SUNY Downstate Launches the Institute for Genomic Health

Program to Engage the Brooklyn Community in Better Understanding the Genomic Factors of Illness and Well-Being

SUNY Downstate Medical Center has established the Institute for Genomic Health (IGH) to exploring the role of genomic factors in risk and resilience to illness. The IGH operates under the leadership of Michele T. Pato, MD, professor of psychiatry, and Carlos N. Pato, MD, dean of the College of Medicine.

“Great strides have been made over recent years in understanding the role that genes play in determining health, but it is critical that such research includes diverse community representation if we are ever to solve the problem of disparities in healthcare delivery,” said John F. Williams, Jr., MD, EdD, MPH, FCCM, president of SUNY Downstate. “I am confident that the Institute for Genomic Health will go a long way towards addressing this pressing issue.”

“I look forward to collaborating with SUNY Downstate colleges, departments, clinicians, and researchers, as well as community leaders and lay people, to further the mission of the Institute,” said Institute Director Dr. Michele Pato. “We want to improve the health and well-being of all people by focusing on the genetic-based risk of illness, but we also want to explore what genes and a person’s environment do to keep us healthy.”

Research by the Drs. Pato over the past 30 years has focused on genomic psychiatry with an emphasis on population-based genetic studies. They have sought to identify genetic and environmental factors that contribute to neuropsychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder.

As one of its major efforts, the Institute for Genomic Health is launching Genomic Psychiatry Cohort research at SUNY Downstate. The Genomic Psychiatry Cohort, a database of approximately 40,000 individuals, was designed to provide the necessary population-based sample for large-scale genomic studies.

“A well-recognized limitation of current genomic research is the lack of adequate sample sizes,” noted Dr. Michele Pato. “The Genomic Psychiatry Cohort aims to deal with this challenge.”

“In his 2015 State of the Union address, President Obama announced the Precision Medicine Initiative, which seeks to take into account individual differences in peoples’ genetic makeup, among other unique characteristics,” she said. “The Institute for Genomic Health is committed to supporting this innovative approach to medicine.”

Downstate’s Institute for Genomic Health extends research formerly conducted by the Patos at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, with which they continue to collaborate. The new research at Downstate will engage the Brooklyn community in ongoing efforts to better understand medical disorders and how to effectively treat them.

Source: SUNY Downstate
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Alumni and Downstate News: Feb. 2016

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Some alumni listed died in the past few years. We post updates as we receive the news.

SUNY Downstate Alumni

Ralph Brancaccio, MD, ’41, deceased
Dr. Brancaccio, a graduate of Columbia University, the Long Island College of Medicine and Fellow of the American College of Radiology, died in 2013 at the age of 96.

Edmond McDonnell, MD, ’42, deceased
Dr. McDonnell, an orthpaedic surgeon who lived in Phoenix, MD, died in 2011.

David C. Summers, MD, ’43, deceased
Dr. Summers was born in Brooklyn, lived in Maplewood, NJ, and Berkely Heights, NJ. He was an Army veteran of World War II, and later a psychiatrist with a private practice in Maplewood, NJ. He also worked with the Veterans Administration Health Care system. He died at 91 in 2010.

Walter C. Eichacker, MD, ’44, deceased
Dr. Eichacker died November 18, 2015, at 96 at his home in Heathsville, Virginia. He had retired in 1989 from his family medicine practice in Setauket, NY, after 40 years. He and his wife, Janet, moved to the northern neck of Virginia in 1995.

Sam Tally Simpson, ’45, deceased
Dr. Simpson joined the US Army during World War II, and worked in the Army medical corps at the US Veteran’s Hospital, Columbia, SC. After his discharge in 1946 with the rank of Captain, he practiced Obstetrics and Gynecology in Birmingham. He earned a Master Degree of Public Health from Tulane in New Orleans, and served as the health director of Manatee County, Florida. He later served as health director of medical service for Dade County. He was a Fellow of American Board of Abdominal Surgery, American Medical Society, and Manatee County Medical Society. Dr. Simpson retired from public health in 1982.

