sutures newsletter

PRODUCED BY AND FOR MEMBERS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF SURGERY March 2013 | Archived Issues

Mark Your Calendar


Grand Rounds

Click here to view a schedule of all upcoming grand rounds.


Surgery Scheduling

Click the "read more" for hours and contact information for surgery scheduling.

» Read more


Risk of Potentially Fatal Heart Rhythms with Azithromycin (Zithromax or Zmax)

Pharmacy Focus

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has strengthened a previous warning regarding a small but significant increased risk of fatal arrhythmias associated with azithromycin (marketed as Zithromax® or Zmax®). Also, the FDA is evaluating unpublished findings by a group of academic researchers that suggest an increased risk of pancreatitis and pre-cancerous cellular changes in patients with type 2 diabetes treated with a class of drugs called incretin mimetics.

» Read more

Symposium Offers Perspectives on End-of-Life Care

The specialists who make up Cedars-Sinai's Surgical Critical Care team recently presented a multidisciplinary symposium on end-of-life care. The symposium examined end-of-life care from various perspectives encountered by the practicing physician.

» Read more

Match Program Brings 10 New Residents to Surgery Department

The Department of Surgery has matched its top applicants in General Surgery, Orthopaedic Surgery and Urology. These students are among the brightest to join Cedars-Sinai, with the highest average scores on the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination®, along with superior letters of recommendation, research and extracurricular talents.

» Read more

Surgeon Gives Girl a Reason – and the Ability – to Smile

During three decades as a plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Randy Sherman, MD, has faced plenty of tough cases. One of his most fulfilling cases, however, has involved one of his youngest patients – 8-year-old Hayley Brang, who suffers from Moebius syndrome, a congenital disorder that paralyzes facial muscles, compromising her ability to eat, talk and smile.

» Read more

Memorial Service for Leon Morgenstern, MD, Set for April 18

A memorial service for Leon Morgenstern, MD, will begin at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 18, in Harvey Morse Auditorium. Morgenstern was the founding director of Surgery for Cedars-Sinai and senior adviser to the Center for Healthcare Ethics.

» Read more

President's Perspective: Antidote for Confusion - Some Facts about Payments and Pricing

Thomas M. Priselac, President and CEO

Here's something everyone can agree on: The current payment and pricing system for health care is confusing, and a huge source of dissatisfaction and frustration.

» Read more

AHSP Set for Phased Opening in April

As construction workers continue to put the final touches on the Advanced Health Sciences Pavilion, orders for new equipment are already being delivered to the new building in preparation for the arrival of its first occupants this spring.

» Read more

Link Between Lifestyle, Insurance Premiums Subject of Debate

Residents Seth Felder, MD, and Tsuyoshi Todo, MD, will take the podium at the 10th Annual Dr. Leon Morgenstern Great Debates in Clinical Medicine Resident Competition on Thursday, April 18, at 8 a.m. in ECC A-C.

» Read more

Annual Brainworks Event Challenges, Inspires Local Middle Schoolers

About 150 middle school students from throughout Los Angeles County had the chance to participate in neuroscience experiments, meet "Robot-Doc" and get hands-on suture experience at Cedars-Sinai's Brainworks conference this year.

» Read more

Circle of Friends Honorees for February

The Circle of Friends program honored 136 people in February. Circle of Friends allows grateful patients to make a donation in honor of the physicians, nurses, caregivers and others who have made a difference during their time at Cedars-Sinai. When a gift is made, the person being honored receives a custom lapel pin and a letter of acknowledgement.

» See the names of those honored

Symposium Offers Perspectives on End-of-Life Care

The specialists who make up Cedars-Sinai's Surgical Critical Care team recently presented a multidisciplinary symposium on end-of-life care. The following is a summary by each speaker.

Leo Gordon, MD, moderator

As the issues of healthcare and finance occupy a significant part of the medical dialogue, a focused view of end-of-life care has become necessary. To that end, the Department of Surgery convened an end-of-life care mini-symposium on Jan. 31. This symposium examined end-of-life care from the different clinical perspectives encountered by the practicing physician.

