Class of 2017 Commencement Recap

The Class of 2017 Commencement of the College of Medicine, the School of Graduate Studies, and the School of Public Health of the SUNY Downstate Medical Center took place again at Carnegie Hall on May 23, 2017.  The College of Medicine graduated 191 students from the Class of 2017 including two MD/PHD graduates and eight MD/MPH graduates.

Students, Faculty, and Professors alike resounded with  jubilation for the newly graduated doctors!  The theme for the ceremony was progression based on hope and determination. Commencement Speaker and Honorary Degree Recipient, David A. Bennahum, MD, said “we must always take care of our patients within the context of hope,” and highlighted the importance of continuing to the enrich your imagination.

Check out the video from SUNY Downstate about Commencement 2017 here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVjOtpTtXH8&t=2s

New graduates were provided with keys to success from distinguished speakers. “Medicine is both an art and a science” -David A. Bennahum, MD, on what it takes to be a good doctor. The College of Medicine Alumni Association President, Suzanne S. Mirra, MD ’67, also said “be an advocate for your patients, for proposed changes in healthcare, and when necessary, resist.”

You can watch the Class of 2017 take the Hippocratic Oath in our video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cbMOZKM57Y

Check out the full video of Dr. Mirra’s welcome speech here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4YC8d_RMyM&t=20s

Congratulations Graduates !

 

 

SUNY Downstate News March 2017

SUNY Downstate medical students excelled in the 2017 National Residency Match, passing the national average. Also, 71% of Graduates will train in New York State. Read more about SUNY Downstate Match 2017, here.

Research by SUNY Downstate Medical Center 4th-year Medical Student Jared Ditkowsky and 2nd-year Pediatrics Resident Sairaman Nagarajan, MD, MPH, was recognized by members of the national press at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) in Atlanta, March 3-6. These research projects were performed in the Center for Allergy and Asthma Research (CAAR) at SUNY Downstate, an ongoing interdepartmental translational research collaboration. Read more about this allergy research at SUNY Downstate, here.

Pilot eye movements change noticeably by two hours in-flight. Pilot fatigue is a major contributor to aviation disasters, but coming up with an objective measure of fatigue has long eluded supervisors in both military and commercial airlines. Standard practice involves a combination of subjective self-report measures by the pilot, and an assessment by commanding officers. With numerous factors at play, including social and financial ones, how can one objectively determine a pilot’s ability to focus and fly safely? Read more about this SUNY Downstate research into flight safety, here.

 

SUNY Downstate: Emory Global Case Competition Finalists

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SUNY Downstate’s Team (Bridget Furlong, Shelley Jain, George Mo, Brian Starkman, and Zachary Wolner) were selected as finalists out of 24 teams at the Emory International Global Case Competition.

 

“We prepared for months for the weekend long competition in Atlanta (Mar 24-26),” Zachary writes. “Patriot Yang and Angela Yao organized the team and provided us with invaluable insights based on their successes at last year’s competition. When we arrived in Atlanta on Thursday, we began preparing our solutions to the challenge case: treating mental illness in the children and adolescents of Monrovia, Liberia. After a long Friday night we went in front of two judges to detail our interventions.

 

“Out of 24 teams, we, and three others, were selected to present our solutions on the unmet needs of the mentally ill in Liberia to the other competitors and a panel of 6 judges from varied distinguished backgrounds in global health. The experience was thrilling and something we will never forget. Our performance earned us honorable mention and a $900 prize.

 

“This never would have happened if it weren’t for the generosity of the alumni foundation. We are so thankful for the foundation flying us out to Atlanta to participate in this wonderful event.

 

Thank you again,

Zachary Wolner


Every gift impacts a life.

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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SUNY Downstate News: January 2017

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

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


BioBAT Receives $1 Million from Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams

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


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

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


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

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

 

 

SUNY Downstate

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

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

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Dr. Jeanne Macrae

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Running Down a Dream: Downstate Students Marathon for the Free Clinic

SUNY Downstate students and supporters raise $21,000 during the New York Marathon to benefit the Anne Kastor Brooklyn Free Clinic

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From left to right, second-year medical student Mike Levine, first-year Katie Lee, Ben and Jim Naughton

 

When Ben Naughton was 10 or 11, he got the opportunity from his aunt Anne to make someone else’s life better. The late Dr. Anne Kastor, who helped found the Brooklyn Free Clinic, offered to donate to her nephew’s non-profit of choice for his birthday.

This was the dawn of Bionicle and PlayStation 2, and “birthday money” usually means gifts, but “she wanted me to research and find something I was passionate about for her to give to,” Ben said. “And so started the tradition where, every Christmas, I asked others, as well, not to give presents, but instead to donate. From that, and in the way she lived, she instilled in me, to put it simply, this idea of living to help others, especially those less fortune than you.”

