News & Stories


The Catalyst Newsletter – December 2012

Happy Holidays from The Cooper Foundation President and CEO Susan Bass Levin

With the holiday season upon us, we have a lot to celebrate here at The Cooper Foundation.

With your help, in just the past few months alone, we:

• Raised $475,000 for breast and gyn cancer programs at our 3rd Annual Pink Roses Teal Magnolias Brunch and Shop for a Cause at the Shops at Lee Newman.

• Received more than $90,000 to support lung cancer research at the Jim Fifis Lung Cancer event at Ponzio’s.

• Named the Women’s Care Center at Cooper in honor of Dr. Ronald Jaffe, whose family gave a generous $250,000 gift to support Ob/Gyn care at Cooper. The Center is now named the The Jaffe Family Women’s Care Center at Cooper.

These gifts touch the lives of thousands of South Jersey residents and help Cooper maintain its commitment to providing the very best in patient care.

We cannot thank you enough.

Save the Date!

Looking forward to 2013, join us at the Red Hot Heart Gala on April 13, at Vie on Broad Street – Philadelphia’s hottest new party destination. All proceeds from the Gala will support The Heart Institute at Cooper.

Season of Giving!

During the holiday season, Cooper employees show their holiday spirit in so many ways. We help local families celebrate the holidays through the Volunteers of America Adopt-a-Family program. We run a food drive at the hospital for the Food Bank of South Jersey and collect children’s jackets, gloves and scarves to keep local children warm. We  distribute turkeys, groceries and books to families in our neighborhood and decorate a tree at the Children’s Regional Hospital at Cooper with socks and mittens for our youngest patients.

If you would like to help, email

Happy New Year!

As 2012 comes to a close, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to The Cooper Foundation. A gift in honor of a loved one, a special physician or nurse in recognition of the top-notch care you receive at Cooper is a great way to celebrate the holiday season. Click here to make a donation.

Happy Holidays,

Susan Bass Levin and Edward D. Viner, MD

KIPP Cooper Norcross Renaissance School is approved by the Camden School Board

The KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy at Lanning Square proposal to build New Jersey’s first “renaissance school” was approved by the Camden Board of Education on Tuesday, November 27.  The new school is a partnership between The Cooper Foundation and the non-profit TEAM Schools of New Jersey, with support of the Norcross family.

The KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy at Lanning Square will deliver a world-class education for children in Camden and provide the students previously served by the original Lanning Square Elementary School with a high quality school in their own neighborhood. The school will begin with a first class of kindergarten students in 2014 and eventually grow to serve 2,800 Camden students in grades pre-K through 12.  The state-of-the-art facility will be constructed on Broadway adjacent to the Cooper Medical School of Rowan University and provide guaranteed enrollment for the children living in the Lanning Square and Cooper Plaza neighborhoods. The KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy will offer a rigorous college preparatory curriculum beginning in the earliest grades, with the goal of at least doubling the number of Camden students who attain a four-year college degree by 2030.

The Non-Profit TEAM Schools of New Jersey, part of the national network of KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) schools, has been providing a college-prep education to Newark students for a decade.  KIPP’s experience and expertise in growing and operating highly effective schools for historically underserved students will provide a high quality education for students in Camden and enable Camden parents to achieve the aspirations they have for their children. For additional information on the KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy at Lanning Square, please contact Susan Bass Levin at


The Cooper Foundation Receives $250,000 Gift in Support of Ob/Gyn Care at Cooper University Hospital

George E. Norcross, III, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of The Cooper Health System and Ronald M. Jaffe, MD.

The Cooper Foundation received a $250,000 gift from the family of longtime Cooper physician Ronald M. Jaffe, MD. In recognition of the gift, the Women’s Care Center in Camden has been named in honor of Dr. Jaffe. The Women’s Care Center provides high quality medical care to underserved women in South Jersey.

The new name of the Center is The Jaffe Family Women’s Care Center at Cooper. The gift will support obstetric and gynecologic care and comes as part of the ongoing $50 million Cooper Campaign for the continued growth of Cooper University Health Care.

“This donation from the Jaffe family will have a lasting impact in South Jersey by helping to improve access to quality healthcare, close to home,” said George E. Norcross, III, Chairman of The Cooper Health System Board of Trustees. “By investing in Cooper, the Jaffe family is investing in the health of the community and the region.”

