Better together

Better together

Englewood hospital, Tenafly JCC join forces to provide health and wellness care

A meditation program at the hospital’s Graf Center for Integrative Medicine. (EHMC)
A meditation program at the hospital’s Graf Center for Integrative Medicine. (EHMC)

Sitting on campuses a mere two miles from one another, the Englewood Hospital and Medical Center and the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades in Tenafly serve many of the same populations and even share many of the same donors and lay leaders.

Because the two longstanding Bergen County institutions also share a mission of enhancing the wellbeing of their constituent communities, they recently unveiled an ambitious new partnership for the mutual benefit of JCC member families and EHMC staff and patients.

Soft-launched last November, with additional elements of the partnership scheduled to start in the coming month, the new relationship offers a range of joint health-and-wellness activities at both locations.

Specially certified JCC staffers, working in coordination with EHMC physicians, will provide hospital-sponsored personal training, group classes, and fitness programming for the 3,000-plus EHMC employees, in addition to collaborative nutritional coaching, stress management, and healthy living guidance.

EHMC employees and their families will receive discounted membership to the JCC, whose 65,000 feet of dedicated wellness space include a spa, gym, swimming pools, tennis and racquetball courts, cycling room, Pilates room, and youth fitness center, as well as a host of fitness classes in such disciplines as yoga, swimming, Pilates, barre, cycling, Zumba, and triathlon training, as well as free drop-in group exercise classes, among other offerings.

For JCC members, EHMC’s Graf Center for Integrative Medicine will offer acupuncture, therapeutic massage, nutritional counseling, yoga, aroma therapy, meditation, and physician consultations. Community health screenings, educational events, and a monthly newsletter are planned for JCC members and the EHMC community.

Warren Geller, left, Dr. Michael Harris, and Jordan Shenker

Perhaps the most novel part of the partnership addresses the common community through the joint development of condition-specific fitness and nutrition programs for people with pre-diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or cancer, as well as people preparing for such procedures at EHMC as bariatric (weight-loss) or joint-replacement surgery. As opposed to rehabilitation following illness or injury, these programs will begin at earlier stages for enhanced effect.

“It’s become clearer over time and in the research that so-called ‘pre-hab’ leads to better outcomes, so we are excited about our physicians and other professionals working with JCC personal trainers to develop fitness and strength programs for patients before as well as after certain procedures,” EHMC’s chief medical officer, Dr. Michael Harris, said.

“Bariatric surgery is a great example because there is a six-month waiting period and ideally we can use that time to focus on nutrition and exercise that in some cases will preclude the need for surgery,” he continued. “And for those patients who do have the surgery, it will better condition them for the surgery and recovery.

“Cancer is another case where nutrition counseling — which we offer to every newly diagnosed patient — and fitness training improve patients’ ability to tolerate therapy and lead to improved outcome.”

In 2016, the latest year for which figures are available, the 352-bed medical center served a total of 281,600 inpatients and outpatients. The Kaplen JCC counts more than 3,500 membership units, which is about 13,000 individual members.

The JCC’s CEO, Jordan Shenker, said about a dozen JCCs in the United States have a variety of partnership programs with hospitals that serve their catchment area. In that spirit, for the last decade the Tenafly JCC has planned collaborative programs with the Englewood medical center, including physician lectures, to support one another’s objectives.

“In the last 18 months, we began to crystallize ideas to activate this collaboration in a more robust way that would leverage community and business opportunities — adding value for employees and patients of the hospital and members of the JCC while giving the JCC a pipeline of new clients and helping us achieve our wellness mission,” Mr. Shenker said.

Another beneficial aspect of the partnership, he added, is that JCC members will be able to take advantage of the expertise of community center fitness staffers who have earned additional certifications to work with the joint program. “We hope it will lead to clients doing ongoing programs such as personal training,” he said.

Warren Geller, the medical center’s president and CEO, said, “As a medical center devoted to caring for the whole patient, not just their disease or condition, we hope these activities and services give our patients and families lifelong tools and resources to support them on the journey to wellness.”

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