Stevens' Cattabiani helps link doctors, hospitals worldwide

HOBOKEN, N.J. -- Since 2000, a Stevens Institute of Technology Special Lecturer in Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Thomas Cattabiani, has worked to help realize the global vision of a successful New York surgeon, his longtime friend and onetime classmate in the Stevens pre-med program, Undergraduate Projects in Technology and Medicine (UPTAM). The vision enfolds the establishment of clinics and hospitals worldwide that are served by Internet links to experts in the US physicians who can, from great distances, help to train other doctors, and even advise on real-time surgical procedures, in regions where the latest in modern techniques are not commonly known.

Cattabiani has traveled specifically a number of times to Serbia, a nation recovering from years of internecine warfare as part of the former Yugoslavia. There he has helped provide telemedicine capabilities to local physicians, while his friend, Dr. S. Vincent Grasso, has imparted his expertise in laproscopic i.e., minimally invasive surgery.

"Operation Outreach" in Zrenjanin, Serbia, was inspired by the success of earlier expeditions to other regions of the world. It began with a request for support from a former graduate student of Cattabiani's, Veljko Popov, and the team of surgeons working at a charity hospital, the St. John Hospital for Special Surgical Services in Zrenjanin. During 2001-2002, Operation Outreach provided donations of badly needed medical and surgical supplies; surgical equipment and training in Minimally Invasive Surgery and Medical Informatics; installation and support of a computer LAN; Serbian language software to support a hospital database; and security protocols for Internet transfer of sensitive medical data.

Cattabiani and Grasso recently initiated a new phase in the life of the Serbian hospital, in which instead of traveling to Serbia in person they directed their colleagues in innovative procedures entirely from a remote real-time Internet facility locate

Contact: Patrick A. Berzinski
Stevens Institute of Technology

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