5th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Award & health equity panel, Jan. 28, 2015


Join Downstate at 11 am Jan. 28, 2016 in Alumni Auditorium for an award program and panel on “Health Equity: The New Frontier in Civil Rights,” hosted by the SUNY Downstate Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

The recipient of this year’s 5th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Leadership Award is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention (NCHHHSTP), with the keynote address to be delivered by Wayne Duffus, MD, PhD, associate director of the CDC’s Office of Health Equity and director of the NCHHHSTP.

The theme of the event is and the program will include a panel discussion by  healthcare professionals: 

Dr. Ian Taylor, MD, PhD, professor and former dean, College of Medicine, SUNY Downstate
Dawn Morton-Rias, EdD, professor and former dean, College of Health Related Professions, SUNY Downstate
Karen Benker, MD, MPH, associate dean, School of Public Health, SUNY Downstate
Daniel Ehlke, Phd, MA, associate professor, School of Publich Health, SUNY Downstate
Wayne Duffus, MD, PhD, associate director of Health Equity, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Moderator:      Shaundelle Goldsmith, JD, Director Office of Diversity & Inclusion 


Pamela Sass, M.D. appointed Chair of SUNY Downstate Dept. of Family Medicine

06_17_14 Dr P Sass 4x 9015
Dr. Pamela Sass, currently Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, has been appointed Chair of the Department of Family Medicine, succeeding Dr. Miriam T. Vincent.

Over the past two years, Dr. Sass has demonstrated an extraordinary level of dedication and competence, according to Carlos N. Pato, Dean of the College of Medicine. Dr. Sass served as Acting Dean from September 2014 to July 2015 in addition to her ongoing responsibilities for the undergraduate medical education curriculum. Throughout her career, Dr. Sass has been able to bring together diverse teams of faculty to create innovative approaches to some of the most important issues facing the school and academic community. Even more remarkably, she has been able to lead the often even more difficult implementation processes that followed, overcoming a host of practical obstacles both large and small.

We are all especially indebted to Dr. Sass for her many years of work in the creation of a comprehensive new undergraduate curriculum, which incorporated ideas derived from within the College, from other colleges and schools on the campus, and from the larger national community of medical and health care professional education.  It is no exaggeration to state that the successful implementation for this curriculum—and the management systems that it incorporated—were essential to our successful pursuit of full accreditation from the LCME.  

Dr. Vincent should also be recognized for the considerable accomplishments of the Department of Family Medicine under her direction. Dr. Vincent has moved to a senior leadership position in an institutional effort to adapt to major changes in the health care delivery system in our community.  Both of these two outstanding leaders deserve our full support as they take on their new roles.

Student Profile – Sun Mei Liu

Sun Mei Downstate

Sun Mei Liu is a third year student studying at the College of Medicine at SUNY Downstate. For the 2015-2016 academic year, Sun Mei took the year off to do research funded by the Alumni Association. She will enter her final year of medical school next fall.

When Sun Mei began looking for research topics to study on her year off, she had not yet decided that specialty she would pursue. She looked to opportunities that would allow me her explore different aspects of medicine.

Sun Mei goes on to explain in her own words:

“Inflammation was one of those very topics; it is present in almost all disease processes and cannot be avoided in surgical settings. My research with Dr. Zhang and staff focuses on targeting a molecular cause of inflammation, complement C3, as the cause of myocardial ischemia and reperfusion injury that transpires during cardiothoracic surgeries such as heart transplantation and coronary artery bypass graft surgeries. What inspired me to pursue this project is that C3 affects numerous other disease processes such as macular degeneration, nephropathies, and hemolytic uremic syndromes. By researching this topic, we have the potential to slow down the inflammatory process, and in turn, prevent damage across a wide variety of diseases, not just one.”

While many students choose to take a year off from medial school for a variety of reasons, very few students can afford to do so due to financial constraints.

Sun Mei was grateful for the financial support for this year, “I feel extremely fortunate to be one of the few to receive funding for an entire year. The alumni association gave me the freedom and flexibility to do research without having to worry about the financial stresses of making a choice that would benefit me both personally and professionally.”

Thank you for supporting medical students like Sun Mei Liu for one full year of research. If you’d like to learn more about our full year research program, check out http://downstate.edu/alumni/programs/fellowship.html.

