AUGUST NEWSLETTER - Neurosurgery Awareness Month
Check out our AUGUST Newsletter below featuring “Neurosurgery Awareness Month”. Also includes a special Thank You to all the Craniofacial Gala supporters with photos from the event. Articles by Catherine Mazzola, MD, FAANS, Pediatric Neurosurgeon and John Collins, MD, FAANS, Pediatric Neurosurgeon.
Download Photos From The 10th Annual Gala!
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The 10th Annual NJ Craniofacial Gala is 1 Month Away! Buy Tickets Today! Donating to the event helps in supporting International Outreach! Join us for a night filled with fun, great presentations, and your chance to win some great gift baskets, silent auction items or 50/50 raffle! All donations help to support the NJ Craniofacial Center and Developing Faces, Inc on their next mission trip!
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JUNE NEWSLETTER Anniversary of Tragic Paramus Bus Crash & COVID Affecting Child Development
Check out our JUNE Newsletter below featuring the "Anniversary of Tragic Paramus Bus Crash" as well as "COVID Affecting Child Development". Articles by Catherine Mazzola, MD, FAANS, Pediatric Neurosurgeon and Laura Natoli, RN, BS, MS, APN, RNFA, Advanced Pediatric Nurse Practitioner.  
JUNE NEWSLETTER TOPICS: Anniversary of Tragic Paramus Bus Crash COVID Affecting Child Development

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Our Team Recalling That Tragic Day:

Catherine Mazzola, MD, FAANS Pediatric Neurosurgeon

I will never forget the Thursday of the Paramus Eastbrook School bus accident. Our team at NJPNI was just about to start our Thursday “lunch and learn”, when Dr. Louis Difazio called me. Lou is the Chief of the Trauma Team at Morristown and a great friend. He told me there was a bus accident and about 24 children were being transported to Morristown Emergency Room. While he was talking, I called my colleagues together, and we headed across the street. We were there within ten minutes, and the Trauma Bay was filled with pediatric patients, nurses, physicians, and surgeons. There were four children with serious head trauma that we cared for that day. We train for polytrauma events, but thankfully, we seldom must deal with multiple pediatric trauma patients at once.

Triage, or the rapid evaluation and management of emergency patients, is a skill acquired after years of training and experience. I remember evaluating the four head trauma patients and one of my colleagues questioning my direction. I remember feeling neither insult nor anger, but I repeated my “request” and stated that this was really not a request, but an “order” based on my experience. I told him that I would take full responsibility for all my decisions, regardless of the outcome. Days later, he asked me how I “knew” what to do in that situation. After years of training in Newark, Pittsburgh, and Hackensack, NJ, I have seen numerous head trauma patients and I knew what had to be done, expediently. I made many decisions that day. I spoke to many parents. I will never forget sitting in the Pediatric ICU conference room and telling the mother of a child I had just operated on that her daughter had a 50% chance of making it through the night. There were tears in my eyes and she was sobbing. Today, with the efforts of so many great doctors and nurses and therapists, that child is alive. She will always have scars, both physical and emotional, that she and her family will live with forever. We were all changed that day. I remember driving home that night and going to the Lions Club Carnival, where I was supposed to be volunteering. I recall looking at all the young kids, teens, and their families. I was thinking about how quickly life can change and how grateful we should be for everyday with our children.

Learn more about Dr. Mazzola...

Laura Natoli, RN, BS, MS, APN, RNFA Advanced Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

On May 17th, 2018 I was working as a new Pediatric Nurse Practitioner for NJPNI. We were seeing office patients when Dr. Mazzola was notified of a school bus accident. We stopped what we were doing and quickly rushed across the street to Morristown Medical Center. The main takeaway I have from being involved with treating the children in the Paramus bus accident is the importance of TEAMWORK. Children's lives would not have been saved if everyone was not working together! Neurosurgery, Trauma, ED, PICU, and OR staff all played crucial roles that day. I became a nurse practitioner so that I could have an impact on the lives of others but more importantly, children. Through this experience, I have been able to see these children recover so well since their accident. I am so proud of the challenges they have overcome!

