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Go the distance for all youth in the HiTOPS Princeton Half Marathon on November 13. In-person, virtual and youth run options means that there is a race for everyone. The 13.1-mile course starts and finishes at Paul Robeson Place. The Victory Village will be stationed at Princeton YMCA and all racers will receive a commemorative medal, shirt, and bib. Participants cannot exceed a 14-minute mile and the field of racers is limited to 1,800.  more

Join Beast Coast Productions on September 18 for the first annual Mercer County Half Marathon. This is a USATF 13.1-mile course that traverses farmland and quiet roads throughout the community of Robbinsville. Slightly rolling hills and a few turns will encourage fast race times and an enjoyable course. The race chip will be timed, and acclaimed Beast Pacers will be on-site to assist with timing all finishers.  more

Every Wednesday in August from 8 to 9 a.m., Bowman Hill Wildflower Preserve in New Hope, Pa. will host relaxing and restorative outdoor yoga sessions led by Priscilla Hayes. Hayes is a Preserve volunteer naturalist as well as a certified yoga teacher in the art of gentle yoga, which aims to build body awareness, flexibility, and strength. Holding the class outdoors adds another element for participants, enabling them to better disconnect from technology and reconnect to the sounds and rhythms of the summer season.  more

Meet “Coach,” Princeton University’s Therapy Dog, and Her Devoted Handler

By Taylor Smith | Photo by Puppies Behind Bars 

Sgt. Alvan Flanders has worked in the Department of Public Safety (DPS) at Princeton University for over 25 years, which spans his entire law enforcement career. “I love it here. I love the town, I love Princeton,” he said.

Typically, the role of the DPS is to police the campus, aiding in general security and supporting the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff alike. At times, the DPS has developed mixed reviews and reactions from college students who see them as strictly law enforcers, but the introduction of a therapy dog named Coach has changed all of that.

A black female Labrador retriever with a shiny coat and sparkling eyes, Coach was “matched” with Flanders through a rigorous program he attended at Puppies Behind Bars (puppiesbehindbars.com). Flanders learned of Puppies Behind Bars through a contact at Yale University, which also incorporated a therapy dog into their on-campus DPS services.

Puppies Behind Bars (PBB), based in New York City, was founded in 1997 at the Bedford Hills Women’s Prison to raise and train service dogs for aid in law enforcement. The program gradually expanded into training dogs for other lines of service such as veterans suffering from PTSD, first responders, therapy dogs for police departments, and an explosive-detection canine program. The first service dog paired with an Iraq War veteran took place in February 2008. more

With locations in Red Bank, Summit, Montclair, and Hoboken in New Jersey, Woodhouse Day Spa is a great way to treat yourself to some end-of-summer pampering. 

In addition to year-round bridal packages, Woodhouse offers facials, massages, body treatments, nails, sculpting, and more. Their “ritual” treatments incorporate mood-enhancing aromatherapy oils as part of exfoliation, dry brushing, and deep tissue massage. The Happy Mama package includes a mother-to-be-massage and holistic rejuvenation pedicure.  more

Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) has appointed Anastasia Rivkin, Pharma.D., Ed.D., as the dean of the School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, effective July 1. Rivkin has been serving as the interim dean.

“Anastasia’s leadership and expertise provide tremendous strength for the future of FDU’s heath initiatives in pharmacy and beyond,” said Michael J. Avaltroni, university provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.  more

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) has opened a new hospital, the Middleman Family Pavilion, in King of Prussia, Pa. Located at 550 South Goddard Boulevard, it is CHOP’s second location in King of Prussia. more

Raritan Valley Road Runners Race Series returns on Tuesdays — June 28, July 12, and July 26. The races all begin at 6:30 p.m., making for a fun evening spent outdoors. The races traverse mostly grass and dirt terrain with long stretches along the scenic Raritan River. There will also be a Youth Series each evening beginning at 5:30 p.m. Registration for the Youth Series opens at 5 p.m.  more

Celebrate Princeton’s LGBTQIA+ community on Friday, June 3 from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at the Princeton Shopping Center. The special event will include music, games, activities, giveaways, and more. Rain date is June 5.