You can make donations to support this and other Alumni Association Funded programs at:https://www.downstate.edu/alumni/alumni-giving/index.html

Class Notes December 2015 to January 2016

Given the plethora of class notes received this past month, we are opting to include them here.  These will also be published in our yearly Alumni Today Magazine.  If you have class notes to send to us, you can email them to alumni@downstate.edu with Class Notes in the subject line.  Please make sure to include your class year.

Leonard Metzer, MD, ‘56, deceased
Dr. Meltzer served as a Captain in the United States Air Force from 1957-1959 where he was stationed in the Far East Command. Following his medical education, Dr. Meltzer practiced internal medicine for 32 years with a subspecialty in cardiology at the East Nassau Medical Center in Hicksville, New York.
He and his wife, Sylvia, retired to Holbrook, NY, and Boynton Beach, Florida, where they played bridge avidly and spent time with family and friends. Dr. Meltzer passed away at home in January 2015, surrounded by his family, following a 15 year battle with prostate cancer.

Lewis B. Ward-Baker, MD, ‘56
Dr. Ward-Baker writes, “Looking back fondly on 30 years of child psychiatry, 20 years of retirement, family, making music and travel. Looking forward to what tomorrow will bring!”

Harry Weinstein, MD, ‘56
Dr. Weinstein retired Jan. 1, 2016, from Westmed Medical Group.

Sidney Jerome Winawer, MD, ‘56
Dr. Winawer was awarded a 2015 American Cancer Society Medal of Honor for Cancer Control. He was among three other individuals and one organization recognized at the Society’s Medal of Honor ceremony and celebration dinner in Washington, DC. The Medal of Honor is awarded to those who have have had a significant impact in the fight to end cancer through basic research, clinical research, cancer control or philanthropy.

Dr. Winawer received the award in recognition of his lifetime contributions and dedication to advance screening and prevention of colorectal cancer. His monumental work has expanded the colorectal cancer knowledge base, documenting the impact of colonoscopy and polyp removal in reducing colorectal cancer incidence and mortality.

William Erwin Paul, MD, ‘60, deceased
Dr. Paul was a major contributor to the development of modern immunology. He helped to transform cytokine biology, the study of small proteins involved in cell signaling, from crude assessments of uncharacterized cellular “factors” into a science involving precise quantitative molecular analyses.

Robert M. Weiss, MD, ’60
Dr. Weiss received the Keyes Medal from the American Association of Genitourinary Surgeons, an association of the leading academic urologists from the United States, Canada and around the world. The association is dedicated to the study of diseases of the genitourinary system. The Keyes Medal is presented to an individual for their “outstanding contributions in the advancement of Urology.” It is recognized as the greatest individual citation in the specialty and it has been awarded sparingly.

David A. Papernik, MD, ‘62
Dr. Papernik received a Faculty Service Award commemorating 35 years, through 2014, from the NYU School of Medicine, where he is a clinical professor of psychiatry.

Lawrence Cohen, MD, ‘70
Dr. Cohen is a senior radiologist at Cedars Sinai medical Center in Los Angeles, and volunteer teacher at LAC-USC Medical Center.

Neil J. Principe, MD, ‘71
Dr. Principe retired and is living in south Florida. “I do miss the five boroughs, and wish all graduates and students the best of what will be a truly rewarding career and profession.”

Steven Brozinsky, MD, ‘72
Dr. Brozinsky sings tenor in the San Diego Jewish Mens Choir.

Maria Arnett, MD, ‘74
Dr. Arnett’s husband, Harvey, passed away in January 2014 after a long battle with multiple myeloma. Dr. Arnett is still practicing ophthalmology in Manhattan, and enjoying her children and grandchildren, all living near.

Gary B. Witman, MD, ‘75
In August 2010, Dr. Witman was hit by a wave in the back of the neck, which made him a quadriplegic at the C3-C4 level. He is currently working evaluating patients for the usage of medicinal cannabinoid products, and is “thrilled to be able to practice on a full-time basis.”

David Berger, MD, ’84
Dr. Berger, Professor of Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine, was named Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Baylor St Luke’s Medical Center in the Texas Medical Center, Houston.

Lawrence Hakim, MD, ‘88
Dr. Hakim was appointed Jan. 1, 2016 the Cleveland Clinic Florida’s Chief of Surgical Specialties, Urology, Gynecology, Head and Neck, Plastic and Hand Surgery and Department of Solid Organ Transplantation, which includes heart, liver and kidney transplants.

