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May 30, 2016 10:12 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Metamorphosis Of Stony Brook Southampton Continues

Second year physical therapy student John Kudreyko practices a shoulder joint mobilization technique on his classmate, Nick Byrne. BY ERIN MCKINLEY
May 30, 2016 2:51 PM

Stony Brook University is busy making plans for the future, with both school and Southampton Hospital officials working together to bring new, health-centered programming to the Shinnecock Hills campus within the next few years.

With the campus already undergoing a graduate student renaissance, Dr. Matt Whelan, vice president for strategic initiatives at Stony Brook University, said during a recent interview that the future of the college largely lies with the long-awaited construction of a new hospital on the Stony Brook Southampton campus. There is no timetable for that project, and much fundraising to do first, but it is a key element of a pending effort to bring the two hospitals together under a single operating certificate, and work could begin sometime in the next few years.

Today, as the campus continues to grow—current programming primarily focuses on creative writing, the marine sciences and health services—Stony Brook is now looking to see what graduate programs it can shift to the Southampton campus as the health industry on the South Fork continues to expand.

“The positioning of a future hospital in Southampton will serve several purposes,” said Dr. L. Reuven Pasternak, the chief executive officer for Stony Brook University Hospital. “One, it provides an outstanding training opportunity, and, second, we will see it as a source of innovation. When you build a new hospital you can design a new hospital around different processes.

“It is a time to think of innovative ways of providing care and taking current strengths of Southampton Hospital, which there are many, and adding to that academically,” he continued. “The continuing education and research enterprise we will put out here will make the hospital an even stronger operation and help our academic programs grow.”

According to Dr. Kenneth Kaushansky, the dean of Stony Brook University’s School of Medicine, one of the primary goals of the school is to improve the overall health of East End residents, saying that a modern medical center—one also boasting top-notch learning classrooms—will be a huge step in the correct direction.

Dr. Kaushansky said a highlight of the new hospital, and, subsequently, the new programs, will be in the building itself, saying that the university will have the opportunity to design the structure so it meets the needs of new, modern technology—something he said the older Southampton and Stony Brook hospitals lack.

“Hospitals designed 100 years ago, like Southampton, or 40 years ago, like Stony Brook, were not built with modern technology in mind,” he said. “As a consequence, newer hospitals are much better designed to provide outstanding care.

“Since Southampton Hospital will be built with an educational mission in mind, the additional spaces needed for high-quality education for medical students and residents, physical and occupational therapists, and nursing students will be there,” he continued, “and the new building will facilitate a higher quality education.”

Officials are still at least five years away from breaking ground on the new hospital, Dr. Pasternak said, noting that final approvals are still pending with New York State on a plan to bring Southampton Hospital under Stony Brook University Hospital’s operating certificate. It is expected to occupy roughly 13 acres of the 82-acre Shinnecock Hills campus—and will come with an estimated $250 million price tag.

“It will be a designated teaching hospital, and it is certainly anticipated, through philanthropy and other funds raised, that there will be a new hospital in the not-too-distant future,” he said.

Presently, there are three classes of students enrolled in the physical therapy doctorate program at the campus, and two classes focusing on occupational therapy. Also, a second class of applied health informatics will soon be coming to the campus as well. According to Dr. Whelan, the university is also currently working on getting approval for a speech pathology program.

Recently, the college has worked to revamp the health science classrooms, installing new high-tech tools so students can better practice techniques.

Dr. Kaushansky noted that last year the school moved its family medicine practices—including the physical therapy and occupational therapy courses—to the Southampton campus. Future program options, he said, include gynecology and obstetrics, general medicine, and family medicine.

Dr. Pasternak noted the hospital currently has a group of students working out of Southampton Hospital, and the hope is to increase the university’s presence over the next few years. Another goal, he added, is to have medical, nursing and physician assistant students do rotations at both Southampton and Stony Brook hospitals, and eventually the new hospital, to provide them with as much of an education as possible while highlighting the strengths of each institution.

“We are looking for ways to get more of an academic presence there,” Dr. Pasternak said during a recent phone interview. “It is very gratifying to us and we all want to see the enhancements of the academic experience.”

According to Dr. Whelan, one of the primary goals for the Southampton campus moving forward is to create a small community where graduate students can focus and thrive in their respective fields. At the same time, he wants to make the campus a staple of the East End community, and a place where students want to study and learn.

“Our goal is to build Stony Brook Southampton as a world-class destination for students, educators, researchers and practitioners,” Dr. Whelan said. “As we do that and improve ourselves with the academic legs, we will focus on those and look to what else develops here.”

Dr. Kaushansky agrees that the Southampton campus will foster a new sense of community both on, and off, the Shinnecock Hills property.

“In education, and by providing new facilities for health care, I really do believe that a new Southampton Hospital on the Stony Brook University campus will better serve health care,” he said. “And by better serving health care in the future, it allows us to train our medical students within the community setting.”

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All the best!
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