pharmacologic Prevention of ROP Grant Award with SUNY Pharmacology Consortium.


    Lynn Marie Antonawich, MS, RN, Assistant Director of Nursing for the NICU, joined Stony Brook Medicine in 2012. She received her Bachelor of Nursing degree from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh in 1989 and began her nursing career in Labor and Delivery at Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip.  After five years, she moved to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit where she helped to develop the unit to a Level 3 NICU. Lynn earned her Master’s in Nursing Administration from Adelphi University, graduating Magna Cum Laude. Prior to joining Stony Brook, she served as the Nurse Manager for Good Samaritan’s NICU for five years, helping the hospital to obtain Magnet status. She currently serves as a consultant and editor for both Wolters and Kluwer Publishing companies, is a member of both the New York Organization of Nurse Executives and the American Organization of Nurse Executives and is an Active member of the National Association of Neonatal Nurses.


    Adriann Combs, RN, is our Regional Perinatal Center Coordinator, a role that includes coordinating outreach education to our affiliated hospitals and transfer of information from obstetrics regarding high-risk pregnancies.  Adriann attended Pace University. Her areas of expertise include the development of an excellent neonatal transport system, quality improvement in neonatology and obstetrics, newborn resuscitation education and thermoregulation. She coordinates our benchmarking with the Vermont Oxford National and New York State Data Bases. Adriann has received the President’s Award for Excellence in Service from Stony Brook University, the Maternal Child Health Award for Clinical Excellence from the March of Dimes and the L. Stanley James Award from the New York State Perinatal Society. She is a member of the Neonatal Expert Workgroup for the New York State Perinatal Quality Collaborative. She also has published in the areas of retinopathy of prematurity, thermoregulation, ethics, feeding practices and perinatal disaster planning.


    Dennis Davidson, MD, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics. He completed his Pediatric Residency and Fellowship at Columbia University, where he spent the subsequent seven years as an academic neonatologist. He then moved to the North Shore-LIJ Health Care System, eventually becoming the Fellowship Director and Director of Neonatal Services for the health care system. Dr. Davidson’s past research was in the areas of the cardiopulmonary adjustments at birth and the development of inhaled nitric oxide for persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn via a multicenter clinical trial and the FDA approval process. He joined Stony Brook Medicine in 2012.  His current focus is on new anti-inflammatory therapy for bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD). The present work, at the cell and molecular level, has shown that steroids (other than dexamethasone) and the anti-inflammatory cytokine, interleukin-10, may provide more effective and safer therapy for BPD. The mechanism of the relative insensitivity of inflammatory cells to the anti-inflammatory effects of steroids compared to the robust effect by interleukin-10 is being explored. He is also involved establishing a TeamSTEPPS approach to safety and best outcomes for the NICU and delivery room, as well as best practices for educating neonatal fellows.


    Joseph DeCristofaro, MD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, has been at Stony Brook since 1986. During this time, he has focused on several aspects of neonatology and hospital administration, including serving as neonatology fellowship director from 1999 to 2006, as well as acting division chief over different intervals. He has been the Medical Director of the Infant Apnea Program since 1991 and follows NICU graduates discharged home with apnea monitors in the Infant Apnea Clinic. He has been involved in neonatal medication and was recognized as a leader in the hospital on medication issues. Dr. DeCristofaro chaired the hospital medication safety committee from its inception until 2007 when he was asked to chair the hospital patient safety committee. He continues to serve on medication safety committees and is actively involved in hospital and neonatal medication safety. He also is the Assistant Medical Director for Patient Safety and Quality and is involved in teaching medical students, residents, fellows and attendings on medication and patient safety while continuing to work full time in the neonatal ICU. He leads the medical team on safety rounds on Patient Safety First, a hospital-wide initiative for safe medical practices. His research interests include Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, quality improvement and safety.


