The driving force of these surgical missions is to improve surgical care on an exponential basis. “If we perform 200 surgeries, we help 200 patients. If we can teach 200 surgeons our advanced techniques who then go on to treat 200 patients, we potentially help 40,000 patients,” said Michael Stifelman, M.D., chair of Urology and director of Robotic Surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center.
Dr. Stifelman recently taught at the second annual North American Robotic Urology Symposium (NARUS) in Las Vegas. He performed a live surgical procedure he co-pioneered, a retroperitoneal robotic partial nephrectomy, an alternative to laparoscopic partial nephrectomy. The procedure was broadcast live, with two-way communication providing a wider educational reach to the 350 surgeons in the audience.
Dr. Stifelman also directed the Allied Health Care Track, which provides a teaching opportunity for surgical team members, including nurses, physician assistants and surgical technicians. These team members learn, side-by-side with surgeons, in order to gain firsthand knowledge of the latest tools and advanced robotic surgical techniques in an effort to improve outcomes. Courtney DiBona, nurse manager, and Suzannah Sorin, physician assistant, were part of the faculty of this continuing education certified program.
Sharing this vision of live surgical teaching, as part of what he describes as a meaningful mission, is Mutahar Ahmed, M.D., FACS, director of the Center for Bladder Cancer at Hackensack University Medical Center. Dr. Ahmed returned from his most recent teaching experience in Bangladesh, sponsored by the American Urologic Association at the invitation of the Bangladeshi Urologic Society.
Dr. Ahmed performed multiple procedures including laparoscopic radical nephrectomy, partial nephrectomy, adrenelectomy, and ureteral reconstructive surgery in Dhaka, Bangladesh for the benefit of patients and local surgeons, with a moderator on hand during the procedure. Approximately 250 of the country’s 280 urologists attended. A live question and answer session occurred during the surgery, which was recorded, and DVDs were provided for future learning opportunities.
“It excites me that, in these situations, I’m not only performing one surgery and helping one individual,” said Dr. Ahmed. “I’m teaching a wider group of people who can cultivate that knowledge and benefit others.”
Dr. Ahmed travels regularly to his native Bangladesh, once or twice per year, performing a wide range of surgeries in a teaching hospital and also delivering scientific presentations. He is mindful about working with the tools that are available, primarily laparoscopic instruments, in order to ensure a direct transfer of knowledge. He is also looking ahead to a time when his Bangladeshi colleagues will obtain a robot and is eager to return to teach robotic surgery.
“These opportunities allow our reach to extend well beyond our own community to promote advanced minimally invasive surgical techniques and provide improved outcomes,” said Dr. Stifelman. “That’s the reason we are so passionate about teaching and these surgical missions.”About Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center
Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center, a 781-bed nonprofit teaching and research hospital located in Bergen County, NJ, is the largest provider of inpatient and outpatient services in the state. Founded in 1888 as the county’s first hospital, it is now part of one of the largest networks in the state comprised of 33,000 team members and more than 6,500 physicians. Hackensack University Medical Center was listed as the number one hospital in New Jersey in U.S. News & World Report’s 2017-18 Best Hospital rankings - maintaining its place atop the NJ rankings since the rating system was introduced. It was also named one of the top four New York Metro Area hospitals. Hackensack University Medical Center is one of only five major academic medical centers in the nation to receive Healthgrades America’s 50 Best Hospitals Award for five or more years in a row. Becker’s Hospital Review recognized Hackensack University Medical Center as one of the 100 Great Hospitals in America 2018. The medical center is one of the top 25 green hospitals in the country according to Practice Greenhealth, and received 24 Gold Seals of Approval™ by The Joint Commission – more than any other hospital in the country. It was the first hospital in New Jersey and second in the nation to become a Magnet recognized hospital for nursing excellence; receiving its fifth consecutive designation in 2014. Hackensack University Medical Center has created an entire campus of award-winning care, including: the John Theurer Cancer Center; the Heart & Vascular Hospital; and the Sarkis and Siran Gabrellian Women’s and Children’s Pavilion, which houses the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital and Donna A. Sanzari Women’s Hospital, which was designed with The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center and listed on the Green Guide’s list of Top 10 Green Hospitals in the U.S. Hackensack University Medical Center is the Hometown Hospital of the New York Giants and the New York Red Bulls and is Official Medical Services Provider to The Northern Trust PGA Golf Tournament. It remains committed to its community through fundraising and community events especially the Tackle Kids Cancer Campaign providing much needed research at the Children’s Cancer Institute housed at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital. To learn more, visit www.HackensackUMC.org.