Student Profile – Sean Mooney, COM’20

This month’s SUNY Downstate College of Medicine student profile is of Sean Mooney, class of 2020. Sean completed his undergraduate education at The University of California, Los Angeles where he majored in Psychology.

Who is/was your favorite professor at SUNY Downstate College of Medicine and why?
My favorite professor is Dr. Jiang because not only did he make histology fun and exciting while also teaching us important information about this difficult field, but he effectively motivated us to improve our skills while we were learning from him.

What is your favorite memory so far of your time studying at SUNY Downstate College of Medicine?
My favorite memories so far have been of celebrating with my classmates after finding out we passed our exams.

What is/will be your specialty?
Surgery or Emergency Medicine or Neurology

How has the Alumni Association for the College of Medicine at SUNY Downstate helped you (scholarships, clubs, events, white-coat ceremony, senior week, research, summer research, technology, healthcare in developing countries elective or other)?
The Alumni Association has provided me with amazing support for my summer research. I am grateful to be able to continue my work while not having to worry financially.



Class Notes: March 2018

Class Notes:

Paul A. Jacobs, MD’54
is still involved with the Orthopaedic Surgery Department of the Medical College of Wisconsin, but is retired from practice. He spends winter as a snowbird in Florida and returns to Wisconsin for the Summer.

Robert S. Improta, MD’69
is working part-time, playing golfing, exercises with lap swimming, walking his dog, and running. He also attends social events with friends (Four Years a Widower).

Gary Pess, MD’81
celebrated 35 years of marriage with his wife Lois (Downstate CHRP 1979), married off both of their twin daughters, Rachel and Rebecca, and welcomed their first grandchild, Elizabeth Rosemary Pess, daughter of Matthew and Lyndsay Pess.

Scott Zuckerman, MD’85
has published his first book “Dreams Of My Comrades,” by Sunbury Press in November 2017. It is the story of a 95-year-old WWII veteran who revealed the untold details of his wartime experiences to Dr. Zuckerman. It is the story of their unexpected journey in the search for the truth. The book is available for purchase on here.

In Memoriam:
*The Alumni Association recognizes in the “In Memoriam” section, not all alumni listed are recently deceased. As we become aware of the passing of our alumni we recognize them to provide their classmates with an update.

Harvey Rubin, MD’48
Maurice Harvey Rubin, an ophthalmologist, died on November 28 at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona. He was 93. Dr.Rubin’s tender devotion to his family, friends, and patients was matched by his passion for learning, exploring and teaching. Harvey taught at the University of North Carolina -Chapel Hill and Stanford medical schools for a combined period of 35 years. He was a guest teacher at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem and was a guest of China to teach new procedures in cataract surgery in the 1970 ’s.He practiced ophthalmology in Greensboro, N.C. for 33 years.

Seymour Berger, MD’57
Dr. Seymour Berger, 86, of Lakewood, NJ, died suddenly on February 25, 2018, at University Hospital in Newark, NJ. Born in Freehold, NJ, he graduated from Rutgers University, then Downstate Medical Center where he received this medical degree. He served his country as a captain in the United States Army. Dr. Berger was a beloved physician in Lakewood, NJ for over 55 years before his retirement in 2008. He is survived by his loving wife Lucille; Sons, Ira and his wife Linda of Rockville, MD, Clifford and his wife Nancy of Needham, MA, Mitchell and his wife Sandra of Cherry Hill, NJ, and his adored grandchildren, Allison, Steven, Emily, Amy, Stephanie, Evan, Isabelle and Gianna.

Funeral services will be held 11:30 AM Tuesday, February 27, 2018, at Temple Beth Am Shalom, 1235 Highway 70 West Lakewood, NJ. Interment will follow at Agudath Achim Cemetery in Freehold, NJ. Memorial contributions in Seymour’s memory may be directed to the American Heart Association, The American Cancer Society or to a charity of one’s own choice. Arrangements are under the care of Belkoff-Goldstein Funeral Chapel.

