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[June 12, 2008]


The Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health recently honored Dawn Morton-Rias, EdD, PA-C, dean of the College of Health Related Professions at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, at its 14th Annual Sportsball.  The other honorees were Bryant Gumbel, host of HBO’s Real Sports; tennis legend Billie Jean King; Richard D. Parsons, Chairman of the Board of Time Warner; and Terry McDonell, editor at Sports Illustrated Group.

Celebrities and health advocates gather at the Sportsball to celebrate the legacy of the great Arthur Ashe and to honor individuals who promote improved prevention, diagnosis, and treatment within urban communities.

Dr. Morton-Rias is a certified physician assistant, and the immediate past-president of the Physician Assistant Education Association. Dr. Morton-Rias’ commitment to quality healthcare services through education of the next generation of health professionals is unwavering. She is nationally recognized for her leadership in PA education, and she has presented and published on various clinical topics, faculty development, accreditation, cultural competence and learning styles.  She will be working in Israel this summer on a Fulbright scholarship.

Students from the Arthur Ashe Institute’s Health Science Academy also shared the spotlight at this year’s Sportsball. The Health Science Academy, a core program of the Ashe Institute, was founded in 1994 as a collaboration between the Institute and SUNY Downstate. The program partners with Brooklyn College, CUNY and New York City public and parochial high schools to offer physiology and anatomy courses to academically talented high school students to encourage them in their pursuit of careers in science, medicine, allied and public health.

Members of the Academy’s 2008 graduating class were presented to the audience by two alumni of the program: Sadeaqua Scott, a student at SUNY Downstate’s School of Graduate Studies, and Julia James, who is finishing her PhD through a joint program of Oxford University in England and the National Institutes of Health in Washington, D.C.  

This year the Health Science Academy graduated 50 students on June 9 in a "Celebration of Achievement" ceremony in SUNY Downstate’s Alumni Auditorium.


SUNY Downstate Medical Center comprises a College of Medicine, Colleges of Nursing and Health Related Professions, a School of Graduate Studies, a Graduate Public Health Program, University Hospital of Brooklyn, and an Advanced Biotechnology Park and Biotechnology Incubator.