LifeNotes | Autumn 2019

LifeNotes

The Miriam Hospital, Minimally Invasive Urology Institute Ranked Nationally by U.S. News & World Report

The Minimally Invasive Urology Institute (MIUI) at The Miriam Hospital has been ranked nationally by U.S. News & World Report on their list for 2019-2020. Among 1,495 programs in the country, urology services at The Miriam placed 27th—the top 2 percent of programs nationwide and the second highest ranking in all New England. This is the first time any Lifespan or non-Lifespan service in Southern New England has made this national listing. We received this distinction largely by excelling in three important areas: low complication rate, high patient satisfaction, and our ability to help our patients recover faster.

In addition to this prestigious honor, U.S. News & World Report named The Miriam Hospital 2019-2020 best regional hospital, top hospital in Rhode Island, and top hospital in Providence. We also earned distinctions for high performance in 10 procedures and specialties, including hip and knee replacements; diabetes and endocrinology; gastroenterology and GI surgery; geriatrics; neurology and neurosurgery; pulmonary and lung surgery; COPD; colon cancer surgery; and heart failure.

The MIUI provides state-of-the-art care for a wide range of urologic conditions, from kidney stones to BPH to prostate, bladder, and ureter cancers. To refer a patient to the nationally recognized MIUI, please call 401-793-5400.


Lifespan Urgent Care Makes its Debut

The first of several planned Lifespan Urgent Care locations recently opened its doors in Warwick, offering a multitude of services for common medical conditions. A program of Lifespan Physician Group, the urgent care center provides treatment to adults and children 18 months and older. Among the injuries and illnesses that are treated are colds and flu, earaches, sinus infections, fractures and sprains, cuts, burns and upset stomach. It also offers sports physicals and flu shots.

Olivier Gherardi, DO, and Bobby Hingorani lead Lifespan Urgent Care as medical director and director of urgent care operations, respectively. “We’re equipped to provide lab services and flat-panel X-rays, which allows us to accurately diagnose certain conditions and start treatment promptly and effectively,” says Dr. Gherardi. “As an added benefit, Lifespan Urgent Care is a great resource to then direct those patients who need further care to the right channels, whether that’s back to primary care, or to more focused care, such as therapy, mental health services, or other specialists.”

No appointment is needed, but patients can also register online and reserve a time slot at LifespanUrgentCare.org. The center at 17 Airport Road in Warwick is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends and most holidays. A second location opened in Middletown in November, offering the same state-of-the art facility and treatment options.


Newport Hospital Emergency Department Nearly Doubles Space

Newport Hospital’s recently expanded emergency department increases the number of beds, physical size, and patients served. The completed expansion brought the number of beds from 17 to 29, increased the size 20,000 square feet, and allows for a capacity of 40,000 patients annually. The new unit includes a 4-bed behavioral health pod, a clinical decision unit for observation and a tripling of the triage space. The behavioral health pod provides a discreet and private area for patients with addiction and mental health issues, which in the last three years makes up 8 percent of emergency room visits. A clinical decision unit has been deemed a best practice for patients who need extended observation but who do not require admission, making this addition a major improvement to the department.

The expansion comes in response to a large increase in annual patients served, due in part to growth in tourism and an aging population on Aquidneck Island. The last renovation of Newport Hospital’s ED took place 20 years ago; its size and capacity served only 22,000 patients annually, not covering the increasing number of patient visits seen in recent years—up to 33,000 annually. The new space has doubled its previous capacity, with more than enough beds and lounge areas to comfortably accommodate the Aquidneck Island and South County patient base.


Hasbro Children’s Hospital Launches Every Child, Every Day Campaign

Hasbro Children’s Hospital celebrated its 25th anniversary earlier this year by launching the public phase of the Every Child, Every Day fundraising campaign. The campaign comes in response to the need to renovate the healing spaces in Hasbro Children’s and fund various programs at Bradley Hospital. “The phrase every child, every day embraces the heart of what we are trying to accomplish with our campaign. From revitalizing healing spaces that match the excellent care we deliver, to enhancing programs and research endeavors vital to the future of our patients and families, we stand committed to reaching our goals,” says Margaret M. Van Bree, MHA, DrPH, president of Rhode Island Hospital and Hasbro Children’s Hospital. Bradley Hospital’s new $2 million welcome center is a result of the fundraising efforts from this campaign. The campaign has raised $26M so far, leaving $9M until they reach their goal of $35 million.

Donate to Every Child, Every Day.


Lifespan Medical Imaging

Our diagnostic and interventional procedures reflect the latest advances in imaging science, including radiation dose reduction capabilities, pediatric imaging, and interventioal radiology.

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HeartFlow Lowers Care Costs and Increases Diagnostic Accuracy

Lifespan Medical Imaging at Newport Hospital has introduced a new diagnostic tool for heart disease. Newport Hospital is the first in the state to adopt HeartFlow Analysis, a first of its kind, noninvasive technology for diagnosing coronary artery disease. The system collects patient data from a noninvasive coronary CTA and uses that knowledge to create a digital 3D model of a patient’s coronary arteries. The device uses computer algorithm to simulate blood flow and assess the impact of blockages to the heart. After just a few hours of calculation, HeartFlow sends the information via a secure web interface, allowing the physician to see the extent of a patient’s arterial blockage to identify those who require a more invasive treatment.

