As the newest Valerie Fund Children’s Center, Stony Brook Children’s Hospital is carrying on a decades-long legacy of comprehensive healthcare for children, and families, throughout the region.
As division chief of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital, Laura Hogan, MD, has cared for some of the region’s sickest children. Dr. Hogan has treated countless patients and families across Long Island battling chronic hematologic conditions and cancers, and in her 18-year career, she’s learned firsthand that providing the best care — especially for children — means supporting more than just a patient’s physical health and well-being.
“For these patients, psychosocial support is just as important as the treatments they receive to improve their medical diagnosis,” she says. “And it’s not just for the patients themselves. There’s a great need for the families we serve.”
Now, through a new partnership with The Valerie Fund — a non-profit organization created to provide individualized care at a medical center close to home, with a focus on treating children emotionally, socially, and developmentally, in addition to medically — Stony Brook Children’s will now have access to funds specifically designated to enhance critical resources for patients and families, such as social workers, child life specialists and family psychologists, among others.
The Valerie Fund was established in 1976 by Ed and Sue Goldstein after losing their daughter, Valerie, to cancer at age 9. In addition to spending six years making the 90-minute drive from their home in New Jersey to Valerie’s treatment center in New York City, they often had to leave their younger daughter with family members and babysitters, quickly realizing the impact Valerie’s illness was having on their entire family.
“When a child gets sick, it’s not just the child that needs to be treated; the whole family is impacted,” says Barry Kirschner, the Valerie Fund’s executive director. “Through our Valerie Fund Centers, we are able to mitigate the inconvenience and discomfort that families go through if they had to travel, but we also have these resources to help families, siblings and patients themselves manage the psychosocial challenges that often accompany diagnoses like these.”
With the addition of Stony Brook Children’s Hospital to its network of centers, The Valerie Fund has extended its footprint from metro Philadelphia to Eastern Long Island, the most densely populated region in the United States.
In 2022, Stony Brook Children’s became the eighth Valerie Fund Children’s Center, a partnership that will allow the hospital to better serve patients with cancer and blood disorders throughout Long Island by enhancing services that the hospital already offers, such as a child life specialist, social worker, pediatric survivorship coordinator, and school re-entry coordinator.
“Building out this team to ensure these resources are more readily available and accessible is central to both The Valerie Fund’s mission and Stony Brook’s care model,” says Carolyn Milana, MD, physician-in-chief, Stony Brook Children’s Hospital.
“As physicians, we never treat just the patient,” she says. “Having all of these extra support services in place allows us to focus on the medical care while also having staff who can do all the necessary things to keep the family functional.”
View photos from the Valerie Fund Children’s Center Unveiling on Flickr.
Above photo, from left to right: Barry Kirschner, President Maurie McInnis, Sherlynn Canel-Estrada, Ed Goldstein, Sue Goldstein, Dr. Laura Hogan, Dr. Carolyn Milana, and Neil Yaris celebrate the unveiling of The Valerie Fund Children’s Center.
– Meghan Goff