The Alumni Fund Provides Research Support

CSTREETOne of the largest areas of growth at SUNY Downstate College of Medicine has been the amount of research being performed throughout the school as well as other schools within SUNY Downstate.  With appropriate funding, we can only continue to grow our research programs.  Currently the Alumni Association for the College of Medicine provides summer research support for students completing research between their first and second year.  Those students must apply for the program and their applications are reviewed by Mark Stewart, MD’96, Phd,  who is our Dean of Research and also an MD/PhD Alumnus.  We have as many as 120 students performing research over the summer thanks to a joint funding effort between the Alumni Association and the Dean’s Office.  Dean Carlos Pato is also a researcher in addition to being the Dean of the College of Medicine.  He and his wife, Michelle, brought their entire psychiatry lab with them from California.  They are both working diligently to increase the amount and the quality of the research performed and produced at SUNY Downstate across all schools, and not just in the College of Medicine.

In addition to this program, the Alumni Association provides a stipend for a medical student to take one year off of medical school to perform more in depth research.  Last year, we had so many outstanding applications that we provided one full stipend and two partial stipends to support these students.  Given the new curriculum, research is now an integral part of each of our medical students’ educations. 
You can donate to support research by clicking here or copying and pasting the link below into your browser, select “other” and type in the word research. 

Tax Exemption, 501c3, and Answers to your Questions

img_1278Happy New Year!!  Welcome to 2017.  Thank you so much to each and every person who donated to the Alumni Fund and joined or renewed membership to the Alumni Association in 2016.  We are still waiting on our accountants for final figures, but the outpouring of support was tremendous.  Each and every dollar will be utilized to improve the student experience at the College of Medicine.

In early December, Dr. Sweeney and Dr. Parnes sent a letter out to people who had donated or were members prior to my arrival as your Executive Director, but who had not given to us since.

The positive response to this request was heart warming.  It also generated a number of questions.

Question 1: I heard you lost your 501c3 Tax Exempt Status, so I can’t get a tax deduction. Is this true?

Answer 1: The Alumni Association had their tax exempt status temporarily revoked in 2013.  It was fully restored prior to my arrival in March of 2015.  All donations to the Alumni Fund are tax deductible. 

Question2 : My letter thanking me for my Alumni Association Lifetime Membership did not include tax language.  Isn’t my membership tax deductible?

Answer 2: According to the IRS, membership payments or dues are not tax deductible.  Only donations to the Alumni Fund are tax deductible.  Your membership dues support our operating expenses and have associated benefits. 

Question 3: I paid my lifetime membership already, why do you keep asking me for money?

Answer 3: Thank you for paying a lifetime membership.  This important funding helps us to keep operating without spending money from the endowment on operating expenses.  Each membership paid covers a bit of our costs.  We currently still spend a small amount of donation money to cover operating expenses.  The money you donate is utilized for scholarships, research support, funding for student events, funding for student travel to conferences, and the other grants provided through the Alumni Fund.  Without donations, we cannot continue to support these programs at the level that we do now. 

Endowing Scholarships

eucalitoLast year, the Alumni Association provided more scholarships than they have in the history of the medical school.  Thanks to careful management of our endowment which has grown to over $15 million dollars, we award almost $400,000 in scholarships alone.  The scholarships are specifically to assist with tuition.  The majority of the scholarships are for students with identified financial need.  There are a few scholarships that are also for people of diverse heritages or ethnicities.  The financial aid office has requested that we focus all of our energy on scholarships for the school.  The identified financial need for scholarships exceeds $5 million.  We are inching closer every day to funding more scholarships. Donors can choose to donate to our million dollar scholarship fund to be part of giving our scholarships. 
The Alumni Association will create an endowed scholarship in your name or the name of a loved one with a minimum gift of $10,000 payable over five years.  A $10,000 endowed scholarship provides a $500 scholarship for a student with identified financial need or one that fits the specific restrictions of your scholarship. 
You can donate to our million dollar scholaship fund by clicking here or pasting the link below.

If you want to discuss your own endowed scholarship in your name or the name of a loved one, please contact Eric Shoen-Ukre in the Alumni office at 718-270-2675 or via email at

SUNY Downstate News: January 2017

Dr. Allen J. Norin Elected to Represent New York State Transplant Laboratories on the Histocompatibility Committee of UNOS

Allen J. Norin, PhD, D (ABHI), professor of medicine and of cell biology and director of transplant immunology and immunogenetics at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, was elected to represent the New York State Transplant Laboratories on the Histocompatibility Committee of the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). UNOS oversees the organ transplant waiting list in the United States. Read more about SUNY Downstate’s involvement with the New York State Transplant Laboratories, here.

