Anthony Berner, a telecommunications installation and maintenance technician, was experiencing an earache and pain when swallowing. Neither of these symptoms prepared him for the news that he had stage 4 head and neck cancer.

A biopsy showed the cancer originated at the base of his tongue, was associated with human papillomavirus (HPV) and had spread to four lymph nodes. Anthony, 53, turned to Southern Ocean Medical Center’s comprehensive Cancer Center.

President’s Message

It was a year of growth, engagement, and transformation at Southern Ocean Medical Center. Our goal to emerge as a high reliability organization was surpassed as the medical center reached new heights in patient safety and quality, garnering both national and state recognition. This was a result of the individual commitment and hard work of team members and the medical staff fully engaging in the key principals of safety, quality, empathy and respect.

Caring with the ‘A’ Team

Southern Ocean Medical Center reached new heights in quality and patient safety standards as they continued their journey as a high reliability organization (HRO). The AvaSys ® robot monitors patients and alerts care givers when a patient is leaving the bed. The technology has contributed to a 50% decrease in patient falls.

Southern Ocean Medical Center has also made significant strides in national and state initiatives for delivering the highest quality and safety in patient care. With the collective efforts and commitment of leaders and team members, Southern Ocean received an “A” rating for the second time this year from the nationally recognized Leapfrog Group, indicating the medical center has the highest safety standards in the country.

Extraordinary Expertise

Significant investments in programs and services have been made at Southern Ocean Medical Center that brought new treatments, advanced procedures and skilled expertise to southern Ocean County. Critical to our expansion of services were the 59 sub-specialists and specialists and 23 allied health professionals who joined our medical team to broaden the scope of specialized expertise and access to services.

Investing in the Future

The completion of the new Cancer Center, an investment of more than $20 million, offers a new level of medical expertise and advanced technology in the community. Our multidisciplinary oncology team at Southern Ocean Medical Center sees the most patients in the region and has expanded expertise with the addition of fellowship-trained breast and thoracic surgeons, and a hematologist/oncologist to provide comprehensive oncologic services in one convenient location. 

Notable Recognitions

Recognition of quality and excellence from industry leaders and third-party endorsements go a long way to earn the patient’s trusts and challenges us to be the best we can. Notable recognitions this year included the Get with the Guidelines® Stroke Gold plus Award which exemplifies twenty-four consecutive months of high performance in applying the most up-to-date treatment guidelines to improve patient care and outcomes.

Leadership Team


Regional President, Hackensack Meridian Health

Regina M. Foley, PhD, MBA, RN

Chief Operating Officer

Micki Patrick, RN, MSN, NEA-BC

Vice President & Chief Nursing Executive

Theodore G. Zaleski, M.D., J.D.

Chief Medical Officer

Michele Morrison, RN, BSHA, MPH

Senior Manager, Operations

William Schreiber, MBA, MSN, RN-BC

Senior Manager, Patient Care Services

Medical Staff Leadership

Shikhar Soni, M.D.


James F. Orlando, M.D.

Vice President

Joseph Schirripa, M.D.


Paul Mastrokyriakos, D.O.

Member at Large