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Press Releases

Holy Name Medical Center Physicians Give Back

Date: 10/19/2010

Two Holy Name Medical Center physicians, Sharad Wagle, MD, Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Alan Gwertzman, MD, Chairman of the Department of Anesthesiology, are giving back to those who have given so much-members of our Armed Forces. Both physicians are board members with HonorVet.org, a non-profit organization founded by former Marines, Jesse Canella and Jim McCain. HonorVet.org will focus on the health and well-being of deployed, active, and discharged members of the military by providing psychosocial and professional support services.

"HonorVet.org is such an essential component to the well being of the men and women who have given so much of themselves," explains Dr. Gwertzman. "We are proud to support such a worthy program while living the mission of Holy Name-selflessness."

Both Canella and McCain were in the same unit in the United States Marine Corps and were deployed to Iraq together. In 2008 when Canella was discharged from active military service, he quickly realized the barriers experienced by discharged soldiers in search of support. Canella's initial concept of HonorVet.org was to overcome the age barrier between the current population of soldiers today versus that of participants in the VFW and American Legion programs, provide accessibility to a 24/7 support system; and afford a social network to connect soldiers oversees with their families at home.

"I am proud of Drs. Gwertzman and Wagle for continually reaching out to those in need," says Michael Maron, President and Chief Executive Officer, Holy Name Medical Center. "Their service and dedication, not only in our own community but beyond, is commendable. HonorVet.org is not only a service that our military men and women desperately need-it is something we owe to them."

"I really wanted to make accessibility to support services extremely easy," explains Canella. "HonorVet.org will ultimately provide Veterans with anything and everything that they need."

Canella explains that the HonorVet.org program has three main initiatives to help soldiers cope with issues while oversees or adapting to life at home. In addition to a social networking aspect, the program will offer a military service record authentication, which is a verification of a soldier's deployment history; warm services to help combat mental health issues through a 24/7 cyber counseling program; and professional services through career coaches, human resource professionals, and transitional support.

"This program was designed to fill the gaps in medical, emotional, and professional services," says Canella.

"When I was approached to volunteer with HonorVet.org," says Dr. Wagle, Director of HonorVet.org's Warm Services, "it took me less than one second to give my answer-of course." This much-needed service will provide active service men and women as well as discharged soldiers the opportunity to speak with a board-certified psychiatrist who is a member of the American Psychiatric Association, either on the phone or through live Internet chat.

"I am so honored to be a part of this worthy program," explains Dr. Wagle. "It is a way I can give back to the soldiers who have risked their lives to give us the freedom we have."

For more information on the HonorVet.org program, please visit www.HonorVet.org.

Dr. Gwertzman has been a board-certified, attending anesthesiologist at Holy Name Medical Center, Teaneck, NJ, since 1994. He is President of Bergen Anesthesia Associates and, in 1999, he assumed the role of Chairman of the Department of Anesthesiology at Holy Name. He is also a member of the Medical Center's Medical Executive Committee. Dr. Gwertzman earned his medical degree with honors from the University of Medicine and Dentistry and completed his anesthesiology residency with a concentration in pediatrics, cardiothoracic, and pain management at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center.

Dr. Wagle has more than 40 years experience in psychiatric medicine. He joined the staff of Holy Name in 1996 as Chief of Psychiatry. Dr. Wagle is board-certified in both and adult and child psychiatry and a distinguished fellow in the American Psychiatric Association.