SUNY Downstate News: March 2018

February 19th – Presidents Day
March 8th – International Women’s Day

March is National Nutrition Month

SUNY Downstate Events:

  • February 28, 2018: What’s Happening in Brooklyn Health. A Conversation Led by Errol Louis, Political Anchor of NY1 News A Black History Month Committee Event. Held in Alumni Auditorium at 12 P.M. – 1:30 P.M. A conversation led by Errol Louis, Political Anchor NY1 News and Host of “Inside City Hall” with Wayne J. Riley, M.D., MPH, MBA, MACP President, SUNY Downstate Medical Center
  • March 2, 2018: 3rd Annual Cancer Health Disparities Symposium. It is free and open to the Campus and Community. Held in the Alumni Auditorium from 8:00 A.M. – 3:30 P.M.
  • March 10, 2018: Spring Open House: Office of Student Admissions. The event will be in the Alumni Auditorium from 9:30 A.M – 2:00 P.M.
  • March 20, 2018: Breaking the Glass Ceiling: Women and Advancement in the Field of Medicine. The 2nd Annual Dr. Dale Blackstock Women’s History Month Lecture and Awards Ceremony in HSEB Lecture Hall 1B from 12:00 P.M. – 1:30 P.M. The speaker is previous Alumni Association President, M. Monica Sweeney, M.D., MPH, FACP.
  • March 20, 2018: Health Disparities and Health Inequity: A Call to Action. AOA Annual Lecture in the Alumni Auditorium from 4:00 P.M. – 5:00 P.M.
  • March 23, 2018: Conference: Health Disparities and People Living with Disabilities in the Alumni Auditorium from 8:30 A.M – 5:00 P.M.

Job Opportunity:

#111517: Medical Director
Med-Scribe, Inc. is a recruiting firm serving healthcare organizations since 1987. We are seeking a direct hire Medical Director for a very successful hospice and palliative care program in Rochester, NY.

The Associate Medical Director assists with oversight of physician services for the Hospice Program, in accordance with accepted standards of practice and which support the philosophy, mission and purpose of Hospice. Responsibilities include clinical oversight of the program, consulting with attending physicians regarding pain and symptom control and with staff on symptom management.

We are seeking an outstanding clinician with a passion for end-of-life care and the leadership needed to effectively serve our program and patients. Integral to this role is a collaborative leadership style to integrate services with attending physicians and organizations served.  You will work with the Quality Assurance Programs to perform continuing QA on services.

You will perform home visits for Palliative Care Consultation, Patient assessment and intervention, and for certification and re-certification requirements. Home visits for hospice will be performed as needed. In addition, you will perform an advocacy role for hospice within the community and professional organizations. This includes participation in education for facilities, community health care providers and physicians.

This is a pivotal role to the non-profit agency served.  Salary is commensurate with experience and there is a significant benefit and on-call reimbursement schedule.

To be considered, please forward resume to or call 1-800-278-1463 with questions. EEO.


SUNY Downstate News: February 2018

 Jan 15th – Martin Luther King Day
February – Black History Month

SUNY Downstate Announcements:

  • Second Year Medical Students, Cindy Tsui, and Eric Hirsch, with the support of the Alumni Association, presented a resolution titled “Improved Accessibility of Feminine Hygiene Products” to the American Medical Association House of Delegates. “Their resolution provided a comprehensive, actionable proposal for the AMA to encourage the IRS to classify feminine hygiene products as medical necessities. After earning regional co-sponsorship, the resolution passed the Medical Student Section of the House of Delegates unanimously.”
  • Past Alumni Association President, Dr. M. Monica Sweeney, Chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management in the School of Public Health, volunteered her skills in Puerto Rico on a medical mission arranged by The New York State Nurses Association.
  • Appointment of James Minto, the new Associate Vice President of Facilities Management and Development (FM&D). An electrical engineer by training, James brings more than 30 years of experience in managing facilities of complex organizations, largely public entities in health care and higher education. James will be responsible for directing the Division’s facilities planning, design, and construction.
  • Ron Najman retires after more than 30 years at SUNY Downstate.
  • Robert Gore named to the Class of 2018 Presidential Leadership Scholars.

SUNY Downstate Events:

