From the Hospital CEO
Community partnerships. You probably hear this phrase a lot when organizations talk about their mission. But what does it really mean? And, more important, how do you put it into action?
Stony Brook Medicine made this idea tangible on Jan. 16 when we held the grand opening of the new Suffolk County Volunteer Firefighters Burn Center at Stony Brook Medicine. For nearly 30 years through the support of New York State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle (R-Port Jefferson); the Suffolk County volunteer firefighters; Burn Center Founding Director, the late Harry Soroff, MD; and current Burn Center Medical Director Steven Sandoval, MD, Stony Brook University Hospital has been the only hospital in Suffolk County certified by the American Burn Association to treat both adult and pediatric patients. Now, with a multi-million dollar expansion that nearly doubles the square footage, the six-bed Burn Center can treat patients more efficiently in an environment that enhances patient care.
The best part of this story is the way this expansion has unfolded with the collaboration between Stony Brook Medicine and the Suffolk County firefighters. These brave men and women have dedicated their time and resources to ensure that people with burns receive the best possible treatment. Over the years, they have raised more than $1 million for the Burn Center — through fundraising events, solicitation of corporate funds and direct donations. Additionally, Dr. Sandoval, other Stony Brook staff and the firefighters petitioned local government to secure several millions more and even went to Albany to appeal for increased funding for Stony Brook in general and the Burn Center in particular.
This idea of community partnership is central to who we are at Stony Brook Medicine. As Suffolk County’s only academic medical center, we understand that our role in the community is different from others. We are responsible for filling gaps in care, securing advanced technology and recruiting healthcare providers with the training needed to offer the best care possible. Our role also involves consulting with local providers, sharing equipment and expertise with community hospitals and making critical resources available to the community.
This year, as the new Burn Center raises the already high standard of care in the county, I salute the firefighters who helped make it happen, as well as the continued commitment of the medical team, led by Steven Sandoval, MD. I hope you never have to see the inside of our beautiful new facility, but if you do, trust that it has been designed with your safety, comfort and healing in mind — and that it was brought to life by the community, for the community.
L. Reuven Pasternak, MD