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The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children's Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital is Named the World's First "Adolescent Center of Excellence for Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery"

New Brunswick, N.J., Dec. 23, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children's Hospital (BMSCH) at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) has been designated as the first Adolescent Center of Excellence for Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery in the world, by the international Surgical Review Corporation. The designation recognizes that BMSCH and its surgeons are providing exceptional care and are dedicated to continuously improving patient safety and success.

Obesity is an epidemic that affects more than 12.5 million children and adolescents in the United States, and the incidence of morbid obesity is continuing to grow exponentially each year. Bariatric surgery, also known as metabolic surgery, at BMSCH is a key health tool that helps adolescents aged 15 through 21 who are suffering from obesity and obesity-related health issues, and have several failed attempts at weight management. Qualifications that adolescents must meet in order to be considered for these surgeries include having a BMI of 50 or more, or having a BMI of 40 with physical and emotional obesity-associated problems, such as obstructive sleep apnea, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, anxiety, joint pain, asthma, fatty liver and more. In order to be eligible for surgery, adolescents also must have reached skeletal maturity, have documentation of at least one physician-supervised diet plan in the past five years or participated in the Healthy Challenge weight awareness program, have no uncontrolled psychiatric illness, no history of drug or alcohol abuse within the past year, and must be committed to participating in the post-operative exercise and support programs.

Through the program, BMSCH and RWJUH help patients to achieve their health goals through pre-operative preparation, multi-disciplinary evaluation, nutrition education, bariatric-specific support group topics, lifetime follow-up, exercise programs and encouragement at every avenue of their progressing journey to help patients perceive, believe and achieve their health and weight loss goals. Designation as a Center of Excellence supports the hospital's longstanding commitment to exceeding the highest standards and protocols by providing safe and lasting care to its bariatric patients in an environment that is dedicated to their comfort and dignity, every step of the way.

In order to be named the world's first Adolescent Center of Excellence for Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery, BMSCH met vigorous standards set in place by the Surgical Review Corporation. Requirements include: an institutional commitment to excellence, surgical experience of performing at least 80 qualifying bariatric surgery procedures in the preceding 12 months, a program medical director of bariatric surgery, an assistant medical director of pediatrics, an assistant medical director of pediatric surgery, interdisciplinary team, a full complement of consultative services, complete line of equipment and surgical instruments to provide appropriate perioperative care for patients, proper surgeon qualifications and a commitment to ongoing medical education, a surgical team and support staff, patient education and support programs, and a long-term patient follow-up program to consistently monitor and track outcomes, complications and comorbidities for bariatric surgery patients.

BMSCH's program only allows a surgeon of excellence (SOEMBS), as designated by the Surgical Review Board, to perform surgery on its adolescent patients. A surgeon of excellence 'has performed at least 125 qualifying bariatric surgery procedures in his or her lifetime, with at least 50 cases performed in the preceding 12 months' and exceeds the national benchmarks for complications.

"This designation reinforces the quality of our program and our dedication to achieving the highest level of patient care and outcomes," said Ragui Sadek, M.D., FACS, SOEMBS Medical Director of Bariatric Surgery at BMSCH. "The Center of Excellence designation allows patients the ability to identify providers that meet and exceed the requirements for delivering the highest quality perioperative and long-term follow up care, so they can make informed decisions when selecting a healthcare provider for specialized treatments and procedures, like bariatric surgery. Our bariatric program treats patients form across the globe, helping them achieve health and wellbeing."

"Bristol-Myers Squibb Children's Hospital and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital perform as the premier hospital havens for the adult and adolescent bariatric population to obtain safe, comfortable and effective medical care," said Kimberly Brennan, RN, BSN, CBN and Bariatric Center of Excellence Program Coordinator at RWJUH and BMSCH. "Earning this designation took a lot of hard work and dedication, but it is something we are extremely proud of, as we are the first and only in the world. Bariatric surgery can dramatically improve the quality of life for patients with obesity, both physically and mentally, and helps them live longer, happier and healthier lives. We have a dedicated interdisciplinary team who understand our patients and create tailored weight loss programs and treatment plans to meet their unique needs."

To learn more about BSMCH, please visit www.bmsch.org or learn about RWJUH at www.rwjuh.edu.

About Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and Robert Wood Johnson Health System

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) is the flagship hospital of Robert Wood Johnson Health System - New Jersey's premier health system which boasts three acute care hospitals: RWJUH in New Brunswick and Somerville; RWJUH- Hamilton and RWJUH- Rahway and a national leader in pediatric rehabilitation: Children's Specialized Hospital, as well as five fitness and wellness centers and numerous outpatient facilities. Through RWJ Health System, patients have access to exceptional women's and children's services and expert cancer, cardiac, emergency, neurology, stroke, trauma and pediatric rehabilitation care in addition to comprehensive health and wellness programs.

RWJUH is a 965-bed academic medical center with campuses in New Brunswick and Somerville, NJ. Its Centers of Excellence include cardiovascular care from minimally invasive heart surgery to transplantation, cancer care, stroke care, neuroscience, joint replacement, and women's and children's care including The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children's Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (www.bmsch.org). As the flagship Cancer Hospital of Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and the principal teaching hospital of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, RWJUH is an innovative leader in advancing state-of-the-art care. A Level 1 Trauma Center and the only Pediatric Trauma Center in the state, RWJUH's New Brunswick campus serves as a national resource in its ground-breaking approaches to emergency preparedness.

RWJUH has been ranked among the best hospitals in America by U.S. News & World Report seven times and has been selected by the publication as a high performing hospital in numerous specialties. The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children's Hospital has been ranked among the best hospitals in America by U.S. News & World Report for three consecutive years.

Both the New Brunswick and Somerset campuses have earned significant national recognition for clinical quality and patient safety, including the prestigious Magnet® Award for Nursing Excellence, an "A" patient safety rating from the Leapfrog Group and "Most Wired" designation by Hospitals and Health Networks Magazine. The Joint Commission and the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services have designated the New Brunswick Campus as a Comprehensive Stroke Center and the Somerset Campus as a Primary Stroke Center.

The American College of Surgeons' Commission on Cancer has rated RWJUH New Brunswick among the nation's best comprehensive cancer centers and designated the Steeplechase Cancer Center at RWJ Somerset as a Comprehensive Community Cancer Center. The Joint Surgery Center at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset has earned the Joint Commission's Gold Seal of Approval for total knee and total hip replacement surgery.

For more Information visit us online at www.rwjuh.edu.

About Surgical Review Corporation

Surgical Review Corporation (SRC) is an independent, nonprofit organization governed by industry stakeholders and dedicated to advancing the safety, efficacy and efficiency of surgical care worldwide. Initially focused on bariatric and metabolic surgery, SRC has emerged as a leading administrator of Center of Excellence and Surgeon of Excellence programs for surgical specialties. The organization manages programs on behalf of top medical societies around the world, setting a global standard for excellence. To support program compliance and quality improvement in patient care, SRC developed BOLD, a longitudinal outcomes database. BOLD is the world's largest repository of clinical patient data for the bariatric surgery specialty. For more information, visit www.surgicalreview.org.

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CONTACT: Peter Haigney or Zenaida Mendez RWJUH Public Relations (732) 937-8521 Kathleen Roberts - (908) 595-2319 RWJ University Hospital Somerset Source: RWJ University Hospital New Brunswick