    Marian Evinger, PhD is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Pharmacology and Neurosciences.  Her research interests in neonatology include the influence of hypoxia on synthesis and release of neuroendocrine transmitters and factors in cell culture models of acute perinatal hypoxic exposure. One current project examines the stimulatory influence of reduced oxygen exposure on the production of opioid peptides and endogenous opioids in adrenal medullary-derived pheochromocytoma cell lines.  A related project evaluates the effects of hypoxia on inflammatory cytokine synthesis and release in this model. These studies complement original observations from this laboratory and division that hypoxia rapidly stimulates neonatal adrenaline release by markedly activating transcription of the gene for the adrenaline-synthesizing enzyme PNMT, acting through a hypoxia response element encoded in the proximal promoter of this catecholamine gene. Her investigations employ molecular, biochemical and cellular approaches to examine transcriptional, translational and stimulus-coupled release of neurotransmitters, neuroactive peptides and opioids from perinatal adrenal medulla as a mechanism for coping with the metabolic and physiologic stresses resulting from acute hypoxia.


    Echezona Maduekwe, MD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics joined Stony Brook Medicine in 2013.  He completed his fellowship training at Golisano Children's Hospital University of Rochester where he was recognized as the Bradford Fellow by the department of Pediatrics.  He is board certified in Pediatrics.  His research interest during his fellowship was in hyperoxic injury to the neonatal lung.  He tested the hypothesis that cumulative oxygen, represented as concentration and duration of oxygen exposure (i.e. "oxygen area under the curve"), can be used to define levels of oxygen toxicity sufficient to impair host response to viral infection in mice - funded by NIH T32 Department of Pediatrics grant, "Bench to Bedside to Curbside."  His overall research interests include studies relating to oxygen delivery and its impact in neonates.  Dr. Maduekwe's future interest is in improving the care of the neonates in our region through perinatal outreach program. 


    Jonathan Mintzer, MD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, joined Stony Brook Medicine in 2012.  He completed his fellowship training at Westchester Medical Center, where he participated in research on the use of near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) as a routine monitoring strategy in the neonatal intensive care unit. His overall research interests include studies relating to oxygen delivery, extraction and consumption, as well as novel methods of monitoring these factors in real time. In addition, Dr. Mintzer is interested in best practices regarding fellow and resident education.


    Aruna Parekh, MD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Director of the High Risk Follow-up Clinic came to Stony Brook Medicine in 2010 as a Clinical Associate Professor. She brought with her more than 35 years of clinical and academic neonatology experience. Prior to her arrival, she was a faculty member at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in the departments of Pediatrics and Psychiatry and Chief of Neonatology at its affiliate Hospital, Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn. Dr. Parekh has been actively involved in teaching of medical students, residents, neonatal fellows, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, occupational therapists, speech therapists and physical therapists. Her area of interest has been in long-term follow-up and impact of early intervention on NICU graduates. As a medical director, she established an early intervention program in Brooklyn and ran an infant and child learning center (SUNY Research Foundation). At Stony Brook, she is in charge of the High-Risk Follow-up Clinic. She also is involved in collaborative multicenter research projects involving NICU graduates enrolled in several trials looking at multiple doses of surfactant, nitric oxide and different levels of oxygen concentrations on long-term pulmonary and neurologic outcomes. In addition, she is interested in quality assurance projects looking at best methods of training for neonatal intubation using simulation methodology.


    Jennifer Pynn, MD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Education Director, Assistant Fellowship Director, joined Stony Brook Medicine in 2011. She completed her fellowship training at Columbia’s Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital and is board certified in Neonatal-Perinatal medicine. During her fellowship, she participated in research to determine new methods of detecting infection in the newborn, specifically the role of urinary NGAL as a potential marker for late onset sepsis among NICU patients. She is taking advanced courses in education and is the Education Director for the Division of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine -- setting the curriculum for the fellows and residents, as well as setting the standards for best teaching methods for adult learners. 


    Esther Speer, MD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, joined Stony Brook Medicine in 2009. She completed her fellowship training at the University of Chicago, where she participated in research on the genetic causes of preterm delivery and the impact of intrauterine infections on the outcome of extremely low gestational age newborns. Her current research work aims to identify potential therapeutic agents that can down regulate the pathological inflammatory response syndrome found in term and preterm neonates exposed to intrauterine infections. Dr. Speer continues as an active faculty member in the Neonatal Research Center, with a focus on molecular regulation underlying the different inflammatory responses of monocytes from newborns and adults to bacterial infection. In addition, Dr. Speer is interested in the clinical outcome of extremely low birth weight newborns.


     


     




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