  • January 24, 2018: A Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Legacy Keynote Speaker – Rev. Kirkpatrick Cohall, MDiv, DMin, Ph.D. The event will be held in the Alumni Auditorium at 12:00 P.M – 1:00 P.M. Join President Riley and Rev. Kirkpatrick Cohall, Chair of Downstate’s SUNY Council, in a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King.
  • January 26, 2018: Information Lecture on EPIC (Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage Program). The event will be held in the Alumni Auditorium at 12:00 P.M – 1:00 P.M
  • February 5, 2018: DSRIP Special Lecture – The Virtual Dementia Tour. Experience the realities of life for persons living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The event will be held in the Alumni Auditorium at 1:00 P.M – 3:00 P.M
  • February 8, 2018: Downstate Open Mic: Alumni Auditorium 6-8 P.M. (Free Admission, Entertainment, and Food)
  • February 15, 2018: Town Hall Meeting – A discussion of the vision and plans for Downstate and the community. The event will be held at the Alumni Association at 3:30 P.M.
  • February 15, 2018: Black History Month – Daniel Hale Williams Society Film Screening: I Am Not Your Negro. The event will be held in the Student Center Screening Room at 6:30 P.M. – 8:00 P.M.
  • February 28, 2018: Black History Month – What’s Happening in Brooklyn Healthcare. A conversation led by Errol Louis with President Wayne J. Riley. The event will be held at the Alumni Association at 12:00 P.M. – 1:30 P.M.



Class Notes: February 2018

Class Notes:

Arthur D. Drazan, MD’61
has been retired since 1991 as a DABR, FACR, and DABN. He continues to fish, play gold, and is an active member of the Board of his community. Dr. Drazan has 4 children and 8 grandchildren with his wife Sandy.

James Moorefield, MD’61
has just retired after 48 years in the practice of Radiology with Mercy Radiology Group in Sacremento.

Constance Shames, MD’63
Dr. Shames’s novel “Death of a Scholar,” was featured in Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society Winter 2017 Pharos magazine. To read the review click the link here. The review is featured on page 56 of the magazine.

Elliot P. Vichinsky, MD’74
was featured in an NPR article called “ Sickle Cell Patients Endure Discrimination, Poor Care And Shortened Lives.” “One of the national crises in health care is the care for the adult sickle cell,” says researcher and physician Dr. Elliott Vichinsky, who started the sickle cell center at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland in California in 1978. “This group of people can live much longer with the management we have, and they’re dying because we don’t have access to care.” To read the complete article click here.

James W. Ferguson, MD’ 81
was the former president of the DMC Alumni Association. Dr. Ferguson was the graduation speaker at St George University at Lincoln Center, and received honorary Doctorate for volunteering work. His latest volunteering trip was to Puerto Rico with (RAM) Remote Area Medical. While working in Aguada, Aguidilla areas his met Dr. Atonio Novello (Surgeon Gen. under President Bush) with wife Irene A Ferguson RN and son Dr. James A Ferguson also volunteers.

The pictures below are from Dr. Ferguson’s experience. “Sleeping in bleachers of stadiums to run clinics in available light during the daytime with Remote Area Medical….seeing local residents amid the destruction of Hurricane Irma and Maria…..”

In Memoriam:

*The Alumni Association recognizes in the “In Memoriam” section, not all alumni listed are recently deceased. As we become aware of the passing of our alumni we recognize them to provide their classmates with an update.

George A. Delatush, MD’43
Dr. Delatush has passed away. No other information is available at this time.

Stanley E. Gitlow, MD’48
Stanley Edward Gitlow, MD passed away June 19 at age 91 in Naples, Florida. A specialist in internal medicine and hypertension, Dr. Gitlow served New York City residents from his private practice for roughly five decades while simultaneously serving as Clinical Professor of Medicine at the Mount Sinai Medical Center. In 1954, he co-founded what would become the American Society of Addiction Medicine, the professional medical society for addiction specialist physicians, eventually serving as its President for two terms.

To read the complete obituary click here.

Audrey C. Cox, MD’51
KING, Audrey Lilian Cox, was born on November 13, 1925, and departed on December 21, 2017, to join her best friend and husband, Don, in Heaven. She was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Raymond and Ragnhild “Ray” Cox. The grandchild of immigrants from Norway, Audrey treasured her family and personified the determination, strength and generosity that were a cornerstone of her family life. At the age of six, Audrey declared to her family that she would become a physician. While this was a very unusual career choice for a woman at the time, Audrey never wavered from her goals. Once she set her mind to something she achieved it. She graduated from Barnard College at Columbia University and from the medical school of the State University of New York, eventually completing a post-doctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins. While she was in her internship at Case Western Reserve, she met her true love, Don, and they married in 1953. Audrey and Don settled in Richmond, Virginia and were blessed with three children, Rhonda, Perry and Jon Eric. Audrey adored children and became a pediatrician specializing in development challenges, enabling her to share her enormous love not only with her own kids but also with others. In retirement, she volunteered at the First Presbyterian Preschool, always energized by her love of children (in lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the First Presbyterian Preschool). As her children had their own families, she delighted in watching every stage of her grandchildren’s development, always willing to share her wisdom to help her kids be the best parents. She was a dedicated custodian of the family’s heritage, passing down stories about where ancestors had come from, the challenges they faced and the people they became. Audrey enjoyed traveling the globe and never tired of learning about new places and embracing new cultures. Her sense of humor, generosity and willpower enabled her to embrace each stage of life with positive determination. Her family meant everything to her and her passing creates an enormous void for her children, Rhonda (Olivier) Perraudin, Perry (Patty) King and Jon Eric (Mary) King; and grandchildren, Virginie and Xavier Perraudin, Lily, Holden and Ryan King and Julia and Xander King. We will miss her hugely, but take comfort in knowing that Audrey and Don are together again, traveling around Heaven in their beloved Born Free RV, which will never run out of gas or need GPS. Memorial services will be held Monday, February 19, 10:30 a.m., at Westminster Canterbury Chapel, 1600 Westbrook Ave.

