Department of Medicine
Excellence in Quality and Community Outreach,
while Assuring Accessibility of Services
|Dr. Sridhar S. Chilimuri, Chairman, Department of Medicine.
|Bronx-Lebanonís Department of Medicine is its largest medical department,
with 80 Attending Physicians and 110 Residents and Fellows. The department
consists of 14 major divisions: Cardiology; Dermatology; Endocrinology;
Epidemiology; Gastroenterology; Hematology; Infectious Diseases/AIDS;
Nephrology; Neurology, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Services;
Oncology; Primary Care/Preventive Medicine; Pulmonary/Critical Care;
Rheumatology; and Geriatrics. Its highly trained physicians, under the
direction of Dr. Chilimuri, provide services in many specialty areas.
|In the Ambulatory Care area, the Department of Medicine is
taking a pivotal leadership role in bringing quality, comprehensive,
and accessible care directly to patients. The departmentís
division of Primary Care and Preventive Medicine (its largest
division) is the anchor from which care is coordinated.
developed a medical home model at our BronxCare sites
which includes quality, comprehensive, and accessible primary,
preventive and dental care,Ē stated Dr. Isaac Dapkins, Medical
Director, Ambulatory Care. The emphasis is on keeping the
community healthy through early medical and dental treatment
as well as disease prevention and management.
|Dr. Gilda Diaz-Fuentes, Chief, Division of Pulmonary/Critical Care, and Dr. Richard Duncalf, Medical Director, Intensive Care
Unit (right), and Dr. Vijai Daniel, Attending, Pulmonary, discussing medical condition of post-operative patient in ICU.
|CRITICAL CARE, ASTHMA, AND CHRONIC LUNG DISEASE
The Division of Pulmonary/Critical Care Medicine,
under the leadership of Dr. Gilda Diaz-Fuentes, is providing highly
specialized care for patients with serious conditions and
often life-threatening problems. Its staff is responsible for the
management of a 26-bed Medical Intensive Care Unit.
situations, the ICU staff closely monitor, evaluate, and treat
patients both before and after their surgery. Surgical and other
patients benefit from a multidisciplinary approach, including
24-hour specialty care, extensive physician consultation, critical
care nursing, and respiratory, nutritional, and physical therapy.
The division is also taking an active role in the treatment and
management of asthma and chronic lung diseases. A Center for
Sleep Medicine is addressing the serious problems associated
with such disorders as sleep apnea and insomnia. An asthma
service in the ER is also providing patients with immediate
treatment and follow-up appointments, when necessary, with
providers throughout the hospitalís BronxCare Network.
|Dr. Jonathan Bella, Chief, Division of Cardiology, Steven Pelis,
Ultrasound Technician, Cardiology, Dr. Narendra Bhalodkar, Director, Coronary
Care Unit, and Dr. Sherri Megalla, Attending, Medicine, reviewing EEG.
||Sunune Sayananondh, RN, and Juan Reyes, Special Procedure Technician,
preparing patient for cardiac catheterization procedure.
Bronx-Lebanon is clearly taking the community to heart in
treating cardiovascular disease. Its Division of Cardiology, under
the direction of Dr. Jonathan Bella, is a leader in addressing
coronary disease and preventing heart attacks. The Cardiology
Divisionís inpatient functions, including an 11-bed Coronary
Intensive Care Unit, are an essential part of its daily activities.
Bronx-Lebanonís Angioplasty/PCI (Percutaneous Coronary
Intervention) program also offers patients the benefit of
minimally invasive procedures to address cardiac disease.
Additionally, the hospitalís new Short Stay Observation Unit is
monitoring and evaluating ER patients in cardiac distress.
provides a most effective conduit for determining whether these
patients require additional cardiac inpatient care or can be
discharged. In the outpatient area, Bronx-Lebanonís state-of-theart
Cardiac Catheterization and Nuclear Stress testing facilities
provide vital assistance in the diagnosis and treatment of the
often life-threatening problems associated with heart disease.
Innovative programs and educational initiatives are an essential
part of the Division of Endocrinologyís efforts to combat diabetes,
another potentially devastating disease that is often undetected.
An extensive outreach regarding monitoring and managing
diabetes is also moving forward in the hospitalís BronxCare
ďOur health care team is succeeding in alerting
community residents to the seriousness of diabetes, educating
them to recognize its symptoms, seek help, and improve their
quality of life,Ē stated Dr. Marcia Palace, Chief, Division of
|Dr. Marcia Palace, Chief, Division of Endocrinology, caring for
||Dr. Bhavna Balar, Chief, Division of Gastroenterology, in Endoscopy area.
Winning the war against cancer represents another important challenge for the Department of Medicine. Its Division
of Oncology is achieving a high survival rate for cancer patients. A new Outpatient Oncology Center is providing
specialized diagnostic treatment and support services.
