News and Awards

Dr. Maithili Rao Honoreed at the “Shining The Light” Awards Event Sponsored by Hackettstown Medical Center. 

Congratulations to Dr. Maithili Rao, a true beacon of inspiration! Last night, we celebrated at the Shining the Light Awards, an event that radiated with warmth and unity, hosted by the Foundation for Hackettstown Medical Center at David’s Country Inn. It was an unforgettable evening. We gathered to honor not only Dr. Rao, our esteemed Physician Honoree, but also Community Honoree Norman Worth, both shining lights in their own right. As Dr. Rao expressed during her touching speech, this recognition was incredibly meaningful, not just for her but for the entire oncology team. Her words underscored the importance of comprehensive cancer care and the journey embarked on at Hackettstown Medical Center. Looking ahead, the future is bright and positive as we continue our mission to provide the very best in healthcare to our community. Join us in celebrating the amazing individuals who made our community shine even brighter at the Shining the Light Awards.

Our Hackettstown Medical Center Oncology Team has been Awarded the “Mission Impossible” Clinical Excellence Award

We’re thrilled to announce that our Hackettstown Medical Center Oncology team has been awarded the “Mission Impossible” Clinical Excellence Award for the Western Region. This recognition comes as a result of the heartfelt nomination by Joan O’Leary, who commended our team’s excellent care of acute leukemia patients in the HMC outpatient setting.

 Our hearts filled with pride when Bob Adams handed us the award and shared Joan’s moving nomination letter on our behalf. We want to express our deepest gratitude to everyone who has supported us along this remarkable journey. Your belief in our mission has been our driving force. This award is a true testament to the incredible teamwork that we’ve cultivated in caring for our critically ill patients. It’s a testament to each and every member of our dedicated team.

 We’re humbled to be part of this outstanding group and to be considered leaders in the field. Together, we’ll continue to make a difference in the lives of those we care for. Thank you again for nominating our HMC team for the Mission Impossible Clinical Excellence Award, highlighting our unwavering commitment to providing top-notch care to acute leukemia patients at HMC Infusion Center.


Dr. Rao who has a special interest in breast and ovarian cancer and genetics, earned the Top Doctors Award of NJ for 2023, as she works compassionately with her team: Front Row (L-R): Dr. Niyati Goradia, Jillian Conner, PA, Dr. Maithili Rao, Kathleen Escobia, APN, Kimberly Koval, APN, Daniella Greaves, PA, Kari Sierant, APN, Dr. Anita Sultan, Dr. Charlesse Pondt-Huannou, Dr. Ashish Khot, Evangeline Stromeyer, APN. Back Row (L-R): Dr. Neil Nimkar, Jennifer Chieppa, APN, Dr. Matthew Stuart, Dr. Se young Han, Morsal Mohammadi, APN, Dr. Ashish Shah, Lindsay Kellogg, APN, Sijo Devasia, PA, Kelly O’Donnell, PA, Jessica Surloff, PA, Dr. Joshua Strauss, Marlene Schmitz-Pinkowsky, APN, Lisa Rouson, APN.

Earned Top Doctors Award of New Jersey
for 12 consecutive years – 2012 through 2023.
Our Oncologists are now practicing in our newest Pompton Plains location.

In the article “Top Doctors” featured in NJ Monthly – the magazine explains how 24,116 New Jersey doctors were asked to reveal which of their fellow practitioners they consider New Jersey’s best doctors. The result: Our latest Jersey Choice list of the state’s 1,117 Top Doctors, as chosen by their peers. “How do doctors get on the cover? The individuals are chosen to be featured on covers by the editorial department from among doctors with the most votes in their specialties. Dr. Maithili Rao has been featured as Top Oncology & Hematology Doctor 10 years in a row 2012 through 2022 (Featured on Cover in 2013). 

Foundation Will Be “Shining The Light” On Hackettstown Medical Center Honoree Dr. Maithili Rao

Norman Worth, WRNJ Radio and Dr. Maithili Rao, Founder of Advanced Care Oncology and Hematology Associates.

The Foundation for Hackettstown Medical Center is pleased to announce their upcoming inaugural fundraiser – “Shining the Light.” This new fall social event will highlight Atlantic Health System’s Hackettstown Medical Center and celebrate two very special honorees – Community Honoree Norman Worth of WRNJ Radio, and Physician Honoree Dr. Maithili Rao, Oncologist and founder of Advanced Care Oncology and Hematology Associates (ACOHA).

This event will be held at David’s Country Inn on Weds., Oct. 11, from 5:30-9:30 pm, and will feature delicious food and drink, live music and lots of mixing and mingling. Cocktail attire is suggested.  

 “So many great things are happening at Hackettstown Medical Center. The investments that Atlantic Health System has made to enhance services at our hospital are substantial and meaningful,” said Community Honoree, Norman Worth. “It’ll be a pleasure to be part of an evening that will highlight how far we’ve come and how the funds we raise will further benefit our community medical center – and the residents of our region, with continued expansion of state-of-the-art technology, programs and much needed services.” 

Worth has been a member of the Foundation Board of Directors for over 25 years, as well as a member of the hospital’s Community Advisory Board for much of that time. 