Learn more about Laura...

NJ Craniofacial Center Show Their Support! NJ Craniofacial Team is a group of compassionate, highly-trained, board-certified surgeons, dedicated to improving the lives of infants and children with craniofacial conditions caused by trauma, birth defects, and disease.
At the 2019 NJ Craniofacial Gala, the NJ Craniofacial Center team honored all of the children involved in the Paramus bus accident. It was a fun event filled with raffles, gift baskets, patient stories, and presentations from many doctors!
Click below to see highlights from the event! SAVE THE DATE THIS YEAR! The NJ Craniofacial Center team is hosting the 10th Annual NJ Craniofacial Gala on Tuesday July 27th, starting at 6pm, at The Park Savoy Estate in Florham Park, NJ. We hope to have another successful evening this year, honoring International Patients our team has treated for craniofacial disorders. WE HOPE YOU CAN MAKE IT!

COVID-19 How Growing Up in a Pandemic is Affecting Kids

While Covid-19 is typically benign in children, the pandemic could have long-lasting impacts on society’s youngest members. With childcare programs closed and social distancing measures in place, many children are missing out on opportunities for development. Children are lacking social interaction and important play time!
Lack of socialization have shown an increase in: 1. Speech delay 2. Depression 3. Obesity 4. Stranger anxiety 5. Difficulty sharing 6. Delay in social skills 7. Parental stressAs COVID restrictions ease up: 1. Realize that kids may be shy at first and have difficulty socializing 2. Encourage plenty of play time 3. Talk to your children about what to expect at school 4. To create secure attachedments, hire a babysitter so young kids are familiar with people other than their parents. 4. Try not to worry- kids are resilient! 5. Contact Early Intervention for evaluation of any speech delays
Socialization Tips During COVID
2 WEEKS until Dr. Kornitzer joins our team at NJPNI Stay tuned for the July newsletter to learn all about him!
Meet our new Pediatric Neurologist
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WINS June 9th – Registration is OPEN
Ready to choose your own adventure in Neurosurgery?  Our experts, Doctors Sonia Eden, Ann Stroink, Barbara Lazio, Catherine Mazzola and Karin Muraszko share valuable perspectives and lessons on how to chart your own course in this exciting and challenging field. Registration Link: Full Brochure here: WINS June 9th brochure
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May Newsletter Nurses Week & Brain Tumor Awareness
Nurses Week and Brain Tumor Awareness

May Newsletter
Nurses Week & Brain Tumor Awareness


Nurses Week May 6-12, 2021 WE LOVE NURSES!

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Tatiana Sikorskyj, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner


Tatiana has been with the New Jersey Pediatric Neuroscience Institute for 9 years and has continued to be a major asset for our patients! After graduating in January 2012 from Rutgers University College of Nursing with her Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Degree, Tatiana became certified as a Registered Nurse First Assist in 2013. She has grown her surgical skills throughout her career and loves to assist our surgeons in the operating room. Tatiana is NJPNI's Clinical Manager, who manages our nursing team as well as maintains a high volume of patients!

Outside of her professional responsibilities, Tatiana is a mom of two beautiful children. She enjoys, hiking, skiing, traveling and exploring new places. She is an active member of Plast, a non-profit Ukrainian scouting organization, where she mentors youth and volunteers in the summer camp clinic.

Learn more about Tatiana...


Laura Natoli, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

In January 2012, Laura graduated from Seton Hall University College of Nursing with her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing. She started her nursing career at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center working as a registered nurse in Telemetry and the Intensive Care Unit until she pursued her interest in pediatrics. Laura served as a member of St. Joseph’s Nurse Practice Council for 4 years and organized their first Children’s Hospital Bone Marrow Donation Drive, “Will You Marrow Me?”