Families of all ages are welcome to participate. There will be a bubble show by OMG Bubbles, hula hooping with Color Me Hoopy, yoga, a community mural, and live tunes from DJ Mona of Mon Amie Events NYC. more

Daily movement and exercise are central components of a healthy and active lifestyle. A strong heart and cardiovascular system have been shown to prevent a range of physical and mental degenerative diseases. With that being said, it is important that daily activity is balanced with stretching, hydration, and adequate rest. 

Did you know that a sprain is an injury to the joints of your body caused by the over-stretching or tearing of ligaments? The good news is the physicians at Princeton Primary & Urgent Care Center (PPUCC) can spot a sprain almost immediately and will be able to recommend a recovery plan that includes elevation of the injury and regular icing.  more

Join the 17th annual ETS Firecracker 5K, which will be held June 1-15. Participants are welcome to walk, run, or ride at their own pace throughout the two-week period. Proceeds from this event will support YWCA Princeton’s mission of eliminating racism and empowering women through programs and resources that address inequity by creating opportunities for personal and professional development, wellness, and connecting with others.  more

Image Source: https://thewatershed.org

On Saturday, June 18 at 5 p.m., get ready to race in the Watershed Solstice Trail Run in Pennington!

Back and bigger than ever, the trail run offers both a 5K (3.1 miles) and 10K (6.2 miles) distance. Participants can run or walk virtually or in person. The in-person competitors will have the chance to enjoy the signs of early summer at the Watershed Reserve.  more

Mercer Center for Implants and Periodontics at Princeton

Interview by Laurie Pellichero

Where is your practice located, and what is your specialty?

Mercer Center for Implants and Periodontics at Princeton is in a unique, environmentally friendly building at 601 Ewing Street, Suite B-15. I am the only board-certified periodontist and implant surgeon practicing in Princeton in a specialty practice setting. I have more than 30 years of clinical experience and have served as a Diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology and Implant Surgery since 2006, and recently I was successfully recertified by the American Board of Periodontology. We are proud to be part of the Princeton community. We serve patients from the greater Central New Jersey area, as well as Philadelphia and New York City. We also have patients flying in from Texas and the United Kingdom for treatment.

What is your professional background?

I come from a dentistry family; my father and brother are orthodontists. Along with a DMD, I earned a Doctor of Science in Oral Biology and taught at Boston University and the University of Pennsylvania. I have always been very committed to education, as a scientist on bone, connective tissue, and cancer cells; an author of scientific articles and book chapters; a teacher for 11 years to many successful dentists and periodontists for periodontal and implant surgical treatment; and as a clinician for 30 years who has performed more than 10,000 procedures and served more than 5,000 patients. My unique scientific background and extensive clinical experience direct my treatment approach for the best possible care and outcomes for our patients, using less invasive techniques with lifelong and comfortable results. more

The Annual Big Red Race at The Lawrenceville School’s campus will take place on Sunday, May 1. The 5K (3.1 mile) race is mostly a flat, twisting course in and around the campus of The Lawrenceville School, located at 2500 Main Street in Lawrenceville. All proceeds from the race will go directly to support Lawrence Township children who have been selected to attend the School Camp, a summer camp serving underprivileged youth for over 100 years. Pre-register for the race here: https://www.raceforum.com/bigred more

Image Source: Historical Society of Princeton

March 26 at 10 a.m.

Join author Clifford Zink for a walking tour outside Princeton University’s eating clubs. Learn about the architecture, origins, and development of the 16 Classical and Gothic-style clubhouses, which date from 1895 to 1928.  more

It’s the summer conundrum that every parent faces — what camp do I sign my child up for this summer? While there are seemingly unlimited options for every interest in greater central New Jersey, one all-inclusive program that might appeal to your child is Rutgers Preparatory School Summer Programs. From in-classroom science classes to lacrosse coaching, Rutgers Prep has a variety of camp programs for different age levels.  more

An estimated 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease, according to the American Thyroid Association, ranging from function issues such as underactive or overactive conditions to cancer. These conditions, once diagnosed, can usually be successfully treated with either monitoring; medication; or surgically, usually through a minimally invasive procedure that may or may not require an overnight stay.  more

An Appreciation

By Donald Gilpin | Photography by Weronika Plohn

“America’s nurses are the beating heart of our medical system.”

