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.
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.”
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.”
On December 6, 2017 the Alumni Association hosted a Winter Celebration for the College of Medicine Alumni and the current medical students who they have supported. Alumni and students alike expressed jubilation throughout the evening.
Over light hors d’oeuvres and wine, groups of students and alumni formed, conversing on topics of experience in medical school and possible future career options.
A special sentiment of gratitude was expressed to Dr. Constance Shames, Class of 1963, for her spectacular work on the Alumni Today magazine. (Pictured above).
If you you would like to view the entire album from the Alumni Association Winter Celebration 2017, please visit the following link: http://bit.ly/2BmKUiL
October 6-12 marked National Physician Assistant (PA) Week
October 19th was “Wear Purple to Work Day” to raise awareness for Domestic Violence.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
On November 11 Veterans Day was observed
SUNY Downstate Announcements:
-Shirley Girouard, Professor and Associate Dean for Research and Innovation at Downstate’s College of Nursing, received the Mary Jane M. Williams Diamond Jubilee Lifetime Achievement Award in Nursing from the Connecticut Nurses Association.
-On October 22 ,2017, a team of residents, medical students, and others participated in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Community Walk in Manhattan. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is at the forefront of research, advocacy, education, and prevention initiatives designed to reduce loss of life resulting from suicide.
-On October 24, 2017, Dr. Dilip Nath, Assistant Vice President and Deputy Chief Information Officer of Information Services, was awarded a Citation of Honor by Queens Borough President, Melina Katz, for his outstanding contribution to civil activism.
-The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded Downstate a $10 million grant to form a translational health disparities research program, with a specific focus on recruiting and training underrepresented minority scientists.
-Jeffrey Putman, Vice President for Student Affairs, Dean of Students, was honored by The College Student Personnel Association of New York State for with the “Outstanding Contribution to the Profession” award.
-Downstate had winners in multiple sections at the New York Chapter—American College of Physicians (NYACP) Resident and Medical Student Forum on October 28th .Downstate students/trainees won first and second place in the Medical Student Clinical Vignette Category (Muhammad Yaasen Bhutta and Benjamin Parnes), first place in the Medical Student Research Category (Justina Ray), and third place in the Resident and Fellow Clinical Vignette (Odeth Barrett-Campbell, MD).
-On October 25, Rep. Yvette D. Clarke, the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls, and Black Women’s Health Imperative hosted a briefing entitled, “Black Women’s Health: Where do we go from Here” in Washington, DC.
Alumna, Marcia Edmond-Bucknor, MD’04, Assistant Professor/Medical Director, Dept. of Family Medicine-Family Health Services, presented on how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has impacted Black women’s access to care from the perspective of the medical community.
– Dr. Richard H. Schwarz, passed on November 9, 2017. Dr. Schwarz has served Downstate as Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Provost, and finally, Acting President from 1978 to 1994. He also served as Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Methodist Hospital. Downstate honors his life and legacy.
Innovations in Medicine:
Dr. Samuel Márquez, Associate Professor of Cell Biology and Co-Director of Gross Cell Biology in the College of Medicine, co-authored an article in the October issue of The Anatomical Record entitled, “Cranial Indicators Identified for Peak Incidence of Otitis Media.” The article describes reconstruction of the cartilaginous Eustachian tube at different stages of growth.
Jerome G. Porush, MD’55
Dr. Porush states “he is still reading some journals, golfing, traveling, and enjoying his large family.
Sidney Winawer, MD’56
I am enjoying my more relaxed Emeritus status with a combination of research and papers with young faculty while partaking of many music and cultural activities in Manhattan, golf in East Hampton and a bunch of kids and grandkids with my wife Barbara. I’ve taken up jazz piano and still give an occasional lecture. Life and medicine remains joyful.
Stratos G. Kantounis, MD’58
Dr. Kantounis states he is “finally retired from surgery and is still teaching medical students. His wife Joan is still painting.
Alan M. Lobovits, MD’74
The New England Center for Children® (NECC®), a global leader in education for children with autism, announced today the election of Dr. Alan Lobovits to the Board of Directors. Dr. Lobovits is a pediatrician with Southboro Medical Group and an expert on developmental disabilities in children. To read the complete article click here.
Evan J. Fliegal, MD’83
Dr. Fliegal has been practicing Int. Med for 27 year in Athens, Georgia and has two happily married daughters. He also states “Go #1 Georgia Bulldawgs.”
Michael S. Sinel, MD’85
Dr.Sinel board-certified back pain specialist, will hosted a chess event for homeless youth in his Venice, California home on October 25th. “The chess event for homeless youth is Dr. Sinel’s initiative to contribute to the community. He is hosting the one-day chess session in partnership with Safe Place for Youth, an organization dedicated to addressing the fundamental needs of homeless youth in the area. With aid, assistance and donation from Board Members, donors, volunteers and partner organizations, SPY has remained steadfast in providing food, clothing and socks as primary forms of assistance to the recipients.” To read more about the event and Dr.Sinel click here.