Gilbert S. Melnick, MD’54
Gilbert S. Melnick, M.D. of Caldwell, NJ passed away on Wednesday, January 17, 2018.

Born in the Bronx, NY Dr. Melnick graduated from Cornell University and SUNY Downstate Center Medical School, Brooklyn, NY class of 1954. He interned at Meadowbrook Hospital, Hempstead, NY 1954-1955, and was a Fellow in Radiology and Medical Fellow in Cardiovascular Radiology at University of Minnesota Hospital 1957-1961 and Yale-New Haven Hospital Instructor of Radiology 1963-1966.

To read the complete obituary click here.

Theodore R. Smith, MD’61
“I am very sad to report that my husband, Dr. Theodore R. Smith, SUNY Downstate ’61, died on June 1, 2017. Dr. Smith practiced radiology at Montefiore Medical Center-Weiler/Einstein, in the Bronx, NY, FOR 48 years, and retired as Professor Emeritus in 2015. At the SUNY-Downstate Anniversary Alumni Reunion in May 2011, Dr. Smith was awarded the Harry Z Mellins, MD  Master Teacher Award in Radiology. During his time at Weiler/Einstein he published several articles in peer-reviewed journals and for a time he was also an editor of “Correlation Conferences in Radiology and Pathology” in the New York State Journal of Medicine. In the 1970’s, Dr. Smith performed radiology evaluations at facilities in New York and other sites around the U.S. for the Bronx Professional Standards Review Organization, Inc.

Before joining the staff at Einstein Hospital, Dr. Smith served as a Captain in the U.S. Army. Five days after his discharge he married his wife, Doris, and he passed away a few weeks short of their 50th wedding anniversary. He enjoyed(or not) watching the University of Miami Hurricanes football, the NY Yankees and the NY Giants, and playing golf; most of all, he enjoyed spending time with his family. In addition to his wife, he is survived by two sons and five grandchildren.

Teddy is very much missed by all his colleagues, friends and families, and I wanted to share this with the Downstate community.

Yours, Doris Patt Smith”

Steven B. Fibel, MD’77
Dr. Ken Grossman stated “I, unfortunately, would like to inform you of the death of Dr. Steven Fibel Class of ‘77 on January 2, 2017, in Laguna Niguel California. No other information is available.”


SUNY Downstate 2018 Student-Faculty Showcase


Class Notes: January 2018

Class Notes:

Howard Maker, MD’56
Continues as Senior Neurologist as Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York City and Chief of Neurology at New Bridge Medical Center, Paramus New Jersey.

Herbert J. Cohen, MD’59
is now an Emeritus Professor of Pediatrics and Emeritus Director of the Rose F. Kennedy University Center for Developmental Disabilities at Albert Einstein College of Medicine where he continues to teach fellows in my field.

Lyle J. Breitkopf, MD’60
retired 15 years ago from practice of OB-GYN in Manhattan. Dr. Breitkopf is busy enjoying retirement, painting, bridge, tennis, and learning Yiddish.

Edward H. Smith, MD’60
is a retired Professor and Chair Emeritus Radiology UMASS

Edward B. Goldstein, MD’61
is doing the “same old” – Practice in Brooklyn, at Mount Sinai – Brooklyn, Cardiology and is the Medical Director for Union Local. Dr. Goldstein is spending time with his children, and seven grandchildren. His daughter, Heidi, Class of 1991, lives in St. Paul Minnesota. He enjoys flying his plane and building a model railroad when he has free time.

Alvin Edelstein, MD’62
retired from Pediatric practice 14 years ago and moved to Houston Texas to be near family, although his with his dear wife Bonnie are able to escape the Houston hot months in our Berkshire home. Dr. Edelstein volunteers for the Jewish Family Service in the chaplaincy program visiting patients at Houston’s MD Anderson Hospital. They are blessed with six grandchildren, two in Texas, two in Colorado and two in California.

Allan Naarden, MD’64
After practicing Neurology and participating in teaching at UT Southwestern, Dr. Naarden has retired and is now Chair of his hospital’s IRB. Dr. Naarden’s son is in the U.S. State Department and his family are now in Yangon, Myanmar. His daughter and her family live in Seattle, Washington where she is a sought after expert in  E- Commerce (thanks Amazon).

Allen P. Kaplan, MD’65
Dr. Kaplan is closing his research laboratory after 50 years of investigation into the molecular mechanism of urticaria and angioedema. He will continue teaching, writing and lecturing.

Deborah Tolchin, MD’66
volunteers at White Plains Hospital (Pastoral Care) and Burke Rehabilitation Hospital (Therapeutic Recreation in Greenhouse Plant Nursery with inpatients). Dr. Tolchin is teaching Introduction to Clinical Medicine at Albert Einstein in the Bronx.

Andrew P. Goldberg, MD’69
retired in April 2015 after 25 years as Head of the Division of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine at the University of Maryland, Baltimore and Chief of Geriatrics and the Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center at the Baltimore Veterans Affairs Medical Center. He received Professor Emeritus status in Medicine in 2017. In between exciting travels worldwide with my wife Gail, Dr. Goldberg consults and mentors junior faculty in translational bedside to bench aging research in exercise, nutrition and rehabilitation in vascular disease, obesity, and diabetes.

Bruce Lefkon, MD’69
in one week Dr. Lefkon will be fully retired from a 43 year career (after residency at Downstate) in Urology in Essex County, NJ and a 10 year battle with EMR. His indefinite plans include more travel with his wife, Sandy, Golf, reading, time with families of his 3 sons (N.Y. State, Tucson, Shanghai) and enjoying the Jersey Shore.

Arthur Kaufman, MD’69
While his peers (and even his students) are retiring, Dr. Kaufman continues to work full time as Distinguished Professor of Family and Community Medicine and Vice Chancellor for Community Health at the University of New Mexico. Dr. Kaufman was inducted into the National Academy of Medicine/Institute of Medicine this year and will be honored as a University Living Legend in 2018. He continues to keep up with Ellis Arnstein, Marc Goldblatt and Diana Furst, and would love to hear from others.

Barbara Engel & Mark Engel, MD’71
relocated to Waxhaw, NC, a suburb of Charlotte.  Barbara recently retired from a private pediatric practice in September, 2017 and Mark had already retired from the practice of ophthalmology three years ago.  They moved to the Charlotte area so that we could be near our oldest son, his wife, and two granddaughters.  They also have a son David who lives in Brooklyn Heights and a son Stephen who lives in Portland, Maine.

Ellie Goldstein, MD’71
is the Clinical Practice Section Editor for Clinical Infectious Diseases; Chair of Infection and Prevention at Providence St. Johns Health Center of Santa Monica and Kindred Hospital LA. Dr. Goldstein is also the Director of  RM Alder Research Laboratory, Clinical Professor of Medicine UCLA and full time practice of Infectious Diseases.

Steven Brozinsky, MD’72
is still practicing Gastroenterology in Chula Vista; singing with the San Diego Jewish Men’s Choir; enjoying facetiming with his New York City grandchildren, Gwen and Wes, while flailing away at that little white ball at Torrey Pines.

Dennis M. W. Michalak, MD’76
is retired as Chief of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery at Hamot UPMC in Erie PA. and President of Flagship CVTS in Erie.  His wife, Becky of 37 years passed away on July 6th of this year and he is missing her dearly. Now has 3 grown beautiful children and our first granddaughter, Anneliese now 2 1/2 yo keeping him on my toes. Dr. Michalak states he is “busier in retirement, than ever making furniture and working in leather. Lots of traveling to be close to kids. Happy Holidays.”

Allen M. Perelson, MD’76
is happily retired since 1998. Moved up to NYC and is enjoying life.

Marc J. Kozinn, MD’79
After more than 30 years in Clinical Cardiology practice and serving as Asst. Clinical Professor of Medicine in the Department if Cardiology at S.U.N.Y. at Buffalo, in 2014, Dr, Kozinn joined the pharmaceutical industry. He is presently the U.S. Cardiovascular Medical Director-Heart Failure at AMGEN where he is the U.S. Medical Lead for Corlanor  and the New Product Development Lead, U.S. Medical Organization for Heart Failure Pipeline. Dr. Kozinn currently lives in Thousand Oaks, CA with his wife of more than 37 years, Betsy. They have 3 married sons and are the proud grandparents of 5 grandchildren. This past year Dr. Kozinn was also recognized as a Fellow of the Heart Failure Society of America.

Brenda A. Nurse, MD’79
was lead author in an article published in CT Medicine, February 2017 Vol 81 Number 2 pgs 81-85. “The Role of Patient History And Body Site Surveillance Cultures As Predictors Of Colonization In A Long-Term Acute Care Hospital Setting” Brenda A. Nurse MD, Randall W. Barton PhD, and Daniel T. LaRose, Phd.

Howard Kizner, MD’83
Dr. Kizner and his wife are expecting their first grandchild in April In addition to still practicing Radiology full time, he has been attending night school for psychoanalysis, and will be starting a small Psychology practice in 2018.

Diana M. Nilsen, MD’89
Husband of Dr. Nilsen, Michael Nilsen, wrote “Dr. Diana Bassil Nilsen, my wife, was elected President of the National Tuberculosis Controllers Association for the 2017-2018 fiscal year. This is an Medical organization with representatives from all 50 states.

Diana is a 1989 graduate of Downstate (Cum Laude) and is Board certified in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary and Critical Care.  She is Director of Medical Affairs for the NYC Department of Health where she is responsible for TB control in the metropolitan region.  She also had her 35 Wedding Anniversary this year and is blessed with three children, Michael, Patrick and Victoria, and a pretty good husband.”

Nilesh Kalyanaraman, MD’03
Dr. Kalyanaraman is running for the Maryland State House of Delegates in the 43rd District in Baltimore City. This is his first time running for office and it’s an exciting leap from being the Chief Health Officer at Health Care for the Homeless. His website is and he would love to hear from Downstate alumni in the Baltimore area.

Eric Mlodzinski, MD’17
Moved to Boston and is doing residency at Beth Israel Hospital.

In Memoriam:

*The Alumni Association recognizes in the “In Memoriam” section, not all alumni listed are recently deceased. As we become aware of the passing of our alumni we recognize them to provide their class mates with an update.

Anthony R. Mascia, MD’42
Dr. Anthony R. Mascia died on November 26, 2016. He was 100 years old and would have been 101 this coming Sunday. He was born December 4, 1915 at home on Willow St. in Port Chester to the late Oreste and Mary Capeci Mascia. His father owned a pharmacy on Main Street. He graduated from Port Chester High School, Columbia University with a BA and then Long Island College of Medicine. Dr. Mascia was one of the “greatest generation”, serving as a medical professional in both France and Belgium during World War II and was a Purple Heart recipient.

To read the complete obituary click here.

Guillermo E. Aragon, MD’48
Guillermo (Bill) Aragon MD has passed away at his home in Denver on Tuesday February 21, 2017 at the age of 96. Bill is predeceased by his beloved wife of 69 years, Maria de Lourdes and his sons William and Fernando. Bill is survived by his daughter Maria Elena and ten grandchildren. They are in order of birth, Derek, Jonathan, Brent, Ashley, Ryan, Kevin, Alicia, Matthew, Mac and Merrie Claire. His funeral will be held on Thursday March 2, 2017 at 10:00am at Mother of God Church on Speer and S. Logan.

Martin J. Salwen, MD ’57
Dr. Martin Salwen, Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, died on December 12, 2017 at the age of 86.  He was buried with military honors in a private ceremony at Calverton National Cemetery in Long Island.  His family asked for privacy in the immediate weeks after his death.

To read the complete obituary visit our blog here:

Dennis B. Freilich, MD’58
Congregation Shearith Israel mourns the loss of its esteemed member, honorary Trustee and Parnas. Dr. Freilich was a proud veteran of the Navy and a man of great honor. He was a warm and caring friend to all. He served the congregation as Parnas from 1991 -1996. Shearith Israel extends sympathy to his wife Estelle, his children; Benjamin, Jonathan, David and Elliot, and to the entire family. Louis M. Solomon, Parnas.