This is groundbreaking technology, as other diagnostic techniques have low accuracy rates or require invasive methods. HeartFlow Analysis eliminates the need for patients to undergo a diagnostic cardiac catheterization, an invasive procedure, or a non-invasive but potentially less accurate nuclear stress test. The use of HeartFlow has also reduced the cost of care by 26 percent, due to its ability to determine a patient’s need for an expensive surgery.

To refer a patient for HeartFlow Analysis, please call Lifespan Medical Imaging at Newport Hospital at 401-444-7770.


New Pediatric Epilepsy Program Launches at Hasbro Children’s Hospital

Under the leadership of Luca Bartolini, MD, Hasbro Children’s Hospital launched the Pediatric Epilepsy Program to service pediatric patients who suffer from the most common neurological disorder worldwide. The team of experts in pediatric neurology treat patients with epilepsy with medical interventions, surgery, implant devices, and nutritional therapies. “Our mission is to achieve early diagnosis and offer appropriate treatment tailored to the individual needs of each child with compassion, excellence in care, and by efficiently implementing strong collaborations across specialties,” says Dr. Bartolini. Medical interventions for epilepsy continue to evolve, so if caught early, the prognosis can be manageable, with freedom from seizures and a normal quality of life.

For more information or to refer patients to the Pediatric Epilepsy Program, call the Children’s Neurodevelopment Center at 401-444-5685.


Dean Ornish Intensive Cardiac Rehab Program

Comprehensive Spine Center 

The Lifespan Comprehensive Spine Center uses a systematic approach and state-of-the-art treatments to help patients with a whole spectrum of spinal disorders.

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Comprehensive Spine Center Offers Two New Treatments

Two novel minimally invasive treatments have been introduced at the Comprehensive Spine Center: balloon kyphoplasty and indirect spinal decompression with an interspinous spacer device.

Balloon kyphoplasty is an approach to the treatment of vertebral compression fractures and has the potential to help large numbers of patients, including those with osteoporosis and other degenerative compression factors, which generally occur with aging. This procedure is minimally invasive and allows patients to recover faster, thereby retaining mobility that would otherwise be limited and could lead to further medical problems. The procedure is done with either IV sedation or general anesthesia by placing needles into the fractured vertebrae, through which a balloon is inserted into each side of the compressed area of the vertebral body. The balloons are inflated, then deflated and removed. The cavity created is then gently filled with cement, which hardens quickly and lifts the collapsed bone back to a more normal position to restore height to the fractured bone and lessen pain. Alexios Carayannopoulos, DO, MPH, FAAPMR, FAAOE, FFSMB has already successfully performed many of these procedures on a wide range of patients, including a very active 90-year old Newport resident, who suffered from an acute spine fracture while exercising. The procedure gave her near immediate relief of pain and suffering, and restored her ability go home, exercise, and walk up and down stairs, which she was unable to do before the procedure. The Comprehensive Spine Center offers this treatment in the Comprehensive Spine Center in both Newport and Providence.

Indirect Spinal Decompression is a new minimally invasive procedure in which a device called an interspinous spacer is implanted between the vertebrae to indirectly decompress spinal stenosis and relieve symptoms of neurogenic claudication, which includes pain or pressure with standing or walking, which is relieved with bending forward. This option is best for patients whose symptoms have not been well controlled with physical therapy, medication or spinal injections. This is a much less invasive option than traditional direct spinal decompression surgeries, such as lumbar laminectomy and/or fusion. This spacer device is inserted between two adjacent vertebral levels, offering indirect spinal decompression. It gives patients an option in a continuum of care, which also includes medications, physical or occupational therapy, spinal injections, and surgery. This procedure has excellent long-term data to support it, and Dr. Carayannopoulos has treated many patients with this option, all of whom have experienced relief of pain with standing and walking, otherwise known as “neurogenic claudication.” Rhode Island Hospital is currently the only hospital in the state, and Dr. Carayannopoulos is the only provider in the state, to offer this procedure to patients.

To refer a patient to the Comprehensive Spine Center, call 401-444-3777 for Rhode Island Hospital or 401-845-1190 for Newport Hospital.


Urology Expands Reconstructive Services with Addition of Dr. Cancian

The Minimally Invasive Urology Institute (MIUI) at The Miriam Hospital increases patient capacity with its expansion of minimally invasive reconstructive services and a new physician. Madeline Cancian, MD, who completed her residency at Rhode Island Hospital and The Miriam Hospital and a fellowship in genitourinary reconstructive surgery at Emory University Hospital, joins the team to see patients who require reconstructive procedures. Her areas of expertise include both male and female pelvic and genital reconstructive procedures including male urethral reconstruction, recto-urethral and vesico-vaginal fistulas, radiation injury sequelae, blunt and penetrating trauma, artificial urinary sphincters, genital plastic surgery, buried penis, hidradenitis, reconstruction/diversion following spinal cord injury, and complex female pelvic floor reconstruction following mesh complications of erosion/fistula. In September, Dr. Cancian, along with Dr. Gyan Pareek, performed Southern New England’s first robotic assisted laparoscopic ureteroplasty using a buccal mucosa graft.

To refer a patient for reconstructive services at the MIUI, call 401-793-5400.


