Caring for the Nurses Who Care for Us

Nurses provide unwavering care and immeasurable support to patients and their families at every stage of life, 24 hours a day. They are always there, whether it be a routine check-up or an emergency visit. And throughout the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was clear that nurses were heroes of the frontline and beyond.

Chris Striano, board member of Hackensack Meridian Bayshore Medical Center Foundation, has always been dedicated to doing anything and everything he can for the hospital. And after observing the tireless work of nurses through such adversity, he was certain his next gift should be towards nursing scholarships.

In December 2021, Chris and his wife, Kristen, made a $100,000 gift to establish the Striano Family Scholarship Endowment Fund at Hackensack Meridian Bayshore Medical Center. The fund will provide one or more nursing scholarships every year in perpetuity, creating opportunities for generations of nurses to come to elevate their careers and continue helping patients.

“Nurses are a critical function and going through the last three years, I realize how even more essential they are. As more and more [of the] community sees the power of this program and giving to nurses, I’m hoping we get to some big numbers in the future,” says Striano of his giving.

In addition to creating the Endowment Fund, Chris and Kristen also encouraged other community members to donate. Their impact in inspiring others to get involved led to Bayshore Medical Center offering a record 21 foundation scholarships in 2022 - up from eight scholarships offered the year prior. Wow!

A special thanks to Chris and Kristen for their dedication to the future of nursing! Interested in supporting nurses throughout Hackensack Meridian Health? Visit Give.HackensackMeridianHealth.org/HMHNursing.

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Music Therapy is Instrumental for Tyler 

Shortly after 18-year-old Tyler Moeller of Bloomgindale was born, he and his fellow triplet brothers - Zachary and Matthew - were diagnosed with cerebral palsy. As they grew up, Dawn, their mother, witnessed the transformational power that music had on their spirits, especially Tyler.

Since Tyler was a little boy, music has been a source of healing and joy. Although he is nonverbal, he uses music as a way to communicate with those around him and to express his feelings. During one of Tyler’s stays at Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health at Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital, he lit up with excitement when a music therapist played Bingo, a beloved nursery rhyme. As the music therapist played the song on the guitar and sang, Tyler jumped in and sang along with him. Dawn was moved by what she witnessed.

“I was simply blown away by Tyler’s timing of singing the ‘O’ in Bingo,” recalls Dawn. “It was so accurate, and I realized the impact that music truly has on his cognitive awareness. Music is such a great way for nonverbal children to express their emotions and interact with their surroundings. It really helps them develop their expressive language and interaction with others.”

Because of his exposure to music therapy at the hospital, Dawn doesn’t worry about Tyler being anxious or worried when it comes to visiting the hospital for his appointments. “He loves the hospital,” says Dawn. “He loves the attention he receives from his doctors and his nurses and, of course, the music therapists. He actually looks forward to it!”

Music therapy has been so instrumental in Tyler’s development that Dawn has been able to work with his school to implement a music therapy program for his classmates.

Music therapy, funded by the philanthropic support of our donors, has the power to relieve pain, reduce stress and anxiety and results in a variety of other benefits, including improved respiration, low blood pressure, reduced heart rate and relaxed muscle tension. 

To our many donors who have funded music therapy for our youngest patients, like Carol and Chuck Schaefer and Deirde Imus, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Your giving has helped alleviate the numerous challenges that some of our youngest patients feel. To support music therapy, contact Amy Glazer at amy.glazer@hmhn.org.

The Gift of a Fellowship Today to Benefit a Physician Tomorrow

For recent Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine graduate Tanner Corse, M.D., the education he gained through the Urology Research Fellowship program at Hackensack Meridian Hackensack University Medical Center will have a strong impact in reaching his career goals. As a fellow in the immersive program, Tanner was able to assist with clinical trials, draft abstracts, manage databases, explore research interests and more.

The opportunity for Tanner to join the immersive program was made possible thanks to a generous gift from a grateful patient of Michael D. Stifelman, M.D., professor and chairman of Urology at Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine and chair of Urology at Hackensack University Medical Center. Dr. Stifelman's mission and vision throughout care inspired the patient to give the gift of education, ensuring that future physicians are shaped by the same approaches and values.

Tanner is incredibly grateful to be the recipient of the scholarship. Being a part of such an immersive education experience, he knows he will utilize the vast variety of skills he gained from his research fellow scholarship throughout his entire medical career.

“I started in July 2021 and got right into the mix. I was involved in lots of research and had lots of autonomy. Within a month of starting, I was able to contribute ideas to benefit the department,” recalls Tanner. “After this rich experience with Dr. Stifelman and the Department of Urology, I have the skills required to conduct meaningful, impactful research during my residency and beyond.”

Tanner managed the 3D surgical simulation training program, which is also funded through philanthropy. The models used are exact replicas of organs in both shape and consistency - including surrounding organs, muscles, fat and blood vessels. Surgeons and students rehearse procedures in the operating room using the same instruments and tools that are used during surgery. In addition to being able to practice surgical approaches and reduce preventable errors, all outcomes are analyzed which enhances the Department of Urology's ability to train the next generation of urologists.

Tanner also gained valuable experience working with physicians on executing their research and abstracts. During his fellowship, the Urology Department had a record 26 abstracts approved for podium presentations at the American Urological Association’s (AUA) annual meeting - more than any other institution! This achievement reflects the commitment to high-quality research and the breadth of urological services provided to patients. Incredible work by all involved!

“As a research fellow, I had the opportunity to assist with all aspects of the department’s groundbreaking research,” Tanner continues. “Not only did I get a chance to learn from international leaders in urology research, but I also made an impact on the future of urology while enhancing my medical education.”

Funding scholarships is crucial to providing education and training for our medical students. We are so grateful for our donors whose support funds innovative technology and educational opportunities for our students. To learn more about supporting urology research fellowships at Hackensack University Medical Center, contact Courtney Klein at courtney.klein@hmhn.org.

We appreciate the support of our donors. Thank you for all that you do in support of our patients and team members.

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