BioBAT Receives $1 Million from Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams recently announced that BioBAT, a not-for-profit organization established to develop affordable, state-of-the-art biotechnology/technology research and manufacturing space in New York City, will receive $1 million in Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) for the outfitting of infrastructure for life science and technology companies occupying BioBAT’s laboratory and manufacturing space. Read more on SUNY Downstate’s involvement with BioBAT, here.

SUNY Downstate Medical Center Honors Dr. Garry S. Sklar and Sarah Sklar

Philanthropists Garry S. Sklar, MD, and his wife, Sarah Sklar, were recently honored at a gathering of SUNY Downstate Medical Center’s senior leadership, in recognition of several significant gifts that support clinical care and research efforts in Anesthesiology and Cardiothoracic Surgery, as well as new technologies in healthcare education through state-of-the-art simulation technology. Read more about the Sklars’ gift to SUNY Downstate, here.

Dr. Steven Schwarz Is the Recipient of the 2016 Murray Davidson Award

Steven M. Schwarz, MD, FAAP, FACN, AGAF, professor of pediatrics at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, was honored with the prestigious Murray Davidson Award for 2016 by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Read more about Dr. Schwarz and the Murray Davidson Award, here.



SUNY Downstate

Report Card for a Curriculum: Inaugural Class Graduates From Downstate Integrated Pathways this May

SUNY Downstate’s medical curriculum took a decade to plan and implement

Dr. Jeanne Macrae

The SUNY Downstate Class of 2017 will be the first class to graduate from four years of the College of Medicine’s new Integrated Pathways curriculum, launched in August 2013.

“They seem to be doing very well,” said Dr. Jeanne Macrae, Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. “Before we declare victory, we want to see how the Match comes out, but they have certainly given us some very good feedback. They said they’ve felt very competent, clinically. Objectively speaking, their test scores are very good. By all the indicators we have, we expect them to do very well.”

A total of 150 faculty members and students restructured Downstate’s curriculum between 2008 and 2013. One goal was to introduce patient-focused clinical study earlier in the medical school career.


“It involved blowing up the entire schedule of the first two years and redoing it hour-by-hour with new activities,” said Dr. Macrae, the longtime residency program director for Internal Medicine who served on the curriculum steering committee. She now oversees Downstate’s four-year curriculum, overall.

“We have the patient wrapped as much as we possibly can into the entire scope of the curriculum,” she said.

Medical school traditionally starts with two years of basic science followed by two years of clinical study, as alumni are aware. Now, basic science comes paired with clinical instruction. An overview of body systems early in Foundations of Medicine, for example, is followed by a lesson on how to perform a physical exam.

“Let’s say they’re learning about the knee,” Dr. Macrae said. “They dissect the knee on their cadaver; learn about the radiology of the knee, and how to examine a patient’s knee. They learn how to talk to a patient about problems with the knee, and the diseases that occur in the knee, and doing this all in the same week.”


Downstate now also starts its small-group, problem-based learning sessions by interviewing a live actor to reflect realistic information gathering. First years who start school in late August are observing physicians in actual clinical environments by October.

Each of six pre-clinical courses ends with a weeklong assessment. Students are tested for medical knowledge and clinical skills, graded on patient interviews and examinations, and on the student’s professionalism and communication skills. If they fail any component, they fail the unit and undergo remediation. The assessments have teeth, Dr. Macrae said.

Downstate began its curricular update almost 10 years ago, with many other US medical schools. Healthcare was changing, and still is. The trend is toward patient-centered care, medical care in teams verses solo practices, more data, and more readily available data.

“There is a whole new set of competencies that doctors need to have,” Dr. Macrae said.

Downstate also needed to comply with changing LCME standards and to make sure students were fully prepared for national tests and licensing exams.

An earlier start to the clinical rotations, now the April of second year, also helps fourth-year students make more informed choices about residency.

“If you really didn’t know what you want to do, come July of fourth year, it is really very hard to arrange enough experiences to make a rational decision about what to do,” Dr. Macrae said. “Plus, in some of the competitive residencies, they weren’t taking people who hadn’t done a rotation in that field at home, plus one in their institution, plus other activities. So, there was felt to be a need for students to have a longer period of time to deal with these residency-related issues.”


The curriculum divides the four years of medical school into three phases. The first phase, Foundations of Medicine, focuses on basic science. During the second phase, Core Clinical Medicine, students complete paired clinical clerkships over a total of 48 weeks. The third phase, Advanced Clinical Medicine, follows late in the third year, lasts 14 months, and rotates students thorough the full spectrum of sites of care: emergency room, inpatient floors, critical care units, palliative care services and nursing homes. Students also complete five months of elective rotations.

“There is less basic science initially,” said Dr. Macrae. “We end basic science three months sooner than we used to.” However, basic science is also woven back in to the final years of medical school for a complete integration.

Learn more about the Integrated Pathways curriculum on the SUNY Downstate site.


Class Notes: January 2017

New class notes received between December 15 and January 13, 2017. If you’re a SUNY Downstate College of Medicine alumn and have reached a professional or personal milestone, let us know! Call 718-270-2075 or email alumni (at) downstate (dot) edu.


Sidney Winawer, MD ’56
Dr. Winawer is Professor Emeritus at Memorial Sloan Kettering, but lectures and continues with an active research program. He was recently recognized by the ACG for outstanding service, and by the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable for national leadership. He writes in January 2017, “I enjoy life with my wife and our four kids, and six grandchildren in Manhattan and East Hampton.” Read more on Dr. Winawer’s award, here.

Joseph Hartog, MD ’59
Dr. Hartog writes that he “retired from a half-century of work as a psychiatrist, including community psychiatry, office practice, administrative (directorship) positions, research and teaching via University of California, San Francisco, with a cross-cultural focus, and as the editor of “The Anatomy of Loneliness” (International University Press).” He is also former clinical professor, UCSF Department of Epidemiology and International Health.

Photo: University of Connecticut

Harold Moskowitz, MD ’59
Dr. Moskowitz writes that he is “still working at University CT Health Center, not doing clinical work anymore but teaching radiology to residents and medical students.”

Photo: Rush University

Philip R. Liebson, MD ’60
Dr. Liebson writes monthly essays on the philosophy of science and medicine for an online medical/humanities journal, Hektoen International Journal.

Stanley Feld, MD ’63, MACE
Dr. Feld has spent several years writing the blog, “Repairing the Healthcare System,” located online at

Photo: Duke University

Harvey Jay Cohen, MD ’65
Dr. Cohen is continuing as Walter Kempner Professor of Medicine, and Director for the Study of Aging and Human Development. He is completing a three-year term as President of the American Federation for Aging Research, and recently received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Brooklyn College.

Photo: Allergy & Asthma Care and Prevention Center

Sanford “Sandy” Avner, MD ’66
Dr. Avner retired Dec. 31, 2016 from Allergy & Asthma Care and Prevention Center, Lone Tree, Colorado, where he specialized in allergy, asthma and immunology. His retirement follows 44 years of “wonderful experiences, whether it has been writing chapters published in textbooks, clinical research, creating a foundation for the poor to educate those especially with asthma, serving on national committee boards” or interacting with patients and fellow practitioners one on one.

Irwin Grossman, MD ’68
Dr. Grossman practices radiology and has six grandchildren, one in college. He plans to “travel and play golf, if my back holds out.”

Photo: Urology Consultants of North Shore

David Kauder, MD ’71
Dr. Kauder retired from his role as managing partner of a urology practice in Massachusetts, and now travels with his wife of 48 years, Susan. One of their sons, the father of their grandson, is a research scientist for a biotech startup in California. Their other son handles IT for an East Coast law firm. Dr. Kauder writes, “I enjoy skiing still, plus it is great to have time to read for pleasure.”

Paul S. Quentzel, MD ’71
Dr. Quentzel is formerly a gastroenterologist at McDonald Army Health Center in Fort Estes, Virginia. Since August 2016, he has returned to Florida, and plans to do volunteer work at a clinic nearby.

Mary Didie, MD ’74
As of December 2016, Dr. Didie continues to work at Blythedale Children’s Hospital in Valhalla, New York.

Ronald Hellman, MD ’75
Dr. Hellman was appointed Associate Professor of Psychiatry in the Center for Transgender Medicine & Surgery, Institute for Advanced Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, NY in June 2016.

Photo: Mayo Clinic

Christopher Gostout, MD ’76
Dr. Gostout is retiring from the Mayo Clinic Division of Gatstroenterology and Hepatology where he has held a joint appointment in the Department of Surgery as an interventional endoscopist and founder/director of the developmental endoscopy unit. I will become the chief medical officer for Apollo Endosurgery, Austin, Texas.

Photo: Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

John A Walker, MD ’76
Dr. Walker is a full-time faculty member of the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School where he serves as professor and Vice Chair for Education for the Department of Medicine. He is also Clerkship Director, and Associate Dean for Faculty Development.

