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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Photo by Benjamin Jarosch


Thanks for Celebrating 


SUNY Downstate Occupational Therapy Program's



50th Anniversary!


  Opening in the fall of 1966, the College of Health Related Professions initially enrolled twenty students:

three in physical therapy; four in occupational therapy; and thirteen in medical computing science.

On September 18, 2016, 100 alumni and friends joined us as we reminisced, with pride,

on half a century of incredible accomplishments.

We honored the following exceptional alumni:

Margaret Kaplan

Mabel Martinez

Pat Precin

Judy Spence

Jeff Tomlinson

We also honored our remarkable Program Administrator, Alithia Alleyne


On October 16, 2016, we commemorated our 50th Anniversary with a day-long symposium, at SUNY College of Optometry,

chaired by Suzanne White,

It's All About Time:  Assessments & Interventions in Time Management Over the Lifespan

The symposium featured presentations by international leaders in occupational therapy interventions

to help clients develop the cognitive skills required for time management in their daily lives.



Here is a list of alumni who are serving as class representatives. If your class is not represented here and you’d like to serve,

please contact


Alumni Class Reps

1974  Suzanne White

1976  Margaret Kaplan

1984 Debbie Schwartz

1985  Catherine Benecke Varunok

1992 Mary Shea

1996   Judy Spence

2000 Marsha Eiserman and Jennifer Richman

2001   Christine Kiefer

2003  Erika Levine Irogoyen

2005  Leah Rosenblum Rubino

2006 Zahava Friedman

2007  Gitty Rosenberg

2008  Sarah Keschner Mechlin

2009  Julie Lee Mui ( graduated 2008)

2010  Erick Leon

2014  Esther Arden  and  Shantae Rhone

2015  Samantha Agnese



If you are interested in being your Class Rep, please indicate it on that section of this 50th Anniversary Alumni Update.

Every alum is asked to update your records by completing this 50th Anniversary Alumni Update.








  • Alumni working in Early Intervention (EI) are invited to join our Specialization in EI -SEI Online Peer Network on AOTA's OTConnections to network and share with other OT's and students who are interested in providing quality family -centered services to infants and young children. If it does not link directly to OT Connections, go to                                After you sign up for OT Connections, search for SEI Online Peer Network and begin networking with us!
  • We are always looking for OT's in EI to be Level 1 Fieldwork Supervisors. If you are interested, please contact Jasmin Thomas, our Academic Fieldwork Coordinator at


  • There are many Downstate OT alumni activities. Alumni: please share your photos and summaries with the faculty and staff.


  • We maintain ongoing e-mail contact with all SUNY Downstate OT Alumni. If you are not receiving ongoing updates about the program and job announcements, please e-mail Joyce at In addition, if your contact information changes, please send an update.



Selected SUNY Downstate OT Alumni Activities

  • In May 2009, Annie (Hall Padmore and Susan Greenberg organized a reunion for the Class of 2002.
  • In November 2006, over 40 Downstate OT graduates joined CHRP alumni and faculty to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the College of Health Related Professions. Jeff Tomlinson (Class of 1980) was honored with the Occupational Therapy Program's Distinguished Alumnus Award. Former faculty in attendance included Sigrid Hansen, our program's founder, Judy Grossman, Pat Trossman, Pat Gentile, Michelle Mills, and Jim Hinojosa.
  • In October 2004, graduates of the Class of 1974 celebrated their 30th Anniversary, at the home of one of its classmates, Downstate Professor Suzanne White. It was no easy task to contact old classmates. With a combination of accessing names through the NYS professional websites, word of mouth and detective work, we were able to find most of the class. t was an amazing reunion! Ten of our 15 graduates made the event, as well as Dr. Joyce Sabari (present OT Program Director) and past director, Simme Cynkin Klebanow. (Inset picture - L to R: Simme, Joyce)
1974 Reunion

Heni Feit has continued to work in Gerontology and lives in Brooklyn.
Nancy Cunningham worked in Mental Health and is now retired in Oregon.
Alice DeLuise-Massa is a Director of Rehabilitation and lives in New Rochelle.
Marion Osterlitz is a school-based therapist in Pearl River.
Roberta Schwartz works in Early Intervention, is completing a Master's Degree in Special education and lives in Maryland.
Barbara Fleischer is a Nursing Home Administrator and lives in Hawthorne.
Miriam Esterkis works in Early Intervention and lives in New Jersey.
Bonnie Hudson is a Hand Therapist and lives in San Diego.
Suzanne White has worked in Mental Health and has been a college professor for many years at NYU and Downstate.
Linda Hindy-Telford has worked in rehab and school-based OT and is completing a Master's Degree in Educational Technology.

We all agreed that our Downstate education prepared us well for productive and interesting careers. (Contributed by Linda Hindy-Telford)