In January 2017, Laura graduated from Seton Hall University College of Nursing with her Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Master’s degree. Later that year she joined the NJPNI team! Laura is a Registered Nurse First Assistant and enjoys assisting all of our surgeons in the operating room and providing a more comprehensive quality of care to her patients.

Outside of her professional responsibilities, Laura is involved with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Be the Match Bone Marrow National Donor Program, and National Multiple Sclerosis Society. She enjoys spending summers down the shore with her family and friends.

Learn more about Laura...


Dawn Milligan, LPN

Dawn Milligan, LPN received her nursing diploma from Passaic County Technical Institute where she graduated as valedictorian. Dawn worked for over six years for a family practice where she helped care for pediatric patients with acute issues as well as following their growth and development. She also spent a number of years in other areas of nursing, working as a charge nurse and also managing and directing long term care and adult day care facilities.

Dawn has been with NJPNI for 10 years! She has advanced pediatric neurosurgical knowledge and helps onboard many of our new clinical staff and summer interns. Dawn is the clinic coordinator for our NJ Craniofacial Team, who are a group of specialists from a variety of disciplines that meet one Friday a month. Dawn has pursued her love of patient and staff education over the years by instructing Lamaze and CPR classes and conducting in-services for staff members. Dawn’s love and dedication to pediatrics is evident by the service she provides to the children and families under her care.

This year's theme for Nurses Week is: Frontline Warriors. This past year, more than ever, we have an immense appreciation for nursing professional's. Nurses are valuable and essential part of a medical care team. They truly are Frontline Warriors. Please join us in honoring and thanking not only our nurses at NJPNI, but all nurses!
Write a Review On Our Amazing Nursing Staff

Go Gray in May Brain Tumor Awareness Month

Gray May An estimated 700,000 Americans are living with a primary brain tumor. Of that, 13, 657 children are estimated to be living with a primary brain tumor in the US. Pediatric brain tumors are the leading cause of cancer-related death among children and adolescents under the age of 19. Ways to Support: 1. Take Action. There are many events throughout the month of May! 2. Raise Awareness 3. Make a Gift Patient Stories In 2019, Dr. Mazzola was presented the Humanitarian Award from HOPE. The EndBrainCancer Initiative is dedicated to closing the gap to advanced treatment and clinical trial participation, and to providing HOPE to brain tumor patients and their families nationally. Her award was presented by one of her own patients, Sa'Mya Griffin. "May is brain cancer awareness month so I am honored to share my journey with brain cancer. My name is Sa’Mya Griffin and I am 16 years old. I have been battling brain cancer for 5 years. My battle has been filled with ups and downs but I am grateful for the incredible knowledge of my healthcare team, specifically Dr. Catherine Mazzola and Dr. Derek Hanson (oncologist). I am extremely thankful for their dedication to me. We need to bring awareness to brain cancer so that myself and others could one day receive not only treatment but a cure." -Sa'Mya Griffin
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Neurosurgeon Doctors
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New Jersey Special Needs Guide
Check out the latest issue of New Jersey Special Needs Guide below featuring our ads for New Jersey Pediatric Neuroscience Institute, New Jersey Concussion Center, and New Jersey Craniofacial Center! Check it out here!
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April Newsletter - Teaching & Mentoring

April Newsletter

Teaching & Mentoring


At NJPNI, we love to mentor students who are pursuing a career in the medical field. Each year, we choose 2-3 pre-med college students for our summer internship program. During their eight week internship, we strive to give them a well rounded experience. Our interns shadow us in the hospital and office settings. They sit in on our interdisciplinary Craniofacial Clinic. We even have them observe surgeries! The interns are required to write research papers which are submitted for publication. By the time their internship is completed, they have not only gained new medical knowledge, but they have also had the opportunity to see how a medical practice runs and learn about things that are not necessarily taught in medical school.