A lead-off presentation by Eric Ley, MD, director of the Intensive Care Unit, examined the survivability percentages of the ICU population. The efficacy of interventions was discussed as a function of age and severity of illness. An in-depth economic evaluation of ICU care was presented by Glenn Braunstein, MD. Data generated from hospitals similar to our medical center was analyzed for end-of-life care. The important aspect of planning and preparation with an advanced directive was stressed.

Following this analysis, the ethical aspects of end-of-life care were analyzed by Stuart Finder, MD, director of the Center for Healthcare Ethics. The evolution of healthcare ethics as a critical element in the management of end-of-life care was discussed. Rabbi Jason Weiner, BCC, discussed the role of the Chaplaincy Division in managing the challenging religious and cultural aspects of care. Insights were provided by discussing varying views of these emotionally charged clinical situations from family perspective. Robin McCaffery, JD, of the Legal Affairs Department ended the symposium with an outline of the legal implications of end-of-life care. The legal obligations of the physician as well as the legal limitations of delivering care in these situations were discussed. The symposium concluded with a question-and-answer session based on the issues discussed.

Eric Ley, MD, director, Intensive Care Unit

Negotiating end-of-life care in the surgical critical care population requires an understanding of mortality and an ability to communicate its likelihood. What is the mortality rate in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit? In a recent study of mortality in SICU patients, in-hospital mortality was 11 percent, one-year mortality 25 percent, and 10-year mortality 51 percent (Timmers TK et al).

With regard to cardiopulmonary resuscitation, a 2012 study noted in-hospital mortality after SICU CPR was 84.3 percent (Gershengorn HB et al) and 20 years prior mortality after CPR was 87.3 percent (Smith DL et al). In terminal patients, mortality after CPR is especially high, approaching 100 percent. Guiding patients and family members through end-of-life care requires involvement with social work, palliative care, religious services and ethics such that there is an understanding of Do Not Attempt Resuscitation orders, as well as withdrawal of care, dying-patient protocol and terminal extubation.

Glenn Braunstein, MD, vice president, Clinical Innovation

It is estimated that the United States spends at least a quarter of all Medicare dollars on patients during the last year of their lives, with a large portion of those sums being expended in their final month. Many of the costs go for futile, life-sustaining treatments, such as mechanical ventilation, dialysis, feeding tubes and cardiopulmonary resuscitation, which do not prolong meaningful life, and may inflict unnecessary suffering on the individual and their families.

Patients with cancer too often receive useless chemotherapy during the last two weeks of life, and too many patients with chronic terminal illnesses spend many of their remaining days in intensive care units in hospitals, do not receive appropriate palliative care, comfort care measures or hospice referral – and often when these are provided, they are provided very late in the course of the disease.

National data also show that there is great variation as to the services provided to the terminally ill and that some of this variation relates to the number of doctors and hospital beds in a community, the physician practice patterns, the physician's acceptance that a patient's death is not a failure, the expectations of the patient, the patient's race and ethnicity, financial issues, access to hospice or palliative care services and whether the physician has discussed goals of care and end-of-life issues with the patient.

Certainly the data at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center support the published data, and in order to improve the care that we deliver to patients with chronic terminal illnesses, a multidisciplinary committee has been meeting for over two years under the auspices of Cedars-Sinai Medicine and has developed criteria for where these patients should be admitted. The committee has created and is distributing an Advance Healthcare Directive booklet for patients, is creating a video to help patients understand the importance of having advanced directives, and has developed a training program for house staff on how to have these difficult end-of-life conversations with patients. This latter program uses actors to play the patient roles, and the sessions are videotaped for immediate feedback.

Stuart Finder, PhD, director, Center for Healthcare Ethics

Talking directly and explicitly with patients about their end-of-life preferences is, in many ways, the most practically challenging ethical issue associated with end-of-life care. There are many reasons for this. One is that clinical contexts are infused with many values, some reflective of individual beliefs and commitments, others grounded in professional and institutional norms, and yet others shaped by broader social, cultural, political and economic frameworks and perspectives.

But none has absolute primacy. Clinical contexts are also infused with many forms of uncertainty, and oftentimes we lack long-term relationships with our patients and their families; they are, so to speak, strangers. Trust is thus often not based on demonstrated trustworthiness, but is a "forced trust,' based simply on one's acting in a role – be it patient, doctor, nurse, and so on. And finally, as care providers, we are responsible for making judgments about what, in the face of all input – patients' goals and values, medical indications, best practice evidence and accepted standards of practice, etc. – makes medical "sense" – and yet must do so keeping at bay our own personal values. To talk about another's end of life is daunting, which is why the many end-of-life-related policies at CSMC aim both to provide guidance and to ensure that we make decisions with consistency even as we always tailor each decision based on the particularity of patients' situations.

Rabbi Jason Weiner, BCC, manager, Spiritual Care Department

Involvement of a professional spiritual care provider is essential both before and after death. Even when curative medical treatment is deemed inappropriate, patient care continues until the very end. It is at this point, when some of the medical team begins to step back, that spiritual care becomes increasingly essential. As Rabbi Levi Meier, PhD, used to say, "Even when a cure is not possible, healing is always possible." This healing can be emotional, spiritual, or relational and can involve finding a sense of wholeness despite (or because of) terminal illness, and it can involve repairing strained relationships (whether with family, friends, or God), or thinking about one's legacy and writing an ethical will.

In this way, an incurable patient who is given appropriate care, space and guidance can literally heal into death. The role a chaplain plays for a patient, their family or our staff is often healing in and of itself, as a chaplain's focus is frequently to be that person who sits and provides a compassionate presence for as long as it takes for them to articulate their fears, hopes or even anger at God, without trying to fix anything. Spiritual care providers can also play a crucial role in end-of-life decision making, as death is more than just a medical or scientific issue; death is a process, and the point at which a human being no longer retains the status of a living entity is a complex religious, philosophical, and moral issue. Once a patient has died, the chaplain remains crucial in providing a nonanxious presence comforting the bereaved family and often assisting with specific prayers or rituals essential to the patient and/or their loved ones.

Robin McCaffery, JD, Legal Affairs Department

End-of-life care also triggers a number of specific and occasionally complex legal issues. Cedars-Sinai has developed policies which address end-of-life issues. These can be found on the Center for Healthcare Ethics Intranet site. These policies have taken into account relevant California law, as well as Cedars-Sinai standards of practice, and so are an excellent source of guidance. As a very broad summary: Laws relating to end-of-life care, such as those applicable to the withdrawal or withholding of life-sustaining care or medically inappropriate care, include provisions that not only protect patients, but protect physicians from liability when they follow the patient's healthcare decisions.

Match Program Brings 10 New Residents to Surgery Department

The Department of Surgery has matched its top applicants in General Surgery, Orthopaedic Surgery and Urology.

These students are among the brightest to join Cedars-Sinai, with the highest average scores on the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination®, along with superior letters of recommendation, research and extracurricular talents.

This was a very competetitive year, with 700 applicants in General Surgery, 450 In Orthopedic Surgery and 200 in Urology. They will begin their internship training in late June.

The new Surgery residents are:

General Surgery

Melissa Chen 
Tulane University

Ara Ko 
Tufts University

Nicholas Manguso 
Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Justin Steggerda
University of Michigan

Orthopedic Surgery

Alisa Alayan
Georgetown University

Sean Rajaee
Tufts University

Ronald Roiz
University of Illinois

Danielle Thomas
Northwestern University

Urology

Christo Dru
Loyola University

Joe Thum
Northwestern University

Surgeon Gives Girl a Reason – and the Ability – to Smile

Hayley Brang can smile, after a pair of surgeries performed by Randy Sherman, MD.

During three decades as a plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Randy Sherman, MD, has faced plenty of tough cases. He has transplanted severed limbs, and reconstructed jaws, breasts and other vital structures ravaged by cancer, trauma or infections. He also has treated children born with cleft lips and other congenital abnormalities.

One of his most fulfilling cases, however, has involved one of his youngest patients – 8-year-old Hayley Brang, who suffers from Moebius syndrome, a congenital disorder that paralyzes facial muscles, compromising her ability to eat, talk and smile.

Sherman, vice chair of the Department of Surgery, is among a handful of doctors who treat the rare condition.

Hayley's mother, Heather, says the surgeries have changed her daughter's life, enabling her to make more friends at school.

He began treating Hayley when she was only 5. To correct her problem, Sherman performed two identical surgeries, separated by eight months. In each one, he transplanted a portion of a small muscle from Hayley's inner thigh, along with its accompanying blood vessels and motor nerve, into one side of her face, allowing her to smile whenever she would bite down.

After the transplanted muscle reacquired function through the growth of new nerve fibers, Sherman and his team asked Hayley to use a mirror to practice smiling every day, giving her something most others take for granted. And that smile has in turn given Sherman one of his greatest gifts.

"That's all that I need," he said.

Hayley's mother, Heather, said the surgeries have changed her daughter's life, enabling her to make more friends at school.

"Whenever I see Hayley smile, I am beyond excited that she finally has that ability to express her enthusiasm and show the world how happy she really is," said Brang.

Sherman has devoted much of his career to helping children. He is chief medical officer of Operation Smile, a global medical charity concerned with the reconstructive surgery of children with congenital and acquired deformities. He has spent years traveling the globe to perform surgeries on children born with cleft lips, cleft palates and other facial irregularities, performing this volunteer work in dozens of countries, including Cambodia, India and Brazil.

But he has never forgotten his commitment to young patients – like Hayley Brang – back home in Los Angeles. Every time Sherman thinks of Hayley, he breaks into a smile of his own.

"I feel awesome," he said. "Just awesome."

Memorial Service for Leon Morgenstern, MD, Set for April 18

A memorial service for Leon Morgenstern, MD, will begin at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 18, in Harvey Morse Auditorium.

Morgenstern, the founding director of Surgery for Cedars-Sinai and senior adviser to the Center for Healthcare Ethics, died Dec. 23 at his home in Malibu at age 93.

He joined Cedars of Lebanon as an attending physician in 1953, then became an attending in 1954 at Mount Sinai Hospital. He became Cedars of Lebanon's director of Surgery in 1960, and in 1970, at the creation of Cedars-Sinai, he retained that title.

Morgenstern served as Cedars-Sinai's director of Surgery until 1988, presiding over a time of sweeping change in his field, in medicine and at the medical center. He said the Department of Surgery had only 1.5 staff members when he started; there are more than 80 general surgeons alone in the department now.

Under his leadership, Cedars-Sinai won recognition for its pre-eminence in cardiothoracic and intestinal surgery. New techniques in surgical specialties were quickly adopted, including intraocular lenses and laser surgery in ophthalmology, artificial joints in orthopedics, prosthetic grafts in vascular surgery, kidney stone dissolution in urology, and the Swan-Ganz catheter and valve replacement in cardiac surgery.

For more information about the memorial service, contact Marina Gudelman at Marina.Gudelman@cshs.org or (323) 866-6250.

Morgenstern's obituary ran in the January issue of Sutures.

Memorial Service for Leon Morgenstern, MD - April 18 (PDF)

President's Perspective: Antidote for Confusion - Some Facts about Payments and Pricing

Thomas M. Priselac
President and CEO

Here's something everyone can agree on: The current payment and pricing system for healthcare is confusing, and a huge source of dissatisfaction and frustration.

Regardless of your vantage point – patient, physician, employer, hospital manager, legislator – over the years it's become a challenging system for everyone. Insurance company statements are confusing, Medicare's rules and regulations alone are more than 130,000 pages, hospital bills can be difficult to decipher, and no one is quite sure exactly what the "price" of a service actually is.

Who's to blame? The government? Hospitals? Insurance companies?

Today's system is the result of decades of different policy decisions and actions by many different groups. As a result, there is often a lot of finger-pointing and confusion when it comes to the current payment and pricing system in healthcare. Changing the system will require federal and state governments, commercial insurers, hospitals and doctors to work cooperatively on a solution.

I strongly support efforts to revamp the payment and pricing system used by the government and by private insurance companies, and which hospitals and physicians must work under. Until these structural changes occur, however, we must continue to help people understand the confusing system. With this in mind, here are some facts related to three of the most frequently misunderstood aspects of payment and pricing, including information about Cedars-Sinai.

The price a hospital patient sees on a bill reflects the costs of the many roles the hospital plays in the community, including vital community services for which hospitals are not compensated. Uncompensated care is not limited to the traditional charity care we provide. In fact, Medi-Cal and Medicare payments do not come near the actual cost of caring for patients in these programs. Yet we do so as part of our longstanding commitment to community and to patients. As one of the largest providers of Medi-Cal services among nongovernment hospitals in California, last year we provided $95.6 million in the unfunded cost of care for Medi-Cal patients. As the hospital serving the largest number of Medicare patients in California, including a disproportionate number of those over the age of 85 with very serious medical conditions, we provided $304.7 million in the unfunded cost of care for Medicare patients. On top of this, we provided an additional $42.3 million in traditional charity care – completely uncompensated care for the uninsured and indigent who do not have Medi-Cal.

Our medical education and research missions, which benefit all residents of California, are reflected in our operating costs as well. As with Medi-Cal and Medicare, the payments for these important programs do not cover the actual cost of educating tomorrow's physicians and discovering new treatments for disease. With Californians and the nation facing a severe shortage of physicians, nurses and other health professionals, our education mission has become even more crucial in meeting society's future needs.

The prices for services in any hospital also reflect the total mix and scope of services the hospital provides. As a key medical resource that serves the Los Angeles region, California and beyond, Cedars-Sinai provides the largest combined volume of the most complex and costly care in cancer, heart disease, neurosciences, high-risk obstetrics and organ transplantation of any hospital in California. The infrastructure to assure the availability of these services on a 24/7/365 basis, as well as other crucial services such as our Emergency Department (serving 80,000 people annually) and Trauma Center, is costly, but invaluable to any of the thousands of people whose lives are saved because they received these services.

To continue to uphold our commitment to the community, and to remain financially viable so we can remain open to serve the community, these unfunded costs – which enable us to care for the most vulnerable, educate future healthcare professionals and develop new medical treatments – are partially recouped indirectly through payments from commercially insured patients. As you know, our physicians, staff and managers are continually developing new ways to improve our operating and clinical efficiency. But until the healthcare payment system changes to account for the role each hospital plays in the larger community, uncompensated care hospitals currently provide, as well as the investments made in education and research, we must continue to operate in the current system if we are to continue to serve the most vulnerable in our community and uphold our longstanding mission.

Not-for-profit hospitals need to have a positive financial margin. There are some people who continue to mistakenly believe that non-profit organizations should never have a positive financial gain, because they perceive that as "profit." The difference between a for-profit and a not-for-profit organization is that all of the financial gain of the not-for-profit is re-invested back into the institution to benefit the community. The nature of modern hospital care requires substantial ongoing capital investments. Not-for-profit hospitals need a positive margin to help pay for upgrading facilities and equipment needed to keep pace with advances in care and meet the rising demands of our aging population. As other communities in California and the nation have unfortunately found, chronic failure to have a positive margin leads to the deterioration of facilities and equipment, eventual bankruptcy, and closure.

In almost no cases does anyone – patients, commercial insurance companies or the government – pay a hospital full charges for inpatient care. For commercially insured patients, the actual amount that is paid to the hospital is always a significant discount from charges. Charges are neither the "cost" nor the "price" of care. Most of our contracts with commercial insurance companies pay, in general, less than half of charges. In addition, to assist low-income uninsured or underinsured patients, Cedars-Sinai has established financial assistance policies that offer free or significantly discounted care for those earning up to 450 percent of the federal poverty level (which equates to $105,975 for a family of four). In no case do we ever charge low-income uninsured or underinsured patients more than what we would be paid by Medicare for the services.

