Health & Wellness

New JFK Johnson Center for Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation Opens To Speed Recovery and Extend Lives for Patients with Heart and Lung Disease

Samantha Taylor of Plainfield with her daughter, Sophia, 11, at the Center for Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation. Taylor credits the center with helping to save her life. Credits: Submitted photos
Physicians and staff members celebrate the opening of the Center of Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation at JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute. Credits: Submitted photos

EDISON, NJ The new JFK Johnson Center for Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation opened this week to speed the recovery and extend the lives of people with heart and lung disease.

The newly expanded and renovated center provides highly specialized, closely monitored exercise programs as well as nutritional counseling, stress management and behavioral modification.

For post-cardiac stent patients, for instance, studies have shown the chance of dying decreases 45 percent among those who complete a cardiac rehabilitation program.

Sign Up for E-News

“We know our patients see amazing benefits, from a reduction in mortality to a reduction in symptoms such as angina. Many quit smoking, improve their exercise tolerance and reduce their blood lipid levels,” said Sara Cuccurullo, MD, Medical Director of JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute and Chair of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

“We also see an improvement in our patients’ overall well being and stress levels,” she told the physicians, patients, nurses and therapists gathered for the opening of the new center, which is located at JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute, at 65 James Street in Edison.

The newly renovated center includes state-of-the-art exercise equipment, such as recumbent bicycles, and upgrades that allow patients to easily remain on oxygen while they exercise.

“Every day one of my patients comes to me and tells me how great the rehabilitation program is,“ said Dr. Aaron Feingold, Chief of Cardiology at JFK Health. “Our patients are recovering faster and living longer and feeling better. It really does save lives and is part of our cardiac continuum of care here at JFK Health.”

Staff members include exercise physiologists, registered dieticians, rehabilitation psychologists, registered nurses and other experts who monitor and guide each patient, including some who may have thought they were too ill to exercise at all. Some patients come to the center in wheelchairs and need to use oxygen. Many improve substantially and no longer need their wheelchairs as they gain strength and balance and confidence during the 36-session program, which is covered by Medicare and most insurance plans.

Raymond Fredericks, President & CEO, JFK Health, mentioned his father went through the program and expressed to him how deeply the staff members care for their patients.

“This is a beautiful new space,“ he told staff members at the gathering. “Every time I walk in here and talk to a patient they tell me how grateful they are. You are truly extending the lives and improving the quality of life for your patients.”

Some patients who have a cardiac procedure, such as stenting or angioplasty, may think the intervention alone will end their problems. But most people also need to improve their overall health to reduce the risk of a recurrence, explained Christa Reineke, Director of Rehabilitation Services at JFK Johnson.

“You may think if you had a heart blockage a stent will fix everything. But all the things that caused the blockage in the first place may still be there if you don’t make changes,” she explained. “What we do here is very specialized to help patients in their recovery. We’re not just talking about putting someone on a treadmill.”

The center helps people with a range of cardiac issues, such as heart attack, coronary artery disease, a bypass graft, heart valve replacement, heart transplant, stable angina and congestive heart failure. The pulmonary program helps patients with problems such as COPD, bronchiectasis, sarcoidosis, pulmonary hypertension, pulmonary fibrosis, interstitial lung disease, lung cancer, lung volume reduction and pre- and post- lung transplant.

Saleem Husain, MD, a cardiologist, said what happens after a patient leaves the hospital is key. “The rehabilitation center helps people take care of themselves, and teaches them about their disease and how they can make themselves feel better. It’s important that a few weeks after a procedure our patients are being closely watched,” Dr. Husain said.

One patient, Samantha Taylor, of Plainfield, gave an emotional description of how JFK Health and the rehabilitation center “saved my life.” The three-time cancer survivor suffered double pneumonia and fluid around her heart and was so sick she wrote a good-bye letter to her nine-year-old daughter while in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.

“I thought that was it for me,” she said. Today, vibrant and energetic, Taylor said the rehabilitation that followed her three-week hospital stay has renewed her physically and emotionally.

“The days were very, very hard. But being here with all of you made me want to keep going,” she said at the opening. “The new space is beautiful and all of you made it so easy for me to get better. It was so effortless!

As her 11-year-old daughter, Sophia, with tears in her eyes, sat in the front row, Taylor continued: “You took such good care of me. I love you all from the bottom of my heart and thank you for giving me more time with my family.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

South Plainfield

The Athlete of the Week Luke Niemeyer Wrestling

The South Plainfield Wrestling Team sent six wrestlers to compete in the New Jersey Individual State Wrestling Championships, March 2nd-4th.  Thirty-two wrestlers throughout the state qualified for each weight class.  South Plainfield placed two out of the six qualifiers in the State of New Jersey.  Junior 195 pounder Luke Niemeyer became a state place winner for the first time in ...

The Athlete of the Week Joe Heilmann Wrestling

The South Plainfield Wrestling Team finished its terrific season this past weekend at the New Jersey Individual State Wrestling Championships.  The top four wrestlers from the Region Tournament in Union had the opportunity to wrestle in Atlantic City for an individual state title.  The Tigers placed two out of their six qualifiers in the State of New Jersey, Senior 126 pounder Joe ...

Pre-Ticket Sale for Holy Savior Academy’s 4th Annual Spring Splendor Tricky Tray

Holy Savior Academy is hosting its Spring Splendor Tricky Tray Saturday, April 21, 2018 at the school.  Doors open at 6:00 p.m.