Photo: Meadville Opthalmology Associates

John M Pulito, MD ’80
Dr. Pulito writes is still actively practicing ophthalmology in his single specialty group, Meadville Ophthalmology Associates. The group specializes in cataract and refractive surgeries. He is also currently the president of the Crawford County Medical Society. He and his wife Patricia (Downstate college of Nursing 1978) have been married for 36 years, and have three children and two grandchildren. Patricia heads the simulation labs at Mercyhurst University School of Nursing. “Not long ago I was on Who Wants to be a Millionaire but as you can see I am still working so it wasn’t me,” Dr. Pulito writes. “My next goal is Jeopardy.”

©Michael Paras Photography (973) 476-3988
Photo: Seton Hall

Michael Giuliano, MD ’81
Dr. Giuliano has been appointed Assistant Dean for Faculty Development at Seton Hall School of Medicine.

Donald Sherak, MD ’86
Dr. Sherak lectures at Tufts Medical School, and maintains a clinical and forensic practice. He now also has a son studying medicine at Einstein College of Medicine.

Photo: Tyme

Giuseppe Del Priori, MD ’87
Dr. Del Priori is the Chief Medical Officer at TYME (TYMI-NASDAQ), and professor at the Morehouse School of Medicine. He is launching efforts now to start screening for endometrial cancer.

Mark H. Jackson, MD ’87
As of April 2015, Dr. Jackson works in the field of Addiction Medicine as Chief of the Medical Unit of START Treatment & Recovery Centers in New York City.

Photo: Johns Hopkins University

Eric Singman, MD ’92, PhD
Dr. Singman is Division Chief of the General Eye Services Clinic of the Wilmer Eye Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.

Photo: Northwestern Medicine

Myles Wolf, MD ’96
After serving as Margaret Gray Morton Professor of Medicine and founding director of the Center for Translational Metabolism and Health at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Dr. Wolf was appointed Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Nephrology at the Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina, in August 2016.

Photo: White Plains Hospital Group

Lauren Adams, MD ’10
Dr. Adams, a dermatologist, joined the White Plains, New York, Hospital Group Physician Associates division in January, 2017. Dr. Adams earned her undergraduate degree from Duke University and her medical degree from the SUNY Downstate College of Medicine. She completed her internship at Maimonides Medical Center, and her dermatology residency at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn.

The White Plains Hospital Group has offices in Mount Kisco and Scarsdale. In addition to offering screenings, laser surgery and cosmetic dermatology, the group also offers Mohs surgery.

Sara Cohen, MD ’13

Dr. Cohen is chief resident third-year at Tufts University.

In Memoriam

Marvin Kochman, MD ’56
Dr. Kochman passed away Jan. 10, 2017, in Brooklyn at age 90. He was a Senior Partner in the Brooklyn Eye Surgery Center, a Fellow in the American Academy of Ophthalmology and Fellow in the American College of Surgeons, among many other professional societies and affiliations. He was also a member of the Alumni Association-College of Medicine, SUNY Downstate Board of Managers, as well as a past Alumni Association president.

Morton L. Kurland, MD ’56
Dr. Kurland passed away in August, 2016, at 83. He retired in 2014 from his psychiatric practice in Rancho Mirage, California, where he practiced for 40 years after leaving his practice in New York City and his teaching position at the New Jersey College of Medicine. He was associated with the Eisenhower Memorial Hospital, The Betty Ford Clinic, and the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center. He is lovingly remembered by his wife of 60 years, four daughters, ten grandchildren and two great grandchildren.


Sidney J. Winawer, MD ’56 Recieves MACG -Samuel S. Weiss Award


Sidney J. Winawer, MD, DrSc (hon), MACG, is internationally recognized for his contributions to the prevention and diagnosis of colorectal cancer, describing the developmental stages of colorectal cancer, defining familial high-risk groups, promoting screening, and demonstrating the reduction in incidence and mortality of colorectal cancer by removal of adenomatous polyps through his leadership of the National Polyp Study. This led to the concept of screening colonoscopy, which was introduced by the 1997 U.S. GI Consortium Guidelines Committee (later the U.S. Multisociety Task Force) which he co-chaired.

