Presidential Inauguration Ceremony 2017

“If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together.”

This past Friday, 9/15/2017, marked the beginning of a new era in SUNY Downstate history. Dr. Wayne J. Riley was officially inaugurated as the new President of State University of New York Downstate by SUNY Board Chairman Carl H. McCall
and SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson.

Notable speakers all expressed the a similar sentiment, Dr. Riley will make an outstanding President and his past experiences have provided him with the tools necessary to succeed in his new role.

“Given his unlimited talent and experience, Dr. Riley is the person to lead this transition”- H. Carl McCall on political climate transitions in Washington and the United States.

“You can not get anything better than a great, transparent community builder” – Chancellor Johnson on Dr. Riley’s character.

“Dr.Riley’s countless leadership experiences and skills have prepared him to excel in this new role” – Dr. Louis W. Sullivan

Perfection is not the goal, excellence is the goal, Dr. Wayne J. Riley set the tone for his term during his inaugural address. He exuded great pride in taking on this new role and stated Downstate is “the academic health science center of the American Dream.”

The Alumni Association congratulates President Riley on his inauguration.

Speakers included:

-SUNY Board Chairman Carl H. McCall
-SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson
-Eric L. Adams, Brooklyn Borough President
-Dr. Samuel L. Stanley, Jr., President Stony Brook University
-Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts, President, SUNY Old Westbury
-Dr. Mark G. Stewart, Dean, Downstate School of Graduate Studies
-Dr. Rauno O. Jok, Presiding President, Downstate Faculty and Staff Assembly
-Abhimanyu Amarnani, President Downstate’s University Council
-Dr. Darilyn V. Moyer, President, American College of Physicians
– Dr. Darilyn V. Moyer, Executive Vice President an CEO, American College of Physicians
-The Honorable Dr. Louis W. Sullivan,Former Secretary of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and President Emeritus, Morehouse School of Medicine

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Robert F. Furchgott Annual Visiting Professor Lecture: Nobel Laureate Dr. Eric Kandel

On Wednesday, September 6 at 3:00 p.m. in BSB Lecture Hall 6, the Robert F. Furchgott Annual Visiting Professor Lecture featured  Dr. Eric Kandel, 2000 Nobel Laureate and Professor at Columbia University. A packed auditorium coupled with Dr. Kandel’s jovial and engaging lecture style produced an exceptional event.

“Dr. Kandel’s research has been concerned with the molecular mechanisms of memory storage. He has been recognized with the Albert Lasker Award, the Heineken Award of the Netherlands, the Gairdner Award of Canada, the Harvey Prize and the Wolf Prize of Israel, the National Medal of Science USA and the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 2000”

Dr. Kandel is currently a University Professor and the Director of Columbia’s Kavli Institute for Brain Science. Additionally, he is the Co-Director, Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute, and an Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

The Robert F. Furchgott Annual Visiting Professor Lecture highlighted some of his current research ““The Biology of Memory and Age-Related Memory Loss.” Dr. Kandel’s research uncovered increased bone density, higher osteocalcin hormone levels and increased RbAp48 protein in the Dentate Gyrus produces significant results in decreasing age-related memory loss.

“Get more exercise and drink more red wine, to decrease age-related memory loss.” -Dr. Eric Kandel



Alumni Throwback Thursdays

Every Thursday on the Alumni Association Facebook page and Facebook group a throwback photo will be featured. Photos will be taken from the yearbooks, with the goal that each year of SUNY Downstate College of Medicine graduates is represented.

If you have a photo you would like to share and be featured, please send it to

Be on the look out for a new post every single Thursday. If you see someone you recognize, do not hesitate to let them know they are featured and comment with their name.

The link to the Facebook page is:

The link to the Facebook Group is:



SUNY Downstate News May 2017


SUNY Downstate Alumnus Jeffrey Goldstein, MD’90, was elected president of the International society Society for the Advancement of Spine Surgery.” Dr. Goldstein is chief of the Spine Service for Education Program and Director of the Spine Fellowship Program in NYU Langone Medical Center’s department of orthopedics. He has served on the ISASS board of directors since 2011. “We will continue our efforts to advance the science and art of spine surgery and educate practitioners from around the world,” said Dr. Goldstein.” to read more about this SUNY Downstate alumnus here.



Hear Ralph Snyderman, MD ’65, Duke Chancellor Emeritus, Present AOA Lecture March 21

Downstate alumnus Ralph Snyderman, MD ’65, Duke University Chancellor Emeritus and the James B. Duke Professor of Medicine, will present “From Brooklyn to Duke’s Chancellor for Health Affairs: Lessons Learned” March 21 as the AOA annual lecture.

The reception and lecture are open to the public, but the AOA awards dinner to follow is by invitation only.

ATA Chapter of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society
Annual AOA Reception, Lecture and Awards Dinner
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Deity Events, 368 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, 11217

For more information, visit the AOA site, here, or call the Alumni Association-College of Medicine for SUNY Downstate at 718-270-2075.