Charles Gerson, MD’62
Died peacefully at home on May 21 after struggling with illness. He was 80 years old. Raised in Washington Heights, Charles loved playing sports, especially golf, while attending Bronx High School of Science and then at Cornell University. His choice of medicine as a career was a natural result of his interest in science and his general wish to care for people and to protect life. He attended medical school at the Downstate University of New York…

To read the complete obituary click here.


SUNY Downstate News: January 2018

January 1st – Happy New Year
Jan 15th – Martin Luther King Day is celebrated

SUNY Downstate Announcements:

  • January 10, 2018: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s State of the State 2018 Address- presented by Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul and hosted by SUNY Downstate Medical Center in the Alumni Auditorium at 3:45 P.M.
  • February 8, 2018: Downstate Open Mic: Alumni Auditorium 6-8 P.M. (Free Admission, Entertainment and Food)

Job Posting:

Anthem, Inc. is seeking a Behavioral Health Medical Director to support the Medicaid population of the State of New Jersey. This position will be mostly remote, with travel to the Iselin, NJ office once per week. Requires MD/DO, Board certification in Psychiatry, active NJ medical license, and 5+ years post-residency clinical psychiatry experience. Addiction psychiatry and prior UM experience preferred.

View the complete description at the following link:

OR contact Angela Oliver at for additional information.



Alumnus Profile: Scott Coyne, MD’77

Dr. Scott Coyne moonlighted as a police officer in Long Island on weekends as a SUNY Downstate med student, reading JAMA in the precinct on his coffee breaks. He worked 20 years as a hospital radiologist before returning to public safety, and is now the Suffolk County Police Department’s innovative Chief Surgeon and Medical Director.

Dr. Coyne’s medical career took its unexpected turn January 25, 1990 when he ended up the first doctor on the scene of the Avianca airline crash in Cove Neck, New York. Decades later, he’s won national awards for starting a program to train every Suffolk County police officer to be certified as an EMT, dramatically shortening medical response times.

He was named Physician of Excellence for New York State EMS in 2016, presented annually by the New York State Department of Health and the New York State EMS Council to a physician of exceptional dedication and experience in the pre-hospital environment. He also received the REMSCO 2015 EMS Physician of Excellence Award for Suffolk County.

Avianca jet crash
Dr. Coyne was driving to work at Glen Cove Community Hospital (now Northwell Health) in 1990 when he encountered a barricade. An officer saw Dr. Coyne’s medical license plates and said, “We have a commercial jetliner down about a mile down the road. Would you please go up? We have very limited medical response at this time.”

A jet from Bogota carrying 180 passengers had run out of fuel and crashed near Cold Spring Harbor in western Long Island. Dr. Coyne got into a police car, and traveled a mile to the scene. There, the board-certified diagnostic radiologist who sub-specialized in interventional radiology, the Glen Cove Chairman of Radiology, began to triage and treat plane crash victims.

“There were one or two ambulances there at the most, and they were starting to bring people off the jet,” Dr. Coyne said. “We had all these stretchers, and people were being carried, and we put them down in the large area, and at one point before too long, I had 30 patients. I was there alone at that site for at least an hour before the other doctors got there, and I would say we saved a lot of patients’ lives. Some were deceased, obviously, because of trauma, but that certainly got me on my road to pre-hospital care. EMS care.”

Because there was no fuel on the plane and, therefore, no fire, 90 passengers survived.

Medical SWAT team
Dr. Coyne was invited to join the Suffolk County Police in 1992 to oversee the county Medical Evaluation Bureau, a team of doctors who tended injured officers and civilians, and determined their duty status. Then, his medical career changed course again.

“After 9/11, things radically changed. After that, the goal was preparedness and response,” Dr. Coyne said. “I was at 9/11 on the third day, and it was an overwhelming situation. Seeing the devastation of lives—it was beyond comprehension.”

In 2008, he began working with the county’s Homeland Security office, and got permission to develop Suffolk’s unique Medical Crisis Action Team (MEDCAT). He oversaw the first 15 advanced life support EMT/police officers trained at the paramedic level for New York State, a “medical SWAT team.” The team now numbers 29.

“I work with some very talented people in Homeland Security, and they were developing their own plan for preparedness, but I was developing the medical plan,” he said. “I took a good number of officers out of service for six months to train them up to ALS critical care level, and they all passed their exams so they became similar to paramedics.”

As medical director for the Suffolk County Police Academy, Dr. Coyne is responsible for all educational basic and Advanced Life Support EMT programs, according to the Suffolk County Police. He’s trained thousands of Suffolk County police officers and Fire/EMS personnel to provide care during high risk operations such as active shooter situations.

