25 years of cardiovascular surgery at PRH, WDH addresses homelessness: Seacoast health news

Portsmouth Herald

Portsmouth Regional Hospital celebrates 25 years of cardiovascular surgery services

The Cardiovascular Surgery Program at Portsmouth Regional Hospital is celebrating its 25th anniversary. It is the only hospital on the Seacoast to offer open-heart surgery and to be designated as a Chest Pain Center by the American College of Cardiology. From left: Mark Sullivan, PAC; William Wilson, MD; Robert Helm, MD, chief of cardiovascular surgery; Christopher Terrien, MD; and Kevin McCusker, PhD.

PORTSMOUTH — Portsmouth Regional Hospital is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the cardiovascular surgery program. The program launched in December 1998, bringing open-heart surgery to the Seacoast Region for the first time. PRH is still the only hospital on the Seacoast to offer open-heart surgery and to be designated as a Chest Pain Center by the American College of Cardiology.

The cardiothoracic and vascular program has grown significantly, both from a technological and medical advancement perspective, and gives patients the opportunity to receive complex cardiovascular care, close to home, and close to their support systems. It is staffed by experts and thought leaders in the field, including Yale-trained cardiac surgeon Christopher Terrien, MD, who joined the program in 2018; Kevin McCusker, chief of perfusion, who is credited with developing the state-of-the-art heart lung machine that is used not only at PRH, but worldwide; William Wilson, MD, who leads the mechanical heart support program at PRH; and Syed Peeran, MD, surgical director of vascular surgery, who brought his pioneering techniques to the Seacoast from the Mayo Clinic. Under Peeran’s leadership, PRH has become the regional leader in vascular surgical care. 

The PRH cardiac surgery program also has earned a distinguished three-star rating from The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) for its patient care and outcomes in aortic valve replacement (AVR) and coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). The three-star rating, which denotes the highest category of quality, places Portsmouth Regional Hospital among the elite for both isolated AVR and isolated CABG surgery, putting it in the top 2-5% of hospitals in the United States and Canada.

A few cardiovascular surgery highlights over the past 25 years:

1998 – Launched the cardiovascular surgery program

1998 – First open heart surgery was performed on Dec. 1, 1998

2000 – Robert Helm, MD, chief of cardiothoracic surgery, joins Portsmouth Regional Hospital

2001 – Completed 1,000 cardiac surgery cases

2010 – First hybrid operating room in the state of New Hampshire built at PRH

2010 – First endovascular abdominal aortic aneurysm repair performed

2012 – First minimally invasive aortic valve replacement is performed by Dr. Helm

2014 – First mini mitral valve surgery is performed by Dr Helm

2016 – Vascular surgeon Syed Peeran, MD, joins PRH from the Mayo Clinic.  First minimally invasive iliac aneurysm surgery is performed by Dr. Peeran.

2017 – First TAVR (transcatheter aortic valve replacement) is performed

2018 – Yale-trained surgeon Christopher Terrien, MD, cardiothoracic surgeon specializing in valve repair and coronary bypass, joins the PRH surgical team

2020 – The ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) program is markedly expanded to meet the growing needs of the community; William Wilson, MD, is appointed surgical director of the ECMO Program.

2022 – First robotic thoracic surgery is performed by the newly recruited world-class thoracic surgeon John Federico, MD.

2024 – Syed Peeran, MD, surgical director of vascular surgery is named the chief of surgery at Portsmouth Regional Hospital.

Wentworth-Douglass awards $25K grant to address youth homelessness

From left to right are Joss Birnie, Waypoint NH Site Supervisor, Seacoast Outreach + Drop-In Center; Meaghan Heusler, Wentworth-Douglass Hospital Planning Data Analyst & Community Benefits Manager; and Mandy Lancaster, Waypoint NH Senior Manager, Homeless Youth and Young Adult Department.

DOVER – Wentworth-Douglass Hospital has awarded a $25,000 community benefit grant to Waypoint to assist in the continued operation of the Drop-In Center in Rochester, which allows homeless or unsheltered youth in the Seacoast region to access various community-based services.

Waypoint seeks to limit the amount of time that youth remain homeless by providing intervention and prevention. The Rochester Drop-In Center provides a safe, judgment free place for youth to access basic needs while building trusting relationships with staff. Youth at the center have access to food, clothing, technology, educational resources, and connections to multiple supportive services.

The Rochester Drop-In Center is located at 3 Wallace Street and served 140 youth in their first year of operation.

In addition to the Drop-in Center, Waypoint provides street outreach in areas youth are known to congregate and provides crisis response. Services are designed to assist youth in leaving the streets, making healthy choices, and building trusting relationships.

Waypoint provides street-based outreach in Rochester, Dover, Portsmouth, Exeter, and Hampton - the five most populated communities in the service area and areas which are known to have larger numbers of youth experiencing homelessness. In the remaining greater Seacoast area, Waypoint provide services via a Street Outreach Van, in areas youth are known to congregate, such as train stations and parks, allowing for outreach in the less-populated communities.

Wentworth-Douglass conducts a Community Health Needs Assessment every three years to identify where the hospital should focus its programs and services to improve the overall health of the individuals and families it serves. The funds donated are approved by the hospital’s Community Benefit Funding Disbursement Committee and are not raised through any public or private donations.

Business NH Magazine names Dartmouth Health’s CEO and president one of the Granite State’s 40 most influential leaders

Dartmouth Health CEO and president Joanne M. Conroy, MD, was named to Business NH Magazine’s 40 Influential Leaders list for 2024.

LEBANON – Dartmouth Health CEO and president Joanne M. Conroy, MD, was named to Business NH Magazine’s 40 Influential Leaders list for 2024. Compiled in honor of the magazine’s 40th anniversary, the 40 Influential Leaders were selected by Business NH for advancing their industry or taking a leadership role in addressing a major challenge facing New Hampshire.

In selecting the 40 honorees, Business NH conducted extensive research into the major challenges facing the Granite State—affordable housing, childcare, workforce development and creating a state that is welcoming to all as our population continues to diversify. Magazine staff also asked state leaders for their nominations.

“Business NH has documented the transformation of New Hampshire’s economy, business community and demographics for four decades now. It’s an honor to be recognized by them as one of the leaders addressing our state’s primary concerns as the magazine celebrates this milestone,” Conroy said. “Healthcare is changing rapidly in our state and nationwide. We at Dartmouth Health work hard and pride ourselves on evolving with our community to provide them the best care possible.”

Registration now open for the 43rd Annual Prouty

LEBANON – The Friends of Dartmouth Cancer Center announce the launch of the 43rd Annual Prouty, northern New England’s largest family-friendly fundraising event to support life-saving cancer research and patient and family support services. Registration is now open for The Prouty, which benefits the Dartmouth Cancer Center, New Hampshire’s only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Participants can join in cycling, walking, or rowing on July 13, the Prouty Ultimate (two days of cycling throughout New Hampshire and Vermont) on July 12-13, Prouty Golf on June 15 and the Prouty Community Walk in St. Johnsbury on June 15. This year, for the first time, the event will also feature an 18-mile mountain bike route and the return of the beloved 5K wooded walk option, both available on July 13. Virtual participation is also available.

This year, donations to the Prouty will have double the impact, thanks to a dollar-for-dollar match from the Jack and Dorothy Byrne Foundation. For additional details and to register, visit: