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[September 1, 2010]  

Downstate Faculty Awarded Five Empire Clinical Research Investigator Grants

Five SUNY Downstate Medical Center faculty members have been awarded Empire Clinical Research Investigator Program (ECRIP) fellowships from the New York State Department of Health. The ECRIP program encourages teaching hospitals to train physicians as clinical researchers to advance biomedical research in New York's academic health centers.
The research projects will be conducted at SUNY Downstate's onsite teaching hospital, University Hospital of Brooklyn, and four of the campus's teaching affiliates – Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center, Long Island College Hospital, Lutheran Medical Center, and Kings County Hospital Center.
ECRIP seeks to improve the delivery of high quality health care, while at the same time fostering young physicians who have an interest in clinical research, with the goal of encouraging them to eventually lead their own research initiatives. The faculty awardees appoint fellows or residents to conduct the research under their mentorship. 
The awardees, their projects, and their hospital sponsors are:

Ivan Bodis-Wollner, MD, DSc, professor of neurology and ophthalmology and director of the Parkinson's Disease and Related Disorders Center of Excellence.
Project: Retinal thinning as a marker of progress in Parkinson’s disease
Sponsor: Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center.

John Danias, MD, PhD, professor of ophthalmology and cell biology.
Project: Interaction between genetic factors and the environment in the development of glaucoma
Sponsor: Long Island College Hospital.

Ellen Ginzler, MD, MPH, professor of medicine and chief of rheumatology.
Project: Validation of clinical predictors of outcome and therapeutic response in patients with lupus renal disease
Sponsor: University Hospital of Brooklyn

Rauno Joks, MD, professor of medicine and chief of allergy and immunology.
Project: Epidemiological study of latency period in development of clinical allergy among immigrant groups in Brooklyn
Sponsor: Lutheran Medical Center

Shahriar Zehtabchi, MD, associate professor of emergency medicine and associate director of research in emergency medicine.
Project: Hospital ER as a novel venue for rapid blood testing to screen high-risk patients for diabetes.
Sponsor: Kings County Hospital Center.

Each faculty sponsor may appoint an eligible graduate medical education (GME) resident or fellow to a clinical research fellowship on the specified project for one or two years, with an annual stipend up to $75,000. Each sponsoring hospital also receives $35,000 to help recruit a nationally prominent investigator in the biomedical sciences.
Drs.Ginzler and Zehtabchi have already appointed 2009 ECRIP fellows. The other three ECRIP fellowship positions are currently open.

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 School of Public Health, University Hospital of Brooklyn, and an Advanced Biotechnology Park and Biotechnology Incubator.
SUNY Downstate ranks eighth 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.