Student Profile – Sean Mooney, COM’20

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

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

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

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

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



Class Notes: March 2018

Class Notes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


138th Homecoming & Reunion Weekend Registration Tips

Registration for the 138th Homecoming & Reunion Weekend is now open!

You can register for Homecoming & Reunion Weekend in three ways:
1) Call the Alumni Association and speak with one of our friendly office staff and they will assist you in the process over the phone. We can be reached at 718-270-2075, Monday to Friday, from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.
2) Online by clicking here and completing the online registration form
3) For anniversary classes, return your completed registration form when you receive your mailed invitation. Anniversary Classes include: 1943, 1948, 1953, 1958, 1963. 1968, 1973, 1978. 1983, 1988, 1993, 1998, 2003, 2008, 2013.

ALL alumni from the College of Medicine are welcome! Bring your spouses, friends, family and celebrate your milestone. If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to call the Alumni Association or e-mail us at

View the Reunion Brochure: Alumni Reunion Brochure 2018-8.5×11


SUNY Downstate News: March 2018

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

March is National Nutrition Month

SUNY Downstate Events:

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

Job Opportunity:

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

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

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

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

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

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


SUNY Downstate Celebrates International Women’s Day


SUNY Downstate News: February 2018

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

SUNY Downstate Announcements:

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

SUNY Downstate Events:

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



Class Notes: February 2018

Class Notes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Memoriam:

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

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

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

To read the complete obituary click here.

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

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

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

To read the complete obituary click here.

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

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

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

Yours, Doris Patt Smith”

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


Children of Alumni Information Session

COM – Save the Date (July 2018)

Calling all Children of Alumni who are College Juniors, Senior, and College Graduates interested in Medical School. There will be an Information Session on Wednesday, July 18, 2018, for the College of Medicine.

To register for the Information Session go to the following link:

If your child would like to set up an appointment to discuss their medical school application, competitiveness, and process, please contact the Alumni Association. You can email us at or call 718-270-2075.


Notice for Medical Student Small Group Facilitators

Facilitators Needed for Medical Student Small Groups

The Alumni Association has been approached by Andrew Adler MD ‘72, Associate Director of Clinical Skills for Foundations. He asks our assistance in identifying retired or semi-retired Downstate COM alumni who might be interested in serving as small group facilitators for first or second year medical students.

Currently, there are 16 small groups in each of the first two years with 12-13 students in each group. The faculty believes that the current group size is too large and, ideally, should not exceed 10 students in each group. To accommodate these smaller groups, four additional facilitators per year would be needed for a total of 8 new facilitators. Apparently, the COM does not have the resources among the active faculty to achieve this goal and therefore seeks volunteers among the alumni.

The groups focus on clinical skills including medical interviewing, clinical reasoning and ethical principles. Each small group meets once a week, usually for 2 hours but occasionally for 2.5 hours for about 30 weeks. First-Year students meet on Mondays either from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm or 2:30 pm to 5:00 pm and Second-Year students meet on Tuesdays during the same hours.

Initially, Dr. Adler or one of the other faculty in the Education Office meets with new facilitators for 1-2 hours before the year starts to provide orientation.

In addition, regular weekly one-hour sessions for facilitators are held at 1:00 PM, Monday or Tuesday, depending on whether the small group is first- or second-year. These meetings provide the opportunity to debrief about the current week’s session and offer guidance on conducting the following week’s session.

Time Frame for Facilitators:

First year (Foundations 1) begins in early to mid August 2018 and ends early to mid-March 2019.
Second year (Foundations 2) begins at the end of March, 2018, breaks in May and restarts in August ending in mid-February 2019.

Preferably, facilitators each participate for the entire 30 weeks. (This schedule may be adjusted as necessary). Dr. Adler recognizes that this represents a major commitment of time for any alumnus. However, he believes that, for the right individuals, this close interaction with students is likely to be a personally rewarding and eminently gratifying experience.

If you would consider becoming a facilitator or would like to learn more about the experience, please contact Dr. Andy Adler at or call 718-270-1425. Please note that email is the preferred method of communication.


SUNY Downstate 2018 Student-Faculty Showcase