Will Rogers Institute Donates $40,000 To Saint Barnabas Medical Center Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Pictured are: Hoda Blau, Executive Director, Barnabas Health Foundation, Hank Lightstone and Jim Amos, Will Rogers Institute Board Members; John F. Bonamo, MD, MS, President and Chief Executive Officer, Saint Barnabas Medical Center; Todd Vradenburg, Executive Director, Will Rogers Institute; Shyan Sun, MD, Medical Director, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Saint Barnabas Medical Center; Craig O’Conner, Director of Marketing, Clearview Cinemas; and Deborah Morrone-Colella, Vice President, Saint Barnabas Medical Center Foundation.

LIVINGSTON — Summertime movies are as much a part of the fabric of American culture as baseball and barbecues. As the weather gets warm, patrons frequent cool movie theaters for some entertainment and a break from the heat. In many theaters, summertime also means that movie patrons across the country are asked participate in a time-honored tradition, the Will Rogers Institute fundraising campaign which began in 1936. This summer is no different and Clearview Cinemas continues to partner with the Will Rogers Institute to continue the tradition.

As the donation can is passed down the aisle or you are asked to make a special purchase at the concession stand, do you ever wonder if the Will Rogers Institute supports local initiatives? Actually, it does. The Institute recently became a national leader in providing life saving neonatal ventilator equipment to hospitals across the country, Saint Barnabas Medical Center being one recipient. The NICU received a $40,000 grant to purchase Neurally Adjusted Ventilator Assist (NAVA) units to provide advanced respiratory care for very low birth weight babies and babies battling respiratory conditions typical to premature and critically ill neonates. This NAVA system is the most advanced respiratory system available and is essentially an extension of the baby’s respiratory system that enables comfortable breathing. NAVA ensures NICU babies only receive the breathing assistance required with the goal to wean them from respiratory support as quickly as possible.

Saint Barnabas Medical Center’s NICU is one of the most highly utilized NICUs in the state. Last year, the staff cared for 1,173 neonates including 130 babies weighing 1500 grams (3.306lbs) or less and prone to respiratory failure. As a Regional Perinatal Center, the NICU provides the highest level of care and is equipped to treat babies with a range of serious medical conditions. For the past ten years, the Saint Barnabas NICU is proud to have one of the lowest rates of chronic lung disease and severe eye disease associated with extreme prematurity among over 850 NICUs worldwide. Premature babies, including the most fragile, low birth weight infants, cared for at the Saint Barnabas NICU have a very high survival rate and a very low disability rate compared to national averages.

Each year, The Will Rogers Institute collects millions of dollars and in turn donates to hospitals and organizations throughout the United States. In addition to providing support for neonatal ventilator equipment, The Will Rogers Institute is a national charitable health program focused on research of debilitating lung disorders, medical school training fellowships and distribution of free health education materials to the general public.

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