Palliative Care - Meet Our Team

Pedro H. Calves, MD, FACP, FCCP

Dr. Calves was born in Havana Cuba and immigrated to the United States along with his family in 1959. Raised in Queens, Dr. Calves is a product of the New York City public school system, attended Pace University in Manhattan as a Biology Major, then Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse for his Medical Degree.

Returning to the metropolitan area, Dr. Calves became a Resident in Internal Medicine at Nassau County Medical Center (NCMC) in 1985. He finished his residency in 1988 and went on to the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey at Cooper Hospital in Camden for a one-year Fellowship in Critical Care Medicine. Returning once again to NCMC, Dr. Calves entered a fellowship in Pulmonary Medicine, during which he helped to manage the Residency program serving as Chief Resident. Settling on Long Island, he went into practice of Internal Medicine and Pulmonary Diseases in 1991 in Babylon, New York.

“You may not be able to cure everyone… but you can make them feel better.”
           - Pedro Calves, MD

During his many years caring for seriously ill patients, it became clear to Dr. Calves that along with technical expertise, what is needed is an open line of communication with patients and their families. It is just as important to know what the person who is sick wants out of life, as it is to know what antibiotic to use.

With this revelation, Dr. Calves became one of the founding members of the Palliative Care Service at Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip in 2002. In 2005, he became the first Chief of the Division of Palliative Medicine at Good Samaritan, developing an Inpatient Palliative Care Unit and an Outpatient Ambulatory Palliative Care Center. Two years later, he was able to bring the program to St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Smithtown.

As the programs continued to grow and in an attempt to properly focus time and effort ont them, Dr. Calves left private practice in 2010, and became the Catholic Health Services Regional Director of Palliative Care Services. In 2011, Dr. Calves brought Palliative Care to St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson cementing a partnership between CHS-Palliative Care and Good Shepherd Hospice in which (in 2013) he became Senior Associate Medical Director for Palliative Care Services for Catholic Health Services of Long Island.

During this time, Dr. Calves has presented original research at numerous national Palliative Care meetings and has published several abstracts that have enlarged the knowledge base in this new and important area of medicine.

Serving as Medical Director for Bishop McHugh Family Health Center in Babylon, Dr. Calves helps to deliver basic Medical Services to those residents of Long Island who are uninsured.

Dr. Calves holds the rank of Commander in the US Navy Medical Corps, currently serving in the US Naval Reserve.




Gina Marie Zarrilli, DO, FCCP

Dr. Zarrilli attended Trinity College and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1973, majoring in English Literature. Later, deciding medicine was her true passion, she continued on with her education and graduated from the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2002. Dr. Zarrilli completed her internal medicine residency in 2005 at Beth Israel Medical Center, Albert Einstein School of Medicine. She went on to Stony Brook University and in 2008 and completed a fellowship in Pulmonary Medicine, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine.
Dr. Zarrilli is multi-certified to complement her vast array of specialties. She is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine. As a testament to her dedication to her profession, she has been involved in research, lectures and grand rounds and has attended many lectures throughout the country.  Additionally, Dr. Zarrilli has had two manuscripts accepted into The Journal of Computer Assisted Tomography and The Journal of Bronchology, respectively. 

Dr. Zarrilli’s dedication to her patients’ well-being has taken her into the Hospice and Palliative Care arena where she continues to provide comfort and support during all phases of patient care.  Additionally, she has a holistic approach to health for both her patients’ and herself.  Dr. Zarrilli has been training in the Japanese martial art of Aikido since 1975 and is a 6th degree black belt and teacher. She is also a daily practitioner of yoga.


Cindy Saraceno, RN

Cindy Saraceno has been a Nurse Consultant in the Palliative Care Department since 2006 and recently was promoted to the position of Palliative Care Nursing Coordinator. Ms. Saraceno has practiced the philosophy of palliative care for her entire nursing career. Prior to transferring to the Palliative Care Department in 2006, she worked on a medical unit where the focus of care was ‘The Acute Care of the Elderly” and the care of the chronic ventilator patient. This is where she first began to recognize the importance and need for palliative care. Many of these patients and their families faced life-threatening illness or long term debilitating disease. Over the twenty years of taking care of long-term ventilator patients, Ms. Saraceno's priority was to help identify her patient’s goals for care and supported maximizing their quality of life. She recognized that patients and their families needed education and emotional support to help guide them during these difficult times.

In 1999, Ms. Saraceno was honored by receiving the prestigious “Marvin Bernstein Award” for the care of the ventilator patient. In September 2008, she received Board Certification in Hospice and Palliative Nursing. She has served as a preceptor to new nurses and found it exciting to coordinate and participate in new learning experiences. Ms. Saraceno orients new nurses on an ongoing basis, and medical students, residents and pharmacy residents, during their rotation through the Palliative Care Service. She received designation as an HPNA-Approved Educator in 2009.

Working with and educating nursing assistants is one of Ms. Saraceno's most reqarding accomplishments. She enjoys preparing them to take the certification examination andassist them in receiving their national certification as Hospice and Palliative Care Nursing Assistants. Ms. Saraceno is also a support group facilitator for our “Life Goes On" Cancer Survivor’s Group.