Center for Bariatric Surgery Once Again Named a Center of Excellence

The Center for Bariatric Surgery at The Miriam Hospital has been named a Center of Excellence by the Clinical Sciences Institute of Optum. Centers of excellence are evaluated on positive patient outcomes and cost effectiveness, and the criteria for designation are set and reviewed by Optum and a national panel of industry experts. “We are able to provide great care because our team of surgeons, dietitians, nurses, and specialists focus on excellence every day. This recognition and the various accolades we have received over the years is a testament for the high-quality care and outcomes of our program,” says Siva Vithiananthan, MD, chief of minimally invasive and bariatric surgery. The Miriam’s Center for Bariatric Surgery has been recognized by Optum each year since 2015.

To refer a patient to the Center for Bariatric Surgery, call 401-793-3922.


The Total Joint Center Gets Gold Seal of Approval

This year, Lifespan Orthopedics Institute's Total Joint Center once again received The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for Advanced Certification for Total Hip and Total Knee Replacement. The Total Joint Center is the region’s highest volume program for total hip replacement, knee replacement, and shoulder replacement procedures - with clinical and quality outcomes that rank among the best in the nation. “This designation is a reflection of our established program and its continued focus in providing our patients and community with state-of-the-art orthopedic care in a safe, efficient, and caring environment, with world-class outcomes,” says John A. Froehlich, MD, program director of the Total Joint Center at The Miriam Hospital. This certification focuses on transitions of care, from consultation, to surgery, to rehabilitation activities. This recognizes that the Total Joint Center upholds the quality, consistency, and safety standards set by The Joint Commission.

To refer a patient to the Total Joint Center, call 401-793-5852.


Adult Partial Program at Rhode Island Hospital Expands

The Adult Partial Program at Rhode Island Hospital has increased its capacity to see new patients by expanding to the newly-renovated third floor of the Potter Building for program activities. The program provides short-term intensive treatment to individuals with acute psychiatric concerns. After completing a day of treatment, individuals return home for the evening for minimal disruption to their daily routines. The expansion will grow the number of patients served via the Adult Partial Hospital Program by 28 percent.

The partial hospital program offers a Borderline Emotional Acceptance and Regulation (BEAR) track, a specialized treatment for patients with borderline personality disorder. BEAR emphasizes mindfulness-based interventions, including acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), through group therapy, psychiatry, and aftercare planning.

To make a referral, or for more information, call 401-444-2128.


New Service Locations

Lifespan Cancer Institute Services Now Available in Lincoln

Lifespan Cancer Institute unveiled a new location in Lincoln, Rhode Island in September 2019. The 7,000-square-foot state-of-the-art suite opened its doors to the community to expand cancer services to residents of Lincoln and the surrounding areas. The experienced and dedicated team includes oncologists, nurse navigators, infusion nurses, and social workers who provide a full range of medical oncology services, including physician visits, specialty care, oncology services, and lab draw stations. The facility is conveniently located off George Washington Highway and offers accessible free parking.

Lifespan Cancer Institute Lincoln is located at 701 George Washington Highway, Suite 101, Lincoln, RI 02865. Please call 1-844-222-2881 for more information.

New Lifespan Ambulatory Care Center Coming Soon to Providence

Lifespan has added another multipurpose building for patient services at 180 Corliss Street in Providence. The newly renovated site will house a multitude of services, including Lifespan Pharmacy, Lifespan Laboratories, Men’s Health Center, The Miriam Hospital Infectious Diseases and Immunology Center, Anchor Medical, and more.

This new location will be Lifespan Pharmacy’s third. It will offer a full range of services: patients will enjoy free home delivery, courtesy refills, and scheduled or walk-in vaccinations. All Lifespan services at this location will be opening in early 2020. Lifespan Pharmacy is located at 180 Corliss Street, Suite A, Providence, RI 02904. The pharmacy is open Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, please call 401-606-8030.


Newport Orthopedics now in Portsmouth

Newport Orthopedics has expanded its services to a second location on Aquidneck Island. Our full range of orthopedic services is available, but our physicians are especially focused on sports medicine, fracture care, and joint replacement. Orthopedic surgeon Ross Budacki, MD, welcomes new patients in Portsmouth, and Rolf H. Langeland, MD, continues to see patients at the Newport office. Joint replacement specialist Michael D. Mason, DO, joined Newport Orthopedics full time this summer and sees patients in Newport.

The new office is located at 77 Turnpike Avenue, Portsmouth, RI 02871. For more information, call 401-845-1474.


LPG Ophthalmology Adds New Providers and Site in East Providence


Drs. Bakaeva, Schaefer, and Saade

Lifespan Physician Group Ophthalmology has added a second location at 950 Warren Avenue in East Providence. The full spectrum of ophthalmology services is available, from treatment of common eye conditions to surgical interventions.

LPG Ophthalmology welcomes three new providers who will see patients at both locations: Tatiana Bakaeva, MD; Jamie Schaefer, MD; and Celine Saade, MD. Each provider brings expertise in different ophthalmologic areas. Dr. Bakaeva specializes in neuro-ophthalmology, including ocular stroke and optic nerve disease; Dr. Schaefer in oculoplastic, reconstructive, and cosmetic ocular surgery; and Dr. Saade in macular degeneration, diabetic eye disease, and topical glaucoma therapy.