If you can’t make it in person, make sure we have your correct email address. We’ll include a link to a transcript or filmed version of the lecture in our email newsletter within the next few months.

Ralph Snyderman MD

Ralph Snyderman, MD ’65
From Duke University

Dr. Ralph Snyderman served as Chancellor for Health Affairs at Duke University and Dean of the School of Medicine from 1989 to July 2004 and led the transition of this excellent medical center into an internationally recognized leader of academic medicine. During his tenure, the medical school and hospital achieved ranking amongst the nation’s best. He oversaw the development of the Duke University Health System, one of the most successful integrated academic health systems in the country, and served as its first President and Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Snyderman has played a leading role in the conception and development of Personalized Health Care, an evolving model of national health care delivery. He was among the first to envision and articulate the need to move the current focus of health care from the treatment of disease-events to personalized, predictive, preventative, and participatory care that is focused on the patient. In 2012, Dr. Snyderman received the David E. Rogers Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges who referred to him as the “father of personalized medicine.”

Dr. Snyderman has been widely recognized for his contributions to the development of personalized health care, a more rational, effective, and compassionate model of health care.  He was awarded the first Bravewell Leadership Award for outstanding achievements in the field of integrative medicine in 2003. In 2007, he received the Leadership in Personalized Medicine Award from the Personalized Medicine Coalition for his efforts in advancing predictive and targeted therapies on a national scale. In 2008, Dr. Snyderman received Frost & Sullivan’s North American HealthCare Lifetime Achievement Award for his pioneering spirit and contributions to medicine.  In 2009, he received the Triangle Business Journal’s Healthcare Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2010, Procter & Gamble named Snyderman an honorary member of the Victor Mills Society for his leadership and impact on innovation and he was recognized as a Bioscience Leader Emeriti by the NC Association for Biomedical Research honoring North Carolina research leaders for their outstanding leadership in the transformation of the state through scientific discovery and innovation. In 2012, Dr. Snyderman received the David E. Rogers Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges for his leadership in academic medicine and for the conception of personalized medicine. Dr. Snyderman was awarded the North Carolina Life Sciences Leadership Award in February 2014.

Dr. Snyderman has played a prominent role in the leadership of such important national organizations as the Association of American Physicians, the Institute of Medicine and the Association of American Medical Colleges. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. He served as Chair of the AAMC in 2001-2002 and President of AAP in 2003-2004. He chaired the Institute of Medicine’s National Summit on Integrative Medicine and the Health of the Public held in February 2009.

Dr. Snyderman accepted his first faculty appointment at Duke in 1972 and by 1984, he was the Frederic M. Hanes Professor of Medicine and Immunology. His research contributed to the understanding of how white blood cells respond to chemical signals to mediate host defense or tissue damage and he is internationally recognized for his contributions in inflammation research. In 1987, Snyderman left Duke to join Genentech, Inc., the pioneering biomedical technology firm, as Senior Vice President for medical research and development. While at Genentech, he led the development and licensing of several major biotechnology therapeutics.

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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.



Class Notes: December 16, 2016

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Glenn Lubash, MD ‘54
Dr. Lubash writes, “Enough is enough. I retired from medical work on Dec 31, 2016. I have had a rewarding career with faculty positions at Cornell, University of Maryland, and the University of New Mexico. My last position in NM was as Head of Renal and Hypertension Division and Professor of Medicine. I was fortunate to be part of the earlier days of dialysis and kidney transplantation and later was involved in basic research in hypertension. I left academic medicine in 1973 and thereafter was in the private practice of nephrology in Albuquerque for many years. In later years, I alternated between nephrology and primary care. My wife of 45 years, Jean, died in 1997, and I have been married to Geri for over 18 years. I have been extremely lucky with marriages to two wonderful women. I plan now to try to write something about medical experiences, but am not sure I have the talent for that.”


Donna Younger, MD ’55
Dr. Younger, an internal medicine physician and Harvard Medical School professor, retired in 2016.

Allen Silberstein, MD ’62
Dr. Silberstein writes that he has been retired for 10 years now, and spends his time sculpting, playing tennis and traveling with his wife, Irene.

Allan Naarden, MD ’64
Dr. Naarden’s son, Gregory, and daughter-in-law, Ann, had a child, Dr. Naarden’s fourth grandchild.

Andy Schwartz, MD ‘65
Dr. Schwartz writes, “We have evolved from Internal Medicine to professor (Infectious Diseases, Internal Medicine, Microbiology) to practicing IM and ID, and now primarily Geriatrics/senior care at institutions ALs, ILs, rehabs and long-term care facilities. Working for VIRTUA Medical Group in Camden and Burlington Counties in New Jersey.Three grown children with diverse professions — law, therapy, and options trading) and six grandchildren from ages 3 to 23. Of course, they’re all the greatest folks! One older one has migrated back to NYC, and is in graduate school at Columbia. Two are in New Orleans at Tulane. Where has the time gone? We only graduated a couple yesterdays ago.”



