Have you ever gone to multiple doctors and each specialist proposed a different solution? You, the patient, are left to decipher which is the correct course of action. This can be a frustrating and stressful decision. Drs. Pnina and Mark Mintz have made it their mission to change this situation for young people who live with what can be devastating neurological disorders.
Dr. Pnina Mintz was born and raised in Israel. She was educated in Israel and the US, and earned her Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Mark Mintz, attended medical school at Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, was a pediatric resident at Albert Einstein /Montefiore Medical Center, and was a Pediatric Neurology fellow at Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School. Individually, they set out to pursue a life of science and service. Together they provide a medical service model that is changing lives.
As neurologists, they realized that services being delivered to children with complex neurological needs were fragmented. Children and their families had to go to many different doctors, and there was no one doctor managing their care. That’s why they developed an innovative health care organization to support special needs populations: The Center for Neurological and Neurodevelopmental Health (CNNH) and the Clinical Research Center of New Jersey (CRCNJ). Opened in 2005 and headquartered in Gibbsboro, NJ, there are branches throughout New Jersey, in Manhattan, and even in Pennsylvania. CNNH’s patients have all types of neurological, neurodevelopmental, and neuropsychiatric conditions such as autism, epilepsy, concussions, migraine, ADHD, Asperger’s disorder, cerebral palsy, speech and language disorder, ADHD, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, traumatic brain injuries, and more. Services are offered from infancy to across the lifespan.
CNNH provides one central place where special needs patients can access complex care. The staff includes board certified physicians in pediatrics, neurology/pediatric neurology, neurodevelopmental disabilities, epilepsy, medical genetics, and sleep medicine. Additionally, there are experienced and board certified neuropsychologists, behavior analysts, and neurologic music therapists. These core clinicians collaborate and are supported by therapists and nurses on staff. With this wide range of medical/clinical professionals, CNNH provides a comprehensive array of assessment, treatment, and support services.
“This is especially important for those who have neurological disorders,” Dr. Pnina Mintz told JLNJ. “It can be difficult to access the specialized care they need.” She adds that when a patient has to go to multiple locations and meet with different doctors, much can fall through the cracks.
When patients go to CNNH, they get a diagnosis culled from a consensus of multiple disciplines and objective testing, resulting in a treatment plan targeting biological causes rather than only symptoms. CNNH prides itself on providing follow up and continuity of care. Dr. Mintz says the key is CNNH’s interdisciplinary approach characterized by regular meeting and gathering where clinicians at CNNH discuss cases and results.
“When we treat a patient, we employ a holistic approach and consider a patient’s overall health,” says Dr. Mintz. “We look at their sleep patterns, diet, genetics, educational, and many more parameters affecting quality of life. We do this because we are interested in making sure they are achieving real outcomes.
We assemble a team and put them around the table. We talk about patients we have evaluated and how best to treat them,” she added. Collaboration is encouraged and ensures that diagnoses and treatment plans are based upon “the collective knowledge of all the clinicians.” More importantly, this uniquely collaborative approach leads to a high degree of accuracy.
CNNH is helpful to families as well. “We educate the family, help them to understand what lies ahead and give them hope,” the doctors told JLNJ. This level of support can relieve anxiety for both the patient and the family. “When we can help patients and their families, we feel satisfied that we’ve done our jobs,” say the Drs. Mintz.
By Larry Bernstein