LPG Ophthalmology’s new office is located at 950 Warren Avenue, Suite 302, East Providence, RI 02914. To make a referral, or for more information, call 401-444-6551.



Drs. Simmons and DeNucci

LPG Gastroenterology Welcomes New Providers and Opens New Locations in Smithfield and Cranston

In addition to the established East Providence location, Lifespan Physician Group Gastroenterology brings their services to centers in Smithfield and Cranston. Like the East Providence location, the new gastroenterology sites offer a full range of medical treatments for digestive diseases and conditions of the esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines, gallbladder, pancreas, and colon.

Lifespan Physician Group Gastroenterology also welcomed two new providers to the team. Shannon Simmons, MD, and Thomas DeNucci, MD, see patients in East Providence and Smithfield. Dr. Simmons specializes in colorectal cancer screening and prevention, and Dr. DeNucci treats various gastrointestinal diseases. Sarah M. Hyder, MD, sees patients in Cranston as well as East Providence.

The new centers are located at 41 Sanderson Road, Suite 202, Smithfield, RI 02917 and 1500 Pontiac Avenue, Suite 101, Cranston, RI 02920. To refer a patient, or for more information, call 401-606-4260.

LifeNotes - Physicians

Dr. Henry SachsHenry T. Sachs III, MD, Appointed Bradley Hospital President

In October, Bradley Hospital appointed Henry T Sachs, MD, to the role of president and chief medical officer. Dr. Sachs has served as chief medical officer for child psychiatry and behavioral health at Bradley Hospital since 2007 and interim president since June of 2019. He has been a pediatric psychiatrist at Bradley for more than 25 years, specializing in autism and developmental disabilities. Dr. Sachs is credited with overseeing the expansion of many clinical services, including the creation of multiple partial programs and the Bradley Clinical Research Unit.

Dr. Sachs is an assistant clinical professor in the department of psychiatry and human behavior at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. He is a graduate of the Brown-Dartmouth Medical Program and completed his residency and fellowship at Rhode Island Hospital and Brown University.

As president, Dr. Sachs will report directly to Lifespan President and CEO, Timothy J. Babineau, MD. He will continue to serve as CMO and work towards maintaining a coordinated system-wide child behavioral health service line.


Dr. Jeffrey Gaines Appointed CMO of Newport Hospital

Veteran emergency department physician Jeffrey Gaines, MD, has been named vice president of medical affairs and chief medical officer of Newport Hospital. Dr. Gaines worked in Newport Hospital’s emergency department for ten years, serving in numerous leadership roles, including medical staff president in 2016-2017.

Dr. Gaines is also a clinical assistant professor of emergency medicine at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. He earned his medical degree from the University of Michigan and completed his residency in emergency medicine at the University of Pittsburgh affiliated hospitals, where he was named chief resident.

As CMO, Dr. Gaines plans to bring new ideas to fruition while still maintaining the hospital’s continued excellence. He is working towards a master’s degree in health care management at Harvard University.


Dr. Mary Minn Named Associate Chief of Anesthesiology

Mary Minn, MD, has been appointed associate chief of the department of anesthesiology at Newport Hospital. She has been the co-director of the Ambulatory Surgery Center at Rhode Island Hospital since 2018. Dr. Minn is also a clinical instructor of anesthesiology at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

As associate chief of anesthesiology, Dr. Minn is responsible for providing guidance to the total joint replacement program at Newport Hospital. She serves on three committees that are responsible for governing the Total Joint program: the Executive Steering Committee, the Surgeons Committee, and Shared Governance. Dr. Minn’s role is essential to the success of the program as she guides the clinical team in providing the best care possible to our patients.

Dr. Minn completed her residency in anesthesiology at NYU Medical Center and Bellevue Hospital. She completed a fellowship in obstetrical anesthesiology at NYU Medical Center and a fellowship in pain management at Roswell Park Cancer Institute and SUNY Buffalo hospitals. Her research interests were the pharmacokinetics of intrathecal fentanyl in labor.

Thomas Barrett, MD
Orthopedic surgeon Thomas Barrett, MD, a specialist in adult hip and knee reconstruction, joined Lifespan Orthopedics Institute's Total Joint Center.

Dr. Barrett earned his medical degree and completed his residency in orthopedic surgery at Albany Medical College in New York. He completed his fellowship in adult reconstruction at Baylor University Medical Center. An assistant professor of orthopedics at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, he is a member of the American Orthopaedic Association, the American Academy of Hip and Knee Surgeons and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Seth Clark, MD
Seth Clark, MD, board-certified internist, joined the Addiction Medicine Consult Service at Rhode Island Hospital and the Lifespan Recovery Center.

He received his medical degree from the University of Texas and completed his residency in internal medicine and fellowship in addiction medicine at The Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University and Rhode Island Hospital. His clinical interests include medications for addiction treatment, harm reduction, and overdose prevention. Dr. Clark is a member of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, the Rhode Island Society of Addiction Medicine, and the Society of General Internal Medicine.

Preston Douglas, MD
Preston Douglas, MD, a board-certified neurologist, recently joined Newport Neurology, a Lifespan Physician Group practice.

Dr. Douglas earned his medical degree at the University of Texas School of Medicine at San Antonio and completed his residency in adult neurology at the Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Illinois. He completed a fellowship in clinical neurophysiology at Rhode Island Hospital.