Meaningful pricing and payment reform must simultaneously meet the needs of consumers, assure access to needed clinical services for everyone and assure the continued availability of related essential programs that serve the broader community in the short- and long-term. For this to occur, traditional commercial insurance and Covered California (the soon-to-open health insurance exchange) need to recognize differences among hospitals in their role serving the community and region, in the level of uncompensated care they provide, and in how they are impacted by healthcare reimbursement decisions made by federal and state government.

Click here to read past President's Perspective columns on the Cedars-Sinai Intranet.

AHSP Set for Phased Opening in April

Stairs lead from Level 8 to Level 9 in the research space of the new Advanced Health Sciences Pavilion (above). Level 9 is shown below.

As construction workers continue to put the final touches on the Advanced Health Sciences Pavilion, orders for new equipment are already being delivered to the new building in preparation for the arrival of its first occupants this spring.

"We expect to receive our Temporary Certificate of Occupancy next month and take possession of the AHSP soon afterward," said Robert Cull, executive project director of the AHSP for Facilities Planning, Design and Construction. "If all goes according to plan, we can start moving the research labs and their staff into the upper floors of the Pavilion in early April."

So who's moving in and when? Here's the breakdown for March/April:

  • March – Temporary Certificate of Occupancy issued
  • March – Cedars-Sinai takes possession of the building, begins delivery and installation of equipment; sidewalk reopens on San Vicente
  • Late-March – AHSP parking is opened and the Pavilion Café begins offering limited menu service for the building's occupants
  • Early April – Research labs start moving into Levels 8 and 9, beginning with the Regenerative Medicine Institute

The AHSP is officially set to open in summer 2013. The 11-story, 820,000-square-foot building is connected to the medical center by two bridges, one on the Plaza Level and on the fifth floor, and will eventually be home to the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, Neurosciences (Neurology and Neurosurgery) and the Regenerative Medicine Institute, among other specialties.

Designed with patient comfort and convenience in mind, the AHSP will help Cedars-Sinai meet the growing demands for outpatient care and high-quality translational research. In addition to being patient friendly, the building space is designed to be flexible enough to accommodate for future changes in healthcare delivery and research.

Researchers moving into the AHSP on Levels 8 and 9 will find more than 100,000 square feet of space with large, open lab suites with shared support and office spaces to promote collaboration between multiple disciplines. The two levels feature an open-air design with common seating areas and are linked by a grand staircase. Researchers relocating to this space include those with the Regenerative Medicine Institute, Neurosciences, the Heart Institute and Comparative Medicine.

Also opening in March will be the two-story main lobby on the Plaza Level, named the George W. Schaeffer Lobby, and the Pavilion Café, which initially will only offer a limited morning menu from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Link Between Lifestyle, Insurance Premiums Subject of Debate

Residents Seth Felder, MD, and Tsuyoshi Todo, MD, will take the podium at the 10th Annual Dr. Leon Morgenstern Great Debates in Clinical Medicine Resident Competition on Thursday, April 18, at 8 a.m. in ECC A-C.

The topic is "Should Lifestyle Choices Affect Health Insurance Premiums?" Felder will argue that health insurance premiums should be tied to lifestyle choices. Todo will argue in opposition.

Annual Brainworks Event Challenges, Inspires Local Middle Schoolers

Fred Smith, Cedars-Sinai Image Guided Surgery coordinator, teaches students Jayland Davis and Audrey Lam how to use neurosurgical equipment at Brainworks.

About 150 middle school students from throughout Los Angeles County had the chance to participate in neuroscience experiments, meet "Robot-Doc" and get hands-on suture experience at Cedars-Sinai's Brainworks conference this year.