Madison and Denise Summer Interns 2018 Madison & Denise Summer Interns 2018 Jeff, Helen and Cameron Summer Interns 2019 Jeff, Helen & Cameron Summer Interns 2019 Hamail and Isabel Summer Interns 2020 Hamail & Isabel Summer Interns 2020
Past Intern Stories



Sumana Gadiraju

"Sumana Gadiraju is a rising senior at Rutgers University-Camden majoring in Biology with minors in Chemistry and Psychology. Through this internship, she hopes to combine her interest in neuroscience and her passion for working with children. As an aspiring physician, Sumana is eager to gain insight into the medical field, particularly in pediatrics, during this experience."


Shareef Syed

"I'm a rising junior at New Jersey Institute of Technology pursuing a B.S. in Biology. On campus I'm involved in Biomedical Engineering and Historical Research, the Minority Association of Pre-Health Students, and the Alpha Kappa Psi Fraternity. Through this internship, I hope to gain a solid understanding of how a team of neurosurgeons, neurologists, nurses, and therapists provide treatment for the pediatric population suffering from neurological disorders. I aspire to become a practicing physician and to eventually mentor students aspiring to become health care professionals."


Brandon Block

"I’m a rising senior at the University of Pennsylvania, with a double major in Biology and Classical Studies. This summer, I’m looking forward to the opportunity to gain clinical experience in the field of pediatric neurosurgery, as well as to further develop my research interests and skills. Following graduation, I’ll be attending the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai through their early assurance pipeline program."

Words From Dr. Mazzola on Teaching: "Teachers are amazing people. Last night, I participated in a scientific symposium honoring Sister Mary Edwards Zipf, who was my Microbiology teacher at the College of Mount St. Vincent. Just as Sister Mary Edward inspired me to continue my pursuit of medical science as a Biochemistry major, I have tried to be an inspiration to students interested in medicine. Since residency, I have been mentoring and encouraging students of all ages. Dr. Ricky Madhok was my first student. Ricky worked with me in a research lab, where we were studying brain tumors and the expression of various receptors. Throughout the years, I have mentored and advised hundreds of high school, college, medical students and residents. I am so proud of each of them and all of their accomplishments. This week, I found out that the son of one of my teachers, Dr. C. David Hunt, was admitted to medical school. I mentored his son, Adam Hunt, a few summers ago. I am so proud of Adam. Perhaps he will eventually become a neurosurgeon, like his father! This year, Covid has disrupted our lives. But there was a silver lining on the Covid cloud. We at NJPNI were able to hire some of the nicest, smartest, pre-medical students who were looking for work while they prepared for medical school. I have worked with them to publish several papers, and currently, we are working on 4 more."
Watch Dr. Mazzola Teach on her YouTube Channnel

Our Providers Love to Mentor & Inspire!

At NJPNI, we have many opportunities for internships or shadowing experiences. We take pride in being able to share our experiences with students who are interested in the neurosciences. Teaching is not only rewarding for the student, but also for the mentee.

