Jamaica Hospital celebrates opening of new Maspeth Federal Savings Pediatrics Ophthalmology Center

(From l. to r.) Maspeth Federal Savings President and CEO Thomas Rudzewick, Jamaica Hospital President and CEO Bruce Flanz, and Queens Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas Grech at the opening of the hospital’s new Pediatrics Ophthalmology Center on Thursday, Dec. 15. (Photo courtesy of Jamaica Hospital)

Officials at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center and Maspeth Federal Savings on Thursday, Dec. 15, celebrated the opening of the hospital’s new Pediatrics Ophthalmology Center complete with state-of-the-art equipment to provide first-rate visionary care for patients in the south Queens community.

(From l. to r.) Jamaica Hospital President and CEO Bruce Flanz, Chair of Ophthalmology at Jamaica Hospital Dr. Julia Shulman, and Maspeth Federal Savings President and CEO Thomas Rudzewick cut the red ribbon at the opening of the new Pediatrics Ophthalmology Center. (Photo courtesy of Jamaica Hospital)

The Maspeth Federal Savings Pediatrics Ophthalmology Center, located on the second floor of the hospital’s Axel Building, consists of a modernly designed area waiting area, four spacious examination rooms, two testing rooms, three consultation offices and two charting workstations. Each room is equipped with amenities to provide a comfortable environment for children.

One of the testing rooms in the Pediatrics Ophthalmology Center. (Photo by Carlotta Mohamed/QNS)

“We are thrilled to have a center of excellence in pediatric ophthalmology in Queens County. This center will allow us to provide cutting-edge technology and treatment to our youngest patients,” said Dr. Julia Shulman, chair of ophthalmology at Jamaica Hospital. 

The 2,900-square-foot facility and the purchase of equipment was made possible by a generous donation of $1 million from Maspeth Federal Savings, one of New York City’s strongest community banks. Maspeth Federal Savings has been working with Jamaica Hospital throughout the pandemic and has provided mission-critical equipment and supporting donations. Today, the organization is the sole donor to the pediatric ophthalmology center, which addresses an urgent need in the local area. 

A testing room in the Pediatrics Ophthalmology Center. (Photo by Carlotta Mohamed/QNS)
The waiting room (Photo by Carlotta Mohamed/QNS)

Thomas Rudzewick, president and CEO of Maspeth Federal Savings, said it’s incredibly important to them that the people and facilities in the community have the resources they need to do what they do best, in this case, providing care that children desperately need. 

“To be part of this grand opening and giving back to this community of south Queens is something Maspeth Federal is so proud of,” Rudzewick said. “Our board of directors that are here are really excited that we’re going to be able to help the children of this area to go through the visionary issues that they have and help them live better lives.” 

Maspeth Federal Savings helps to donate to all of the service groups within local areas such as Ridgewood, Maspeth, Kew Gardens, Forest Hills and Fresh Meadows. The bank has partnered with organizations such as the Kiwanis Club of Maspeth, the Greater Ridgewood Restoration Center and the Ridgewood Youth Club.

“One thing I’m very proud of is that our employees volunteer their time to do work within those communities,” Rudzewick said. “To me, that’s a testament that it’s not just about the money, but the love our members give back to the community.” 

According to Rudzewick, the partnership with Jamaica Hospital began with Dr. Cono Grasso, who is the security director of Maspeth Federal Savings and former chair of the hospital’s Ophthalmology Department before joining the MFS board. 

“When he came to us and explained the importance of the center, we immediately made it a priority,” Rudzewick said. “We were able to allocate enough money to build and it looks fantastic. Every single space that they have is well utilized with state-of-the-art equipment.” 

For Grasso, it is a lifelong dream fulfilled to have a pediatrics ophthalmology center at the hospital, he said.

“Jamaica hospital is one of the partner members of Healthfirst, and we’re responsible for the healthcare of southern Queens. Many of these families use this hospital for eye care,” Grasso said. “You take a boy who fails his school test, and if it takes him six weeks or two months to get a visit and then another couple weeks to get his glasses, he’s missed two months of school. With this center, we will be able to provide care five days a week and the waiting time will shorten to less than a week.” 

Dr. Cono Grasso gives a tour of the facility. (Photo by Carlotta Mohamed/QNS)

According to Grasso, this will help the hospital provide a new level of care for the patient population. 

Jamaica Hospital provides quality healthcare to an underserved community, this includes much-needed vision services to children who have limited access to comprehensive ophthalmologic care. By creating a dedicated ophthalmology center for children, the hospital aims to address the lack of access to care and other healthcare disparities that impact its community.

The need for a comprehensive pediatric ophthalmology service is reflected in current statistics. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reports that 1 in 4 preschool-aged children and approximately 6.8% of children younger than 18 years in the United States has undiagnosed or untreated vision problems. These numbers are amplified in communities that encounter disparities in receiving optimal healthcare. Children who reside in underserved communities are found to be nearly twice at risk for developing eye disorders when compared to those who live in neighborhoods that are supplied with sufficient health services.

Bruce Flanz, Jamaica Hospital’s president and CEO, said the Maspeth Federal Savings Pediatric Ophthalmology Center at Jamaica Hospital will be the “only one of its kind to service Queens.”

“Residents who live in our community no longer have to travel outside their local area to receive high-quality, pediatric eye care,” Flanz said. “Our center is staffed by physicians who are among the best in their specialty and are highly skilled in performing a wide range of services to diagnose and treat pediatric ocular conditions.”

Flanz added that the hospital is grateful to Maspeth Federal Savings for their generous donation to the pediatric ophthalmology center.

“Their commitment to helping our communities thrive and philanthropy has helped our hospital make critical advancements that will greatly benefit our growing patient population,” Flanz said.