Part of the medical center's commemoration of Brain Awareness Week, the March 11 event was packed with interactive activities and lectures meant to inspire students to question and explore prevention and treatment of brain injuries.

Jose Sarmiento, MD, (right) teaches students from Dana Middle School how to staple an incision.

"If I was exposed to this type of an event as a kid, I would have definitely expressed an interest in the medical field sooner," said Michael Arango, a surgical technician III in OR-Anesthesia. "We want to excite and inspire these students."

That is the goal of the event – to "expose as many young minds as possible to how exciting science is and especially how fascinating the brain is," said Keith L. Black, MD, chair and professor in the Department of Neurosurgery and director of the Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute.

Mia Leccese, a seventh-grader from Dana Middle School in San Pedro, said the suture station was especially exciting, because it gave her the opportunity to practice stitching.

"This is different than what we learn in the classroom," said Leccese, who aspires to be a physical therapist. "It's interesting when you get to actually see and experience it."

The day was focused on hands-on learning, with interactive stations that included a virtual surgery station with 3-D imaging and a phantom skull.

Dana Middle School students speak with Michael Arango, surgical technician III, and Rebecca Burgess, RN, who both work in the operating room.

Among the day's highlights was a demonstration of the InTouch Health RP-7i robot. Students met "Robot-Doc," a key member of the Neuroscience Critical Care Unit. The robot is operated via computer interface and joystick. Equipped with a high-definition monitor, speakers and a microphone, the machine allows doctors to monitor and interact with patients at any time, from any place with a network connection.

Overall, students were engaged and asked well-educated questions, said Aimee Bender, a therapy supervisor in the Department of Rehabilitation.

"We want to educate kids in what we do and our role in treating brain injuries," she said. "We also want the students to be safe and learn about brain injury prevention."

Miranda Sattaar El, mother of an eighth-grader at KIPP Academy of Opportunity, asked that her son's class attend the event after hearing about it on an NPR news segment.

"Students need to explore their curiosity," she said. "They are still very impressionable at this age and willing to take that leap."

Circle of Friends Honorees for February

The Circle of Friends program honored 136 people in February.

Circle of Friends allows grateful patients to make a donation in honor of the physicians, nurses, caregivers and others who have made a difference during their time at Cedars-Sinai. When a gift is made, the person being honored receives a custom lapel pin and a letter of acknowledgement.

Click here for more information about the program and for a list of past honorees.