Gabriel Cusanelli, MD ‘46, deceased
Dr. Gabriel N Cusanelli, MD, 91, of Milford, CT, died September 3, 2013. Dr. Cusanelli was a Physician for 45 years and practiced as a General Practitioner in private practice in New Haven until 1994. He was also company physician for Sargent and Company in New Haven for 35 years. Following Medical school, he served in the United States Army in Korea and Japan where he was assigned as the Port Surgeon. He was discharged as a Captain in 1949.

James F. Morell, MD ‘46, deceased
Dr. Morell died Sept. 24, 2015. He was a longtime resident of Garden City, NY, and then resided in the Blue Bell/Ambler area.

Vincent DeLuca, MD, ‘48, deceased
Dr. DeLuca died August 25, 2015. He served in the US Navy as a medical officer, then settled in Woodbridge, CT and joined the staff of Griffin Hospital. He served as the hospital’s Director of Medical Education, and also started a gastroenterology fellowship program with Yale University School of Medicine. He was a pioneer in gastroenterology, receiving a Distinguished Award from the CT Society of Internal Medicine in 1974.

Proctor Child, MD, ‘49, deceased
Dr. Child died April 7, 2012. He trained as a resident in pathology at the US Army’s Fitzsimons General Hospital in Denver. He was a veteran of World War II, and the Korean War, serving 26 years in the military, two years in the Navy, and 24 years in the Army. Dr. Child retired as a Lt. Colonel in the US Army Medical Corps in 1967. During his career, he served at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington DC as Assistant Chief in the Geographic Pathology Division, and Chief of the Viro-Pathology Branch. He was also an associate professor for the Temple University Hospital School of Medicine, and Chair of the Department of Pathology at Roxborough Memorial Hospital in Philadelphia. He was also Chairman of Pathology and Director of Laboratories at Allentown Hospital, now part of the Lehigh Valley Health Network.

Sandra A. Gilmore, MD, ‘60
Dr. Gilmore is retired, living in Westchester County, NY, and “enjoying it immensely,” she writes. “Regards and good wishes to all my classmates.”

Stuart Bednoff, MD, ‘61
“I am happy to report that after a successful career lasting 47 years in private practice in Obs/Gyn, I have chosen to retire. My wife of 55 years and I hope to spend time with our family and also plan to travel.”

Richard Marks, MD, ’61, deceased
Dr. Marks served in several roles at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center, starting as an intern and resident in the mid-1960s. He was a general surgeon, board member and interim chair of the Department of Surgery, and Vice Chairman of Surgery.

Irwin Berkowitz, MD, ‘72
After nearly 40 years of pediatric experience, Dr. Berkowitz published a book “Instructions Not Included: A Pediatrician’s Prescription for Raising the Best Kids on the Block.” It’s a common sense guide for child rearing and available on Amazon and Nook.

David Berger, MD, ’84, 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. He was also recently featured on FOX News Houston for a story on hospital construction.

Raymond Resnick, MD, ‘87
Dr. Resnick leads the cardiac catherization lab at Wayne Memorial Hospital in Honesdale, Pa.

Andrew J. Vecchio, MD ’89, deceased, May 25, 2014

Downstate News

Dr. Scott E. Barbash
Dr. Barbash was appointed Downstate Associate Professor of Orthopedic Surgery, Jan. 20, specializing in sports medicine and orthopedic surgery. He is the associate program director for the SUNY Downstate Orthopaedic Surgery Residency Program.

R.D. Feinman, MD, Downstate professor of cell biology and medical researcher, was referenced in a January 2016 American Oil Chemist’s Society article.

Richard M. Rosenfeld, MD, MPH, quoted by Sun Newspapers, Florida, on middle ear fluid in at-risk children. Dr. Rosenfeld is professor and chair of the Otolaryngology Department at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, and chair of the 2016 guidelines update for the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation.

