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Downstate Times

The Newsletter for SUNY Downstate
University Hospital of Brooklyn

Department and Staff News

Kevin Antoine, JD, Chief Diversity Officer, reports that the Office of Diversity and Inclusion's first Global Diversity Initiative, the Women's University in Africa (WAU) Book Donation Project, was very successful. Downstate donated 50 boxes of used text books weighing over 1,300 pounds to WUA, to help expand its library offerings. Mr. Antoine met WAU's founder, Dr. Hope Sadza, at the 2009 National Academy for Public Administration's Social Equity and Leadership Conference hosted by Rutgers University, where both were speakers. Dr. Sadza's powerful and inspirational story of the challenges she encountered while establishing the school -- the first school in Zimbabwe established specifically to educate women -- compelled Mr. Antoine to help Dr. Sadza collect books for WUA's library. The project is now in its third year, and has grown to be supported by several other SUNY campuses.

The daughter of Rajendrakumar Wadgaonkar, PhD, associate professor medicine and of cell biology, is one of three high school seniors who won the $100,000 grand prize in the 2013 Siemens Competition in Math, Science, and Technology. Priyanka Wadgaonkar credits her dad with helping to spark her interest in science. Priyanka's team won for finding that plants with multiple copies of genes that help with ozone tolerance are more resistant to environmental impacts – a finding that could potentially lessen crop losses. On Feb 5th, she and her teammates will be going to Wall Street to ring the opening bell.


Jeffrey Birnbaum, MD, MPH, associate professor of pediatrics, received a Certificate of Recognition, signed by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and by NYC Commissioner of Health Dr. Thomas Farley at the Health Department's World AIDS Day observance on December 2, 2013. The award highlighted Dr. Birnbaum's strong efforts in providing care and encouragement to teens with HIV/AIDS.