Carla Boutin-Foster, MD ’94, Appointed Downstate Associate Dean

Carla Boutin-Foster, MD

Carla Boutin-Foster, MD is new associate dean for the SUNY Downstate Office of Diversity Education and Research, formerly known as the Office of Minority Affairs in the College of Medicine. Dr. Boutin-Foster will implement, sustain and evaluate structured programs to attract and retain students, trainees, and faculty from diverse backgrounds, traditionally underrepresented in medicine and biomedical research.

Dr. Boutin-Foster, a ’94 graduate of SUNY Downstate’s College of Medicine, completed her residency in Internal Medicine at New York Presbyterian Hospital. She earned a master’s degree from the Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences of Cornell University in Health Services Research and Clinical Epidemiology.  

Dr. Boutin-Foster served as the director and principal investigator of the Comprehensive Center of Excellence in Disparities Research and Community Engagement (CEDREC), which was funded by an $8,000,000 P60 award from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) of the NIH. The mission of CEDREC was to conduct innovative health disparities research, engage community partners, and increase the diversity in the biomedical research pipeline.

She is an alumna of the Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and a Nanette Laitman Clinical Scholar in Community Health.  Most recently she served as an associate professor of medicine, associate professor of healthcare policy and research, and as the associate dean for diversity and inclusion at Weill Cornell Medical College. She is currently a member of the Health Disparities and Equity Promotion Study Section of the NIH. She has written numerous peer-reviewed publications in the area of cardiovascular disease disparities and behavioral science research.

Dr. Boutin-Foster was chair of the Minority Health Council of the New York State Department of Health and was a member of the Public Health and Health Planning Council.

Dr. Boutin-Foster will be joining the faculty in the Department of Medicine and will work closely with the faculty in the Brooklyn Health Disparities Center under the leadership of Dr. Moro Salifu to continue her research in the areas of health disparities and community engagement.

Carlos Pato, MD
Dean, College of Medicine, SUNY Downstate

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Downstate’s Iuliana Shapira, MD illuminates Cancer Moonshot Initiative

Dr. Iuliana Shapira, Director of the Division of Oncology and Hematology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center talks about the Cancer Moonshot Initiative‘s effects on clinical trials for minority patients.

“The Cancer Moonshot Initiative is a phenomenal program that will allow us to integrate our research efforts, and form partnerships with our patients,” Dr. Shapira said. “Our colleagues can find faster cures for cancer.”

Minorities and immigrants are often underrepresented in clinical trials, she said, but this initiative provides, “the best medicine, up front, right there in their neighborhood.”

President Obama launched The Cancer Moonshot Initiative January 12, 2016 to “make more therapies available to more patients, while also improving our ability to prevent cancer and detect it at an early stage.”

NCI Acting Director Douglas Lowy, MD and NIH Director Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD shared their perspective on the initiative in the New England Journal of Medicine, May 19, 2016. The time is right now for a renewed surge in cancer research.

“Although key actions and deliverables remain a work in progress, one aim of this new initiative is certain: to inspire a new generation of American visionaries to defy the boundaries of current knowledge about cancer. Unleashing the talents of the scientific community by providing a strong, steady stream of resources should enable biomedical research to accelerate progress in the fight against cancer. We expect these efforts to build a firm foundation for the development of better means of prevention, treatment, and cure for all types of cancer.”

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Marc Tobias, MD ’12, recognized nationally for data platform

Marc Tobias, MD, a graduate of 2012 SUNY Downstate Medical Center, received a national award May 23, 2016, from the “Closing the Data Divide” challenge for his work in creating a new data platform, PHRASE. Dr. Tobias is a practicing Emergency Medicine physician at the University of Pennsylvania Health System and a Clinical Informatics Fellow at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

The Population Health Risk Assessment Support Engine (PHRASE) is an EHR-agnostic system designed to identify at-risk populations and provide clinical decision support (CDS) to health care providers at the point of care. PHRASE allows for a two-way flow of data. Public health provides timely updates about evolving disease and patient risk factors through the system, while clinicians consume these recommendations in the EHR and utilize 1-click reporting of disease cases back to the public health department.


Brooklyn Stories Celebrates Another Journal Well Done

The annual journal of poetry, fiction, art and photography gives Downstate the chance to shine creatively, and is funded by alumni giving.

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The inscription inside the cover dedicates Brooklyn Stories XV to “those who recognize the art in medicine.” Then, it lists the Alumni Association, which contributed $1,475 toward the project this year, the College of Medicine, Medical Student Council, University Council, Dean of the College of Medicine, and Art and Anatomy, from a collective 14 editors and 29 contributors.

If you doubt Downstate’s enthusiasm for the project, borrow a copy from the Alumni Association (Basic Science Building 1-6), and flip through 88 pages of incredible photos, paintings, short fiction and poetry. The artists, editors and other interested parties celebrated the release party May 12 in a Downstate classroom.

“Art is a wonderful outlet for reflection,” Elizaveta Efuni, editor in chief, said earlier this year. That is evident in the pages.

Editors accept submissions annually from students, faculty and staff from late fall, generally, until Jan. 1. For more information, contact the Alumni Association at, or call 718-270-2075.

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Class Notes 5-12-16: News Briefs on 9 Alumni

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Lauren Howard Lucke, MD ’52, deceased
Dr. Lucke was born in Jefferson, Iowa, August 24, 1926, and died Dec. 15, 2015. He graduated from the University of Washington with a major in Zoology, and after serving in WWII, attended medical school at SUNY Downstate, paid for by the US Army. He had followed in his father and grandfather’s footsteps to medicine. He met a nurse at SUNY Downstate, the late Jane Buskirk Lucke, who would eventually become his wife. Dr. Lucke practiced beside his father in a Seattle general practice before moving to his own practice in Sultan, Washington. He earned his Masters in Public Health, and spent the rest of his career as Director of Health for Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties in Washington.

