Owners: Drs. Louis Avvento and Alexander Zuhoski
Year established: 1988
Locations: 1333 E. Main St., Riverhead, and 325 Meeting House Lane, Southampton.
Number of employees: 38
The goal at Eastern Long Island Hematology and Oncology (ELIHO) is to “offer a team approach in addressing the complex care issues of cancer patients” by giving them access to “qualified, compassionate personnel to assist with the challenges of a difficult diagnosis,” according to practice administrator Lynn Kay Winters.
The practice works with patients and referring physicians from Eastern Long Island Hospital, Southampton Hospital and Peconic Bay Medical Center and maintains close alliances with the North Fork Breast Health Coalition, Ellen’s Run and other patient support groups.
The group’s founder, Dr. Louis Avvento, 57, grew up in Brooklyn and earned his medical degree in Italy in 1981 at the University of Rome. During his fellowship in hematology and oncology at Stony Brook University, he was drawn to the East End.
When he decided to launch his own practice in 1988, he looked east and founded ELIHO in Riverhead with a staff of two. The Southampton office opened in 1996. Today there are more than 35 people on staff.
Dr. Avvento’s partner, 42-year-old Dr. Alexander Zuhoski, is a North Fork native who joined the practice in 2003, after a fellowship in hematology and oncology at Stony Brook, where he also earned his M.D.
Both ELIHO offices have infusion and chemotherapy suites that provide patients with a comfortable environment in which to undergo the best cancer and blood disease treatments available, Ms. Winters said.
For more than a decade, Dr. Avvento has been medical director for East End Hospice — where his two grown stepchildren both have worked . He is board certified in internal medicine, hematology, medical ontology and palliative medicine. His wife, Angela, is a nurse at Peconic Bay Medical Center.
Dr. Zuhoski is board certified in medical oncology and hematology. He and his wife, Therese, are raising four boys on the North Fork.
The practice has four nurse practitioners, two of whom — JoAnne Maynard and Melanie Acierno — recently earned doctorates in nursing. Nurse practitioners Sharon Sparacino and North Fork native Cindy Cichanowicz, of Peconic, both hold master’s degrees from Stony Brook University.
There are also eight registered nurses on staff. Five are certified in oncology, which requires passing an exam that candidates may not take until they have at least 1,000 hours of experience.
Consultations for new patients should be scheduled through new patient coordinator Vanesssa Harris. Riverhead office hours are Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.