Ralph Snyderman, MD ’65
Argos Therapeutics Inc. (Nasdaq: ARGS) has announced the appointment of Ralph Snyderman, M.D., and Irackly Mtibelishvily, LL.M., to the company’s board of directors. “It is a privilege to welcome a pair of profoundly accomplished professionals to the Argos board of directors who offer renowned expertise in each of their respective fields,” said Jeff Abbey, president and CEO of Argos. Dr. Snyderman is chancellor emeritus at Duke University, James B. Duke professor of medicine, and director of the Center for Research on Personalized Health Care. He served as chancellor for health affairs and dean of the Duke University School of Medicine from 1989 to 2004. During this time, he oversaw the development of the Duke University Health System and served as its first president and chief executive officer. Dr. Snyderman has played a leading role in the conception and development of Personalized Health Care, an evolving model of national health care delivery. Previously, Dr. Snyderman served as senior vice president for medical research and development at Genentech, Inc., the pioneering biomedical technology firm. He has played a leadership role in important national organizations such as the Association of American Physicians, the National Academy of Medicine, and Association of American Medical Colleges. Dr. Snyderman earned a doctor of medicine degree from SUNY Downstate Medical Center. Read the full Argos press release, here.

Michael Stillman, MD ‘67
Dr. Stillman had a solo Dermatology practice in Westchester County for 30 years, and then joined a 500-doctor multi-specialty group where he worked until mandatory retirement at age 70, three years ago. “Since then, I babysit three grandchildren, play golf, and drive my wife crazy,” he writes. “She works in real estate and runs marathons. She says she will keep on working and running as long as I’m retired.”
Dr. Stillman’s 36-year-old son Jeremy is an Orthopedic PA at George Washington University Hospital, and enjoys Ironmen Triathlons and helicopter skiing. His 40-year-old daughter Julie was an executive at Columbia/Sony Music and now is a stay at home mom who plays competitive tennis and runs. Her husband is a urologist in Connecticut.
“I have been blessed with good health thanks to good genes and modern medicine,” Dr. Stillman writes, “and no thanks to poor eating habits.”

M. Monica Sweeney, MD ‘75
On World AIDS Day, December 2, 2016, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams presented an award to Dr. Monica Sweeney, vice dean for global engagement and chair of Health Policy & Management in the School of Public Health, for her years of dedication and accomplishments. The ceremony was held at Brooklyn Borough Hall.

Cynthia MacKay, MD ‘77
Dr. MacKay writes that she has “retired from the operating room and research. I am still in private practice in ophthalmology on the upper west side of New York City. I perform laser surgery for glaucoma and after-cataract, and for retinal diseases including diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, retinal tears and detachments, and sickle cell retinopathy. I hope to see many 1977 classmates at our 40th reunion in May 2017.”

Carol Kornmehl, MD ‘84
Dr. Kornmehl was again named a Top Doctor of New Jersey.

SUNY Downstate Alumni In Memoriam

Charles M. Plotz, MD ’44
Dr. Plotz died peacefully at home November 20, 2016, surrounded by his family. He was born December 6, 1921 in New York, son of Dr. Isaac Israel and Rose Celia (Bluestone) Plotz. He graduated from Columbia College at 19, and received his M.D. degree from Long Island College of Medicine (now SUNY Downstate Medical Center) at 22. After his internship at New Haven (now Yale New Haven) Hospital, he married Lucille Weckstein, who survives him and with whom he shared 71 years of a wonderful marriage. After serving as a Captain in the Army Medical Corps and completing his residency, Charles entered the new field of rheumatology, becoming the first rheumatology fellow at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. He participated in much of the seminal research in the field, and in the 1950s, together with Dr. Jacques Singer, developed the latex fixation test, which quickly became and has remained the standard test for rheumatoid arthritis. Charles’s academic achievements made him a much sought-after participant in conferences around the world, allowing him to indulge his love of travel and leading to friendships with colleagues all over the world. In 1965 he was invited to spend a month heading the American medical outreach effort in Kabul, Afghanistan, where he gained firsthand knowledge of that then peaceful part of the world. Charles was for many years a professor at Downstate and was the founding chair of the family practice department there, a position he held until his retirement. He also maintained an active private practice and was beloved by his patients. Above all, Charles lived life to its fullest. Charles was a connoisseur of fine food and wine, and the parties he and Lucille gave at their homes in Brooklyn and Menemsha on Martha’s Vineyard were legendary among their friends and colleagues. He was a vibrant, active, fun- filled person, whether playing tennis, traveling the world with Lucille, telling a seemingly limitless supply of jokes (always delivering the right one at the right time) or shopping for food, which he continued to do to the end. As part of his lifelong commitment to improving the lives of others, Charles took the older two of his three sons to join the 1965 Selma to Montgomery civil rights march with Dr. King.