The Alumni Association allocates money annually to the program run by SUNY Downstate students.

The $21,000 that Ben, his father Jim Naughton, and three Downstate med students raised will go toward covering prescription medication for the Brooklyn Free Clinic’s uninsured patients. The runners crowdfunded for the clinic on Crowdrise.

Ben, now 25 and an associate producer for CNN in Atlanta, ran as a member of the Brooklyn Free Clinic’s Marathon Team Nov. 6. It was his fourth marathon. He has run seriously since high school, and when “my dad and I found out we could combine two of our passions in running and non-profit work and for a place like the Brooklyn Free Clinic, it was a no-brainer.”

Ben’s aunt, Dr. Kastor, had been a primary care physician, a SUNY Downstate faculty member, and one of the founders of the clinic in 2006. She died of ovarian cancer at 49 in 2013.

“After her death, I thought what better way to honor her then to ask every year for people to give to the Brooklyn Free Clinic, a cause she was so passionate about,” Ben said.

The Brooklyn Free Clinic moves to the Downstate campus January 4, 2017, but has operated at 840 Lefferts Avenue, Brooklyn, since its inception. The clinic opens once a week to walk-in patients, many without insurance and from underserved communities.

Students from all of Downstate’s divisions, the colleges of Medicine and Nursing, to Health Related Professions and Public Health, run the clinic together. It’s a hospital in miniature, and seems to feed the students’ passion for medicine and public health.

“I got to know about the clinic from Anne telling me about her involvement in during its early days,” Ben said. “And I would say we, in our immediate family, watched it as it came to be and grew up. Then when Anne died, I think it is this way when people die, especially, at a young age from something like cancer. This brought us all closer to everyone and everything that Anne touched. David Marcus, one of the students who started the Brooklyn Free Clinic, wrote a post about Anne, and what she meant to him and the clinic. I knew it before, but I really saw and heard, through that post, how passionate he and all the people at BFC are about what they are doing.”

In his remembrance, Ben Marcus, MD, wrote, “Anne was key to the development of the BFC. I know there was much more to her than this simple, minor act, but this is how we knew her. She was an amazing mentor to the leadership group. She was an inspiring clinician to all of the volunteers, and she reminded us that primary care is not dead. Even in this difficult practice environment, Dr. Kastor showed us, and taught us, the essential role that the primary care physician plays in her or his patients’ lives.” Read the rest of Ben Marcus’ tribute, here.

Ben finished the New York Marathon and gave his cousin, Holly, Anne’s young daughter, his medal. There are things more important than objects, like family, giving, and inspiring others to give.

“The Brooklyn Free Clinic is a place that is very near to my family’s heart, both because of Anne’s connection to it, and what it stands for in that way,” he said. “And also because of the amazing work that they do.”


Student Profiles: Mike Levine and Katie Lee

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Katie Lee is a first-year Downstate medical student, a runner, and former collegiate pole-vaulter from her alma mater, the University of California, Santa Barbara. She went on to complete a master’s in Human Nutrition from Columbia University before enrolling at Downstate.

Do you have a specialty in mind?
I am really interested in emergency medicine, but as a first-year, I may fall in love with anything.

Have you run a marathon before?
It was my first marathon. I was a pole vaulter in college, but at the end of college I wanted to get involved in long distance running.

Have you gotten an opportunity to volunteer yet with the Brooklyn Free Clinic?
My work right now is very behind the scenes, though, I would love the opportunity to work within the clinic. What’s cool about it is, they say 98 percent of the students, med students at least, are involved in the clinic in some way.

How did it feel to support the clinic?
We’re able to be so sustainable, and to really have an impact in the community, and to provide every part of health care for free. It was really great to run the marathon and to support it.


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Mike Levine, a second-year Downstate medical student, got into shape after college by training for a Spartan obstacle race in 2014, followed by a spate of races around New York, including the Brooklyn Half Marathon in 2015. He is planning on a career in emergency medicine.

What is your “hometown?”
I’m originally from Central CT, near New Haven

Was your first marathon everything you thought it would be?
I only just ran my first half marathon in May. I had a lot of fun actually, and it was a beautiful day. I had very competitive goals for it, so I was pushing pretty hard, but nevertheless it was very fun seeing the thousands of supporters.

What was one moment of personal victory?
I pushed really hard during the last four miles. Because I did, I was able to run the second half of the race about one minute faster than the first (a ‘negative split’), which was goal #1 and I’m really proud about that. It validates the work I put into training. My goal was to run at an eight minute per mile pace, which I missed by about six minutes total, but I’m happier about getting the negative split.