Dr. Jaffe has served as a senior attending physician at Cooper since 1986 and is the former Chairman and Chief of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He is currently the medical director of the Women’s Care Center, located on the Cooper Health Sciences Campus in Camden, and Chair Emeritus of the Department of Ob/Gyn at Cooper.

Dr. Jaffe and his wife, Charlotte, live in Medford, N.J. They are the parents of four sons and the grandparents of 11 grandchildren. Their youngest son, Andrew, was born at Cooper, as were nine of their grandchildren. Currently, their son Scott is a primary care physician, Peter is a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician and Andrew is a dermatologist. Stephen is an attorney and real estate developer.

“The Jaffe family has long been part of the Cooper family, and we are thankful for what is truly a lifelong commitment to the hospital,” said Susan Bass Levin, President and CEO of The Cooper Foundation. “Dr. Ronald Jaffe has dedicated his career to caring for women here in South Jersey, and through this gift, his legacy continues.”

Dr. Jaffe’s children surprised him with the gift to Cooper.

“This is a tremendous honor,” said Jaffe. “I am pleased that this money will go towards a cause I care deeply about – ensuring all women have access to high quality obstetric and gynecologic care.”

Andrew Jaffe said “Cooper has given so much to our family that giving back to the hospital just seems like the right thing to do. My dad spent his entire life providing care for women who needed it most, and we wanted to recognize his contributions with this gift.”

Read about the Jaffe Family Women’s Care Center in the Burlington County Times.


Pink and Teal Hero Awards Presented to Three Cooper Champions 

View photos from the event here.

Check out the new video from CCI!

Dr. James Aikins Jr., Dr. Robert Somer and Lead Nurse Navigator Ann Steffney received the Pink and Teal Hero Award at The Cooper Foundation’s third annual Pink Roses Teal Magnolias Brunch on October 28, 2012.

The Brunch raised more than $475,000 for breast and gynecological cancer research and clinical programs at Cooper Cancer Institute.

“There are more than 2.9 million breast and gynecological cancer survivors alive in the United States today thanks in large part to earlier detection and improved medical treatment,” said Levin. “Support for the Cooper Cancer Institute enables patients to find the best cancer care, close to home so they can live longer and healthier lives.”

Aikins, Somer and Steffney received the Pink and Teal Hero Award for their outstanding contributions to cancer care and the Cooper Cancer Institute.

The brunch was co-chaired by Joan S. Davis, Vice Chairman of The Board of Trustees of the Cooper Health System, Donna Forman of Cherry Hill, Dara Marcozzi of Haddon Heights, Janet Knowles of Moorestown and Sandee Vogelson of Cherry Hill– all cancer survivors.

More than 800 women – and more than a few good men – attended the Brunch, which was held at the Crowne Plaza in Cherry Hill and included a Survivors Parade, silent auction and raffles.

A special thanks to The Shops at Lee Newman Plaza for hosting a “Shop for A Cause” cocktail party to benefit Pink Roses Teal Magnolias and for donating 10 percent of purchases by our Cooper friends during the month of October to Cooper. Thank you!


Second Annual Jim Fifis Lung Cancer Research Fund Benefit Dinner Raises More Than $90,000

Pictured from L-R – Chris Fifis, John Fifis, Vi Fifis, Nick Fifis, Jason Ravitz, Shawn Ravitz, Amanda Ravitz, Ron Ravitz and Steve Ravitz.

More than 200 people gathered at Ponzio’s Diner-Bakery-Bar in Cherry Hill in October for the Jim Fifis Lung Cancer Research Fund at Cooper Benefit Dinner.

The dinner celebrated the life of Jim Fifis, the long-time owner of Ponzio’s before he died of lung cancer in 2007, and raised more than $90,000 for lung cancer research at Cooper Cancer Institute.

“Jim Fifis wanted to protect other families from this devastating disease, and by coming together to raise money for the Jim Fifis Lung Cancer Research Fund at Cooper we help honor his wish,” said Susan Bass Levin, President and CEO of The Cooper Foundation. “These dollars help ensure that the Cooper Cancer Institute remains a leader in the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer.”