Click on the link below to learn more about the NJPNI Summer Internship for the summer of 2022! We are already filled with pre-med students for the summer of 2021.
Summer Internship for 2022
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Diagnosed with a concussion? You may need a physical therapist.
Physical therapy should start immediately after a concussion and be targeted to the individual patient. All RETURN TO PLAY PROTOCOLS are developed for each child separately with that child's goals in mind. Have questions? Just call! A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury or TBI caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging brain cells. Experiencing symptoms like...
  • Headache or “pressure” in head.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Balance problems or dizziness, or double or blurry vision.
  • Bothered by light or noise.
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy.
  • Confusion, or concentration or memory problems.
  • Just not “feeling right,” or “feeling down"
Physical therapists can evaluate and treat many common problems related to concussions. Because no two concussions are the same, a physical therapist will examine your neurological, orthopedic, and cardiovascular systems in order to best prescribe a routine to address your particular symptoms and your needs in all of your daily environments. Come see SportsCare of Morristown! (973) 605-1333 | 131 Madison Ave., 3rd Floor, Morristown, NJ Concussion Treatment May Include:
  • Rest & Recovery
  • Restoring Strength & Endurance
  • Returning to Normal Activity or Sport
  • Stopping Dizziness & Improving Balance
  • Reducing Headaches
Also check out NJPNI and NJ Concussion Center for more info.
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NJPNI December Newsletter
Check out our December Newsletter on Collaborative Care At NJPNI! View NJPNI's Past Newsletters and Announcements by Clicking Here Collaborative Care At NJPNI December 2020 Newsletter Teamwork at NJPNI NJPNI’s ability to provide excellent care for your child starts with our emphasis on collaborative teamwork. Everyone at NJPNI cooperates to make equal contributions to the care of your child. From the surgeons and nurse practitioners to the clinical assistants and billing office, all members of our team are in constant communication to accomplish holistic care for each child. Every member of our team knows all of our patients so there is always a familiar face whenever your child may need assistance. Lastly, the health and safety of our patients and their families is our top priority. Our team has expanded to provide welcoming and safe services through launching a dedicated Telemedicine Platform. Our patients can now  securely connect with their respective provider from the comfort of their home. The Craniofacial Team The culture of teamwork starts within our offices and expands to the many teams we work with, one of those being the Craniofacial Center at Goryeb Children’s Hospital at Morristown Medical Center. With craniofacial anomalies having the ability to affect several organ systems, we have commited to working as part of a multidisciplinary team to provide the best care for this multidisciplinary disorder. In doing so, our team is able to minimize the patient’s time and travel needs and keep patients, parents, and all providers in the loop on diagnostic results and treatment decisions. Our team has been recognized by The American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association (ACPCA) for providing care consistent with their standards for Craniofacial Team excellence. The Cerebral Palsy Team NJPNI pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Mazzola (top left) and  Children's Specialized Hospital pediatric physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor, Dr. Jenfu Cheng (top right), meet for a monthly Cerebral Palsy (CP) clinic for children with spasticity. By working together, Dr. Mazzola and Dr. Cheng are able to combine their medical backgrounds to thoroughly consider the best treatment options for each child's spasticity. Dr. Mazzola and Dr. Cheng also collaborate with Barnabas Health pediatric orthopedic surgeon Dr. O. Folorunsho Edobor-Osula (bottom left) and NJIT biomedical engineer Dr. Saikat Pal (bottom right) to study how children with CP move. This IRB approved research at NJIT studies the movement of typically developing and CP children to understand how surgery can improve the gate of children with CP. Each member of this team provides a new perspective on CP, allowing for a complete and unbiased evaluation of how children with CP respond to treatment. A special THANK YOU to all our referring pediatricians and providers. We love collaborating with everyone to provide the best care for our patients! THANK YOU to all our patients and their families! NJPNI wishes everyone a HAPPY HOLIDAY! Let's hope 2021 is a healthy, happy, and brighter year for all. Enjoy time with family. xoxo Love from Dr. Mazzola, Dr. Collins, & the staff from NJPNI
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NJPNI November Newsletter
Check out our November Newsletter on Epilepsy Awareness! View NJPNI's Past Newsletters and Announcements by Clicking Here
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Schedule an Appointment Today

Caring for your child's well-being is our number one priority. 
Schedule an appointment with a world-class pediatric neurology and neurosurgery team at NJPNI now.
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NOTICE: This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice or as a substitute for a patient/physician relationship.

NJPNI is committed to creating a culturally diverse, inclusive and collaborative community for patients and their families, employees and associates where each person is celebrated and has a sense of equal belonging. See our DEI Statement Page for more information.

NJPNI does not exclude, deny benefits to, or otherwise discriminate against any person on the grounds of race, color, or national origin, or on the basis of disability or age in admission to, participation in, or receipt of the services and benefits of any of its programs and activities or in employment therein. This statement is in accordance with the provisions of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and Regulations of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued pursuant to the Acts, Title 45 Code of Federal Regulations part 80, 84, and 91.

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