|Pictured at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center left to right: Mark Reagan, heart transplant recipient; Brian Eaton of Pine Beach is waiting for a heart transplant; Elisse Glennon, Executive Director of NJ Sharing Network Foundation; Trevor Williams of Summit is waiting for a heart transplant; Joseph Roth, President and Chief Executive Officer of NJ Sharing Network; Mark J. Zucker, MD, JD, Director of The Harvey and Georgina Weinstein National Heart Transplant Center at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center; Darrell Terry, Chief Operating Officer of Newark Beth Israel Medical Center.
Heart transplant recipient and Basking Ridge, NJ resident Mark Reagan will be one of 32 organ recipients riding on the Donate Life float at the annual Rose Parade in Pasadena, California on Jan 1, 2013. Mr. Reagan, who received his heart transplant at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in 2003, returned to the hospital yesterday to meet with many of the people who make organ transplant a reality in New Jersey. Transplant physicians, administrators and staff of Newark Beth Israel Medical Center gathered with Mr. Reagan and officials from NJ Sharing Network to celebrate.
Mr. Reagan received his transplant after battling chronic heart failure for eight years. Since then, he has dedicated himself to educating others about organ donation. Speaking to a group of other heart transplant recipients and several patients who are awaiting transplant, Mr. Reagan paid tribute to the transplant team at Newark Beth Israel and praised all the donor families who give the ultimate gift of life in the midst of their own grief. He described his emotional five-month wait for a heart transplant and recalled his feelings when he learned that a donor heart had been found. “It is the lucky moment when you learn you are going to dance,” said Mr. Reagan.
The heart transplant program at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center is the third largest in the nation and has been led for more than 20 years by Mark J. Zucker, MD, JD. “We have performed 68 heart transplants this year—another record for Newark Beth Israel,” noted Dr. Zucker. “We dream big here at Newark Beth and we are proud to be improving the quality care for people with heart failure in New Jersey and across the U.S.”
According to Elisse Glennon, Executive Director of the NJ Sharing Network Foundation, the theme of the 2013 Donate Life float is Journeys of the Heart. Portraits of organ donors will be made out of flowers to adorn the float. “For many donor families, this is a unique opportunity to see their loved one shine before a worldwide audience and to gain special recognition for their gifts of life and hope. And for transplant recipients like Mark, it is a once-in-a-lifetime moment to publicly thank their donor family for the most precious gift ever. The NJ Sharing Network Foundation is proud to sponsor Mark’s participation in the Rose Parade and we look forward to seeing him ride the float on New Year’s Day,” said Ms. Glennon.
“We are inspired by the skills and dedication of every member of the team that makes organ transplant possible,” said Darrell Terry, Chief Operating Officer at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. “Newark Beth Israel is proud to work closely with our partners at the NJ Sharing Network to maximize the potential of each precious gift a life.”
More than 725 heart transplants have been performed at Newark Beth Israel since New Jersey’s first was performed there in 1986. Earlier this year, The Harvey and Georgina Weinstein National Heart Transplant Center was established at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. Directed by Dr. Zucker, the new center will continue to increase access to transplant in New Jersey and expand the programs’ commitment to clinical research.
According to the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients, which maintains the national database of transplant statistics and supports the scientific and clinical evaluation of organ transplantation, both the Heart and Lung Transplant Programs at Newark Beth Israel have consistently achieved patient survival rates that meet or exceed national benchmarks. For the last two years, the Heart and Lung Transplant Programs were awarded the Bronze Level by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Donation and Transplant Community of Practice. This award recognizes programs that improve the success of transplantation and increase organ donation and Newark Beth Israel Medical Center was one of only two hospitals in the Northeast to earn this recognition.
The heart transplant program’s outstanding reputation has made Newark Beth Israel Medical Center a principle site for groundbreaking clinical research. In addition to the most advanced medical and surgical treatments, patients have access to clinical trials of breakthrough medications and therapies. For more than 20 years, the heart transplant program has offered the latest generation of ventricular assist devices and is now participating in research in an innovative method for preserving donor organs as well as cardiac stem cell research that may someday help the heart heal itself.
The Harvey and Georgina Weinstein National Heart Transplant Center will continue Newark Beth Israel Medical Center’s long tradition in the field of transplant medicine and improve its ability to provide the evaluation, advanced treatment and follow-up care for people across the region that choose the transplant option.
Mark J. Zucker, MD, JD, Director of The Harvey and Georgina Weinstein National Heart Transplant Center
One of the world’s leading experts in the field of heart transplant, Dr. Zucker recently completed a two-year term as Chair of United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) Thoracic Organ Transplant Committee and Heart Subcommittee. He currently serves as Vice Chair of the American College of Cardiology Medicare Carrier Advisory Committee and Co-Chair of the American Heart Association Mission: Lifeline initiative. From 2006 through 2009 he served as President and Governor of the New Jersey Chapter of the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and as the Board of Governors representative to the national ACC Subcommittee on Heart Failure and Transplantation. In addition, Dr. Zucker has served as a Board member or Advisory Board member for the New Jersey Organ and Tissue Sharing Network for 20 years.
About Barnabas Health Heart Centers
The Barnabas Health Heart Centers offer a single comprehensive adult and pediatric cardiac program with locations throughout New Jersey. Our network of cardiac specialists treats patients close to home with advanced technologies and the benefits of cutting-edge cardiac research. From heart disease prevention programs and the finest emergency heart attack care to cardiac catheterization, minimally invasive valve and coronary bypass surgery and heart transplant, Barnabas Health Heart Centers are nationally recognized for excellence. Families seeking the most sophisticated care for children with congenital heart defects turn to the Children’s Heart Center and its pediatric cardiac surgery partnership with NYU School of Medicine. Working in concert, adult and pediatric cardiologists and surgeons provide lifelong care for all types of congenital heart conditions in teens, adults and seniors, including those complicated by heart rhythm problems, heart failure, pregnancy and pacemakers. Our renowned heart transplant program ranks among the nation’s top three centers with long-term survival rates that consistently exceed national benchmarks.
Barnabas Health Heart Centers are located at Children’s Hospital of New Jersey at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center; Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville;, Community Medical Center in Toms River; Kimball Medical Center in Lakewood, Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch; Newark Beth Israel Medical Center; and Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston.
About NJ Sharing Network
NJ Sharing Network is a non-profit, federally designated organization responsible for the recovery and placement of donated organs and tissue for New Jersey residents in need of life-saving transplants. NJ Sharing Network, celebrating 25 years of saving lives through organ and tissue donation in 2012, partners with Donate Life America, a not-for-profit national alliance that drives communities to increase their numbers of registered donors. To learn more about organ and tissue donation contact NJ Sharing Network at 1-800-742-7365 or visit www.NJSharingNetwork.org to register as an organ and tissue donor.
Date: December 28, 2012
Contact: Caren Malone
Public Relations Department
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