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George E. Norcross, III Announces The Cooper Foundation is Accepting Applications for First-Ever Camden City Community Grant Program

Image credit: Cooper University Health Care

CAMDEN, NJ – On August 2, 2019, George E. Norcross, III, chairman of the Cooper University Health Care Board of Trustees, announced today The Cooper Foundation is now accepting applications for the first-ever Camden City Community Grant Program.

Grant applications are due by Friday, November 8, 2019 at 3 p.m.

The Norcross Foundation, The Michaels Organization, NFI, and The Cooper Foundation initially announced the new $1 million grant program in January 2019. These community building grants will be awarded over the next five years to Camden City based, non-profit community organizations committed to making Camden a healthier place to live, work, learn and play.

The goal of the new grant program is to address social determinants of health, including employment, education, literacy, childhood experience, physical environment, social and community supports, nutrition and arts to improve well-being, as they have been found through research to have a significant impact on the health and welfare of the community.

Grants from $500 to $5,000 will be awarded to applicants that demonstrate a focus on one of the following Community Building Activities: physical improvements and housing, economic development, community support, environmental improvements, leadership development and training for community members, coalition building, community health improvement advocacy or workforce development.

Grant guidelines, eligibility requirements and application are available on The Cooper Foundation’s website.

The Cooper Foundation will host an optional pre-application meeting on Thursday, Aug. 22 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. to review the grant application with potential applicants. Attendance is not required in order to submit a grant. 

Space is limited and organizations must pre-register by

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Chairman George E. Norcross, III Announces Cooper University Health Care to Raise Minimum Wage to $15 an Hour for All Employees, Calls on Other Health Care Systems to Join Effort to Raise Wages

Cooper University Health Care Chairman George E. Norcross, III announced today that the health system will increase the minimum wage it pays employees to $15 an hour, the first health system in New Jersey to make such a commitment to its full-time, part-time, and per-diem employees. The new minimum wage policy will go into effect on January 1, 2019, and will benefit approximately 10 percent of Cooper’s 7,500 employees, one-third of whom are Camden city residents and over 450 of whom are Camden County residents. All other employee benefits and compensation will remain in place.

“We have an absolute obligation, as the largest employer in both the City of Camden and Camden County, to do the right thing and lead the way on providing a quality wage for our workers,” said George E. Norcross, III, Chairman of Cooper’s Board of Trustees. “In addition to being the right thing to do, we believe investing in our employees is a smart business decision that will pay dividends in the long run by helping us attract and retain talented people who will ultimately improve the health care experience for our patients.”

Patient service representatives, food and nutrition staff, and critical care technicians are among the workers who benefit from the hourly wage increase, which equates to $31,200 annually. Cooper anticipates the new policy will improve its ability to hire talented employees and reduce turnover in these positions.

“We are delighted that one-third of the employees who will receive a raise are Camden City residents and more than 450 are Camden County residents,” Norcross added. “It is important that as the city continues to rise and the private sector continues to invest here, that Camden residents benefit and that the new jobs being created are paying wages high enough to raise a family.”

Norcross also announced that he was sending a personal letter to the Chairman and CEOs of health care systems in New Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania calling on them to raise wages for its workers. In his letter, which was sent out today, Norcross noted that hospitals have an affirmative responsibility to support the communities they serve, and that raising the wages of its lowest paid employees will directly benefit people who live in and around their facilities.

Today’s announcement is just the latest investment that Cooper has made to help revitalize Camden, its hometown for over 130 years. In the last decade, Camden has undergone one of the most stunning turnarounds in history, with a nationally lauded drop in crime, including a 41 percent decrease in violent crime and a stunning 69 percent decrease in the homicide rate.

The residents of Camden have also experienced dramatically improved student test scores across the city, an increasing graduation rate and decreased dropout rate, and more than $3.5 billion in new private sector investment, the lowest unemployment rate in almost three decades, and unprecedented investments in the city’s neighborhoods and its infrastructure.

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MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper Approved to Establish Breast Surgical Oncology Fellowship Program

Camden, NJ — MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper recently announced that is received a three-year approval to establish a new Breast Surgical Oncology Fellowship Program by the Society of Surgical Oncology, one of fewer than 50 programs in the nation.

“Receiving approval from the Society of Surgical Oncology for this new fellowship affirms the quality of the curriculum and the faculty at MD Anderson at Cooper,” said Kristin L. Brill, MD, FACS, program director for the Janet Knowles Breast Cancer Center, and director of the Section of Breast Surgery, who will serve as program director for the fellowship.   “This new program will enable us to prepare surgeons to become experts in breast disease and in the implementation of the latest, evidence-based breast cancer treatments.”

The fellowship is open to general surgeons nationwide. Fellows will spend one year developing a strong knowledge of all aspects of breast disease, breast medical oncology, and breast surgery.

Leaders from the American Society of Breast Surgeons (ASBS), the Society of Surgical Oncology (SSO), the American Society of Breast Disease (ASBD), and Susan G. Komen for the Cure developed the curriculum for fellowship training. The SSO conducts an extensive review and approval process for all new breast fellowship training programs. Each year, the SSO also administers and conducts a Matching Program to match qualified candidates with positions in approved training programs.

MD Anderson at Cooper will participate in the 2019 Match for residents and fellows and welcome the first fellow in August 2020. Fellows will complete rotations in breast surgery, pathology, breast imaging, medical oncology, radiation oncology, plastic and reconstructive surgery, cancer screening and community outreach, genetics, integrative oncology, survivorship, post-treatment rehabilitation, and research.

“As medical science continues to advance, fellowship-trained breast surgeons are needed to care for very complex cases,” said Dr. Brill. “We are proud of our role in training tomorrow’s clinical leaders.”