Dr. Douglas specializes in epilepsy and EEG, neuromuscular disease and NCS/EMG, and stroke and vascular neurology. He is a member of the American Academy of Neurology and the American Academy of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine.

Sleiman El Jamal, MD
Neurologist Sleiman El Jamal, MD, a specialist in vascular neurology, recently joined Rhode Island and The Miriam hospitals.

Dr. El Jamal completed his vascular neurology fellowship at Emory University Hospital/Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta and his neurology residency at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia. He is a consulting neurologist at the Miriam Hospital and a vascular neurologist at Rhode Island Hospital.

His research interests include carotid webs and their relationship to stroke, the role of cocaine and ischemic stroke of younger adults, and educating medical students and residents about vascular ischemic disorders. Dr. El Jamal speaks French, Armenian, English and Arabic.

Ruth Firmin, PhD
Psychologist Ruth Firmin, PhD, recently joined the Adult Partial Hospital Program at Rhode Island and Newport hospitals.

She earned her PhD in clinical psychology from Purdue University in Indianapolis, followed by a clinical internship at Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut. Dr. Firmin also completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at UCLA, and a clinical fellowship at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and the Providence VA Medical Center.

Dr. Firmin’s research, funded by the American Psychological Foundation, investigates stigma resistance — immunity to negative effects of stigma — and has been published in peer-reviewed journals and presented nationally and internationally. She is a member of the American Psychological Association, the Society for Research on Psychopathology, and the APA Psychologists in Public Service.

Aryandokht Fotros, MD
Aryankokht Fotros, MD, MSc, a board-certified specialist in neuropsychiatry, recently joined Lifespan Physician Group, Psychiatry & Behavioral Health.

Dr. Fotros completed her graduate studies in neuroscience at McGill University in Montreal and a postdoctoral research fellowship at Harvard University. She earned her medical degree from Azad University Tehran Medical School in Iran. Dr. Fotros completed her psychiatry residency at the University of California Medical Center in San Diego (UCSD). In her final year of residency training, she was chief resident of the drug and alcohol unit at the VA hospital in San Diego.

She completed her fellowship in neuropsychiatry at Stanford University School of Medicine, where she received training in complex neuro-psychopharmacology, interventional neuropsychiatry and a variety of psychotherapy orientations, including cognitive and behavioral therapy, virtual reality therapy and hypnosis, and prolonged exposure.

Dr. Fotros has produced more than 20 publications and presentations at the national and international levels. She has received several awards and scholarships, including the UCSD Lewis Judd Resident Research Award for her investigation of the effect of marijuana on the adolescent brain. She is interested in working with a diverse population and providing integrated patient care, using variety of talk therapy techniques as well as comprehensive medication management. Dr. Fotros is a member of the American Psychiatric Association, the American Neuropsychiatric Association, and the American Group Psychotherapy

Amy French, MD
Amy French, MD
Cardiologist Amy French, MD, recently joined Lifespan Cardiovascular Institute.

Dr. French earned her medical degree from Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. She completed her internal medicine residency at Tufts Medical Center and her cardiovascular medicine fellowship at Boston Medical Center.

Dr. French also competed an advanced heart failure and transplant cardiology fellowship at Tufts Medical Center and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. She specializes in heart failure, echocardiography and noninvasive cardiac imaging.

Dana Gionta, PhD
Dana A. Gionta, PhD, is a clinical psychologist who recently joined Lifespan Physician Group, Psychiatry & Behavioral Health.

Dr. Gionta specializes in behavioral medicine, organizational health, and family systems. She holds a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy and earned her PhD in clinical psychology at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston.

Dr. Gionta completed a health psychology internship at West Haven VA Connecticut and a postdoctoral fellowship in behavioral science at University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester. She is a member of the American Psychological Association, and is a past co-chair of its Psychologically Healthy Workplace Committee in Connecticut.

Marcoandrea Giorgi, MD
Bariatric surgeon Marcoandrea Giorgi, MD, recently joined the Center for Bariatric Surgery, a program of Rhode Island and The Miriam hospitals.

Dr. Giorgi earned his medical degree at the University of Pisa in Italy. He completed his residency in general surgery at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, and continued his training with a fellowship in advanced gastrointestinal, minimally invasive and bariatric surgery at the University of California, Davis Medical Center.

Dr. Giorgi is board certified by the American Board of Surgery and is certified by the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery and the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons.

His clinical interests include treating patients requiring traditional surgeries with minimally invasive and endoscopic techniques. He has presented his scientific works in regional and national meetings and published in peer-reviewed journals.

Debra Goldman, MD
Board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist Debra Goldman, MD, recently joined Lifespan Physician Group, Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Dr. Goldman graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in biopsychology from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. She received a medical degree from Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, Massachusetts, and completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Women & Infants Hospital and The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

She is a clinical assistant professor at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, and a member of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Her areas of clinical interest include normal and high-risk obstetrics, minimally invasive in-office procedures, menopausal health, and general gynecology and surgery.

Amritpal Jawanda, MD
Family medicine physician Amritpal S. Jawanda, MD, recently became part of Lifespan Physician Group, Primary Care in Warren.

Dr. Jawanda earned his medical degree from the University of Limerick Graduate Entry Medical School in Ireland. He completed his residency in family and community medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital Medical Center of Chicago, where he was named chief resident and Intern of the Year.