Herbert Leonard Wachtel, MD ’56, deceased
Dr. Watchtel, 81, died in his sleep Feb. 12 in Maryland. He was a military cardiologist who left the service in 1969 to join Bethesda Memorial Hospital’s burgeoning heart ward. He eventually served as both the hospital’s chief of cardiology and chief of staff. He was also instrumental in helping start Delray Medical Center.

Robert L. Stamper, MD, ‘65
Dr. Stamper is still working at UCSF where he is the Fortisure Distinguished Professor of Clinical Opthalmology, involved in clinical care teaching and research projects in India, Ethiopia and Thailand.

Allen I. Goldberg, MD, ‘68
Dr. Goldberg recalls, “My student travel in 1967 to France led to my professional development as a home care physician.”

Robert D. Rudnicki, MD ‘68
Dr. Rudnicki retired from his rheumatology practice in October, 2015. Two of their eight grandchildren are in college, attending Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia.

Robert B. Nussenblatt, MD ’72, deceased
Dr. Nussenblatt, Chief of the Laboratory of Immunology at the National Eye Institute dies at 62. Read more, here.

Donna J. Barbot, MD ‘78
Dr. Barbot works for the Temple Health System as the Chair of Surgery at Temple Jeanes Hospital.

Miriam Vincent, MD ’85
Dr. Vincent was appointed SUNY Downstate Director for Healthcare Innovation and DSRIP. Read more, here.

Kenneth Becker, MD, ‘86
Dr. Becker is Director of Trauma/General Surgery at South Nassau Community Hospital in Oceanside, NY.


NYS-ITRP Wins $1.5 M for HIV Research Training in Kazakhstan


The New York State International Training and Research Program (NYS-ITRP), directed by SUNY Downstate Medical Center Distinguished Service Professor Jack DeHovitz, MD, MPH, has received an award from the federal National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the amount of $1.5 million over five years to conduct the “Kazakh National Medical University SUNY HIV Research Training Program.”

Jack DeHovitz, MD, MPH

NYS-ITRP, an international research training program focused on building HIV and infectious disease research capacity in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, is cooperatively administered by the State University of New York, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, and the University at Albany School of Public Health. Their faculty and staff have provided local and global leadership in responding to the HIV epidemic for over two decades, and have implemented training programs in eleven countries from the Czech Republic to Mongolia, including the former Soviet republics of Armenia, Estonia, Georgia, and Russia.

While HIV incidence is declining globally, Central Asia is one of the few regions in the world where HIV infections continue to rise. Kazakhstan, the largest country in Central Asia, has experienced some of the most deleterious effects of the HIV epidemic in the region.

Kazakhstan achieved independence after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 and has a population of more than 16 million. Located along the historic Silk Road, one of Asia’s oldest trade routes, it has been impacted by drug trafficking. Drug use and unsafe injecting practices coupled with widespread migration has created an environment resulting in rising rates of HIV, other sexually transmitted infections, tuberculosis, and hepatitis C virus infection. Despite notable improvements in responding to the HIV epidemic, access to antiretroviral therapy remains low and institutional barriers impede access to care by substance users.

The new program will build capacity at the Kazakh National Medical University (KazNMU) School of Public Health to conduct implementation science research addressing HIV treatment cascade gaps in the country. The program aims to decrease the burden of HIV disease through the systematic HIV-related research training of investigators from KazNMU. The training objectives include: 1) the provision of advanced degree training (Master of Science in Epidemiology and Master of Public Health) to qualified investigators associated with KazNMU; 2) the establishment of institutional links between KazNMU and NYS-ITRP to expand implementation science research and strengthen KazNMU’s ability to be a national and regional leader in research addressing the HIV care cascade; and 3) the training of research and public health professionals at KazNMU in population-based research and implementation science research methodologies.

“I look forward to continued collaboration with NYS-ITRP faculty and staff at SUNY Downstate, UAlbany’s School of Public Health, and KazNMU,” Dr. DeHovitz said. “Our lengthy and successful work with the University at Albany in several Central and Eastern European countries over the past 20 years has become a model for innovative approaches to international education and training.”

UAlbany will provide the majority of the training and SUNY Downstate will provide the majority of the research.

The award to NYS-ITRP is from the Fogarty International Center and the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number D43TW010046, through the Research Foundation for SUNY. Dr. DeHovitz is principal investigator.

—SUNY Downstate

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Black Doctors as a Significant Workforce in Health, SUNY Downstate panel 5/12/16

Twenty-five percent of the US population is black or Hispanic, while only 15% percent of doctors are black or Hispanic, according to the Robin Wood Johnson Foundation.* The Downstate community is invited to join a discussion on the importance of this topic as it relates to the field of medicine.

*Browse AAMC diversity data, here.

Downstate Dialogues
Health Science Education Building
Lecture Hall 1A
Thursday, May 12, 2016
1:30-2:30 pm

Moro Salifu, MD, MBA, MPH, FACP, Chair of the Department of Medicine, Chief of the Division of Nephrology and Director of the Kidney Transplant Program at SUNY Downstate
Romain Branch, MD, Residency Program Director for the Department of Psychiatry
Temitope Jose, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Family Medicine
Michael A. Joseph, PhD, MPH, Interim Chair, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, and Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Deborah Reede, MD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Radiology

Presented in cooperation with the Brooklyn Health Disparities Center, a partnership of the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health and the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President

Downstate Dialogues is the Downstate chapter of White Coats for Black Lives

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