 

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Downstate Alumnus Dr. Herbert L. Abrams, Who Worked Against Nuclear War, Dies at 95 —NYT

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Dr. Herbert L. Abrams, a radiologist at Stanford and Harvard universities and a founder of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985 for its work in publicizing the health consequences of atomic warfare, died on Jan. 20 at his home in Palo Alto, Calif. He was 95.

Dr. Abrams helped found International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War with a group of American and Soviet doctors. He graduated from Downstate in 1946.

Read the full story in The New York Times, here.

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Dr. Herbert L. Abrams, far right, with American and Soviet colleagues after their group, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, received the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize. Photo credit: International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War

Portrait credit: Rod Searcey/Stanford University

10 Things to Know About Health Equity

Notes from the “Health Equity: The New Frontier in Civil Rights” panel hosted by the SUNY Downstate Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Professors and deans from the Downstate College of Medicine, Health Related Professions and School of Public Health took part in the panel.

“You might be a little girl or a little boy, but because the disease prevalence (HIV) is so high in your community, you are more likely to encounter someone who has the problem and gives it to you,” said Wayne Duffus, MD, PhD. Dr. Duffus is associate director for the Center for Disease Control’s Office of Health Equity, promoting health in every social circumstance, and director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention (NCHHHSTP).

Dr. Duffus delivered the keynote address, and accepted Downstate’s fifth annual Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Award Jan. 28, 2016 on behalf of the NCHHHSTP.

1. Health equity centers on enabling everyone to achieve their full health potential regardless of socially determined circumstances.*

2. Access to quality education, healthcare, housing, transportation, equitable pay, equal employment and absence of societal discrimination all impact health.

3. The average life expectancy, 1950 to 2010, for a white American was 78.8 years, compared to 74.7 for a black American.

4. Lower income generally means worse health. Ethnic differences also affect health, with approx. 20% of black and Hispanic people in either poor or fair health, compared to 11.4% of whites.

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5. College graduates live five years longer on average than those who haven’t finished high school.

6. 46% of adults and adolescents with HIV live in four states, California, Texas, Florida and New York. African Americans are eight times, and Hispanics are three times, more likely to have HIV than whites.

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7. If current trends continue, half of black men who have sex with men (MSM) will have HIV by age 35, and half of all MSM will have HIV by 50.

8. The equity strategy involves informational campaigns, condom distribution, routine testing and interventions.

9. In 2005, $102 million was distributed over three years to 25 jurisdictions with more than 140 AIDS diagnoses. As a result, 3,381 diagnoses were averted, saving $1.1 billion in direct medical costs.

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10. In 2015, $185 million over three years will go to support HIV prevention among MSM and transgender people.

 

*Information provided by the CDC.
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Director of Family Medicine Resident Training in Obstetrics

Director of Family Medicine Resident Training in Obstetrics

The Department of Family Medicine at State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Medical Center invites applications for a full-time, non-tenure track faculty attending physician, to serve as Director of Family Medicine Resident Training in Obstetrics. This individual will precept residents, especially concerning OB cases, at our Family Medicine Centers and will assist residents with deliveries for continuity care patients. Our OB Coordinator will also provide primary care for patients at one of our Family Medicine Centers, three weekly sessions. Other faculty duties include serving as Advisor to assigned residents, teaching residents and medical students, clinical research and scholarship.

SUNY Downstate Medical Center is one of the nation’s leading urban medical centers and the only academic medical center in Brooklyn. SUNY Downstate comprises a College of Medicine, a College of Health Related Professions, a College of Nursing, a School of Graduate Studies, a School of Public Health, as well as our teaching hospital, University Hospital of Brooklyn. SUNY Downstate recognizes the importance of serving the 2.5 million people who make Brooklyn their home, a population that is among the most diverse in the world. More physicians who practice medicine in New York City received their training at our College of Medicine than any other medical center in the country. Nationally, the medical school ranks seventh in the number of graduates who are now engaged in academic medicine.