Watch a 2010 interview with Dr. Charles M. Plotz by the American College of Rheumatology

Martin I. Gold, MD ’54
Dr. Gold, ’54 died on Dec 12, 2016, of Alzheimer’s. His post graduate training was at the Graduate Hospital in Philadelphia. He was an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland and subsequently worked at the VA Hospital in Miami, Florida, as a Full Professor. He was Board Certified in Anesthesiology, and contributed 33 medical journal articles and abstracts. He is survived by his wife, Betty, and 3 children, Barbara, Cindy and Michael.

Frank DiPillo, MD ’56
Dr. DiPillo, age 87, a dedicated physician, beloved mentor to medical students and residents, died on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016, surrounded by his family. He was born and raised in the Bronx and moved to Brooklyn before living in Warren, New Jersey, since 1987.  He graduated summa cum laude from St. John’s University and received his medical degree from SUNY Downstate Medical School. Dr. DiPillo served his residency and fellowship at Long Island College Hospital. He then became an attending physician and later served as chief of special hematology/ oncology from 1970 to 1998 before being promoted to chairman of medicine from 1998 to 2012. All the while, he trained and mentored thousands of medical students, residents and fellows. He was beloved by his patients, colleagues, and staff. He loved spending time with his family, reading, watching old movies, and Frank Sinatra. Dr. DiPillo served in the U.S. Navy. Published in Star-Ledger on Dec. 2, 2016.


Catherine Kane, MD ’59
Kane, Catherine S. MD of Stony Brook, NY on December 20, 2015 in her 82nd year. Dr. Kane spent most of her life in Brooklyn, where she was Medical Director of the Angel Guardian Home, providing services to young people in need, including children in need of adoption, foster kids, unwed teen mothers and babies born addicted to drugs.


John A Crocco, MD ’61
John A. Crocco, MD Prominent member of the academic medical community who left an indelible mark John A. Crocco, M.D., died Sunday Dec. 4, 2016, after a long illness. Dr. Crocco was a prominent member, both regionally and nationally, of the academic medical community where he left an indelible mark. A Memorial Mass will be held on Friday, Dec. 9 at 11:30 a.m. at St. Bartholomew’s Church, 470 Ryders Lane, East Brunswick, N.J. 08816. Internment will take place at 2:30 p.m. on Friday at Moravian Cemetery, 2205 Richmond Rd., Staten Island, N.Y. 10306. Dr. Crocco earned his bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and his MD from the State University of New York-Downstate Medical Center. He went on to complete his residency in internal medicine at St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York, and pulmonary diseases at Kings County Hospital, SUNY-Downstate Medical Center. His education propelled him into a distinguished medical career. Dr. Crocco rose through the academic ranks, first at SUNY-Downstate and then at New York Medical College. A stint with the military, where he achieved the rank of major in the U.S. Army Reserves, punctuated his career, and he served as chief of professional services for the 1208th U.S. Army Hospital for four years. Throughout his career, he published numerous articles on pulmonary diseases, including the landmark studies on massive hemoptysis in 1968 and on tuberculous pericarditis in 1970. He held extensive leadership positions in the New York Trudeau Society, the President’s Commission on Smoking and Health, the New York Lung Association, and the American College of Physicians. In 1977, he was invited to write the introduction for the classic collector’s edition of the iconic medical text, Gray’s Anatomy. He served as editor for several prestigious journals and was elected to the American College of Physicians, the American College of Chest Physicians, and the New York Academy of Medicine. In 1983, Cardinal Terrence Cooke installed him as a Knight of the Sovereign & Military Order of Malta of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as chief of the Pulmonary Division and associate director of Medicine at St. Vincent’s Hospital for 15 years. He then served as the chairman of the Department of Medicine at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, N.J. During his tenure and under his leadership, the department made tremendous strides in resident education as well as medical student development, and fostered a superior academic environment. He laid the foundation for the transition to University Hospital status in affiliation with Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. After his retirement in 2000 until shortly before his death, he remained exceedingly active as a clinical professor of medicine at Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, where he earned a Certificate of Excellence in teaching every year since 2003. In 2005, he received The Gold Humanism Honor Society Award in recognition of his exemplary service to others, his integrity, clinical excellence, and compassionate and respectful relationships with patients, families, and colleagues. Jersey Shore Medical Center presented him with the Department of Medicine 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award. In early 2016, he received the Alumni Achievement Award in Pulmonology from SUNY-Downstate Medical Center in recognition of significant contributions to the welfare of mankind. Dr. Crocco is survived by his wife, Mary Arlene; five children and their spouses: Robert and Cyndie, Mary Grace, Elizabeth and Stephen, Kathleen and Derrick, and John and Maria, and seven grandchildren, Aidan, Colette, Barry, Collin, Shaun, Dorian, and Kieran. Published in Star-Ledger on Dec. 6, 2016.

Do you have Class Notes to share? Email us at alumni (at), or call 718-270-2075.

Join the Alumni Association-College of Medicine for SUNY Downstate
and support the next generation of medical education.


