13:25 PM

Lehigh Valley Health Network Announces Formation of Cancer, Heart, Surgery Institutes

From offering the first trauma unit to being the first to offer heart surgery – Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) has set the standard for care and innovation in the region for many years. Today, LVHN is announcing another significant endeavor designed to increase our commitment to combat heart disease, cancer and conditions that require surgery with the development of the LVHN Cancer Institute, the LVHN Heart Institute and the LVHN Institute for Special Surgery.

The formation of these institutes will enable LVHN to focus on conditions and services that impact many members of the community and create better patient experiences and outcomes.

“We are focusing on cancer and heart disease because they are the top two causes of death in the U.S. as well as our region,” says Brian Nester, DO, MBA, FACOEP, LVHN’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “LVHN leads the fight against these diseases as well as other serious conditions that require surgery. Patients can remain close to home for high quality care for these specialized services.”

The word “institute” in successful health care organizations describes a location where clinicians of the highest caliber collaboratively conduct patient care, research and provider education at the highest level to better predict, prevent and combat disease. LVHN is adopting the institute model because it has the necessary infrastructure, programs and partnerships in place to help community members stay healthy and provide the most advanced treatment when needed.

People with cancer can have confidence knowing they have access to hundreds of lifesaving and breakthrough clinical trials through LVHN’s partnership with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Institute (MSK) and other clinical relationships. Patients can receive surgical precision and comprehensive expertise through our multidisciplinary clinics for skin and soft tissue, upper gastrointestinal, breast, prostate, lung and esophageal, and soon head and neck cancers. Lehigh Valley Cancer Institute’s membership in the Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Alliance has been extended to Monroe County at the Dale and Frances Hughes Cancer at LVH—Pocono, advancing the level of cancer care available to patients right in their community.

People with heart conditions can take comfort knowing LVHN has the most experienced cardiologists and cardiac surgeons in the region, and consistently ranks in the nation’s top 1 percent for heart attack survival. Consider LVHN was the first in the region to perform transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) and is recognized as a center for performing complex mitral valve surgery repair. We provide specialized programs for women’s heart health, sports cardiology, advanced heart failure, mechanical heart assist, lead extraction, peripheral vascular and venous care, and rhythm disturbance care. 

People who have serious illnesses that require surgery can be assured that our surgeons have the most experience in the region, specializing in robotic and minimally invasive surgery for chest, cancer, obesity, esophageal reflux, colon and rectal conditions, hernia surgery and more. Our emphasis on minimally invasive, leading-edge technologies, such as robotic surgery, allows our patients to return to their work and lives more quickly

Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–Cedar Crest will host the three institutes and serve as the hub where innovation, research and education originate. LVH–Muhlenberg, LVH–Hazleton, LVH–Schuylkill and LVH–Pocono will be members of each institute and provide patients with more convenient access to the Institute’s distinct services and expertise in their respective communities.

Each institute will have leadership of a clinical and operational dyad reporting to Tom Whalen, MD, Chief Medical Officer, and Terry Capuano, Chief Operating Officer. The leadership teams are as follows: 

  • LVHN Cancer Institute: Suresh Nair, MD, Physician-in-Chief, and Keith Weinhold, Senior Vice President.

  • LVHN Heart Institute: Ronald Freudenberger, MD, Physician-in-Chief, and Vincent Tallarico, Vice President.

  • LVHN Institute for Special Surgery: Raymond Singer, MD, Physician-in-Chief, Brian Leader, Vice President, and Dan Quay, Director of Service Line Development.

How does an institute model benefit patients?

  • Teamwork – The best and brightest doctors and clinicians meet regularly to share their expertise with one another and work together to care for the patient as one team.

  • Advanced Treatment and Education – LVHN doctors provide the most advanced technology and techniques in treating the patient’s condition. The team continues learning the most innovative approaches for care through ongoing formal training and medical education, and offers free programs and information about prevention, risk factors and screenings.

  • Research and Clinical Trials – Doctors and clinicians consult the latest research to inform decisions based on the best and most current evidence available. Patients who qualify are able to participate in the latest clinical trials.

  • Access and Convenience – Patients at all LVHN locations will have access to the services, resources and expertise from our institutes. 

At the forefront of our everyday innovation is the overall expertise of the LVHN medical staff and nursing teams. Our institute physicians have been published in the nation’s most prestigious journals and trained at the nation’s best academic institutions, including Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, Harvard Medical School, Cedar Sinai Medical Center, Dana-Faber Cancer Institute, Memorial Sloan Kettering and Moffitt Cancer Center.

Since 2002, our Lehigh Valley hospitals and nurses have held the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Magnet designation, the highest and most prestigious distinction a health care organization can achieve for nursing excellence and quality patient care. LVHN is the only Magnet-designated organization in the Lehigh Valley and surrounding region. To learn more about the three new LVHN clinical institutes and other services, visit LVHN.org/institutes.

About LVHN

Lehigh Valley Health Network includes eight hospital campuses - three in Allentown including the region's only facility dedicated to orthopedic surgery, one in Bethlehem, one in East Stroudsburg, one in Hazleton and two in Pottsville, Pa.; 26 health centers caring for communities in seven counties; numerous primary and specialty care physician practices and 18 ExpressCARE locations throughout the region including the area’s only Children’s ExpressCARE at the Health Center at Palmer Township; pharmacy, imaging, home health services and lab services; extensive inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services; and preferred provider services through Valley Preferred. Specialty care includes: trauma care at the region’s busiest, most-experienced trauma center treating adults and children, burn care at the regional Burn Center, kidney and pancreas transplants; perinatal/neonatal, cardiac, cancer care, orthopedics, and neurology and complex neurosurgery capabilities including national certification as a Comprehensive Stroke Center. The Lehigh Valley Cancer Institute, the Lehigh Valley Heart Institute and the Lehigh Valley Institute for Special Surgery give clinicians of the highest caliber the necessary infrastructure, programs and partnerships to help community members stay healthy and provide the most advanced treatment when needed. The Lehigh Valley Cancer Institute is a formal member of the Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Alliance, a transformative initiative to improve the quality of care and outcomes for people with cancer in community health care settings, including access to key MSK clinical trials. Robotic surgery is offered in ten specialties across the health network with more than 10,000 procedures performed since 2007. Lehigh Valley Children’s Hospital, the only children’s hospital and Level 4 NICU in the region, provides care in more than 30 specialties and general pediatrics. Lehigh Valley Hospital–Cedar Crest has been recognized among the top five hospitals in Pennsylvania by U.S. News & World Report for for five consecutive years. Lehigh Valley Hospital–Cedar Crest, Lehigh Valley Hospital–17th Street and Lehigh Valley Hospital–Muhlenberg are national Magnet hospitals for excellence in nursing. Additional information is available by visiting LVHN.org, or following us on Facebook and Twitter.