Hudson Regional Hospital is pleased to welcome Dr. Scott Lippe, a board-certified gastroenterologist who specializes in gastroenterology (GI), hepatology and nutrition. Dr. Lippe was voted Top Doctor three years in a row by NJ Top Docs Magazine. He is a religious Ashkenazi Jew who has written articles on the health issues peculiar to his heritage and how he plans to bring new programs for the community at Hudson Regional Hospital.
Can you tell us a little about your background and why you decided to become a gastroenterologist?
I was born and raised in New Jersey and did all my medical training in New York state. Gastroenterology is the most procedure-based field in the subspecialties of internal medicine. It seemed like a good fit.
What brought you to Hudson Regional Hospital?
I have heard about all the changes at Hudson Regional Hospital and decided to find out for myself. The hospital wants to be the healthcare partner for the local community, not a monolithic medical factory. That is very appealing and counter to the trend in medicine these days. The patient is not viewed as a revenue source or commodity, but someone with whom to partner now and for the future!
What type of GI program do you have planned for Hudson Regional Hospital?
I propose a program that allows the patients to reach out directly to Hudson Regional for their gastroenterology and liver care. This will allow the patient to receive more of their care at one place while taking advantage of the cutting-edge facilities and a wide array of medical services and providers at the facility.
With new ownership, what types of improvements have you seen at Hudson Regional Hospital?
While everyone has noticed the changes and construction and the investment in cutting-edge technology, the most important improvement is the change in approach to healthcare. The institution wants to partner with the community for now and the future. The patients are the heart of the institution, not a commodity, which is my philosophy. The hospital is large enough to provide the services the community needs without being so large that the focus on the patient is lost.
Dr. Lippe, what are some health issues that Jewish people in our community should be aware of?
Most Jews are aware of the many genetically inherited diseases that affect our community, such as Tay-Sachs. However, few are aware of the increased risk posed by colon cancer to Ashkenazi Jews.
A genetic mutation on the “colon cancer gene” is found in over 6 percent of all Ashkenazi Jews in America and increases to 28 percent of those Jews with a family history of colorectal cancer. The average non-Jewish American colon cancer rate is about 6 percent as a baseline. Given the increased incidence of inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), which also predisposes to a higher colon cancer rate, it can be confidently asserted that the average Ashkenazi Jew in America is at a higher than average risk for colorectal cancer.
If identified at an early stage, such as a pre-cancerous polyp in the bowel, colon cancer is completely preventable. A colonoscopy is a procedure performed on a sleeping patient with a thin, flexible scope attached to video equipment. Polyps can be biopsied or removed completely in a painless fashion. The patient only needs to clean out their bowels the night before with a liquid preparation.
It would seem advisable for physicians to identify patients who are of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry and approach a screening strategy that is appropriate for individuals at a higher-than-normal risk for colon cancer. This would include an initial screening colonoscopy at least by the age of 50, or 10 years before the age of onset of cancer in a close relative. This should be viewed as nothing more than routine screening, like PAP smears, prostate exams, and mammographies.
There are very few opportunities in life to so completely prevent a potentially deadly disease. Please ask your doctor about colon cancer screening and tell them you are at an increased risk because of your heritage!
How can people prevent GI issues?
With GI issues you need to follow the “don’ts”—don’t smoke, don’t drink too much, don’t eat fatty foods or red meat, don’t be overweight and don’t avoid having a colonoscopy!
Besides medicine, what other interests do you have?
I have eight children That monopolize most of my time. I hold a black belt in Shidokan karate and actively train. My wife and I run North American Friends of Ezrat Avot, which supports social services for the elderly and infirm in Jerusalem.
How will you engage with the Jewish community while at Hudson Regional Hospital?
The Jewish community has a different culture, a different diet, and a different internal clock. As part of the community, I am aware of its issues, including the health needs and challenges. I would like to provide services on Sundays, which would allow the community to take full advantage of elective services without losing time from work and school while still on the Jewish “clock.”