If you are suffering from asthma, or other related pulmonary diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (chronic bronchitis and emphysema), the Beth Thalheim Asthma Center at North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System is offering free medical help through its hands-on/research and/or private consultations program. Under the direction of Great Neck physician Dr. Jill P. Karpel, the center is set to see patients having these diseases on a regular basis for consultation, treatment and education, and for research.
The staff at the Beth Thalheim Asthma Center at North Shore-LIJ are ready to help asthma patients: (l. to r.) Medical Director Jill P. Karpel, M.D.; Administrative Director Nancy Dengler, N.P.; volunteer patient Otis Thompson; and clinical coordinators Shirley Lilavois N.P. and Ramona Ramdeo, R.N.
Patients may be self-referred or referred by a doctor. According to Dr. Karpel, the center is dedicated to ''emphasizing education and co-management of the disease.''
Patients who enroll in research studies at the Asthma Center will receive free examinations and testing, as well as free medication. These volunteers, who must be age 18 or older, will also be paid for their time and reimbursed for expenses.
Sponsored by the American Lung Association, asthma centers such as this one on the North Shore of Long Island are located at medical centers throughout the United States. The American Lung Association reports that ''people who have asthma can usually relieve their symptoms with an inhaler,Úquot; but ''asthma doctors ... think that it is better to prevent asthma attacks rather than treating them after they occur.'' Further reports state that there are new drugs and new ways to use older drugs to prevent asthma attacks.
Dr. Karpel explained that asthma is a disease that affects close to 16 million Americans and ''... although rarely fatal, it significantly impacts on the quality of life'' for the patients. The mission of the Beth Thalheim Asthma Center is to ''provide comprehensive evaluation and state-of-the-art care for patients with asthma and obstructive airways disease.'' The center will use a ''multi-disciplinary approach,'' providing treatment suggestions for the patient and their referring physicians. At the same time, the center will be actively engaging in ''cutting edge research in the areas of asthma treatment, epidemiology, education, and delivery of care,'' according to Dr. Karpel.
Patients will receive in-depth assessment, with emphasis on proper diagnosis of their underlying condition and other illnesses that commonly accompany or aggravate asthma. Dr. Karpel further explained that the identification of asthma triggers and other irritants in the home and work environment will be emphasized. She stressed that ''educating the patient about asthma and developing an individual treatment plan will be our paramount goals ... this will allow the patient to be an effective team member with our staff in the management of their asthma.''
Asthma specialists at the Thalheim Center include specialists in the following fields: pulmonary; allergy, ear, nose and throat; gastroenterology; respiratory therapy; speech pathology; psychology; smoking cessation; and pulmonary rehabilitation.
Dr. Karpel came to North Shore-LIJ in July. She is the former director of pulmonary clinical research at Montefiore Hospital and a professor of medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She will continue to conduct her asthma research and be available for private consultation at the Thalheim Center.
Dr. Rubin Cohen, associate director, is also an investigator for research projects and is a co-principal investigator for the American Lung Association Grant.
The North Shore-LIJ Beth Thalheim Asthma Center both conducts clinical research and maintains private practice patients. This asthma center is part of the North Shore-LIJ Center for Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, where another Great Neck resident, Dr. Alan Fein, serves as chief of pulmonary/critical care for both the North Shore and the LIJ campuses. Dr. Fein is also the principal investigator of the Asthma Clinical Research Center.
Working with Dr. Karpel, the Beth Thalheim Asthma Center's medical director, are the associate directors, Dr. Rubin Cohen, Dr. Anne Marie Hassell and Dr. Eric Gottesman; Nancy Dengler, N.P., administrative coordinator; and two clinical coordinators, Ramona Ramdeo, R.N. and Shirley Lilavois N.P.
Patients seeking help in controlling their asthma, and who would like to participate in the research or schedule private consultations, can call 1-800-768-0185. The Beth Thalheim Asthma Center is located at 410 Lakeville Road.