All Suffolk patrol officers are New York State-certified EMTs, a very unique distinction.

“The Suffolk County Police Department is fortunate to count among its assets the expertise and knowledge of Dr. Scott Coyne,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Timothy D. Sini said. “Since his start with the department, Dr. Coyne has facilitated the implementation of life-saving programs that have helped improve the safety and well-being of Suffolk residents.”

In 2012, Dr. Coyne also spearheaded a Narcan program to combat heroin and opiate overdoses, according to Suffolk Police. From 2012 to 2016, officers administered Narcan 650 times to reverse overdose. The New York State Attorney General selected the SCPD Narcan Program as a model for law enforcement throughout New York State, and in 2014, the US Attorney General hailed the program as a model for law enforcement Narcan programs nationwide.

De-escalating confrontation
Dr. Coyne also led the creation of policy and protocol involving mental health emergencies. “We started about five years ago to give a module of mental health education to our officers as part of their basic training,” Dr. Coyne said. “We give them techniques to deal with the mental health patient, the agitated patient, the potentially dangerous patient. We teach them the de-escalation techniques so we can get control of the situation.”

The department has a detailed protocol to guide officers to a right determination of danger, and where to take the person for care – a local hospital or a center at Stony Brook Hospital, for more serious risks.

“I’m proud because we do respond to thousands of calls,” Dr. Coyne said. “Thousands. If you listen to the police radio, you’d be shocked about how many calls we receive for agitated people – out of control individuals.”

Homeland Security
People associate “homeland security” with an attack on a stadium, for instance, with a federal response. It’s actually any threat to public safety that requires a coordinated local response. “When 9/11 happened, there was no FBI on the scene,” Dr. Coyne said. “There was the NYPD and the FDNY. I realized as Chief Surgeon, if something happens, like a major terrorist strike, that we are for a long time going to be the only responders. We had to set up a system of response so we could coordinate patient care triage treatment and then transport to multiple hospitals, which is what happened with Avianca.”

On a smaller scale, “There are automatic weapons, every town area has a mall somewhere, a church,” he said. “You don’t need a stadium.”

We tend to compartmentalize roles – police department, fire department and hospital, Dr. Coyne said, but public safety is public health.

One third of the emergency calls the police department receives over the radio in their patrol cars are medical-related, Dr. Coyne said, whether it’s a psychiatric emergency, trauma from a car accident, a bee sting with allergic reaction, a heart attack, stroke or diabetic shock.

“With that in mind, I’ve expanded the roles of the police officers throughout Suffolk County to enable them to respond more effectively to pre-hospital emergency medical calls,” Dr. Coyne said.

In 2012, James Holmes shot 12 people to death in a Colorado movie theater and injured dozens.

“EMS does not come into these situations, so all of the responsibility for neutralizing and or addressing the threat of a shooter or bomber is a police function,” he said. “But since EMS does not come into these situations, the police have a dual responsibility of taking care of the victims. Nobody else is going to do it.”

Dr. Coyne said he’s amazed by how his career has evolved. “If someone would have told me almost 40 years ago that this is what I would be doing, I wouldn’t believe it,” he said. “I’m working harder now than I ever did before.”

His Downstate classmates may remember a slightly younger Scott Coyne, the police officer with his nose in a textbook. “I look back all the time on my education at Downstate,” he said. “When you’re going through it it’s tough, but when you look back – it was such a wonderful education.”

Scott Coyne, MD
Dr. Coyne is a member of Suffolk County Regional EMS Council, the Suffolk County Regional

Emergency Medical Advisory Council and the New York State Regional Trauma Committee for Suffolk County. He is EMS Medical Director for the Lakeland and Holbrook Fire Departments, a Suffolk County EMS Field Physician and the EMS physician for Cold Spring Harbor Fire Department. He is also the Vice Chair of the Police Physicians Section of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. He is appointed by the Governor and serves on the Medical Review Board of the State Commission of Correction.

“It has been my distinct honor to serve the Suffolk residents and all of the members of the Suffolk County Police Department every day,” Dr. Coyne said. “It has truly been the highlight of my professional career, and I look forward to many more years of continued service to our county and our great police department.”


2017 Year in Review

We celebrate the many donors and members of the Alumni Association College of Medicine SUNY Downstate for their support of medical student scholarships, research, travel, and education!