Bronx-Lebanon is also making significant progress in the
treatment of colon cancer. “Our specialized Endoscopy Suite has dramatically improved the accuracy of diagnosing
colon cancer at an early and more treatable stage,” stated Dr. Bhavna Balar, Chief, Division of Gastroenterology.
|NEUROLOGY, PHYSICAL MEDICINE, AND
The potential and often serious consequences
of strokes are being addressed by the Departmentís Division of Neurology,
through its 911 Designated Stroke Center, in the ER which is the
recipient of the American Heart Associationís silver medal, a
prestigious national recognition.
This division, under the direction
of Dr. James Morris, is providing expert care for migraine
headaches and other neurological problems. Bronx-Lebanon is
also providing important leadership in the treatment of Multiple
Its program, under the direction of Dr. Rene Elkin is the
only one in the Bronx that is recognized by the National Multiple
For many patients, rehabilitation programs are an essential part
of their care. Bronx-Lebanonís Rehabilitation Center, under the
direction of Dr. Marshall Kurtz, offers the necessary follow-up to
assure a speedy recovery.
|Dr. Giovanni Franchin, Chief, Division of Rheumatology, examining patient.
||Dr. Marshall Kurtz, Chief, Division of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation,
providing hands-on therapy to patient.
The Infectious Diseases Division, under the direction of
Dr. Edward Telzak, is a pre-eminent leader in the treatment and
prevention of infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS, as well as
emerging and common infectious diseases, such as Swine Flu,
West Nile Virus, multi-drug resistant bacteria, influenza, and
ďOur specialized inpatient program and nationally
recognized outpatient Center for Comprehensive Care are
providing state-of-the-art primary treatment and educational
services, as well as continuing research,Ē stated Dr. Telzak.
Availability of National Institute of Health funded clinical trials for
patients and numerous other grant awards are a further tribute
to the efforts of Dr. Telzak and his team.
|Dr. Edward Telzak, Chief, Division of Infectious Diseases/Director,
AIDS Program, reviewing chart with Chusri Patra-Akrakul, LPN.
||Dr. Donald Rudikoff, Chief, Division of Dermatology, examining patient.
|OTHER KEY SERVICES
The Department of Medicine provides the leadership for specialty
programs in other key areas, including Hematology, under the
direction of Dr. Zwi Schreiber; Nephrology, under the direction of
Dr. Mahendraray Dave; and Rheumatology, under the direction
of Dr. Giovanni Franchin. Dr. Franchin is also responsible for
the Lupus program, the only one in the Bronx.
The area of
Dermatology, under the direction of Dr. Donald Rudikoff is one of
the busiest in the Bronx, providing more than 7,000 patient visits
annually. A new hospice unit, under the direction of Dr. Joseph
Sacco, was recently put into place and is providing quality and
Medical and Dental at POE
|Yvonne Cruz, M.D., Medical Director, BronxCare Medical and Dental at POE, often refers to Bronx- Lebanon as her home. As a primary care provider, Dr. Cruz sees close to 25 patients a day.
Along with her expert staff, she works closely with the divisions within Bronx-Lebanon’s Department of Medicine and with the hospital’s many centers of excellence.
“I help my patients comprehend their illnesses and teach them how to maintain their health,” stated Dr. Cruz.
“They are my extended family.”
While growing up in the Bronx, Dr. Cruz knew she wanted to practice medicine.
By the time she was 13, Dr. Cruz was helping nurses and physicians as a hospital volunteer.
“I always knew I would serve my community and would come back to help them,” stated Dr. Cruz.
| She received her undergraduate degree and completed the physician assistant program at Long Island University.
“I am one of the first in my family to graduate from college,” stated Dr. Cruz. “It wasn’t an easy path for me.” After years of working as a physician assistant, she attended medical school in Tampico, Mexico and completed her training at New York Medical College.
The need for quality medical care in Mexico reinforced Dr. Cruz’ desire to work in her own Bronx community. She became a medical resident at Bronx-Lebanon and joined the hospital as a full- time attending physician in 1996. Teaching medicine is also Dr. Cruz’ passion.
She currently oversees 16 residents at the POE Medical and Dental Practice and instructs a course on physical examinations at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. When she’s with her students and residents, Dr. Cruz consistently emphasizes the importance of learning beyond textbooks.
“I tell them medicine is more than science, it’s about compassion, caring and understanding their patients’ physical and emotional needs,” stated Dr. Cruz.
Outside of the hospital, Dr. Cruz enjoys spending time relaxing with her close friends and family. She is very proud of her 22-year-old son, Jamil, who graduated from Wesleyan University and works for the Harm Reduction Coalition in the Bronx.
He is now following in his mother’s footsteps by studying science as he moves toward a career in medicine. “He grew up at this hospital into a strong man and knew all of the doctors well,” stated Dr. Cruz. She credits her father, who recently retired at 82 years old, and her late mother, for teaching her the importance of hard work.
Looking ahead, Dr. Cruz is eager to be part of Bronx-Lebanon’s ongoing efforts to expand primary care services for the community. She also takes pride in the hospital’s emergence as “Doctor to the Community.” “Word of mouth is very important here and people know they can trust our doctors. I feel called to serve the Bronx,” stated Dr. Cruz.