Remembering Gerald Greenberg, MD ’59, Friend of Downstate


Died November 21, 2015

Gerald M Greenberg, MD, age 83, of Roslyn Heights, NY, died peacefully and gently and with a soft smile on his face, much as he had lived, on November 21, 2015 at home on hospice care, surrounded by his family. He was the beloved husband of Abby J. Greenberg, MD, ’59.
Jerry was born on October 22, 1932, the son of Emanuel D. Greenberg, DDS and Sayde Greenberg. He was raised in the Bronx, overlooking Yankee Stadium, and graduated from the University of Rochester with a BA in Physics, and then from the SUNY Downstate Medical School in 1959. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine at the Jewish Hospital in Brooklyn and his Fellowship in Pulmonary Disease at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.
After serving in the US Navy, Dr Greenberg was appointed Chief of the Pulmonary Disease Division and Chief of the Department of Medicine at the Greenpoint Hospital Affiliation of the Jewish Hospital and Medical Center of Brooklyn. Then, from 1971 – 1980, he was Associate Director of the Department of Medicine and Director of the Division of Pulmonary Disease at Jamaica Hospital.
Dr. Greenberg returned to Brooklyn Jewish Hospital in 1980 and became Chief of the Pulmonary Division and also Chief of the Critical Care Division of Interfaith Medical Center (formerly Brooklyn Jewish Hospital). He remained in those two positions for two decades until 2004, and then stayed in the Department of Medicine as an Attending Physician in charge of the Tuberculosis Outpatient Program until he retired in 2011. At his funeral, Dr. Greenberg was eulogized by M. Frances Schmidt, MD, his successor as Chief of the Pulmonary Division of Interfaith Medical Center. She said that Dr. Greenberg educated multiple generations of physicians and pulmonologists in the Pulmonary Fellowship Program and each of them will remember him as a man of great character and integrity, an honest man, a great teacher, and a great Physician. She noted that he was a source of inspiration to all at Interfaith Medical Center; and he taught the members and trainees in the Pulmonary Division about mutual respect and about the need to try to perform to the highest standard and to care passionately for their patients. She reported that the Pulmonary Fellowship has been able to maintain its very high academic standard because of the structure and norms that Dr. Greenberg established.
In 2005, in honor of the 50th anniversary of their wedding, Dr. Gerald Greenberg and his wife, Dr. Abby Greenberg, established the Drs. Gerald and Abby Greenberg Scholarship Fund of the SUNY Downstate Medical Center Alumni Association – College of Medicine. The scholarship monies are designated to be awarded periodically to married medical student couples. This criterion was selected because Jerry and Abby entered SUNY Downstate Medical Center, College of Medicine together as young newlyweds and then graduated together in 1959 with a 6 month old addition to their family; and they wanted to be able to provide some additional support to couples in similar circumstances.

Abby Greenberg


SUNY Downstate Class Notes, Oct. 14, 2016

Richard Allen Williams, MD ‘62
Dr. Williams was named 117th President of the National Medical Association in August, 2016. He is currently Clinical Professor of Medicine at the UCLA School of Medicineand President/CEO of the Minority Health Institute, Inc. in Los Angeles, California.

Munish Khaneja, MD `97
Dr. Khaneja joined Altruista Health in October as Chief Medical Officer. Munish Khaneja, MD will oversee clinical strategy and regulatory innovation across all products and services, and will work directly with Altruista Health clients to translate those innovations into clinical, operational and financial improvements.

Albert Kaufman, MD, Downstate professor, retired 1999
Dr. Albert Kaufman, Emeritus Associate Professor of Physiology, is still living in Brooklyn within 5 miles of Downstate.  Much of his retired life has been spent assisting his very talented wife in her career as a fine artist, including setting up a website that may be seen at  Last year he began taking his writing career seriously and has been submitting poetry and prose to various publications, none of which have taken his career seriously yet, except for the publishers of Pharos who included the poem Hope Springs Eternal in their Spring 2015 issue.  He would love to learn how his former students are doing and can be contacted at

In Memoriam
Harold Bernanke, MD `54
Dr. Bernake died suddenly August 20, 2016 in Rockville, MD at 87. He was a lifelong New Yorker and served as a physician on active medical staff at Montefiore Hospital for decades. He enjoyed medical practice until shortly before his death, and relished travels, conversation, good food, and a long laugh. Read Dr. Bernanke’s obituary in the Washington Post.

William “Bill” Sciales, MD `56
Dr. Sciales died on September 27, 2016, at 86. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Dr. Nancy Shevell Sciales, MD, five children and nine grandchildren. Read Dr. Sciales’ obituary on

Martin Robert Feller, MD ‘60
Dr. Feller died Aug. 31, 2016, at Good Samaritan Hospital, West Islip, NY, surrounded by his family, from complications of Crohn’s Disease. He was born June 19, 1936 in Brooklyn, NY, to Louis and Fay (Cohen) Feller. Dr. Feller was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and of DUNY Downstate School of Medicine. He was a captain and physician in the US Air Force. Dr. Feller was a radiologist in West Islep, NY, with South Shore Radiologists PC. Read Dr. Feller’s obituary in the New York Times.

