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[April 14,2009]

Downstate Students Named Among SUNY’s Best:
Two Receive Chancellor’s Awards for Student Excellence

Two Downstate students, Michael Allison and Jonathan Silverberg, have received the 2009 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence, the highest student honor accorded by the State University of New York. They are among 238 top students selected from all SUNY campuses who have “integrated academic excellence with other aspects of their lives.” Each received a framed certificate and medallion at a ceremony held in Albany on April 7.

Fourth-year medical student Michael Allison represents academic achievement combined with student leadership and community service. He is president of the Medical Student Council and student representative on the Dean's Council on Education. A member of Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA), the national medical honor society, he also has been inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society. In addition to tutoring fifth graders in a Brooklyn after-school program, he served as faculty advisor to high school scholars in the National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine and coaches a local high school lacrosse team. (In 2004, while at Amherst, he was named a US Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Scholar All-American.)

At Commencement in May, Jonathan Silverberg will become Downstate’s first three-degree earner, graduating with MD, PhD, and MPH degrees. Recognized for outstanding research and scholarly achievements, he has published 24 papers and abstracts, with an additional ten submitted or in preparation. His thesis research—on the immune system consequences of seizures in mice—has been submitted for publication as two major papers. He also finds time to mentor students in the Brooklyn College/Downstate BA/MD Program. In 2008, he was awarded the SUNY Downstate Gold Humanism Award from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism Honor Society and the Alan S. Josephson Award for Excellence in Immunology.

Students graduating between June 2008 and May 2009 were considered for the award. SUNY Downstate was permitted to have two winners, based on the size of its student enrollment.

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SUNY Downstate Medical Center, founded in 1860, was the first medical school in the United States to bring teaching out of the lecture hall and to the patient’s bedside. A center of innovation and excellence in research and clinical service delivery, 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.

SUNY Downstate ranks ninth nationally in the number of alumni who are on the faculty of American medical schools. More physicians practicing in New York City have graduated from SUNY Downstate than from any other medical school.