—Barack Obama

In a job that’s never been easy, nurses found themselves in March 2020 at the epicenter of a deadly pandemic, on the front lines in battling a mysterious new virus, COVID-19.

For nurses, altruism and hard work are a way of life, every single day. Princeton Magazine asked several area nurses in different fields in a variety of settings and facilities around the area to share thoughts about themselves and how they have stayed positive in facing the challenges of their profession, especially during the pandemic.

Caring, helping, teamwork, persevering, and touching people’s lives were themes that recurred over and over.

Ashley Ferrante, RN
The Pediatric Group

Ashley Ferrante has worked as a registered nurse at The Pediatric Group for 12 years. She is currently back in school to further her education and she plans to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in 2023.

“I adore working with kids,” says Ferrante. “It is rewarding to provide them with medical care and watch them grow from birth to adolescence.

“Juggling family, school, work, and dealing with the anxiety of COVID can be highly stressful. I stay positive by spending my free time with family and friends. Devoting time to my garden and hiking in the woods with my fiancé and six rescue dogs are some of my favorite ways to relieve stress.”

 more

Where Words Fail, Music Speaks

By Anne Levin

In a video that debuted last November, 55 people join together on Zoom to sing the song Louis Armstrong made famous, “What a Wonderful World.” Most of them suffer from aphasia, a language disorder that often develops after a stroke or brain injury. As an introduction to the song, several of the participants talk — some more haltingly than others — about the frustrations of their condition. “Aphasia is difficulty speaking,” says one. “Makes me slow,” says another. “Aphasia is lonely.” “Aphasia is complicated.” “Aphasia is not being able to talk to my children.” And so on.

But once they begin to sing, all of the hesitancy disappears. Words so difficult to speak appear to flow effortlessly when set to music. The singers are members of the International Aphasia Choir, drawn from different aphasia choirs on five continents. They are visual and aural proof of the Hans Christian Andersen quote: “Where words fail, music speaks.”

Prominent among these choirs is the Bridgewater-based Sing Aphasia, founded by Westminster Choir College graduate Gillian Velmer during her doctoral studies in speech language pathology at Kean University. As part of her doctoral program, Velmer built a website, singaphasia.com, for aphasia choir resources. During the pandemic last year, she was approached by Trent Barrick, a music therapist in Florida. He had discovered the site, and wondered if she’d be interested in helping him put together an international aphasia choir video.

Gillian Velmer

“I said yes right away. I loved the idea,” says Velmer, 34, who has a day job as a speech language pathologist in the South Plainfield Public Schools. “Aphasia can be so isolating. If you are all of a sudden not able to communicate the way you used to, it’s just devastating. And it doesn’t affect just one person. It really affects the whole family and friends and community of the person as well.”
A native of Bridgewater, Velmer has always loved to sing. At Westminster, “choir was a huge and very fulfilling part of my life,” she says. “My time there inspired me to look into the field of speech language pathology. My senior year, I had classes on anatomy and physiology of the voice, which I found so interesting.”

As a prerequisite for her master’s degree, Velmer took a course on aphasia. “That was the first time I had heard of it, or even heard the word,” she says. “But that’s not really unusual. Statistics say that less than 15 percent of Americans know about aphasia, yet nearly two million in this country are living with it. I was so fascinated by that. Somehow, doing the research and having my musical background, I thought, ‘What about music for aphasia?’ ”

Velmer made aphasia choirs around the world the topic of her master’s thesis. After earning her degree and working in public education for a few years, she returned to Kean to pursue a doctorate. “I knew I wanted to continue my research,” she says.

She began looking into the question of whether singing can help with word-finding. “Over a five-week period, we did find an improvement,” she says. “There is definitely more research needed in this area, and that’s what Sing Aphasia hopes for in the future.” more

Image Source: www.pennmedicine.org

At the end of October 2021, Penn Medicine opened the doors to its 1.5-million-square-foot future-ready pavilion. The 17-story building on Penn Medicine’s West Philadelphia campus houses 504 private patient rooms and 47 operating rooms. The pavilion will play host to the latest inpatient care for cardiology, cardiac surgery, medical and surgical oncology, neurology and neurosurgery, and transplant surgery. It will also be the site for Penn Medicine’s new emergency department.  more