SUNY Downstate News: December 2017

December 1 is World AIDS Day
December 12 – 20  Hanukkah is celebrated
December 25 Christmas Day


SUNY Downstate Announcements:

  • SUNY Downstate’s Center for Community Health Promotion and Wellness hosted an educational seminar on “Asthma Control and Prevention” for the local community.
  • Jelanie DeShong is the new Director of Government Relations. Jelanie brings great experience from local city government to New York State government. Before joining Downstate, Mr. DeShong served as Director of Community Engagement and Confidential Assistant in the Office of NYS Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, where he was senior advisor to the Chief of Staff for operations, strategy, and work.
  • Downstate’s Students for Social Responsibility and the Chinese American Medical Society have offered free flu shots in various Brooklyn communities since 2002 and 2007, respectively. With support from the student clubs and University Hospital of Brooklyn, students were trained how to administer the flu vaccine.
  • The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) Foundation endowed the Brooklyn Free Clinic (BFC) with the Family Medicine Cares USA “existing” clinic award of $9,050.
  • Brahim Chaqour, PhD, Professor of Cell Biology and Ophthalmology at Downstate, received two awards to support research related to treatment of incurable vision-threatening diseases. The new awards, totaling $2,008,973, are from the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health
  • On December 1st the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health (AAIUH) held their 25th Anniversary.
  • Leslie Schechter, MA, has been appointed Assistant Vice President of Operations in the Office of Academic Affairs reporting to the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Pascal James Imperato.

Innovations in Medicine:

  • Chair of Surgery Dr. Rainer W. G. Grussner, and his team performed a total removal of the pancreas from a patient who had long suffered disabling abdominal pain from a history of pancreatitis. This procedure marks the beginning of a new program for the treatment of chronic pancreatitis at Downstate that includes cutting-edge islet transplantation to help patients avoid the onset of Diabetes mellitus following complete removal of a diseased pancreas. Downstate surgeons implanted a patient’s own insulin-producing pancreatic cells (“islets”) after the total removal of pancreas.
  • At Neuroscience 2017, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, Downstate researchers presented their work with novice military pilots. Our researchers’ work suggests that novice military pilots can improve their visual responses to a simulated emergency procedure by observing the eye movements of expert pilots
  • Downstate is the First in New York State to Deploy ORLocate Sponge System. ORLocate Sponge is a noninvasive counting/reconciliation system that uses radio frequency identification to eliminate the risk of retained sponges during surgical procedures.
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Class Notes: December 2017

Class Notes:

Irwin Berkowitz, MD’72
Dr. Berkowitz has retired from the practice of Pediatrics after 41 years at Chestnut Ridge Pediatrics. Kathleen, my wife of 43 years is trying to adjust.

Jeffrey M. Karp, MD’75
Dr. Karp has retired from his neurology practice of 37 years in Clearwater, FL. He, and his wife of 43 years, has relocated to Juno Beach, FL to enjoy the good life with his 3 granddaughters.

Albert A. Meyer, MD’75
Dr. Meyer is a retired Family Physician. After his residency at Duke, he went into private practice for 13 years. Later went on to teach in Family Medicine Residencies at Duke and the University of North Carolina for 26 years. He has recently retired from full time practice and works part time in our local Hospice Unit.

Kate Waldeck, MD’10
Dr. Waldeck has been named an assistant professors at the Marshall University Joan D. Edwards School of Medicine. To read more on Dr. Waldeck click here.

In Memoriam:

Steven W. Piecuch, MD ’79
Steven W. Piecuch, MD, passed away on November 25, 2017. He was a pediatrician who subspecialized in neonatology and pediatric critical care, and practiced at Kings County and SUNY Downstate. He took pride in caring for infants and children in the ICU, and enjoyed teaching residents and medical students. He also liked to participate in medical missions, including to Hospital Albert Schweitzer in Haiti and Angkor Hospital for Children in Cambodia. He was active in the SUNY Downstate College of Medicine Alumni Association, and served as president in 2008-2009. He is survived by his beloved wife of 35 years, Ramona; sons Michael (Class of 2012), Martin, and Jerrold; grandson Henry; mother Doris; sister Catherine; and brother Thomas. The complete obituary can be found at: http://obits.silive.com/obituaries/siadvance/obituary.aspx?n=steven-piecuch&pid=187487580

Alumni Appreciation Day 2017

Tuesday, November 28, 2018, was Alumni Appreciation Day here at the College of Medicine SUNY Downstate. College of Medicine Graduates who currently work at SUNY Downstate were celebrated with a small token of appreciation from the Alumni Association.

With over 30 plus alumni attendees for Alumni Appreciation Day and the influx of many online and check donations, we hope to continue recognizing on campus alumni in a plethora of ways and foster lasting relationships.

