Newswise — Hackensack Meridian JFK University Medical Center today announced the opening of its new Gastroesophageal Reflux and Motility Program to provide expert diagnosis and treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease, commonly known as GERD, and other, related motility disorders that affect the muscles in the gastrointestinal tract. 

“GERD is common, affecting about 20 percent of adults in the U.S., and it can compromise quality of life and have serious, long-term health consequences if not addressed and treated properly,” said Annie Laurie Benzie, M.D., a fellowship-trained, board-certified general surgeon who leads the new program. “Our program will provide essential support and services to patients in our local communities so they can manage GERD and live healthier lives.”

Dr. Benzie explained that the two most common symptoms of GERD are heartburn and regurgitation, but that difficulty swallowing, chest pain, cough, laryngitis, dental erosions, and even asthma can also signal the condition.  She added that GERD is classified into nonerosive reflux disease (sometimes called NERD), erosive esophagitis, and Barrett’s esophagus.  Nonerosive GERD is the most common form, affecting 60 to 70 percent of patients with GERD.

Barrett’s esophagus is a condition where the lower portion of the esophagus is damaged by repeated exposure to stomach acid. It is most often diagnosed in people with longer-term GERD and can develop into esophageal cancer. 

As part of the new Reflux and Motility Program, Hackensack Meridian JFK University Medical Center providers use the latest diagnostic tools to determine the causes of GERD symptoms and create a treatment plan based on the specific diagnosis. Treatment options may include lifestyle modifications, dietary changes, medication and potentially surgery.

If you have made lifestyle changes, altered your diet appropriately, and still are suffering with GERD symptoms, it may be time to consult with a reflux specialist. Dr. Benzie will host a special community event, “How to Manage Your GERD,” on Tuesday, April 4 from 5:30 to 6:30 pm. Community members can join in person at JFK University Medical Center or virtually via the registration link.  


Gastroesophageal Reflux and Motility Program

JFK University Medical Center

65 James Street, Edison, NJ 08820



To find a Hackensack Meridian Health physician near you who treats Reflux Disease, please call 855-HMH-WELL.