Prior to his passing, Fifis asked his wife, Violetta, and three sons, Chris, Nick and John to advocate for a cure for lung cancer and to work to raise awareness about the dangers of smoking.

“My dad was always a community-minded person and remained so even in his final days,” said Nick Fifis. “He showed us how important it is to help other people. By raising money for lung cancer research at Cooper we are carrying on his legacy.”

Now in its second year, the Jim Fifis Lung Cancer Research Fund at Cooper builds support to help ensure that patients have access to the best possible lung cancer care in South Jersey.

“I am thankful that The Cooper Foundation and the Fifis family have partnered to support lung cancer research at Cooper Cancer Institute,” said Frank W. Bowen, MD, thoracic surgeon and Director of the Lung Cancer Center at Cooper Cancer Institute. “Research is a critical component in advancing lung cancer care and in providing newer and better treatment options to our patients.”

Cooper Urgent Care Center in Cherry Hill Opens! 

At Cooper, we realize that people are busy and it can be difficult to fit healthcare appointments into their lives. That is why we are proud to provide patient-centered care in a more efficient and convenient manner for the community it serves.

The Cooper Urgent Care Center in Cherry Hill is staffed with emergency medicine physicians and provides medical care on a walk-in basis 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
No appointment is necessary!

Additional benefits include:

• Lower co-pay than emergency room visit for those on the Cooper Medical Plan.
• Staffed with board-certified emergency medicine physicians, unlike many urgent care centers.
• X-ray services at the same location.
• Easy, suburban-style access including free parking on the premises.

The following are examples of what we treat:

• Breaks and sprains
• Colds/Flu
• Ear aches and infections
• Minor cuts, scrapes and burns
• Stitches and removal of stitches
• Strep throat

Stop by! The Cooper Urgent Care Center is located at:
2001 Route 70 East
(at Old Orchard Road)
Cherry Hill, NJ 08003

Cooper Stars

Meet Robert A. Somer, MD, Director of the Clinical Trials Research Program in the Division of Hematology/Medical Oncology at the Cooper Cancer Institute (CCI); Donna Forman, breast cancer survivor, and a member of The Cooper Foundation Board of Trustees; and Mary Ann Todd, breast cancer survivor.

Robert A. Somer, M.D.

Growing up, Dr. Somer worked at his parent’s candy store in the Bronx selling newspapers and serving

Robert A. Somer, MD

old-fashioned egg creams to neighborhood customers.

It was there that he first developed his love for people – a love that he brings to treating his patients at Cooper each and every day.

“I enjoy the face-to-face interactions with my patients,” said Dr. Somer. “The heroism I witness from patients and their families is inspiring.”

However, Dr. Somer came by oncology somewhat unexpectedly. During his third year of residency he had fellowship applications in for GI thinking he would become a GI specialist because he liked to use his hands to fix things.

After a rotation in outpatient oncology though, his mind was changed forever.

“I was just struck by the empathy and care the physicians showed, and with the doctor and patient relationships that developed over time,” said Dr. Somer. “Today, I can’t imagine doing anything else.”

In addition to serving as Associate Director of the Janet Knowles Breast Cancer Program at Cooper Cancer Institute, Dr. Somer is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the Cooper Medical School of Rowan University.

He is also the Director of the Clinical Trials Research Program in the Division of Hematology/Medical Oncology at Cooper University Hospital and the Co-Director of the Cooper Prostate Care Center at Cooper Cancer Institute.

A 2012 Pink Roses, Teal Magnolias honoree, Dr. Somer lives in Medford with his wife Athena and three children.

Donna Forman 

Cooper Foundation Trustee Donna Forman will never forget the day she met Ann Steffney, RN, Breast Cancer Nurse

Donna Forman

Navigator at the Cooper Cancer Institute and a 2012 Pink Roses Teal Magnolias honoree.

A mother of three girls, Forman had just learned she needed to have chemotherapy and that as a side effect, she would likely lose her hair.

“Ann picked up on how upset I was and how I did not want my daughters to see me without hair,” said Forman. ‘Within an hour or two, she connected me with another patient who had a great wig and gave me the name of the place where she got it.”

“I will always be appreciative of Ann for helping me with that,” continued Forman.