The Department of Family Medicine administers two Family Medicine Centers and a longstanding Family Medicine Residency Program. Our two patient care centers achieved certification as Level 3 Patient Centered Medical Homes in 2015.

Candidates must be Board-certified in Family Medicine, must have demonstrated clinical fellowship training and expertise in Obstetrics, and must possess a strong interest and dedication to teaching, research, and scholarship. Candidates must qualify for licensure in New York, as well as meet the requirements for medical staff privileges at University Hospital of Brooklyn. SUNY Downstate Medical Center offers competitive salaries and excellent benefits.

SUNY Downstate Medical Center is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer committed to fostering a diverse, equitable and safe environment, without regard to race, national origin, age, gender, faith, or sexual orientation. Applications from individuals with disabilities and veterans are welcomed.

Letters of application and CVs should be sent to Mark Hoglund, Administrator by email at mark.hoglund@downstate.edu.

Family Medicine Hospitalist Position

Family Medicine Hospitalist

The Department of Family Medicine at State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Medical Center invites applications for a full-time, non-tenure track faculty attending physician, to serve as Family Medicine Hospitalist, Mondays through Fridays. This individual will serve as Clinical Director of the Family Medicine Inpatient Service. In addition to ensuring high quality patient care, our Hospitalist will actively teach and guide our residents and medical students during their Family Medicine inpatient rotations. This individual will also serve as Advisor to assigned residents, and will participate in clinical research and scholarly endeavors.

SUNY Downstate Medical Center is one of the nation’s leading urban medical centers and the only academic medical center in Brooklyn. SUNY Downstate comprises a College of Medicine, a College of Health Related Professions, a College of Nursing, a School of Graduate Studies, a School of Public Health, as well as our teaching hospital, University Hospital of Brooklyn. SUNY Downstate recognizes the importance of serving the 2.5 million people who make Brooklyn their home, a population that is among the most diverse in the world. More physicians who practice medicine in New York City received their training at our College of Medicine than any other medical center in the country. Nationally, the medical school ranks seventh in the number of graduates who are now engaged in academic medicine.

The Department of Family Medicine administers two Family Medicine Centers and a longstanding Family Medicine Residency Program. Our two patient care centers achieved certification as Patient Centered Medical Homes in 2014.

Candidates must be Board-certified, must have demonstrated clinical expertise, and must possess a strong interest and dedication to teaching, research, and scholarship. Candidates must qualify for licensure in New York, as well as meet the requirements for medical staff privileges at University Hospital of Brooklyn. SUNY Downstate Medical Center offers competitive salaries and excellent benefits.

SUNY Downstate Medical Center is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer committed to fostering a diverse, equitable and safe environment, without regard to race, national origin, age, gender, faith, or sexual orientation. Applications from individuals with disabilities and veterans are welcomed.

Letters of application and CVs should be sent to Mark Hoglund, Administrator by email at mark.hoglund@downstate.edu.

Department of Family Medicine Faculty Positions

The Department of Family Medicine, an academic department located in central Brooklyn, is growing. We are looking for junior, mid-level and senior faculty for roles in clinical care, education, and research. The community we serve is diverse and vibrant and we are looking for individuals with a commitment to working in this setting.
The department includes:
• a three year fully accredited Family Medicine Residency Program with six residents at each training level
• two primary care family health centers, one located in University Hospital and the other in a neighborhood one mile from the medical school and hospital
• five school based health programs
• medical school teaching in both the pre-clinical and clinical curriculum
• research and other programs in collaboration with the School of Public Health and other schools in the medical center
The department is most interested in faculty with interest or expertise in the following areas:
• care of hospitalized patients
• maternity care
• medical school education
• office procedures
Interested individuals should send their CV and letter of interest to Ida Askew Stevens, Administrative Assistant at: Ida.Askew-stevens@downstate.edu.

T-Shirt Contest for SUNY Downstate Alumni Association!

