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HCN News & Notes

12,000 Children in Bay State Still lack in Insurance
Greenfield Center for Wellness Set to Open
Elms Names YWCA Director Elizabeth Dineen New Trustee
Baystate Mary Lane to Host Colon Health Program on March 20
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  • Careers Pulse


    Neurosurgeons Gilner, Soni Join Berkshire Health

    PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Health Systems has announced the appointments of neurosurgeons Dr. Leon I. Gilner and Dr. Deepa Soni to the physician staff of Berkshire Medical Center and the BHS Neurosurgical physician practice.

    Gilner, former chief of Surgery at Victoria Regional Medical Center, Texas, has been named Division Chief of Neuro-surgery at BMC. He provides a full spectrum of neurosurgical, cranial, and spinal procedures, specializing in minimally invasive treatment of degenerative disc disease and spinal stenosis.

    Gilner is board-certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. While in Texas, he also served as chief of the medical staff at Victoria Regional Medical Center and Victoria Warm Springs Rehabilitation Hospital.

    Previously, he was chief of Neurosurgery at Valley Medical Center, Fresno, Calif. and director of the Neurosurgical Training Program at the Medical College of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. He has held numerous academic positions, including assistant professor of Neurosurgery at the Medical College of Pennsylvania, instructor in Neuroanatomy at both Upstate Medical College in Syracuse, N.Y. and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, N.Y., and assistant clinical professor of Neurosurgery at the University of California, San Francisco.

    Gilner received his medical degree from Upstate Medical College in Syracuse and was trained in neurosurgery at the University of Miami Medical Center and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx Municipal Hospital Center. He completed fellowship training in Neurotraumatology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

    Soni provides general neurosurgical services and specializes in the treatment of brain tumors, cerebrovascular disease, including carotid disease, and spinal disorders.

    She received her medical degree from Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, D.C. She completed her residency training at Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Children’s Hospital in Boston, training under internationally renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Peter M. Black. Soni is the second woman ever to complete the seven-year neurosurgical residency training program in its entirety at those three institutions.

    Dr. Soni served as chief resident in the program from 2005 to 2006. She was fellowship-trained in skull base and cerebrovascular neurosurgery at Macquarie Neurosurgery/Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia.

    Benoit Joins Baystate Regional Cancer Program

    WARE — Claudia Benoit, LICSW, an oncology social worker, recently joined the Oncology Services team at Baystate Mary Lane Hospital.

    She will provide counseling for patients and their families through all phases of their cancer care, and will help them access needed information and resources, including social security benefits, disability benefits, and insurance coverage and financial assistance.

    Prior to joining the staff at Baystate Mary Lane Benoit served as a medical social worker for Baystate Visiting Nurse Assoc. & Hospice, where she gained experience in working with individuals during their adjustment to illness.

    “Meeting the psychosocial needs of our patients and their families is vital to providing quality care,” said Nancy Price, RN, supervisor of the Baystate Regional Cancer Program at Baystate Mary Lane. “We are fortunate to have someone with Claudia’s background on our staff.”

    In addition to providing individual counseling, Benoit will be facilitating support groups within the community in the near future, and will be participating in the Look Good Feel Better program at the hospital.

    Benoit views her role as helping patients and their families cope more effectively and adapt more readily as they deal with a cancer diagnosis and the follow-up decisions about their care.

    “I find it rewarding to be part of the process of working through and normalizing feelings,” she said. “I hope that, through our work together, people will find renewed meaning in their lives, whatever course their illness may take.”

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