Laura Frado, MD’11 & Steven D. Rosenblatt, MD’11
Drs. Frado and Rosenblatt have been happily married for 3 years and are now both practicing in Manhattan. Laura has joined New York Gastroenterology Associates on the Upper East Side as an adult gastroenterologist. She is also an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital. Laura completed her residency in Internal Medicine at Columbia University/New York Presbyterian Hospital and her gastroenterology & hepatology fellowship at the University of Rochester/Strong Memorial Hospital.
Steven is an Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery at Weill Cornell Medicine/New York Presbyterian Hospital specializing in Pediatric Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery. He completed his otolaryngology residency at the University of Rochester/Strong Memorial Hospital and his fellowship in Pediatric Otolaryngology at Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School. Laura and Steven are excited to be back in NYC and to reconnect with classmates and friends.
Robert H. Jaros, MD’68
Robert H. “Dr. Bob” Jaros, 74, of 360 Patten Road, Shelburne died March 26, 2017.
Wilsa Ryder, MD’73
Wilsa Jane Ryder, MD, long of Provincetown, departed this life on Saturday, October 28, in Boston, with her family in attendance. She had experienced declining health in recent times, but succumbed to an acute pneumonia, at the Massachusetts General Hospital. To read an article on Dr. Ryder featured on a local newspaper website click here.
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.
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 email@example.com, if you have any questions or would like additional information.
This month’s special edition student profile is of first year medical student Ana Maria Lopez, class of 2021. In this profile she included her dog, Pancake Lopez, who is accompanying her on her journey to becoming a doctor. Ana Maria completed her undergraduate education The City College of New York.
Hometown: Valley Stream, Long Island and Buffalo, NY
Potential specialty: Cardiology ❤
What inspired you to study medicine? I have an extreme love for the biological sciences. I also desire to help and potentially inspire people through my profession. What could be a better choice?
How is your family handling the fact that you’re in med school now? They are overly thrilled and amazingly supportive. Pancake: Grandma takes care of me when Mommy has it super busy.
How did you choose Downstate? I did a few summer programs at Downstate during my undergraduate career and fell in love with the school. Pancake: I was born in Brooklyn, so I figured I’d return.
How does it feel to actually start med school? It feels like a huge weight has been lifted while simultaneously a larger weight has been added! But seriously, I feel so super blessed and excited to finally be here. Pancake: I don’t know what Mom is stressed about. I am having a wonderfully stress free time. I’m happy I get to see so many people on my walks. Also, I get to sleep when we study!
This month’s SUNY Downstate College of Medicine student profile is of Zaki Azam, class of 2019. Zaki completed his undergraduate education right here in our borough at Brooklyn College, where got his Bachelors in Science in Psychology. He is still unsure about his future specialty in Medicine but has had some remarkable experiences here at Downstate.
Who is/was your favorite professor at SUNY Downstate College of Medicine and why?
“My favorite professor is Dr. Eisner, because she always pushes her students to achieve even more than they think is possible.”
What is your favorite memory so far of your time studying at SUNY Downstate College of Medicine?
“My favorite memory is attending the AAMC Conference in Seattle with the faculty and Dean of the College of Medicine. I got to know them personally while presenting on the importance of student and faculty wellness.”
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 helped me realize great strengths through projects I would otherwise not have had an opportunity to pursue. Given the funding to present at a national conference has not only encouraged me but also gave me the confidence to continue formulating new ideas and present in such settings in the future. I look forward to the next time I can count on the Alumni Association for assistance whether it be for research, presentations or more.”
The Alumni Association remains committed to diverse and inclusive practices.
Diverse and Inclusive practices are subjects many organizations often speak about, but seldom practice, however the Alumni Association – College of Medicine SUNY Downstate, is not one the aforementioned organizations. Staying true to the vision of the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, the Alumni Association remains committed to serving the broad spectrum of individuals that attend SUNY Downstate’s medical school.
Recognizing differing ideologies based on life experience, culture, language, and ethnic background, leads to profound innovations in medicine.
The Alumni Association is proud support Downstate’s minority students with scholarships every year, funded by our generous donors.
This year we provided over $67,859, to African-American, Latino, and Native-American medical students. Depending on your definition of minority/under represented, if we include Asian-American students we have provided over $220,677 this year.
To donate to one of our scholarships to support under-represented individuals at the College of Medicine or to support any of our initiatives that insure medical students have access to the best education possible, click the link provided below. If you have any questions about different ways to contribute do not hesitate to call the Alumni Association office at (718)-270-2075.
Link to donate: https://www.downstate.edu/alumni/alumni-giving/index.html