Jonathan Gillen-Goldstein, MD, ‘95
Dr. Gillen-Goldstein has been named Interim Chairman of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Director of Maternal Fetal Medicine at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip, and Director of Maternal Fetal Medicine at Catholic Health Services of Long Island. Together with his colleagues, David Bergman, MD, and Christopher Plummer, DO, Dr. Gillen-Goldstein and the Maternal Fetal Medicine Program at Good Samaritan provide specialized consultative care to women experiencing high risk pregnancies and those requiring prenatal testing to monitor routine pregnancies.

SUNY Downstate Distinguished Professor and Chancellor’s Awards


SUNY Downstate honored its Distinguished Professors and Chancellor’s Award honorees Jan. 13, 2016:

Distinguished professors:
M. Mahmood Hussain, PhD, Department of Cell Biology (2013)
Steven Levine, MD ’82, departments of Neurology and Emergency Medicine (2015)*
Henri Tiedge, PhD, departments of Physiology and Pharmacology and Neurology (2015)

Distinguished Service professors:
Audree Bendo, MD, Department of Anesthesiology (2013)
Barbara Delano, MD ’65, School of Public Health (2015)

Distinguished Teaching professors:
Binita Shah, MD, Department of Emergency Medicine (2013)
Keith Williams, PhD, departments of Physiology and Pharmacology, College of Medicine Dean’s Office (2015)

Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service:
Haseeb Siddiqui, PhD, Department of Cell Biology (2014)

Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service:
Jeff Birnbaum, MD ’86, Department of Pediatrics (2013)
Helen Poncet, College of Medicine (2014)

Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching:
Michael Joseph, PhD, School of Public Health (2013)
Joanne S. Katz, PhD, PT, DPT, College of Health Related Professions (2014)

Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in the Classified Service:
Juan Estrella, Mail Room Services (2014)
Ellen Jackson, Department of Anesthesiology (2014)
Laura Kabbabe, Emergency Department, Nursing-Pediatrics (2015)
Marjorie Lamarque, Ambulatory Surgery (2015)
Conrad Manning, Student Life (2013)
Deborah Moloney, Nursing-Surgical Services (2014)
Ellen Poz, Department of Nursing (2013)
Mario Siracusa, University Police (2015)

Faculty Recognized for 50 Years of Service to Downstate:
Robert Carty, PhD, Department of Pathology
Eli Friedman, MD ’57, College of Medicine/Department of Medicine-Renal Services
Stanley Friedman, PhD, College of Medicine and School of Graduate Studies
Donald Gerber, MD, Department of Medicine
Anthony Nicastri, MD, Department of Pathology

*Alumni in bold
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M. Monica Sweeney, MD, MPH, FACP, appointed as Director of the Center for Global Health


M. Monica Sweeney, MD, MPH, FACP, has been appointed director of the School of Public Health’s Center for Global Health. Dr. Sweeney, who is vice dean for global engagement of the School of Public Health, will provide leadership for the Center’s many globally-engaged teaching, research, and service activities both locally and internationally. She brings to this position a comprehensive and sensitive understanding of population health challenges nationally and internationally.  She has dedicated many years to addressing these challenges, and to achieving health equity and improving health care access for those who are disadvantaged.

Dr. Sweeney is the immediate past chair of the Downstate Council, and served as the assistant commissioner for the Bureau of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. In her role as a member of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) and as co-chair of the Physician Advisory Council of the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute, she has greatly contributed to controlling the disease.

In Dr. Sweeney’s role as medical director and vice president for medical affairs of the Bedford Stuyvesant Family Health Center in Brooklyn, she broadly approached the issues of health equity and equity in health care access.  In so doing, she greatly contributed to improving the health of the population of Brooklyn.

The Center for Global Health, which was established in 2011, functions entirely on extramural funding. Its educational and service programs have enabled some 400 College of Medicine fourth-year students to study and serve overseas in 41 resource poor countries. Medical students also participate in the Center’s longitudinal Global Health educational elective, and Master of Public Health students perform their practical field experience overseas in several resource poor countries. The Center recently established the Peace Corps Master’s International Program, which combines overseas service with the MPH degree.