Elinor Sverdlik Sachs (Dr. Elinor Kron), ‘70
Dr. Kron, age 72, passed away in St. Francis Hospital on July 20, 2016. Born in Washington, DC, she graduated from South High School in Valley Stream. She graduated from Cornell University in 1966, with a major in chemistry. Elinor received her MD Degree from Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, New York in 1970, and did her residency in radiology at Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, New York. Upon moving to Hartford, she joined the Radiology Group at Mt. Sinai Hospital. Continuing in that field, Elinor became a partner in Radiology Associates of Hartford, serving the St. Francis Care Group, specializing in mammography, until her retirement in 2013. For much of her career she was the only female radiologist in her practice, and she took pains to extend herself to the many female technicians who worked with her. The female technicians in the Mammography Unit dubbed her “Queenie.” From a young age, Elinor enjoyed painting, a pastime she later resumed as she approached retirement. She explained that since her profession required her to analyze images, she wanted to adapt those skills to imagery in painting. In addition to studying with recognized local artists, she came under the tutelage of Sir Roland Richardson, an internationally-exhibited painter from St. Martin, who is known as the “Father of Caribbean Impressionism.” Roland recognized her aptitude with color and line, and invited her to study in his Master’s Classes on St. Martin. Elinor was invited to display her work at some juried shows in Connecticut, and people purchased her pieces for their collections. Elinor and her husband Jeremy also traveled through Europe, enjoying the painting and sights of Spain, Portugal, Turkey, France, England, and Greece, among other countries. Read Dr. Kron’s obituary in the Hartford Courant.

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Alumni Profile: Follow Steven Brozinsky, MD ’72, from Downstate to Chula Vista

The Alumni Office contacted Dr. Brozinsky for an interview, and he shared his written highlights from almost 40 years in medicine.

Continued, from above:
Dr. Morris Zuckerbrod, an elderly but revered internist was our preceptor. He introduced us to one of his patients and proceeded to percuss out the patient’s heart borders with his short, stubby fingers. We all had to agree on exactly where cardiac dullness ended and pulmonary resonance began. Dr. “Z” then took a sheet of loose leaf paper and traced his patient’s enlarged cardiac contours. The five of us went to the X-ray department where Dr. Z pulled that day’s film and snapped it onto a viewbox. With great fanfare he then whipped out the loose leaf page that he had stuffed in his breast pocket ten minutes earlier, unfolded it, and placed it on the X-ray.  The perfect superimposition of cardiac borders was a thing to behold.  Dr. Zuckerbrod smiled benevolently, “That, gentleman, is how you percuss out a heart.”

So, now it’s 2016 and it seems that the only person who touches a patient’s chest is the tech who performs the echocardiogram. Then a computer-generated report appears, signed by the cardiologist who may not have even examined the patient that day.

All of my education from kindergarten through medical school had been in Brooklyn.  The only exception was in February 1972 when I ventured by bus and subway into Manhattan for an elective rotation in gastroenterology with Dr. Michael J. Lepore at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Greenwich Village. He was a legendary clinician who got to know everything about his patients that might have a bearing on their illness. No wonder the likes of Greta Garbo and Herbert Hoover sought him out as their physician. Upjohn supported his fellowship program at Roosevelt Hospital and then St. Vincent’s, and it was one of the most highly sought after in the east. This was before ultrasound, CT, MRI — diagnoses were crafted from histories obtained by careful questioning and meticulously performed physical examination. No scribe taking notes on an iPad, but rather eye contact, hands on, calm but authoritative voice reassuring countless patients that he was there to help them.

That month was my introduction to the ravages induced by alcohol. From the suburban housewife with cirrhosis to the homeless Korean War veteran with pancreatitis, Lepore treated them all with respect and compassion, qualities sorely missing in many newly minted twenty-first century gastroenterologists whose prowess seems to be measured by adenoma detection and biliary cannulation rates.

I never had the pleasure of working with Henry Janowitz in New York or Joseph Kirsner in Chicago, and only met Yale’s Howard Spiro in the twilight of his career, but dozens of tributes testify to their devotion to their patients. As with Lepore, none of the countless accolades given to these giants speak of their endoscopic dexterity.

From 1972-75 I was a house officer in Internal Medicine at Maimonides. The Chief was David Grob, who was one of the world’s experts on myasthenia gravis. He consulted on Aristotle Onassis’ case. A John’s Hopkins trained clinician, he would frequently wow us on Director’s Rounds by palpating a patient’s radial pulse and then accurately predicting both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

One night my team admitted a very interesting patient, and instead of having the intern present the case to him at morning report, I asked Dr. Grob if he wouldn’t mind interviewing and examining the patient in an attempt to arrive at what was indeed a rare diagnosis. Dr. Grob thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and we were all amazed at the direction of the questioning and ultimately how carefully he examined her extremities. Now how many patients with Ehlers-Danlos have you ever seen? Grob had the diagnosis in fifteen minutes!