Physician Honoree Dr. Rao has been an oncologist for over 15 years and brought ACOHA and their large team of oncologists to Hackettstown Medical Center six years ago. Since then, ACOHA has been integral to growing patient volume in the Outpatient Infusion Center, as well as in the Joan Knechel Cancer Center.

 “Recognizing the need, we began building the cancer center program at Hackettstown Medical Center. We thank the patients in this community for placing their trust in us and helping us build this into a comprehensive cancer treatment center,” said Dr. Rao. 

Excited for all they can offer cancer patients in this region, Dr. Rao explained, “The future is promising with new cutting-edge advances in cancer diagnoses, genetic testing, and treatments. Together, we can continue making a difference, one person at a time, and ensure that quality medical care is readily available where it matters the most – close to home.”

Proceeds from “Shining the Light” will remain local and will support programs and services at Hackettstown Medical Center.  

To purchase tickets to attend, sponsorship opportunities or how you can recognize this year’s honorees with a digital ad, visit You may also contact the Foundation office at 908-850-6876.

(Feature Article “Inside Warren” August 2023). 

 As We Continue to Grow

Doctors Rao, Strauss and Khot Named Top Doctors by NJ Monthly Magazine

Dr. Maithili Rao, Dr. Joshua Strauss, and Dr. Ashish Khot are proud to have been recognized as Jersey Choice Top Doctors 2020 and are featured in this month’s edition of NJ Monthly magazine. Together with their outstanding team, they comprise Advanced Care Oncology and Hematology Associates, a premiere hematology-oncology practice with private, comfortable, modern facilities at locations in West Orange, Springfield, Morristown, Rockaway, and Hackettstown. The practice is affiliated with the Atlantic Health System and visits patients at the affiliated hospitals (RWJ-St Barnabas, Overlook Medical Center, Morristown Medical Center, Hackettstown Medical Center). They specialize in treating adults with benign hematology disorders, such as anemia, blood clots, coagulation disorders and abnormal blood counts, and all solid tumors and malignant hematology.

The practice was founded in 2011 by Dr. Rao with a vision to bring integrated oncology and hematology care to patients in the community. “We have created a unique setting for consulting and treating patients at four major hospitals as well as at our state-of-the-art outpatient sites,” Dr. Rao says. “Our patients see world-class practitioners and have navigators to coordinate their care. We treat patients holistically, meeting both clinical and emotional needs.” In collaboration with on-site clinical pharmacists and oncology nurse specialists, patients are treated with chemotherapy, iron infusions, and blood transfusions and receive cutting-edge medical technology and laboratory services. The group also offers clinical trials, genetic counseling and testing, and palliative care services, providing full 360-degree care while delivering individualized treatments. Dr. Rao has a special interest in breast and ovarian cancer, lymphoma, and leukemia. She also manages hematology issues in high-risk pregnancies and lectures on topics such as early detection and treatment of breast cancer, coagulation disorders, and genetics at Morristown Medical Center. Dr. Rao completed her fellowship at the University of Rochester. This is her ninth year being selected as a Top Doctor.

Dr. Strauss is board certified in both medical oncology and hematology and joined the practice upon completing his fellowship at Columbia University. He cares for patients with all types of malignancies and blood disorders while keeping a special interest in gastrointestinal, thoracic, and genitourinary oncology. He is a fierce advocate for his patients, and he takes pride in providing them with complete care that is at once compassionate, modern, and individualized to their needs. “I enjoy learning about my patients, their families, and their values,” Dr. Strauss says. “This allows me to tailor my treatment and recommendations to their specific needs.” He maintains vibrant office practices in Morristown and Springfield and rounds at the affiliated hospitals.  He cares deeply about educating the next generation of internists and specialists, lecturing to residents and fellows on a broad range of hematology/oncology topics.

Dr. Khot is an active attending faculty at Overlook Medical Center and Saint Barnabas Medical Center, where he regularly lectures and provides teaching rotations for residents and students in the department of medicine. His special interests include the management of patients with urological, gastrointestinal, and thoracic malignancies as well as various hematological diseases. Dr. Khot sees his dedicated patients at several of the practice’s locations in the community, allowing them to receive care closer to their homes. “With a vast amount of data available in this field, we have implemented a targeted patient-centric approach that allows patients to make informed and satisfying decisions about their care,” he says. “We emphasize great communication between patients, their caregivers, and all the physicians involved to make their care seamless during their journey.” Dr. Khot completed his fellowship training at Montefiore Medical Center. This is his third selection as a Top Doctor.

The trio works in collaboration with Drs. Charlesse Pondt, Ashish Shah, Ved Desai, Arunabh Sekhri, Anita Sultan, Matthew Stuart, and Se young Han; nurse practitioners Marlene Schmitz-Pinkowsky, Edgar “Joed” LaChica, Cherry Rudge, Kari Sierant, Kathleen Escobia, and Kimberly Koval; and physician assistants Jessica Surloff and Daniella Greaves. All office sites are open, and the practice continues to see patients during the pandemic. They have taken extra precautions to keep all patients safe. The office is diligently cleaning and disinfecting patient areas multiple times a day in line with its commitment to the well-being and safety of all patients.

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