Northwell cuts ribbon on liver-disease center

Cut to cure: Officially welcoming Northwell Health's new Center for Liver Diseases were (left to right) Northwell CEO Michael Dowling, hepatology chief Dr. David Bernstein, philanthropist Sandra Atlas Bass and Board of Trustees Chairman Mark Claster.

Northwell Health has raised the curtain on a new Manhasset facility dedicated to diseases of the liver.

The health system officially opened the Sandra Atlas Bass Center for Liver Diseases with a Sept. 30 ribbon-cutting ceremony. The $4.5 million, 10,000-square-foot center, named for Northwell Health’s “most-generous philanthropist,” houses Northwell’s Center for Liver Diseases and North Shore University Hospital’s Division of Hepatology, the heath system said in a statement.

Among other features, the Center for Liver Diseases boasts on-site blood-drawing and testing services, eight examination rooms, a dedicated treatment room and a multimedia educational center designed to accommodate researchers and clinician conferences, as well as educational forums for doctoral candidates and other medical students.

David Bernstein, chief of hepatology at both NSUH and the Long Island Jewish Medical Center, said the new center will make “a tremendous difference in the way we treat our patients living with liver disease.”

“Our patients are sick, and they need a destination for their medical treatment,” Bernstein said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “We are so grateful to Ms. Bass for the support she has shown us through the years.”

Citing over 100 distinct types of liver diseases, the American Liver Foundation reports that at least 30 million Americans – roughly one in 10 – suffer from some form of liver disease.

More than 1 million Americans are currently infected with hepatitis B and about 4 million Americans have hepatitis C. Hepatitis is officially defined as an infectious disease of the liver characterized by inflammatory cells in the organ’s tissue.

Some 20 percent of U.S. residents, meanwhile, have fatty livers – the primary cause of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease – while roughly 21,000 Americans are diagnosed annually with primary liver cancer. That’s one of the few cancers on the rise in the United States, according to the foundation.

Bass – a Northwell Health trustee and longtime donor to NSUH, the LIJ Medical Center, Cohen’s Children’s Medical Center and the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, Northwell’s R&D division – said she was “grateful to be able” to help.

“We know that diseases of the liver are on the rise,” the patron said at Friday’s event. “It’s a great pleasure to know that this center will help so many people in need.”