Tickets are limited and will be sold at Holy Savior Academy, 149 South Plainfield Avenue, South Plainfield on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. (cash or checks)

BYOB and food- Admission $ 25 per ...


Donald G. O’Brien Sr., 83, long time resident of South Plainfield, NJ, passed away ...
Read more

Letters to the Editor

Letter from the Chapman Family

March 14, 2018

Dear Editor -


“Hey Dad, today in school the police officer played volleyball with us, it was fun.”


“My son came home from school today and told me that the police officer played football with them at recess”.


“I heard that one of the police officers sat down and ate lunch in the cafeteria with the children today. They loved ...

Community Happenings

A Tribute to our Veterans - An Evening with Jim Barone

March 15, 2018

The South Plainfield Elks Motorcycle Committee in conjunction with the Veteran's Committee is hosting an evening with Jim Barone, who is an Elvis impersonator, on April 28th, 2018. Doors open at 7:00pm and the Show starts at 8:00pm.   Tickets are $30.00 which includes the show and finger foods.  Tickets are limited please contact Brian Csobar 908-756-9425 or SP Elks ...

Grandparents Day at Riley School

March 18, 2018

Pictures of Grandparents Day at Riley School submitted by Debbie Boyle

Pre-Ticket Sale for Holy Savior Academy’s 4th Annual Spring Splendor Tricky Tray

March 17, 2018

Holy Savior Academy is hosting its Spring Splendor Tricky Tray Saturday, April 21, 2018 at the school.  Doors open at 6:00 p.m.

Tickets are limited and will be sold at Holy Savior Academy, 149 South Plainfield Avenue, South Plainfield on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. (cash or checks)

BYOB and food- Admission $ 25 per ...

Eggert Volleyball Fundraiser a huge success.

March 12, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - On Sunday March 11th South Plainfield current and former residents came out in force to support the Eggert Family and stand up against cancer.  The Volleyball fundraiser was a great success and would not have happened without all of the great support from the community.  Once again South Plainfield showed that we are a tight knit community who looks out for each ...

Upcoming Events


Sun, March 25, 1:00 PM

South Plainfield

Annual Easter Egg Hunt

Thu, March 29, 7:30 PM

Wesley United Methodist Church, South Plainfield

Holy Thursday Communion Service at Wesley United ...

Religions And Spirituality

Fri, March 30, 3:00 PM

Wesley United Methodist Church, South Plainfield

Good Friday Prayer Vigil at Wesley United ...

Religions And Spirituality

Sat, March 31, 10:00 AM

609 Lane Avenue , South Plainfield

Spanakopita Delicacy Sale

Food & Drink

Thu, April 5, 10:00 AM

609 Lane Avenue , South Plainfield

Spanakopita Delicacy Sale

Food & Drink

Sat, April 7, 9:00 AM

Wesley United Methodist Church, South Plainfield

Rummage Sale at Wesley United Methodist Church

Arts & Entertainment Other Religions And Spirituality


Diegnan Bill To Secure At-Risk Nonprofits Becomes Law

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ -Legislation sponsored by Senator Patrick J. Diegnan to provide state grants to increase security at New Jersey’s nonprofit organizations deemed high-risk targets of threats, attacks, and other violent acts was recently signed into law.

“We know that individuals, with great animus, are looking to endanger our friends and neighbors for who they are, what they ...

Saturday Debris Cleanup Operations

The Department of Public Works will have three separate crews performing tree and branch removal tomorrow March 17th.  All branches and twigs should be brought to the curb. Cleanup efforts will not be completed tomorrow. This will be an on-going effort to remove all debris from the Borough. Additionally, the yard waste site will be operating on summer hours which are 8:00am – ...

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Random House, 1965)


In Cold Blood is, quite simply, the grand-daddy of true crime writing, dubbed by Capote, himself, as the first non-fiction novel (although Norman Mailer argued the point when he published The Executioner's Song in 1979.) The conditions under which I read In Cold Blood for the first time were pretty weird, which was another ...


Not too long ago, your semi-humble correspondent stopped by the South Plainfield History Center and researched some old newspapers from about 35 years ago.  Back then, due to limitations in funds, staff and space, the list of activities at South Plainfield Library ran for about two short paragraphs.  Well, those problems have been dealt with since then.  Settle in for a much longer ...

2018 Keystone Community St Patrick's Lunch

The South Plainfield Knights of Columbus Council 6203 held their annual Keystone Special Citizens Community Lunch at the Holy Savior Academy on March 10th. Every Month Father John Alvarado from Sacred Heart Church holds a special Mass for the Mentally Challenged residents from the Keystone Community as well as other residents from Middlesex County.  This month’s theme was St ...

If You Want to Experience the Awkwardness of Race Relations, Look No Further Than Sunday Morning

In a country that is more racially divided than ever, our churches reflect the divide on Sunday morning. In America, we miss the mark on integrating the faces and lives of many races and ethnicities into our Christian communities.

LifeWay conducted a survey of 994 churchgoers who attend religious services more frequently than just holidays. They also surveyed 1,000 Protestant senior pastors of ...

Press Releases

Mayor Anesh Announces Reelection: “I’ll work hard to keep our hometown going in the right direction”

March 21, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Saying he is anxious to continue working for the people of his hometown, Mayor Matt Anesh announced this week that he will be seeking reelection in November. 

“We’re making progress on so many fronts, and I want to keep that going,” said Anesh when asked why he’s seeking reelection.

Former Councilman and Borough CFO Charles Haus said ...