The Janet Knowles Breast Cancer Center at MD Anderson at Cooper is one of the region’s leading providers for comprehensive breast cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment services.

About MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper

Cooper University Health Care and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center – a world-renowned cancer center – have partnered to create MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper. The physicians at MD Anderson at Cooper adhere to the practice standards, treatment protocols, and guidelines set by MD Anderson in Houston, Texas. Disease-site specific multidisciplinary teams consisting of physicians, nurses, and other clinical specialists work together to provide cancer patients with advanced diagnostic and treatment technologies, access to a wide range of groundbreaking clinical trials, and dynamic patient-physician relationships. A full complement of support services provides complete, compassionate care for our patients.

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Cooper University Health Care Research Team Instrumental in Clinical Trials of New Drug for Rare Genetic Disorder

Members of the Cooper research team are pictured from front row left to right: Dr. Jaya Ganesh, Anne Starr, Sandy Corut, Chris Rickette. Second row: Amanda Log, Dr. Caroline Eggerding, Trish Niblack, Dr. Michael Colis. (Photo provided)

(Camden, NJ)–Caroline Eggerding, MD, Division Head, Pediatric Neurology and Development led a research team at Cooper University Health Care which was instrumental in conducting clinical trials for a ground-breaking new drug approved earlier this year to treat Phenylketonuria (PKU), a rare genetic disorder.

PKU is a rare genetic disorder in which the body is unable to metabolize phenylalanine, an amino acid found in almost every source of natural protein. It affects about 1 in 10,000 to 15,000 people in the United States.

In May, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Palynziq (pegvaliase-pqpz), a novel enzyme therapy for adult PKU patients who have uncontrolled blood Phe concentrations on current treatment.

“We are excited that medical science has found a new treatment for PKU,” said Dr. Eggerding in a recent announcement.

Dr. Eggerding manages the care for more than 100 PKU patients at Cooper.  “While all patients may not be candidates for this new therapy, it gives patients and their families hope that the medical community continues to find ways to improve the lives of patients.”

Typically, patients with PKU must follow a strict diet that is low in phenylalanine—and consequently, low in protein—for their whole lives. In order to keep growth on track during childhood and meet the body’s protein needs, they also must drink a special phenylalanine-free protein formula.

Because the diet is so restrictive—even more so than a vegan diet—patients often have trouble with compliance, especially as they grow into adolescence and adulthood, explained Dr. Eggerding.  Adults with PKU who do not follow this diet may have increasing difficulties with memory, focus organizational skills, emotional control and have increased levels of anxiety.

All babies in the U.S. are screened at birth for PKU due to its severe consequences on the brain if untreated in early childhood.

About Cooper University Health Care

Cooper University Health Care is a leading health care provider and the only state-designated Level 1 Trauma Center in South Jersey.  With a network of more than 100 medical offices throughout the region, Cooper is home to MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper and the Children’s Regional Hospital at Cooper.  Cooper offers signature programs in cardiology, critical care, neurosciences, pediatrics, orthopaedics, and surgical specialties.

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Cooper University Health Care Recognized as a Top Performing Hospital For Congestive Heart Failure in National Rankings

Cooper University Health Care has been recognized as a top performing hospital for treating congestive heart failure in U.S. News & World Report’s 2018-2019 Best Hospitals survey.

“The Cooper Heart Institute is known for its comprehensive cardiac services,” said Kevin M. O’Dowd, JD, co-president of Cooper University Health Care said in a recent announcement. “This designation demonstrates Cooper’s commitment, as a leading regional academic health system, to providing the highest level of inpatient and outpatient cardiac services.”

“Heart disease is the number one health issue in our nation, and congestive heart failure alone affects morethan 5 million Americans,” said Anthony J. Mazzarelli, MD, JD, MBE, co-president of Cooper. “When people choose Cooper for their heart care, they can have confidence knowing that they will receive the highest quality, personalized care they deserve.”

“This designation as a top performing hospital is the direct result of our dedicated team of cardiac specialists,advanced practice providers, nurses, and support staff,” said Phillip A. Koren, MD, FACC, FSCAI, medical director of the Cooper Heart Institute.

The Cooper Heart Institute is the most comprehensive heart care center in southern New Jersey, earning national recognition for its superior quality and world-renowned team of cardiovascular experts. At Cooper, patients have access to a full spectrum of heart care from prevention and diagnosis to cutting-edge technology and innovative treatment.
In January, Cooper and Inspira Health Network formed a joint venture to integrate cardiac services, known as Cardiac Partners.

 About Cooper University Health Care

Cooper University Health Care is a leading health care provider and the only state-designated Level 1 Trauma Center in South Jersey.  With a network of more than 100 medical offices throughout the region, Cooper is home to MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper and the Children’s Regional Hospital at Cooper.  Cooper offers signature programs in cardiology, critical care, neurosciences, pediatrics, orthopaedics, and surgical specialties.

About U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals Rankings

The U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals rankings are intended to help patients with rare or life-threatening conditions make informed decisions about where to receive care. This year’s U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals list ranks hospitals in 16 specialties: cancer; cardiology and heart surgery; diabetes and endocrinology; ear, nose and throat; gastroenterology and gastrointestinal surgery; geriatrics; gynecology; nephrology; neurology and neurosurgery; ophthalmology; orthopedics; pulmonology; psychiatry; rehabilitation; rheumatology; and urology.  This is the 29th year for the survey.

The rankings — which compare more than 4,500 medical centers across the country — are based primarily on objective measures, such as risk-adjusted survival and readmission rates, volume, patient experience, patient safety, and quality of nursing.

(Image credit: Cooper University Health Care)