If you are an alumnus/alumna and were unable to attend, do not hesitate to come to the Alumni Association Office to pick up your free gift between 9:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M on Monday to Friday. The Alumni Association Office is located the Basic Sciences Building, Room BSB 1-6.


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Conference Travel Grant Funding in Action

Michael Levine, a medical student in the Class of 2019, returned from a medical conference, where he represented SUNY Downstate and the Alumni Association, filled with gratitude. Michael and another medical student, Robert Kim, successfully applied for funding to present at the AAMC National Conference this month. Their oral presentation outlined their work and research in the Downstate Mentorship and Wellness Program.

Michael expressed his hopes of positive outcomes from this experience in his application. He stated “We hope to utilize this experience to learn more about how we can improve our program, how to better conduct medical research, about current developments in the realm of medical education, and to network with other professionals who can better our program and educations. Our program’s foundation and our involvement in this conference are both rooted in our desire to improve the Downstate College of Medicine experience for every student who comes to our school.”

Serving in multiple roles here at SUNY Downstate such as COM 2019 Med Council Vice President, Student Liaison Committee Representative, and as a representative of  the Anne Kastor Brooklyn Free Clinic, Michael Levine exemplifies the holistic opportunities College of Medicine students can experience with the aid of the Alumni Association and its generous donors.

 Read Below for Michael Levine’s bried reflection on his experience and additional photographs from the conferences:

“I hope this message finds you in good health… It went really well, people really seemed to like what we had to say!!! It seemed like we were one of only a small number of student presentations, which was cool (and a surprise). We learned a ton of interesting information that we will certainly bring back to the DMC campus for our wellness program and in general. We wouldn’t have been able to do any of this without your (Eric: Executive Director) and the Alumni Association’s assistance, so a million thanks for providing us with this incredible opportunity! Please let me know of anything I can do to return the favor.”

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Student Profile – Malcolm Winkle

This month’s SUNY Downstate College of Medicine student profile is of Malcolm Winkle, class of 2018. Malcolm completed his undergraduate education at The Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education- The City College of NY where he majored in Biomedical Sciences.

What is/will be your specialty? Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Who is/was your favorite professor at SUNY Downstate College of Medicine and why?
Dr. John Delury and Dr. Elliot Dehaan (both infectious Disease Doctors); they both take their time when assessing patients, rounding with their respective teams, and allowing students to take advanced roles in caring for patients; they both are excellent listeners and encourage team input and teach to better orient the team to the most important problems that a patient faces.

What is your favorite memory so far of your time studying at SUNY Downstate College of Medicine?
Receiving aid from the Alumni Association to study cancer pain mechanisms at NYU College of Dentistry for 6 months where I decided what my specialty was going to be.

How has the Alumni Association for the College of Medicine at SUNY Downstate helped you?
The Alumni Association has supported me with research stipends, networking opportunities with local physiatrists, and CV editing for the residency match. Pretty much anything career-oriented I can think of that I need help with I feel comfortable speaking to the Alumni Association and am confident that they can provide optimal support.

Is there anything else that you think Alumni would like to know about you?
I plan on assisting the Association in any way that I can in the future. I am grateful for its support.

How has the Alumni Association influenced your experience at SUNY Downstate?
The Alumni Association has served as a one stop shop for career guidance that is flexible to any need that I may have. It has made my time at Downstate more enriching by opening opportunities that I didn’t know were available to me: networking, stipends, resume/CV development and more. Downstate is a large organization and having the Alumni Association makes it easier to find the things you need.

When did you know you wanted to become a doctor?
When I was in high school I had the opportunity to shadow physicians. I enjoyed the patient-doctor relationship that my advisors had with their patients and how much patients trusted their physician’s recommendations and judgement.

SUNY Downstate News October 2017


Thursday, September 21, marked the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah.

National Supply Chain Week is celebrated October 1-7, 2017


News:

-Dr. Sydney Butts, Clarence And Mary Dennis Dedicated Service Award 2017 winner, was featured on a Good Morning America segment on Sleep Apnea in children. Dr. Butts states, “symptoms of sleep apnea in children include snoring, hyperactivity, trouble focusing in school, depression or anger and even bed wetting. Some of these symptoms can often be confused with those of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)”. To read more and watch here segment, click here.

– Brian K. McNeils MD, Downstate Urology Program Director, and Mike Haynes, NFL Hall of Famer, did a press tour for the American Urological Association. They are a part of the Know Your Stats Campaign, designed to increase awareness about prostate cancer.


SUNY Downstate Announcements:

-Dean of the College of Nursing,  Lori Escallier, PhD, RN, CPNP-PC, FAAN presented her work with veterans at the World Congress of Nursing & Nursing Education Conference in Rome, Italy.

– Announcements of the appointment of the members of the Employee Climate/Engagement Survey Steering Committee, chaired by Judith Dorsey, MA—Vice President of Human Resources and Campus Ethics Officer. The individuals serving on this committee are: Bernadette Selby;  Patricia Winston RN, MS; Laura Free, MPA; Pascale Daquin; Devon John, MD; Karen Saunders MA; Allen Lewis PhD, CRC; Lori Escallier PhD, RN, CPNP-PC, FAAN; Seth Langley PhD; Peter Ljutic; Rowena Blackman, MS; and Rose Jackman, MPH.

– Facility Improvements: Work has begun in the basement of the library to temporarily relocate departments who are currently housed in the trailed located on Lenox Road. The team at Facilities Management & Development will be working diligently towards to the goal of have most the departments relocated before the winter weather hits.

– Dr Raavi Gupta, MD,  is the Assistant Professor of Pathology at Downstate and Director of Laboratories at Downstate Bay Ridge. Dr. Gupta has been elected President of the New York Pathological Society.

– Andrew Hasenzahl, SPH/COM Class of 2020, Rev. Dr. Kirkpatrick Cohall, chair of Downstate’s SUNY Campus Council, and Ellen Watson, Assistant Vice President for Institutional Advancement, for attended the 2017 ACT Conference on behalf of SUNY Downstate. The Council is charged with reviewing critical campus plans, impacting structure and serving as advocates for their campuses.

– Dr. Robert Gore was honored at the United Hospital Fund Gala with the Distinguished Community Service Award. “The award recognizes volunteer leadership of a specific project or initiative that significantly improves health and health care in New York City. UHF saluted Dr. Gore’s work with the Kings Against Violence Initiative (KAVI).”


Innovations in Medicine:

– Dr. Todd Sacktor, Neurology Professor for the College of Medicine, participated in a BBC podcast discussing his breathtaking memory research. Dr. Sacktor“believes that memories are stored in the connections – or synapses … and what Todd Sacktor and his colleagues have done is to create a drug called ZIP that disperses PKM Zeta and appears to wipe out memories.” To read more and listen to his interview click here.

– One of the companies at the Downstate Biotechnology Incubator, HemoGenyx, LLC, is going public next week with a listing on the London Stock Exchange. This is the first and only Brooklyn-based company to have achieved this major distinction.

First Year Mentoring Program

The Mentoring Program sponsored by the Alumni Association has continued to be a positive addition to the Medical Student experience here at SUNY Downstate College of Medicine. To date, the program has served over 2,000 students and procured the services of about 270 faculty and alumni.

Students are provided with an opportunity to engage with other medical students and faculty.  In the month of September, 5 MS1 mentoring sessions were held. First year students were matched with  faculty mentors.

Faculty mentors can answer questions about what being a physician demands and provide students patients and clinical practice insight.

The Mentoring program also goes beyond MS1 student – faculty mentoring. Other programs include having one-on-one lunch with a faculty mentor in their office to see how first hand medicine is practiced and panel discussions involving insight into specialty fields.

Please contact Mrs. Dionne Davis-Lowe, the Mentoring and Alumni Career Program Coordinator at (718)270-7593 or dionne.davis@downstate.edu, if you have any questions or would like additional information.


Your Independent Alumni Association

This past week, one of our residents came into the Alumni Association office to discuss setting up an endowed scholarship in memory of a resident who passed away unexpectedly this past May. This resident is also a graduate of the College of Medicine from SUNY Downstate.

As we discussed her desire to set up this scholarship, she talked about how important it was for her to have this scholarship benefit students and not have the funds spent on supporting the school or the hospital. In my three years as your Executive Director, this sentiment has been repeated on a regular basis. It was a wonderful reminder of why the Alumni Association for the College of Medicine at SUNY Downstate was incorporated.

In the 1880’s, long before there was a SUNY System, the graduates of the medical school in Brooklyn wanted to establish an Association that specifically supported students and student needs without the influence of the medical school or the medical school administration. These physicians banded together to form the Alumni Association for the College of Medicine at SUNY Downstate. They each paid dues to create a pool of money to operate the organization and on top of that, made some donations to fund student needs.

In 2017, our Association, and the Alumni Fund continue to be separate legal entities from SUNY Downstate. Although our contract with the SUNY system dictates that all of our projects and programs must benefit SUNY Downstate, EVERY one of our funding decisions is made by our Board of Managers and Board of Trustees. These two boards have one seat for the President of SUNY Downstate, but every other seat is held by a graduate of the College of Medicine. These alumni dedicate their time and energy to make sure that every dollar that we grant out from your generous donations and dues payments goes directly to support students.