Dr. Jawanda has clinical interests in obesity, nutrition, and sports medicine. He is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Sports Medicine, and the Obesity Medicine Association.

Dominic Kleinhenz, MD
Spine surgeon Dominic Kleinhenz, MD, recently joined Lifespan Orthopedics Institute.

Dominic Thomas Kleinhenz, MD, specializes in a wide range of spinal conditions.His practice focuses on patients who suffer from disc herniation, degenerative cervical, thoracic, and lumbar disease, spine trauma, and spine deformity. He is an assistant professor in the department of orthopaedics at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

Dr. Kleinhenz earned his medical degree from the University of Florida College of Medicine, graduating with honors. He completed his orthopedic surgery residency at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University/Rhode Island and The Miriam hospitals. Dr. Kleinhenz completed his spine surgery fellowship at Rhode Island Hospital. He is a board-eligible orthopedic surgeon with the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery.

Alisha Lakhani, MD, MPH
Board-certified rheumatologist Alisha Lakhani, MD, MPH, recently joined Lifespan Physician Group, Rheumatology.

Dr. Lakhani earned her bachelor of science degree with honors at Brown University, and her medical degree from The Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown. She received a master of public health degree from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

Dr. Lakhani completed her internal medicine residency at Rhode Island Hospital and the Alpert Medical School. She completed her specialty training in rheumatology at UMass Memorial Medical Center and the University of Massachusetts.

Dr. Lakhani’s research interests include the immune system’s role in psoriatic skin disease and the safety and efficacy of biological therapy in elderly patients. Clinically, she has an interest in women’s health and caring for young women with pregnancy-related rheumatologic health issues.

Justin Y. Li, MD
Pain medicine specialist Justin Li, MD, joined the Comprehensive Spine Center as an attending physician.

Dr. Li earned his medical degree from Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, and completed his residency in anesthesiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center. He went on to a fellowship in pain medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

Dr. Li has a special interest in spinal cord stimulation and medical education, and is involved in research in neuromodulation. He is a member of the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians and is the secretary of the Rhode Island Society of Interventional Pain Physicians.

Andrew Luhrs, MD
Bariatric surgeon Andrew Luhrs, MD, recently joined the Center for Bariatric Surgery, a program of Rhode Island and The Miriam hospitals.

Dr. Luhrs specializes in general surgery with a focus on weight loss, foregut, and hernia surgery. He received his medical degree from Temple University School of Medicine. He completed his surgical residency at Rhode Island Hospital and The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and his minimally invasive and bariatric surgery fellowship at Duke University Medical Center. He is an assistant professor of surgery at the Alpert school.

Dr. Luhr’s research interests include outcomes after revisional bariatric surgery and socioeconomic disparities in health care. He has a passion for social justice. Upon graduation, he started a nonprofit organization that supports several hundred children in rural India.

Rabin Niroula, MD
Rabin Niroula, MD, is a board-certified hematologist/oncologist who recently joined Lifespan Cancer Institute.

Dr. Niroula earned his medical degree from Sher-e-Bangla Medical College of Dhaka University in Bangladesh. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Saint Vincent Hospital and University of Massachusetts Medical School, where he was named chief resident. He completed a fellowship in hematology/oncology at Roger Williams Medical Center and The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

Dr. Niroula specializes in internal medicine. His clinical interests include astrocytoma, neuroblastoma, and mycosis fungoides. His work has been published in peer-reviewed journals, book chapters and abstracts.

Thomas Ollila, MD
Hematologist/oncologist Thomas Ollila, MD, recently became part of Lifespan Cancer Institute.

Dr. Ollila earned his medical degree from Drexel University College of Medicine, and completed his residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in hematology/oncology at Rhode Island Hospital.

His research interests include translational and clinical outcomes in lymphoma as well as addressing opioid use in cancer patients and survivors. In 2018, he received the Conquer Cancer Foundation Merit Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Dr. Ollila is a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honors Society, the American Society of Hematology and the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Sarah Pillemer, PhD
Sarah Pillemer, PhD, is a neuropsychologist who recently joined Lifespan Physician Group, Psychiatry & Behavioral Health.

Dr. Pillemer performs neuropsychological evaluations for diagnoses and treatment planning. She earned her undergraduate degree from New York University and her master’s and doctoral degrees in clinical health psychology from the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology at Yeshiva University. She completed her predoctoral internship and postdoctoral fellowship in clinical neuropsychology at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

Dr. Pillemer’s research focuses on the effects of social support on cognition in older adults and factors associated with caring for individuals with dementia.

Alexander G. Raufi, MD
Alexander G. Raufi, MD, is a hematologist/oncologist who recently joined Lifespan Cancer Institute at Rhode Island and The Miriam hospitals.

Dr. Raufi specializes in gastrointestinal oncology. He received his medical degree from The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and completed his residency in internal medicine at the University of California Irvine. He continued his training with a fellowship in hematology/oncology at Columbia University/New York-Presbyterian.

Dr. Raufi’s research interests include the development of novel immunotherapy combinations in gastrointestinal malignancies. He is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Society of Hematology, and the American Association for Cancer Research.

Barbara Ruf, MD
Barbara Ruf, MD
Psychiatrist Barbara Ruf, MD, who specializes in caring for geriatric patients, recently joined Lifespan Physician Group.

