Maimonides hosts grand opening reception for new full service prostate center

MD and Chief Director of Urology at Maimonides Prostate Center David Silver posed the question, “When it comes to prostate cancer treatment, every man should be asking himself not why should I stay in Brooklyn, but why would I go anywhere else?”

The new Maimonides Prostate Center, 6300 Eighth Avenue, hosted a grand opening reception and ribbon cutting ceremony on March 26 to dedicate the only full-service prostate center in the borough.

The new center utilizes the most advanced technology on the East Coast. As part of Maimonides, it stands at the forefront of minimally invasive multidisciplinary surgical and medical care. It offers men facing a diagnosis of prostate cancer the most advanced and personalized treatment options available including access to clinical trials and a full spectrum of support groups and services.

The master of ceremonies for the grand opening was Louise Valerio, vice president and executive director of the cancer center, and the welcoming remarks were given by Kenneth Gibbs, president and CEO of Maimonides Medical Center.

“This year we’ve been recognized in the federal government’s statistics as being in the top 10 hospitals in the country,” said Gibbs.

Gibbs introduced Samuel Kopel, MD, chief medical officer at the cancer center, as “a very special clinical leader who has set the tone in terms of the culture we have in delivering excellence.” He called Kopel a visionary leader behind the creation of the cancer center.

Kopel, who has been with Maimonides for 40 years, shared the steps that were taken to make the new center a reality. “This center was proposed to the hospital administration in the early ‘90s. It took 10 or 12 years to get it off the ground until it opened in 2005,” said Kopel.

“What we are celebrating tonight is the latest chapter in creating centers of excellence for cancer treatment in Brooklyn,” he went on. “Patients can come here and get everything they need. The center takes care of their cancer, from the imaging to the diagnosis to seeing a surgeon to a chemotherapist, radiation, support groups, social workers, nutritionists and more.”

Silver, who has been with Maimonides for 30 years, was the keynote speaker. He explained why the new prostate center is a state-of-the-art facility and essential for the community. “It turns out that 2.7 million people in Brooklyn have prostate cancer, and 1,500 to 1,600 develop prostate cancer every year,” said Silver.

“So they should have someplace to go in Brooklyn, a resource for all their care,” he continued. “We have a unique combination at Maimonides of a number of experts with very deep and very broad experience in treating all aspects of prostate cancer, and an administration that’s really been very forthcoming and very supportive about putting together the technology and the infrastructure for us to deliver the care the way we need to.”

At the event were two long-term survivors, Al Savdie, a 15-year survivor, and John Ernest, who’s cancer free after six years. Both are patients at the new prostate center. The event ended with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and champagne toast.

Valerio told this paper how proud she was to work for a world-class hospital like Maimonides.

“Maimonides understands and recognizes the importance of technology and clinical experience and how that can pave the way for great outcomes for patients with all types of cancer,” she said. “I’ve been with this hospital for 36 years, first as a nurse, and I’ve seen a lot of innovation at Maimonides, the kind you see in Manhattan and in places like Johns Hopkins, and we see it here at Maimonides. The community of Brooklyn should really know that they have a great institution right in their backyard.”

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