Forman also credits the behavioral health services at Cooper Cancer Institute for helping her cope with the anxiety that accompanied her cancer diagnosis.

To show her appreciation, Forman served as Co-Chair of the Pink Roses Teal Magnolias Steering Committee and Co-Chair of the Shop for a Cause event. It also is her way of taking control of a disease that leaves many women feeling out of control.

“My hope is that I can help, support and inspire other people,” said Forman. “Giving back has always been a huge part of who I am and I am honored to be a part of this event.”


Mary Ann Todd

Diagnosed with breast cancer seven years ago, Mary Ann Todd has made it her mission not to let the

Mary Ann Todd

disease get the best of her.

“I refuse to let cancer ruin even one good day of my life,” said Todd, the President of JRH Electronics in Marlton and Co-Chair of the Shop for a Cause event and a member of the Pink Roses Teal Magnolias Host Committee.

Todd began volunteering for Pink Roses Teal Magnolias in support of the medical team at Cooper Cancer Institute, especially director Dr. Generosa Grana.

“If not for the quick action of the Cooper doctors, I would not be here today,” said Todd, whose cancer had already spread to her liver when she was diagnosed. “Dr. Grana had a plan mapped out, and now, with every reoccurrence, she is one step ahead of me.”

A clinical trial helped Todd keep cancer at bay, and more recently she underwent Gamma Knife surgery at Cooper to remove a tumor in her brain.

Yet despite battling cancer and running a business, Todd still made time to serve on the Pink Roses Teal Magnolias Host Committee.

“It’s overwhelming to see how many women are survivors because of the doctors at Cooper,” Todd said. “If one woman doesn’t get breast or ovarian cancer because of the brunch, how great would that be?”

The Perfect Holiday Gift for Everyone on your List!

Join the fight against cancer with a pair of cute and cozy Cooper pajamas –$20 each. All proceeds benefit the Cooper Cancer Institute. Perfect for a cold winter night!

Available in sizes M, L, XL.

Contact Colleen Smith at 856-361-1729 or


Cooper Foundation Research Grant Announcement

The Cooper Foundation is excited to announce new funding opportunities for Cooper University Hospital researchers. Last year’s awardees, Drs. Brigitte Baumann and Joanne Mazzarelli, are well underway with their research programs in the areas of treatment of emergency department patients with elevated blood pressure and the use of aortic pulse wave velocity to predict cardiovascular outcomes, respectively.

Funding is available in four categories:

1) Early Stage Cooper Investigator
2) Infectious Disease Research
3) Simulation Research
4) Unrestricted Research

Consider making a donation to support a research opportunity at Cooper. Please contact Susan Bass Levin at

In the News…

Featured in American City – Delivering Camden from the Brink

At the forefront of Camden’s eds-and-meds resurgence has been Cooper University Hospital. In the last three to five years, the hospital has increased its efforts to lead revitalization efforts, investing nearly $700 million in the expansion of a health sciences campus. Read more about Cooper University Hospital serving as a catalyst in the revitalization of Camden.

Super Women

The October issue of South Jersey Magazine recognized 37 women in the South Jersey region that are making a difference in their community and changing the lives of others in the process. Congratulations to two Cooper employees who made it onto this year’s list of “superwomen”: Jocelyn A. Mitchell-Williams, MD, Obstetrics & Gynecology Specialist and Associate Dean for Multicultural and Community Affairs at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University; and Kasey Massa, licensed social worker for the Children’s Regional Hospital at Cooper. Click here to read the complete article.

Cooper Foundation Trustee Steve Cordasco, Principal of Cordasco Financial Network writes a weekly column for Jim Cramer’s The Steve also hosts Newsmax TV business segments.

Congratulations to Michael Goodman, MD who was honored by The March of Dimes for his outstanding contributions to the wellness of children in our region. Please click on the tribute video to learn more about Dr. Goodman and his dedication to helping Cooper’s “littlest patients.”

Congratulations to Anthony Mazzarelli, MD who has been named to the YMCA of Burlington and Camden Counties Board of Governors.

Cooper University Health Care is the first in the region to offer an innovative imaging system to detect breast cancer. Read more

Cooper Orthopaedic Oncology Center is the first of its kind in South Jersey. Read More