Dr. Ruf earned her medical degree from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. She completed her residency in general psychiatry and a fellowship in geriatric psychiatry at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and Butler Hospital.

Dr. Ruf specializes in mood disorders, psychotic disorders, and dementia in the geriatric population. She is a member of the American Psychiatric Association, the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, and the Rhode Island Psychiatric Society.

Franklin Schneider, MD
Board-certified cardiologist Franklin Schneider, MD, FACC, FASE, FASNC, RVT, recently joined Lifespan Cardiovascular Institute.

Dr. Schneider received his medical degree from Tufts Medical School in Boston. He completed his internship at the Lemuel Shattuck Hospital and internal medicine residency at Faulkner Hospital in Boston. After serving as chief medical resident, he completed his fellowship at the Lahey Clinic.

He is a clinical instructor of medicine at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. His clinical interests include nonsurgical valve therapies, advanced/3D echocardiography, and the role of the heart in stroke.

A fellow of the American College of Cardiology, American Society of Nuclear Cardiology, and American Society of Echocardiography, Dr. Schneider is board-certified in cardiovascular diseases, echocardiography, nuclear cardiology, and vascular ultrasound.

Mitchel Sklar, MD
Cardiologist Mitchel A. Sklar, MD, FACC, FSCAI, recently joined Lifespan Cardiovascular Institute.

Dr. Sklar is board-certified in interventional cardiology, vascular medicine, cardiology, and internal medicine. He is a clinical assistant professor of medicine at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

Dr. Sklar earned his doctor of medicine degree and completed his cardiology and interventional cardiology fellowships at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He had advanced interventions fellowship training at Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation in La Jolla, California. He also completed a preceptorship at Massachusetts General Hospital on the treatment and management of peripheral vascular disease.

He is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology and the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Intervention, and a member of the Society of Vascular Medicine.

Roy Souaid, MD
Roy Souaid, MD, is an internal medicine specialist who recently became part of Lifespan Physician Group, Primary Care in Cranston.

Dr. Souaid earned his medical degree from Jagiellonian University Medical College in Krakow, Poland, and completed his residency in internal medicine at Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island and Kent Hospital with The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. His clinical interests include autoimmune disorders and preventative medicine.

During his training, he contributed to medical research, was published in several journals, and presented at national conferences. He received the Young Achiever Award at the American College of Physicians National Conference in 2018 and received the ICARE award from the Providence VA Hospital. Dr. Souaid was recognized for excellence in teaching and was designated a “positive champion of the learning environment” at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

Dr. Souaid was a speaker at the first complementary and alternative medicine seminar in Providence. He is a member of the American College of Physicians and the American Association for Physician Leadership

H. Christoph Stretz, MD
Christoph Stretz, MD, recently joined the Comprehensive Stroke Center at Rhode Island Hospital. He is a board-certified neurologist specializing in stroke and critical care neurology.

Dr. Stretz completed his residency in neurology at the University of Connecticut and Hartford Hospital, and his fellowships in neurocritical care/emergency neurology and vascular neurology at Yale New Haven Hospital.

Dr. Stretz’s clinical interests include outcomes research for patients with ischemic stroke and intracerebral hemorrhage, and seizures and EEG patterns in critically ill neurologic patients. He is a member of several medical societies, including the American Neurological Association, the American Heart Association and the Neurocritical Care Society.

Jessica Torres, MD
Jessica Torres, MD, recently joined Lifespan Physician Group, Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Dr. Torres received her medical degree from the Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, and completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia. Dr. Torres completed a Harrison fellowship in at the Ghandaki Medical College in Pokhara, Nepal.

Dr. Torres is a member of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Her areas of clinical interest include abnormal uterine bleeding, holistic women's health, high-risk obstetrics, and the history of medicine.

LifeNotes

Lifespan clinical databaseClinical Trials Database Launches on Lifespan.org

Lifespan Research Administration partnered with XpertDox to build a comprehensive clinical trial database on Lifespan.org. Conveniently located on the main navigational menu, patients can search for active clinical trials by disease or condition. Lifespan’s external research funding totaled more than $84 million in grants in the last fiscal year alone-- hundreds of clinical research studies are underway at any given time, often unbeknownst to the public. Studies included on this database, currently numbering 188, are actively enrolling trials, including many healthy participant trials, where an interested person can enroll to be part of a control group for a given study.

With this interface, members of the community can browse the platform for clinical studies that they are eligible to participate in. Users can toggle between patient-friendly language in both English and Spanish, and researchers and clinicians can choose a separate tab that displays the studies in technical language that is more appropriate for referring providers. In addition, users are directed to the portal via specific subject matter links throughout our website; relevant studies will be displayed on corresponding clinical center and service pages. The XpertDox platform will make it easier for researchers to recruit study participants and make Lifespan’s cutting-edge research more accessible to those who need it most.

Learn more about the online Clinical Trials Database.


NBC 10 Health Check Report

A recent Health Check news segment by WJAR's Barbara Morse Silva featured the study's lead neurosurgeon, Jared Fridley, MD, describing the intelligent spinal interface.