Our Board of Managers is an elected body of College of Medicine graduates who organize and manage the annual Homecoming and Reunion (May 4-6. 2018 at the Marriot Brooklyn Bridge), the Alumni Today Magazine (Editor Constance Shames MD ’63), Alumni Events, our email newsletters, and our social media. The Board of Trustees consists of alumni of the College of Medicine who have served at least one term on the Board of Managers. They are the voting body that determines any and all grants that are given to our medical students including scholarships, travel grants, event and club support, research support, and other requests to support student needs.

Thank you for your continued donations and dues payments. They allow us to provide hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships each year to our medical students, fund summer and full year student research projects, reimburse student travel to conferences where they are presenting papers, and purchase white coats and a senior class gift for each of our medical students.

This continuing legal separation (137 years ago) from SUNY Downstate allows us to do what you would do as an alumnus/a with the donations instead of being influenced by the needs of the hospital or medical school. Students first and students always. That is why we are here as an alumni association.

Building Brooklyn’s Future on the Waterfront

 

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Inside the workspace of one of BioBAT’s anchor tenants, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) 

 

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“When I visited the BioBat incubator in March, I saw future of our economy unfolding. Tomorrow’s jobs and opportunities depend on technological innovation, and BioBat provides the space and support needed to ignite that spark. Through this kind of partnership between government, the private sector and academia, we will foster the next generation of entrepreneurs and industry leaders.”​-New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul

SUNY Downstate Medical Center’s commitment to research and education goes beyond the Downstate campus, including all the way to the Brooklyn harbor, where its venture BioBAT at the Brooklyn Army Terminal is working to strengthen the city’s scientific community.

Space is always a pressing concern for NYC’s researchers. Prior to BioBAT, finding affordable locations within easy reach of the city’s academic and financial centers was a challenge. Through the creation of affordable wet lab and office space at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, BioBAT has expanded the options for scientific firms seeking to operate in the city.

BioBAT stands six miles from the Downstate campus and Downstate’s Biotechnology Incubator, where two of BioBAT’s anchor tenants got their start. BioBAT tenants can take advantage of the partnership with SUNY Downstate, granting access to the school’s library, research personnel, and other resources.

An educated workforce and a culture of entrepreneurship benefit not just the city’s researchers, but New York as a whole. SUNY Downstate, Brooklyn’s only academic medical center, appreciates the importance of workforce development. The school has fielded initiatives such as biotechnology job-training programs in collaboration with Hunter College, and entrepreneurship programs for startup founders.

Downstate’s Dr. Eva Cramer, BioBAT and the incubator’s founder, has been a leading force in these workforce development efforts. BioBAT has launched its own initiative to create a STEM career pipeline and develop a 21st century working waterfront in Brooklyn. Among the initiative’s cornerstones is a series of extracurricular STEM educational programs which will inspire and engage students of all ages. The center is seeking sponsors and volunteers, and has enlisted SUNY Downstate’s support. Volunteer graduate students from SUNY Downstate’s School of Graduate Studies are guiding elementary through high school students in a fun-filled science summer program.

Since their inception, these ventures have received government support. SUNY Downstate President Dr. Wayne J. Riley said, “When I came to Downstate in April, I met with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and shared my appreciation for his strong support of our biotechnology initiatives, including the Biotech Incubator and BioBAT facilities, and for our pipeline programs.”

These ventures are helping to transform Brooklyn and the city as a whole into a global science and technology hub. Thanks to Downstate’s and BioBAT’s initiatives, researchers from every corner of the world will be able to find space, resources, personnel, and a thriving startup community at their fingertips. Under Dr. Riley’s leadership the borough can become as much of a magnet for scientific and commercial talent as SUNY Downstate is for outstanding students. SUNY Downstate’s students come from all over the world, and its alumni go just as far afield. But the best place to take part in the future of innovation may be back in Brooklyn.

Visit BioBAT and the Biotechnology Incubator on the web at http://biobat.nyc/ and http://research.downstate.edu/biotech/abi.htm

 

Alumni Books, Articles, & Publications

“Don’t forget – no one else sees the world the way you do, so no one else can tell the stories that you have to tell.” – Charles de Lint

 

Have you or another alumnus/a you know authored a novel? Successfully submitted an article for publication and would like it highlighted in an alumni newsletter? Wrote a piece of poetry that you would like to share? Had a magazine feature you were especially excited about?  If the answer is YES, to any of these questions you should consider informing the Alumni Association!

The Alumni Association is calling out for any publications written by the SUNY Downstate College of Medicine alumni. Your books, article and/or publications will be featured in our office if you submit them. Please mail us two copies when you submit, one copy will be given to the SUNY Downstate library and the other copy will be on display in the Alumni Association. With a growing library of alumni books, we hope to continue this growth with new submissions from the year of 2016-2017.

If you are cognizant of any alumni piece please do not hesitate to call us at 718-270-2075 or email us at alumni@downstate.edu.