What does the BFC mean to you? What did it mean to run, to benefit the clinic?
It’s an opportunity to do some good for this local community, for so many people who really don’t have a lot of stability or support in their lives. All the work I’ve been able to do for the clinic helps to reaffirm that I’m doing my best to be my best. The clinic has become a tremendously central aspect of the Downstate education. It is a place where students from the entire university come together to sharpen their clinical skills while also serving their community. Getting to interact and learn from older students is something I always look forward to. I look forward to devoting a lot more time and energy into making the clinic the best it can be.


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The Student-Run Brooklyn Free Clinic moves to Clarkson Avenue January 4

The Brooklyn Free Clinic is one of many programs supported in part by medical alumni

Photo courtesy of SUNY Downstate

The student-run Brooklyn Free Clinic moves to the University Hospital of Brooklyn January 4, 2017, on the SUNY Downstate campus, after a decade at its first home, UHB Health Associates at 840 Lefferts Avenue. The clinic had borrowed the office space after hours.

The new location, Suite A on the first floor near the University Hospital entrance, is already a working clinic, but was also available to the Brooklyn Free Clinic, 5 pm to 7 pm, Wednesdays. The difference is that BFC patients will now be closer to a larger health network if they need a referral or emergency care, said Shifra Mincer, second-year Downstate medical student, and BFC communications officer.

Read about the Brooklyn Free Clinic’s recent New York Marathon fundraiser

The location is also more convenient for student and physician volunteers coming from class or work, she said. This may encourage more doctors to volunteer as attending physicians, which could expand the clinic’s capacity to help Brooklyn’s underserved, and provide more students with valuable training.

“We’re swamped on Wednesdays,” Mincer said. “People make appointments in advance, and we try to take walk-ins, based on what we can do. If we could get two attendings one night, we could move much faster.”

The clinic is run by a team of students from across Downstate, the colleges of Medicine and Nursing, the College of Health Related Professions and School of Public Health. Students handle everything from scheduling and administrative work, to screening and caring for patients, overseen by attending physicians and faculty advisors. Patients are often referred to a network of specialists who agree to treat them for free.

“The proximity (of the new clinic location) to the rest of the hospital has multiple benefits – easier access for volunteer attending physicians, closer proximity of referral services for patients, better synchronization of medical records with Downstate systems, and consolidation of care into a single locale,” said Patrick Eucalitto, third-year medical student and Chief Operations Officer for the Brooklyn Free Clinic. “This simplifies the often daunting task that patients face when navigating multiple providers.”

The team will miss the clinic’s first home, he said, but the move will be positive for volunteers, patients and students. Mincer agrees.

“One of the most important things about the clinic, in addition to serving people who wouldn’t otherwise get care, is that it’s an opportunity for students to learn and to practice in real life what we’re learning about. Normally, students don’t get to do that until third year,” Mincer said. “This is an opportunity for us to actually practice. It’s a double mission of serving people and learning.”

Working with students from other disciplines is also an opportunity to practice “socially conscious” healthcare, she said. It’s a collaboration.

“BFC leadership is using the move as a strategic opportunity for self-assessment, reevaluation, growth, and change, and we’re really excited about it,” Eucalitto said. “We get a chance to rethink our logistics, to recreate a clinical environment that reflects our organization’s core values of access, education, and inclusivity, and to optimize our unique balance between student education and excellent patient care for those who need it most.”

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Downstate News: December 16, 2016

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University Hospital of Brooklyn

SUNY Downstate Medical Center recently celebrated the founding, 50 years ago, of the academic medical center’s College of Nursing, College of Health Related Professions, School of Graduate Studies, and University Hospital of Brooklyn at a gala reception on campus. The event climaxed a yearlong celebration of the founding in 1966 of the three schools and the center’s teaching hospital. Read more on the 50th anniversary of several Downstate programs, here.


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

Ralph Snyderman, MD ’65 appointed to the Argos

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Ralph Snyderman, MD
Photo Duke University

Argos Therapeutics Inc. announces the appointment of Ralph Snyderman, MD ’65, 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 widely referred to as the ‘father of personalized medicine’ and his experience running the Duke University Health System as well as his senior leadership roles at Genentech will help guide us as we advance our individualized immunotherapy through the final stages of clinical development, assess indication expansion and approach our goal of becoming a fully-integrated commercial company. In addition, Irackly Mtibelishvily is globally recognized as one of the most experienced international investment bankers and will advise on important corporate finance and other strategic activities in the years ahead.”

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.

Argos Therapeutics