Words From Our Team

Excited To Join The CRCNJ Team | Roger Kurlan, M.D.| Neurologist

I am very excited to join my friend Dr. Papka at the CRCNJ. We had worked together in the past when Dr. Papka did her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Rochester Medical Center and I was a member of the Department of Neurology facultyDr. Roger Kulan there. She has built a superb clinical and research program at the CRCNJ and I hope to add some important resources. I will be the first physician (neurologist) employed by CRCNJ and I will work closely with CRCNJ’s collaborating geriatric psychiatrist, Dr. Matthew Barnas, and his staff. Now with 3 neuropsychologists, a specialty neurologist, and a geriatric psychiatrist, CRCNJ has the multidisciplinary resources to serve as a one-stop medical home for patients with cognitive, neurological and behavioral disorders, with a special focus on older individuals with dementia. My specialty includes cognitive and behavioral neurological conditions like dementia and also extends to neurological movement disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, tremor, restless legs syndrome and Tourette’s syndrome. I have developed an international reputation for excellence in the evaluation, care and research of neurological cognitive, behavioral and movement disorders and will bring my expertise and experience to deepen and expand the great resources already present at CRCNJ. Together we can provide expert multidisciplinary patient assessments, care, support and education and provide opportunities for patients to participate in cutting-edge research seeking new and more effective therapies. I don’t think there is a comparable facility for our patient population anywhere in the area.

Our Relationship Is Important! | Daniela Schwab, MBA, Community Outreach Specialist

As the Community Outreach Specialist for the Cognitive and Research Center of New Jersey (CRCNJ), I coordinate events that enable the CRCNJ staff to provide services and educational opportunities to the community.  Through my efforts, the CRCNJ communicates with the public directly, and I am also involved in CRCNJ’s marketing and advertising.  What I enjoy most about my job is getting to know patients and their families, physicians and their staff, and all the professionals that refer to us.

I want to get to know you as much as I want you to know us and what we do.  We, at the CRCNJ, strongly believe that collaboration between us, the patient/families, and referring professionals, results in optimal patient care.  Together, we can make a difference in helping people who have dementia and in contributing towards a potential cure for Alzheimer’s Disease.  If I come to your office, or if you see me in the community, I welcome the opportunity to establish a relationship with you so that, together, we can make a difference.

If you have any questions, desire additional information, or want to schedule an appointment or event, please contact the Cognitive and Research Center of New Jersey at 973-850-4622.  Feel free to ask for me!

You or a Loved One Has Been Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease – Now What? | Jessica DeGaetano, Psy.D. Licensed Psychologist

Receiving the information that you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease can be an emotional and overwhelming experience. Patients and families have many questions, but one office visit with a neurologist or a neuropsychologist is simply not enough time to receive and process the information that is needed to make informed decisions about a loved one’s care.

Our goal at The Cognitive and Research Center of New Jersey is to provide our patients and their families with the time and space to gather information to accommodate each patient’s individual needs and ask questions in a supportive environment. To answer this need, we have created a three-part Psychoeducational Series for patients and families to meet with a neuropsychologist for three 45-minute sessions. These individually-tailored sessions focus on understanding the neurobiology of Alzheimer’s disease, community and adaptive resources available, and coping skills to successfully manage the range of emotions often experienced. We take the time to understand each patient and families’ needs and wishes and provide them with the resources to best navigate challenges they may encounter.

We encourage our patients and families to be proactive in understanding the course of Alzheimer’s disease and be active participants in planning for the future. The Psychoeducational Series empowers them to do so. For more information, or to schedule time to participate, please contact The Cognitive and Research Center of New Jersey at 973-850-4622.​

Working with Families | Rachael Felsenfeld, Psy.D, Licensed Psychologist
Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative process that results in the gradual decline of cognitive and independent functioning. These changes can cause family members to take on caregiving roles for loved ones who had previously been independent. Such role changing may lead to significant upheaval to a family’s status quo – or set way of functioning—requiring adaptation to the formation of new roles and changed relationships. Families seen at CRCNJ often need help through this challenging process.

At CRCNJ, we are committed to helping families and their loved ones embrace the upheaval that may result from the disease process. We provide needed support when families question how to provide care and recognize that people often have nowhere else to turn for such help. Our specialized approach is individualized and geared to address the needs of patients and family members.

We know that reaching out for help is not always easy. We also see firsthand how committed people are to their family members and reinforce that asking for help is truly an act of love. Participation in the services offered at CRCNJ, whether it be for therapy, neuropsychological evaluation, or clinical trial research, may have a profound impact on families and their loved ones who are impacted by Alzheimer’s disease. Please call CRCNJ if you need support in helping your loved one.

Just one small part in finding a cure to Alzheimer’s disease | Chelsea Nigro, MA, Clinical Research Coordinator
Growing up, I was always fascinated by hearing stories about my grandpa’s job.  He was a chemist at a large pharmaceutical company, and would tell our family stories about his time in the laboratory, as he and his colleagues searched for a medical breakthrough.  My favorite story was the one he told about how he and his team developed a medication to stop seizures, and how that medication was eventually approved for use by the FDA

While my grandpa’s research career and the work I am doing at the CRCNJ differ, what is similar is the endpoint goal of developing a new medication.  The many pieces that fit together in this development is interesting.  Whether the drug indication is for seizures, dementia, or any other medical condition, it is important to recognize how many parts there are to the research puzzle.  From the time a medication is being developed in the laboratory to market approval, each step requires a dedicated team to work towards a common end goal.

The CRCNJ team is just one small part in finding a cure to Alzheimer’s disease.  With the help of study volunteers we can help reach this common end goal faster.

Kavita’ s Observations about Clinical Trial Participants.

My name is Kavita Doshi and I have been with the Cognitive and Research Center of New Jersey (CRCNJ) for almost 5 years. I have spent nearly 15 years in the realm of clinical research, with most of my training in Alzheimer’s disease. In the last 15 years I have seen that more and more individuals are becoming aware of the disease; more and more are seeking help earlier, and most are willing to do something about it and participate in a clinical trial.

Patients that have enrolled in clinical trials, whether they are receiving placebo or drug, have a better outcome, and I have come to see this firsthand. When I first started with the CRCNJ, I had enrolled several patients into a trial, and those patients have continued to participate in trials. There are some patients that have remembered things about me, such as the number of kids I have or where I had gone on vacation. At each visit, whether it is a week apart or 3 months apart, the patient asks me how my kids are doing? They remember these tiny details and are able to hold onto that information for the next time we meet. We can see that taking a step to do something about Alzheimer’s disease can make lasting memories!