VA Medical Center in Brooklyn
I served my fellowship in gastroenterology at the VA Medical Center in Brooklyn, and remained there as a clinical instructor and assistant professor. In 1975 when I started there, the affiliation with SUNY Downstate was rather weak. In an attempt to strengthen that affiliation and attract American graduates to the joint program with Kings County Hospital, the powers that be recruited Victor Herbert, MD, JD to the position of Chief of Medicine.

Yes, that Victor Herbert, who was named for his distant cousin, the composer. Dr. Herbert was an antiquackery activist who tolerated fools poorly and when he arrived at the Brooklyn VA he certainly encountered many old time physicians who fit that description.  Unfortunately his impolitic nature overshadowed his clinical brilliance and despite being given the VA’s Middleton Award “for outstanding achievement in medical research for his work on developing scientific tools to diagnose nutritional deficiencies,” he soon found himself at loggerheads with the Chief of Staff, a psychiatrist. VACO (VA Central Office) in their not-so-infinite wisdom banished both of them, the psychiatrist to Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and Herbert back to the Bronx.

Mission accomplished, however. By the time Herbert left Brooklyn, the old guard at the VA had been replaced by younger, more cutting-edge doctors and the training program in medicine, now more intimately integrated with Kings County Hospital and Downstate’s University Hospital, became one of the most competitive in New York City.

Dr. Herbert got along quite well with me and my GI section chief, Saul Grosberg, perhaps because he sensed that we kept up with the literature and applied this knowledge to the care of our patients. This was when endoscopy was starting to really take off, but Herbert appreciated and made it known that bedside clinical skills would always trump marginally indicated procedures.

No discussion of the Brooklyn VA of the 1970s would be complete without mentioning Harry LeVeen, the brilliant Chief of Surgery. He had some oddball ideas about intraoperative heating of pancreatic malignancies, some of which are being resurrected forty years later. He invented the LeVeen shunt for treating diuretic resistant cirrhotic ascites. In fact, my job as a senior GI fellow was to pick a piece of paper out of a hat to randomize a patient to shunt vs. further intensifying medical therapy. The shunt did work, but unfortunately early on, surgeons did not drain all the ascitic fluid before placing the shunt; hence the inevitable variceal rupture when all that extracellular fluid was returned to the intravascular space. I still recall one bona fide case of hepatorenal syndrome which was successfully treated with the shunt and published in the New York State Journal of Medicine.

University of California, San Diego
In June 1980 I left the borough of my birth to join the faculty at UCSD in the Division of Gastroenterology. This was a very heavily research-oriented group, mostly with Ivy League resumes, and they were looking for young clinicians.

While at UCSD from 1980-1986 I helped to train two dozen fellows, most of whom went into private practice, but several who did well in academia including Loren Laine, Christine Cartright, Salam Zakko and Susan Cummings. I did clinical research with the late Jon Isenberg on acid secretion and worked with the scientists at Hoffmann La Roche, SKF, Glaxo among others. I administered ranitidine (or placebo) to known duodenal ulcer patients and our lab technician extraordinaire Dan Hogan measured their gastric acid secretion.

The drug had not yet been marketed as Zantac. When it was (1983), Tagamet bit the dust.  And then, a few years later (1984) Australian physician Barry Marshall ingested a campylobacter-like organism that was subsequently named the Helicobacter pylori.  Although initially ridiculed for suggesting that this bacteria caused chronic gastritis and peptic ulceration, he had the last laugh, receiving the Nobel Prize in 2005.

I was one of a small group at UCSD who got along quite well with both Marshall Orloff and Abdool Rahim (Babs) Moossa, the Chiefs of Surgery while I was there. Orloff, at age 37, was the youngest Chief of Surgery in the nation when he was appointed as the school opened in 1968 and held that position for fifteen years. He later became world famous for his unbelievable results with emergency portacaval shunts on variceal bleeders. What was unbelievable was not the 30 day mortality which other centers came close to matching, but the recidivism rate among the alcoholic survivors, which Orloff claimed his personal and team’s intervention kept in the single digits!  Alas, hardly anyone is trained to do that procedure in 2016 as we have Interventional Radiology ready, willing and able to perform a TIPS. Orloff’s residents very much appreciated that he never castigated them in public.

Moossa was the go-to surgeon if you had pancreatic cancer. Patients from all over the world sought him out and were generally quite happy with his excellent results. He always asked me how my wife and young children were and more importantly, listened intently as I told him.

The inaugural Chief of Medicine at UCSD was Eugene Braunwald, a cardiologist from the NIH who had fled Vienna in 1939, and while a medical student at NYU in the 1950s was mentored by Ludwig Eichna (my Chair at Downstate 1960-1974). Braunwald came to UCSD with his thoracic surgeon wife Nina Starr but she and Orloff reportedly didn’t get along, and the Braunwalds returned to Harvard in 1972.