Read the Story

DARPA Grants $6.3 Million for Development of Intelligent Spinal Interface

Researchers from Rhode Island Hospital and Brown University received a grant from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop and test an intelligent spine interface, a device designed to bridge the gap typically created by spinal cord injury. Neurosurgeons at Rhode Island Hospital are working in conjunction with biomedical engineering researchers Brown University and private technology partners to develop a product that has the potential to alter the course of treatment approaches to spinal cord injuries. The device records signals that travel up and down the spinal cord to then drive electrical stimulation above and below the injury site. Circuits around a spinal lesion are active and functional even after injury; stimulation of the site could provide a deeper understanding of the treatment of spinal cord injuries.

This study aims to restore sensation and functionality, and possibly limb movement and bladder control, in patients who have had spinal cord injuries. “This is truly a transformational effort that has the potential to have a significant impact in the lives of patients with spinal cord injury, particularly for our veterans with war-related spinal cord damage,” says Ziya Gokaslan, MD, neurosurgeon-in-chief at Rhode Island and The Miriam hospitals, clinical director of Lifespan’s Norman Prince Neurosciences Institute, and chair of neurosurgery at The Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University. Neurosurgeon Jared Fridley, MD, is the lead neurosurgeon in the study, while neuroengineer David Borton, PhD, of Brown is the principal investigator.


New Protocols Reduce Readmission Rate at MIUI

The team at the Minimally Invasive Urology Institute recently presented a radical cystectomy protocol at the Society for Urologic Nurses Annual Conference. Implemented in 2016, this protocol was put in place for patients who have undergone radical cystectomy, and it aims to reduce the frequency of readmissions after discharge. Despite technological advancements in procedures, there is still a high readmission rate within 30 days of a radical cystectomy procedure. The new protocol involves pathways in pre-, intra-, post-operative, and recovery care, where patients and their health coaches are educated together to ensure optimal recovery and reduce the risk of readmission. The education sessions are comprehensive; patients participate in prehab, strengthening programs, pain management, nutritional counseling, and more. All elements are evidence- and research-based. The MIUI team, led by Christopher Tucci, engaged the community visiting nurse agencies to assist with care after discharge. Since implementing the new pathway, the MIUI has seen a 20-percent reduction in readmissions as well as a reduction in length of patient stay. Other medical systems have developed their own versions of this protocol, but not all have seen reductions in both patient length of stay and readmission rates.


Spyral Trial Tests Need for Hypertension Medication with Renal Denervation

Herbert Aronow, MD, MPH, director of interventional cardiology at the Lifespan Cardiovascular Institute, and other co-investigators, including Douglas Shemin, MD, are conducting a clinical study of renal denervation in patients with hypertension. The SPYRAL HTN OFF MEDS study tests the hypothesis that renal denervation decreases blood pressure, in patients with high blood pressure who have stopped or not yet started taking antihypertensive medications. Hypertension is extremely prevalent in the United States and worldwide, and despite the use of medical agents and prescriptions of diet and exercise modifications, it remains challenging to control blood pressure.

Participants in this trial are randomly assigned to either a renal denervation procedure or a fake (aka “sham”) procedure and then followed over time. Participants and their primary care providers remain unaware of whether they received the real or fake procedure. Recently, Lifespan was selected as a site for a second renal denervation trial, SPYRAL HTN ON MEDS, which will enroll patients with hypertension who will continue taking their medications to renal denervation or sham. Renal denervation technology is approved for use in some European countries, but remains investigational in the United States. The trials are meant to establish the safety and efficacy of this procedure among U.S. patients.

To refer a patient to participate in this trial, contact Herbert Aronow at herbert.aronow@lifespan.org or 401-793-7191.


Multidisciplinary Kidney Stone Approach Reduces Instances of Surgery

The Kidney Stone Center at The Miriam Hospital tested a hypothesis that a multidisciplinary approach to kidney stone treatment reduces the need for surgical interventions. Director of the Minimally Invasive Urology Institute and director of the Kidney Stone Center at The Miriam Hospital, Gyan Pareek, MD, FACS, compared patients with recurring kidney stones at the Kidney Stone Center to patients at an office without a multidisciplinary approach, and observed whether they had to undergo surgery. The multidisciplinary care at the Kidney Stone Center involves a urologist, nephrologist, dietitian, ultrasonographer and nurse, and an active surveillance protocol where patients are monitored frequently. Conclusions indicated that the multidisciplinary and active surveillance had a statistically significant lower incidence of surgical interventions despite higher stone burden compared to a standard approach. “Patients at the Kidney Stone Center had better outcomes despite being high-risk stone formers and prone to a higher rate of surgical interventions at baseline,” said Dr. Pareek.


pHLIP Offers New Method for Bladder Cancer Detection

The pH Low Insertion Peptide diagnostic tool, or pHLIP, targets cells with low extra-cellular pH, commonly seen in tumors or cancer, in order to diagnose bladder cancer earlier in its formation. The pHLIP is a water-soluble membrane peptide that interacts weakly with a cell membrane at neutral pH and identifies cancerous cells, which typically have a low pH. According to preliminary research by Dragan Golijanin, MD, director of the Minimally Invasive Urology Institute and director of genitourinary oncology at The Miriam Hospital, this new agent has a higher sensitivity and specificity to cancerous cells than other imaging tools available. Up until now, this research has been in the bench. The team is currently preparing to start its first human clinical trial and bring this bench research to the bedside.