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COPD researcher finds freedom at Northwell to challenge the status quo

As a child, one phrase always set off Negin Hajizadeh, MD: “Negin, that’s just the way it is.”

“I don’t accept that,” she would respond. “I’m going to find a better way. And, P.S., I’m going to fix the world!”

Pursuing ideas that change lives

Now Dr. Hajizadeh is bringing that persistent curiosity to creating solutions that help chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients.

“I had a lot of choices as to where I’d pursue my work,” she says. “Only at Northwell have I felt fully empowered to pursue gutsy ideas.”

Dr. Hajizadeh is driven to discover ideas that produce immediate impact, because for advanced stage COPD patients, every breath is a battle. Only 2 percent of these patients have access to therapies that can teach them how to live better with this disease.

Her big idea? Utilize Telehealth technology.

Bringing life-enhancing strategies to COPD patients

Telehealth brings pulmonary rehabilitation into patients’ homes, setting them up with an exercise bike, weights, an iPad with an Internet connection and a device that beams their vital signs right to their therapist’s screen in real time.

Patients work in small groups to learn how to use their bodies in different ways to compensate for lost lung capacity, creating connections, restoring their confidence and reducing their fears.

quotation mark Only at Northwell have I felt fully empowered to pursue gutsy ideas.
Negin Hajizadeh, MD MPH

“Northwell is the first in the world to do this,” says Dr. Hajizadeh. “Our study will see if Telehealth reduces rehospitalization rates. I have 100 percent of our patients reporting improved quality of life.

“I’ve never experienced anything like Northwell. No silos. No groupthink. … Cross-pollinating ideas and generating advancements like a swiftly moving start-up.”

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