People in the News

Thursday, November 14, 2019

New York Cancer & Blood Specialists (NYCBS) announced that their own CEO, Jeff Vacirca, MD, is the 2019 American Red Cross Greater New York Region’s Humanitarian Award recipient. Dr. Vacirca was honored on October 16 at the 2019 Heroes Among Us Gala at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in Manhattan, along with several others who were recognized for their humanitarian efforts.


New York Cancer & Blood Specialists CEO, Jeff Vacirca, MD

Dr. Vacirca, a board certified hematologist and oncologist, was honored for his compassion and commitment to patient care, on which many families contending with cancer issues have relied and for his steadfast support of the Red Cross mission.

Before receiving this latest accolade, he was a recipient of the Theodore Roosevelt award for outstanding dedication to patient care and has been named in Newsday’s Top Doctors. Dr. Vacirca serves as a consulting physician for the Long Island Association for AIDS Care (LIAAC) and was honored for his role in enabling LIAAC staff to bring state-of-the-art HIV testing to New York.

In keeping with his humanitarian efforts, in 2014 Dr. Vacirca founded the New York Cancer Foundation, of which he is the chair of the board of directors. The Foundation provides financial assistance to patients undergoing treatment for cancer. Since its inception, the New York Cancer Foundation has helped hundreds of patients and their families by providing grants to pay non-medical expenses including rent, mortgage, utility bills, and transportation to and from treatment.

Proceeds raised during the Gala will enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people affected by disasters like hurricanes, home fires and countless other crises. Sponsors of the 2019 American Red Cross Heroes Among Us Gala included Jones Lang LaSalle; New York Cancer & Blood Specialists; Ogilvy; JPMorgan Chase & Co.; Wells Fargo; Barclays; BNY Mellon; Citi; Marsh & McLennan Companies; and Weil, Gotshal & Manges.



Signature Bank Co-Founder and Vice Chairman John Tamberlane

Signature Bank Co-Founder and Vice Chairman John Tamberlane was the honoree of Mount Sinai South Nassau’s 2019 Soirée Under the Stars’ gala held at The Seawane Club in Hewlett Harbor, NY.

The hospital also honored Ricardo (Eric) Cruz, MD, Director of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and Tracy Thorn, RN, Nurse Manager, Emergency Department, who will be presented with the hospital’s Mary Pearson and the Cupola awards, respectively. The Mary Pearson Award, named in honor of the hospital’s founding administrator, is presented annually to an individual for extraordinary effort and individual contributions that significantly advance the hospital’s commitment to the community, and the Cupola Award, established in 2015, honors a deserving hospital employee who goes above and beyond their duties and lives by the hospital mission to promote excellence in health care.


Tracy Thorn, RN

Ricardo (Eric) Cruz, MD

The Soirée raised more than $700,000 in support of the hospital’s emergency department expansion that will nearly double the size of the Oceanside Emergency Department, which was built to serve 35,000 patient visits annually.



Bob Venero, President and Chief Executive Officer, Future Tech


Barry Goldberg, MD

This year’s Southside Hospital Food & Wine Experience honorees are Future Tech Enterprise’s Bob Venero and Southside’s Barry Goldberg, MD.

As the President and Chief Executive Officer of global information technology solutions company Future Tech, Mr. Venero spearheaded his firm’s donation of video game and TV equipment as well as toys to Southside Hospital’s pediatric playroom. Based in Holbrook, Future Tech started in 1996 in Mr. Venero’s home and has since grown to help leading aerospace, defense, education, energy, healthcare and manufacturing companies understand and implement artificial intelligence, virtual reality and 3D print solutions, among other things.

In addition to donations to Southside Hospital, Future Tech has charitably supported Northwell Health, the Andrea Bocelli Foundation, the American Cancer Society, St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital, Bayport-Blue Point High School and North Shore Animal League America.

Dr. Barry Goldberg is the Chief of Pediatric Cardiology at Southside Hospital and has been a practicing pediatric cardiologist for nearly 25 years. He is a four-time recipient of the Northwell Health Physician Partners Patient Choice Award, which is bestowed on doctors who have high patient satisfaction ratings.

Along with local charitable group Gavin’s Got Heart, Dr. Goldberg started the hospital’s BEAT program to educate and screen high school students about heart health and overall wellness.

The Southside Hospital Food & Wine Experience will benefit the hospital as part of Northwell’s $1B Outpacing the Impossible campaign, which supports capital projects, improves hospitals and clinical programs, advances research, and funds endowment for teaching and research initiatives.

The Southside Hospital Food & Wine Experience will take place on November 14 at 6 p.m. at The LakeHouse in Bay Shore.


Keith G. DeSousa, MD, has been appointed Director of Neuro-Endovascular Services and the Neurovascular program at Southside Hospital.


Keith G. DeSousa, MD

“We are delighted to have Dr. DeSousa spearhead the development of the Neuro-Endovascular program at Southside Hospital,” said Souhel Najjar, MD, Northwell Health’s Senior Vice President and Executive Director of the neurology service line. “With this program, Southside Hospital aims to achieve certification from The Joint Commission as a Thombectomy-Capable Stroke Center.”

Dr. DeSousa’s practice will be conveniently located across the street from the hospital at 270 East Main Street in Bay Shore. Dr. DeSousa completed fellowships in both vascular neurology and interventional neuroradiology and is board certified in neurology and vascular neurology. He is broadly published and has been involved in numerous clinical research studies on intracerebral hemorrhage and acute ischemic stroke.

Stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States, according to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and nearly 800,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year. This is why it’s critical to have trained neurointerventionalists and cutting-edge technology to be able to perform these life-saving procedures, including thrombectomies – a surgical procedure that removes a blood clot from the brain when a patient is having an ischemic stroke. Southside Hospital’s state-of-the-art biplane, which is located in its new cardiac catheterization laboratory, is used in these procedures.


Depression is on the rise among adolescents in the United States. In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an estimated 3.2 million U.S. teenagers experience major depression each year. Yet up to 70% of adolescents with depression never access treatment, and when they do, more than half fail to respond. By developing brief, accessible interventions for youth psychopathology in depression, bolstered by a five-year, $2 million Early Independence Award (EIA) from the NIH, Jessica Schleider, PhD, an Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences at Stony Brook University, hopes to reverse this disturbing trend.


Jessica Schleider, PhD

Working with a cohort of 300 teens experiencing depression, Schleider’s project, titled “Harnessing Network Science to Personalize Scalable Interventions for Adolescent Depression,” will gauge adolescent depression symptoms and establish a symptom-tailored treatment protocol.

She and colleagues will first establish a method of identifying adolescents’ lead symptoms that contribute to their overall disorder of depression. “Networks” of teen depression symptoms will be created using data collected via surveys sent to teens’ smartphones. Then she will evaluate whether teens depressive symptoms can predict their likely response to evidence-based, single-session, computer based interventions that target different symptoms of depression, such as hopelessness or withdrawal from daily activities.

Schleider said the approach is designed to find tailored treatments for major depression in youth that are easily accessible, beyond the “brick and mortar” of a clinic, which include brief sessions at a low-cost. Such a framework, she contends, will improve the economic burden of treatment (now estimated at more than $210 billion worldwide) under the current models of care for adolescents with major depression.

Established in 2011, the EIA is part of the NIH Director’s Awards for High-Risk, High-Reward Research given to exceptionally creative scientists for highly innovative research proposals with transformative potential. Managed by the NIH Common Fund, EIA funds early stage investigators and provides an opportunity for exceptional junior scientists who recently received their doctoral degree to move immediately into independent research positions.