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[July 29, 2013]

Four Downstate Members Recognized for Excellence by Chancellor’s Awards

Four members of the Downstate community have received Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence. The award recognizes faculty and staff for expertise, dedication and commitment, and encourages the continued pursuit of excellence.
“These awards recognize faculty and staff on SUNY campuses who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in service to our students and to New York’s communities,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher in announcing the honor.
The 2013 awardees are:
Excellence in Professional Service:  Jeffrey Birnbaum, MD, MPH
Excellence in Teaching: Michael Joseph, PhD, MPH
Excellence in the Classified Service: Conrad Manning
Excellence in the Classified Service: Ellen Poz

Jeffrey M. Birnbaum, MD, MPH 
Dr. Birnbaum, associate professor of pediatrics and public health, is executive director of the Health & Education Alternatives for Teens (HEAT) program at SUNY Downstate.

HEAT offers one-stop, comprehensive care and support for HIV+ and at-risk youth aged 13 to 24. It is the only program of its kind in Brooklyn, and it has helped hundreds of teenagers and young adults since 1992. Dr. Birnbaum’s work with HEAT has been recognized by several prominent health entities, including the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute which recognized his contributions with the 2012 Linda Laubenstein Award for excellence in HIV care.  HEAT has also been recognized for its work with HIV+ youth by the Henry van Ameringen Foundation and the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

Dr. Birnbaum is the author of several sets of clinical guidelines for clinicians who treat HIV-positive teens, and regularly mentors medical and public health students serving the HIV community across Brooklyn. Dr. Birnbaum has also represented Downstate with his HIV expertise internationally, providing training sessions and consultation in Nigeria, Malawi, the Czech Republic, Poland, and Russia.
Michael A. Joseph 
Dr. Joseph is vice chair and assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics in the School of Public Health; he played a key role in the transition of the Graduate Program in Public Health to full School status.

Known for creating a classroom environment where excellence is expected, Dr. Joseph consistently receives high praise in student evaluations of his teaching. He takes great personal interest in his students’ success: each semester, he devotes time to tutoring students who find epidemiology and biostatistics challenging. Dr. Joseph has a knack for explaining difficult concepts in a simplified, yet exhaustive fashion; for this reason, his course at the Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association, Biostatistics for Non-Statisticians, is widely popular. 

He is also active in local pipeline programs, such as the PRISM Program at Medgar Evers Preparatory High School, which seek to inspire underrepresented young people to pursue health careers. Dr. Joseph also has vast international teaching experience in epidemiology and biostatistics, and has provided training in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Estonia, and Ukraine. 

Ellen Poz
Ms. Poz is an administrator and coordinator for the Geriatrics Division of the Department of Medicine. She is highly regarded for her sensitive and effective interactions with faculty and staff, as well as other professionals and agencies both inside Downstate and externally.

To ensure compliance with medical school and hospital administration rules and policies, as well as credentialing bodies, Ms. Poz provides timely assistance to ensure processes flow smoothly.  Participating in the work of the Medicine Performance Improvement Committee and being a record keeper, she assists the directors of services with follow up on Joint Commission and DOH standards  of care.

A problem solver who anticipates issues and resolves them before they become problems, Ms. Poz is the author of a directory widely used in Medicine, Downstate’s largest department.

Conrad Manning
Conrad Manning has been employed as a janitor at the Office of Residential Life and Services since 2002. The epitome of hard work and generosity, he often goes beyond what is asked to help students and other staff members. And they in turn care greatly for him.

Mr. Manning is admired for his attention to detail, reliability, and cool-headedness in any situation. In an emergency, he quickly assesses the situation and takes corrective action. For example, during two recent storms, Hurricane Irene and Super Storm Sandy, Mr. Manning selflessly helped staff clean up both during and after the devastation. He did not wait to be called: He left his home in the middle of the night and during compromising weather to ensure students were safe and to handle issues as they arose.
As Shayla McGrady, director of Residential Life says, “he has a heart made of gold, and he is truly a blessing to the department.”

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 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.