  • Daniel C. Allison, MD
  • Peter G. Anderson, RN
  • Jennifer T. Anger, MD, MPH
  • Laura G. Audell, MD, MS
  • Ana Maricel D. Basto, RN, ANCC
  • Andrew M. Braun, RN
  • Barry J. Brock, MD
  • Mathew H. Bui, MD
  • Christiane Michele J. Burnison, MD
  • Ilana Cass, MD
  • Henry H. Chen, MD
  • Donald S. Cohen, MD
  • Christine Collins, MD
  • Jeffrey L. Conklin, MD  
  • Ruth Cousineau, MD
  • Alice C. Cruz, MD
  • Scott A. Cunneen, MD
  • Dudley S. Danoff, MD
  • Mark M. Davidson, MD
  • Rick B. Delamarter, MD
  • Kathleen C. Delorimier, RN, BSN
  • J. Kevin Drury, MD
  • Marla C. Dubinsky, MD
  • Cheryl L. Dunnett, MD
  • Sylvia S. Estrada, RN, WHCNP-BC, MSN, MSHCM, BSN, CBCN
  • Joel D. Feinstein, MD
  • Larry Froch, MD
  • Gerhard J. Fuchs, MD
  • Rodney A. Gabriel, MD
  • Ryan P. Galang, RN-BC
  • Eden J. Garcia
  • Robert G. Garvin (deceased)
  • Ivor L. Geft, MD
  • Jordan L. Geller, MD
  • Armando E. Giuliano, MD
  • Richard N. Gold, MD
  • Neil J. Goldberg, MD
  • Marc T. Goodman
  • Lloyd B. Greig, MD
  • Hope C. Gruendler, RN, MSN, CNRN
  • Ankur Gupta, MD  
  • Michele A. Hamilton, MD
  • John G. Harold, MD, MACC, MACP   
  • Jeremy R. Herman, MD
  • Stuart Holden, MD
  • Keith W. Hoshal, MSN, RN-BC
  • Jethro L. Hu, MD
  • Wei G. Hu, RT, (R) (M)
  • Gabriel E. Hunt, Jr., MD
  • Bree Hysjulien
  • Marshal B. Kaplan, MD  
  • Saibal Kar, MD
  • Scott R. Karlan, MD
  • David Kawashiri, MD
  • Ali Khoynezhad, MD, PhD
  • Jacqueline S. King, RN, MSN  
  • Cord Kirshner, RN
  • Jon A. Kobashigawa, MD
  • Steven G. Koopman, MD
  • Penelope Grace Kornbluth, MSN, ANP, APRN-BC
  • Timothy LaBelle, BA, RT(T)
  • Nadia U. Lansing, RT, (R) (M)
  • Kara E. Lauko, RN
  • Anita S. Lee, RN
  • Nora B. Levid, RN
  • Andrew J. Li, MD
  • Aliza A. Lifshitz, MD
  • Stephen W. Lim, MD
  • Cynthia A. Litwer Schwieger, MD
  • Joyce G. Lopez
  • Patrick D. Lyden, MD
  • James F. MacDonald, RN, BSN, MPH
  • Ezra Maguen, MD
  • Rajendra Makkar, MD
  • Lucy Mathew, NP
  • Ruchi Mathur, MD
  • David N. Matsumura, MD
  • Robert Maxwell, RN
  • Nancy M. McCreary, MS, DABR
  • Robert J. McKenna, Jr., MD
  • Zoila I. Melara
  • Leslie Memsic, MD  
  • Stewart Middler, MD, PhD
  • Doris S. Moradzadeh, MD
  • Jaime D. Moriguchi, MD
  • Franklin G. Moser, MD
  • Howard M. Moss, MD
  • Larry H. Nagaoka  
  • Ronald B. Natale, MD
  • Adriana N. Neff, RN, MSN
  • Christopher S. Ng, MD
  • Victoria K. Nigro, RN-BC
  • Nicholas N. Nissen, MD
  • Dorothy J. Park, MD
  • Jhomania Parker
  • Mark Pimentel, MD
  • Terry E. Podell, MD
  • Ralph T. Potkin, MD
  • Levon Qasabian, MD
  • Alexandre Rasouli, MD
  • Bobbie J. Rimel, MD
  • Robert M. Rose, MD
  • Barry E. Rosenbloom, MD
  • Howard L. Rosner, MD  
  • Allison E. Rotter, MSW
  • Jeremy D. Rudnick, MD
  • Gregory P. Sarna, MD
  • Jay N. Schapira, MD
  • Stephanie A. Schick, RN
  • Prediman K. Shah, MD
  • John L. Sherman, MD
  • Randolph Sherman, MD
  • Takahiro Shiota, MD
  • Robert J. Siegel, MD
  • Allan W. Silberman, MD, PhD
  • Suzanne Silverstein, MA, ATR
  • Jasprit K. Singh, CNMT
  • R. Kendrick "Ken" Slate, MD
  • Enrique Slodownik, MD
  • Jonathan Soldwisch
  • Karyn Morse Solky, MD
  • Carlos E. Sosa
  • Andrew Ira Spitzer, MD
  • Jerrold H. Steiner, MD
  • Leslie Stricke, MD
  • Ronald Sue, MD
  • Steven W. Tabak, MD
  • Katie D. Tran, RN, BSN, PCCN
  • Irina Vinogradova, RN, BSN, PHN
  • Christine S. Walsh, MD
  • Alan Waxman, MD
  • Jonathan M. Weiner, MD
  • Michael H. Weisman, MD
  • Joanna L. Wilson, RN
  • Edward M. Wolin, MD
  • Sheila A. Wood