Dr. Winawer was Chief of the Gastroenterology-Nutrition Service and Chairman of the Cancer Prevention and Cancer Control Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering for 20 years, and Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. He initiated the Integrative Medicine Program and was head of the WHO Collaborating Center for the Prevention of Colorectal Cancer. He is an emeritus attending physician at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

Dr. Winawer has received many research grants, published more than 400 research articles, reviews and book chapters, and has been an international leader in colorectal cancer screening. This work has earned him many awards including the Memorial Sloan Kettering Alumni Award, the American College of Gastroenterology Master Award and Berk/Fise Clinical Achievement Award, the American Gastroenterology Association Distinguished Achievement Award in Basic Science and Fiterman Award, the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy Rudolf Schindler Award, the American Cancer Society/American Society of Clinical Oncology Award, the John Wayne Clinical Research Award from the Society of Surgical Oncology, the Laurel Award for International Leadership from the Cancer Research & Prevention Foundation, the First Lifetime Achievement Award from The Prevent Cancer Foundation, a Recognition Award for Service to New York City from the Commissioner of Health, an honorary degree of Doctor of Science from SUNY Downstate Medical Center, the Israel Cancer Research Foundation Founders Award and he was recently awarded the American Cancer Society Medal of Honor for Cancer Control.

He has been the editor of textbooks on colorectal cancer and co-author of Cancer Free, a book on cancer prevention written for the general public. His book Healing Lessons written after his wife’s death was reviewed by the New York Times and has been translated into several languages. Dr. Winawer helped Katie Couric plan, and appeared on, the NBC colorectal cancer series and also participated in the White House Colorectal Cancer Campaign kickoff in 1999.

After completing a GI fellowship on the Harvard Service of Boston City Hospital, Dr. Winawer served as a faculty member of Harvard Medical School. He belongs to numerous professional societies and has served as the President of the American College of Gastroenterology, was a founder of the NY Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.

About the Samuel S. Weiss Award: The Samuel S. Weiss Award was established as a service award in commemoration of the founding father of the ACG, Samuel S. Weiss, whose efforts and initiative resulted in the establishment of the College in 1932. It is presented periodically, and not necessarily annually, to a Fellow of the College in recognition of outstanding career service to the American College of Gastroenterology. Nominations are solicited and reviewed by the Awards Committee and the recipients must be approved by the ACG Board of Trustees.

Though this award is typically awarded to a single ACG member in any given year, the ACG Awards Committee and Board of Trustees has taken the extraordinary step of recognizing three leaders, who together worked to put into place important changes to the College’s administrative structure that enabled the spectacular growth and development of the College since the mid-1980s.

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Are you a Downstate alumnus or alumna who has reached a personal or professional milestone? Let us know! Call 718-270-2075 or email alumni (at)


Remembering Jonathan H. Miller, MD ’75 radiologist, world traveler


Aug. 19, 1949 – Dec. 31, 2016

Starting in his early teens, Dr. Jonathan H. Miller followed several influences leading him toward a career in medicine, specifically radiology.

His mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, he suffered a broken leg and he was impressed with the medical treatment both received. Later, his family’s next-door neighbor on Long Island, a radiologist, became his mentor. Those experiences led him to major in biology at Cornell University, attend medical school and pursue a radiology career.

Dr. Miller, a Buffalo radiologist for more than two decades and a man with a passion for traveling to the far reaches of the world, died unexpectedly Saturday after being stricken while walking his dog on the beach in Port Colborne, Ont. He was 67.

An Oceanside, N.Y. native, Dr. Miller earned his bachelor of science degree from Cornell in 1971 before graduating from SUNY Downstate Medical Center and completing his residency in radiology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

After he met Dr. Robin Lazar at a Luciano Pavarotti concert in Central Park, the couple married in 1980 and moved to Buffalo, where he worked as a radiologist at Buffalo General Hospital, South Buffalo Mercy Hospital and in private practice. He retired in the early 2000s.

Outside work, Dr. Miller had an adventurer’s spirit, traveling around the world to locales that included Africa, India, China, Nepal, Peru, Brazil and Ireland.

“He just loved meeting people, learning about new places and enjoying their cultures, traditions and food,” said his wife, Dr. Robin Lazar-Miller.

Family members cited Dr. Miller’s varied passions and experiences in life. As a Cornell student in the turbulent late 1960s and early 1970s, he was a member of Students for a Democratic Society, a student-activist movement known for its protests against the nation’s economic injustice and the Vietnam War. He had a passion for photography, especially in taking photos of people’s faces all over the world. He also played the piano by ear, became a Cub Scout master who learned to play the bugle and had a fierce love for his dogs.

As Lazar-Miller said, “He was a multi-faceted guy.”

Surviving, besides his wife, are one son, David; one daughter, Allyson; his mother, Muriel; one brother, Elliott; and one sister, Sharyn.

The Buffalo News