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The Alumni Association for the College of Medicine is holding a T-shirt design competition.  This competition is open to Medical School Alumni, Medical School Students, and faculty and staff of the College of Medicine for SUNY Downstate. Nominations will be compiled and voted on electronically.  The top three shirts (or more if we have many good submissions) will be available electronically for sale to anyone who wants to purchase them.  Benefits from the sale of the shirts will go to the Alumni Association.
The top three t-shirt design winners will each win a free stethoscope!

Please submit your entry as a jpg, pdf, Word or PowerPoint file, and email to alumni@downstate.edu. Entries will be received through April 15, 2016.

Downstate hosts Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day panel Feb. 8

Join the School of Public Health Monday, February 8, 2016 at noon in Lecture Hall 6 (sixth floor) for a panel discussion on Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

This Awareness Day activity is very important — to remind the community that HIV is still a serious threat, especially to the black community,” said M. Monica Sweeney, MD, MPH, FACP. “In spite of all of the smiling faces on TV advertising medications to treat HIV, we need to focus on all aspects of prevention. We have come a long way in 35 years but still have a very long way to go when blacks/African Americans are still almost twice as likely to die from HIV/AIDS as a white with HIV/AIDS. We each have a part to play in stopping the epidemic.”

Updated 2/10: Watch the Downstate NBHAAD panel on YouTube, provided by SUNY Downstate Biomedical Communications.

Of the 55% of black Americans with HIV to receive medical care in 2011, only 35% continued receiving medical care through 2013, according to a study released this week by the Center for Disease Control. At the same time, 45% of new HIV infection diagnoses in 2013 occurred in non-Hispanic blacks/African Americans, who represent only 12% of the US population.

In Brooklyn, 29,000 residents were living with HIV/AIDS in 2014, according to the Downstate HIV Center for Women and Children. The borough saw the highest number of new cases (29.3%) in New York City, and is home to the largest number of those diagnosed with both HIV and AIDS.

 

Keynote Speakers:

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Monica Sweeney, MD, MPH, FACP
 ’75 serves as vice dean for global engagement and clinical professor and chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management in the School of Public Health at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. Dr. Sweeney’s most recent position was as the assistant commissioner for the Bureau of HIV/AIDS (BHIV) Prevention and Control in the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.  Dr. Sweeney is the immediate past chair of the SUNY Downstate Council, and served on the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA), and as president of the Medical Society of the County of Kings. She served as co-chair of the Physician Advisory Council of the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute, and as president of the Clinical Directors Network. In the fight against HIV/AIDS, Dr. Sweeney led the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s prevention and control efforts for several years. Her service on the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS resulted in new initiatives to control the disease nationally globally.

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Bisrat K. Abraham, MD, MPH is an infectious disease physician who recently joined BHIV as Director of Clinical Operations and Provider Communication. She completed her MD/MPH training at Emory University and her internal medicine residency at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. After residency, she joined the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service program as a “disease detective” within the Division of Tuberculosis Elimination.  She subsequently moved to NYC in order to complete her ID fellowship at Cornell after which she stayed on as faculty at Cornell conducting research in health disparities with a focus on HIV-related treatment outcomes.

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Luis Freddy Molano, MD joined the Community Healthcare Network in 1989 and currently serves as Vice President of Infectious Diseases and Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender, Questioning (LGBTQ) Programs. Dr. Molano is a respected voice on HIV issues, presenting at conferences including the US Conference on AIDS, Office of Population Affairs as well as state and city forums. He has also written and published in medical journals like the American Journal of Preventive Medicine and The W-Path (Transgender Health Forum) among others.  In addition, he is on the board of the Family Planning Advocates of New York State; a trustee of the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA); sits on the New York City HIV Planning Council – Needs Assessment Committee and has served on the NYS Prevention Planning Group and the NYS AIDS Services Delivery Consortium and is a former member of the International AIDS Society.

Biographies provided by SUNY Downstate.
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