Henry Wheeler, another founding member of UCSD Medical School’s faculty, was instrumental in then recruiting his friend from Columbia, Helen Ranney to become the Chief of Medicine in San Diego. It was at Columbia that she conducted world-famous research on sickle cell disease. She was Chair at UCSD from 1973-1986.

Private practice
After UCSD, I joined Ed Singer in Chula Vista and we’ve been together now for thirty years. Ed grew up in Houston. He and I are the same age, have similar philosophies about patient care, and perform endoscopic procedures only when results stand a good chance of altering diagnosis or changing treatment.

A final word or two about UCSD. UCSD got it right when they made Tom Savides, a 1987 graduate who trained at UCLA and Indiana University, the head of interventional endoscopy. Tom is able, affable and available and it has been a pleasure to send my toughest cases to him – we have each others cell phone numbers and he has earned a well-deserved national reputation as the guru in EUS and double balloon enteroscopy.

Dr. David Brenner is currently Dean of the UCSD School of Medicine and Vice Chancellor for the Health Sciences. In 1986 he was one of my fellows and then went on to academic careers at North Carolina and Columbia. He lived near us in University City. We jogged together thirty years ago. Our daughters played together. He is primarily responsible for convincing Bill Sandborn to leave the Mayo Clinic and establish an IBD Center of Excellence here in San Diego. Kudos to Tom, Dave and Bill – what an incredibly valuable resource these physicians have been for the entire San Diego medical community. The “town-gown” problems which were rife here in the 70s and early 80s are finally starting to fade away.

The eleven consecutive semesters of French I studied in Brooklyn are not much help in Chula Vista. One of the ER admissions my first year in practice was a “mule” from Nigeria whom the border patrol agents at San Ysidro thought was acting suspiciously and sure enough an X-ray revealed two dozen drug-filled condoms scattered about his gut. When I started interviewing him in French, the guards at his bedside were not too amused and insisted I knock it off pronto, or else.

Unlike the hidden agendas in University politics, I came to appreciate that private practice politics were a more up front. Ancestral homeland and building loyalty more than hospital affiliation influenced referrals for office consultations, unless, of course, the patient were a family member, in which case Ed Singer or I had the honor and privilege of seeing them.

Richard Snyder, MD, a really good guy and a beloved and skilled practitioner was one of the gastroenterologists who spoke at a Sharp-sponsored symposium in 2015. He began his remarks by scanning the audience of physicians and nurses and stating that we all must have been good people in previous lives because we were now being rewarded with the privilege of practicing medicine; allowing us to not only make a comfortable living, but to care for our fellow man and use our education, training and skills to help our sick patients get better.

I was an academic for nine years and really loved teaching students, interns, residents, nurses and fellows. But these past thirty years in private practice have been the most enjoyable of my professional career.

The advances in medicine have enabled me to take so much better care of my patients. We can now cure hepatitis C. If banding bleeding esophageal varices doesn’t stop the hemorrhaging my interventional radiology specialists are available 24/7 to perform TIPS.  Can you believe that 32 years ago I attended a symposium at the Cleveland Clinic on variceal sclerosis – cutting edge then, but extinct now?

Laparoscopy was in its infancy in 1986. How many of you remember 9″ long cholecystectomy scars and the four week “off work” testimonials?

NOTES (natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery) is the new rage although I’m not sure it’ll catch on in the US, but if you go to China you can have your gall bladder stones removed via the rectum!  I kid you not. I just read a case report in the American Journal of Gastroenterology and the patient did fine – no visible scars at all – I suspect a little bit meshugi, but no scars!

I’ll probably hang up my shingle before I fully submit to the chazari of the EHR. Sure it’s nice to easily access the lab studies and X-ray reports on my patients – but my God – those ridiculous templates that are being shoved down our throats – they’re for the coders’ benefit and not our patients’.

And now that some patients are complaining about their practitioner (see – no longer their doctors) making eye contact with a tablet or pad instead of them a few practices are hiring scribes, that’s right, scribes to take notes. I’m sure we’d all love to have some total stranger record our symptoms, our history, our fears.

What I’ve cherished the most is the one on one when I meet a new patient for the first time. My favorite ice-breaking question is, “Where are you from way back when?” I know enough US geography to continue that line of questioning and, oh boy, if the patient is from New York I can really put them at ease.

My Spanish-speaking patients very much appreciate that I’m making the effort to converse with them. On occasion they’ll even compliment me on my accent. My bilingual MA Belinda has no equal.

What a pleasure to be able to make a diagnosis that might actually benefit a patient – celiac disease or Whipple Disease and not IBS. Microscopic colitis with instantaneous and dramatic response to budesonide. I have two young ladies in their twenties with Crohn’s who are symptom-free on the new biologic agents. Even the more mundane GI diagnoses GERD, IBS, dyspepsia, fatty liver have new therapies that did not exist a decade ago.

My colleagues in surgery, radiology and pathology are first class. The nurses at Sharp Chula Vista are a cheerful, talented and dedicated bunch. I am proud and honored to have served on the Board of Directors there from 2005-2014. Dr. Snyder is right. I am a lucky man.

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