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SUNY Downstate PRIDE Summer Institute

Program to Increase Diversity Among Individuals Engaged in Health-Related Research (PRIDE)

Faculty and Advisors

The team of multidisciplinary experts that have partnered to provide the didactic training are a group of renowned scientists, many of whom already collaborate to conduct research in health disparities under the auspices of the BHDRC. Mentors include senior faculty, established researchers and experienced mentors in the fields of clinical and basic cardiovascular disease research and behavioral medicine and sleep disorders. Partnerships with community-based organizations also aid in providing training in the conduct of community-based participatory research, an important and innovative approach to preventive medicine. The work of the Institute is accomplished in the context of Brooklyn, New York, a model urban setting in which to conduct health disparities and cardiovascular disease research.


Institute Directors: Cardiovascular Health Disparities

Mohamed Boutjdir, PhD, FAHA – Program Director

Dr Boutjdir will be responsible for the management of all aspects of the PRIDE Institute. He is the current Director of the SIPID at Downstate, the Director of the Training and Mentoring Core of the BHDRC and is part of the AHA International Mentorship Program. Dr Boutjdir has extensive administrative and scientific leadership experience and has successfully directed and managed all aspects of the current SIPID program at Downstate. He. He is a Professor of Medicine, Cell Biology/Physiology and Pharmacology with extensive experience in training and mentoring both MDs and PhDs, in the conduct of cardiovascular research (see mentees table in Appendix 3).To date, more than 46 clinical and basic science fellows have trained with Dr. Boutjdir and are currently working in prestigious academic departments across the nation.

Dr. Boutjdir also has extensive teaching experience. He has been a regular contributor to the teaching programs of cardiovascular physiology and laboratory classes for cardiac electrocardiography at the Departments of Physiology and Pharmacology, Cell Biology and Medicine. He also contributed to health disparity courses in the School of Public Health and serves as a Faculty for the didactic courses on Responsible Conduct in Research, as a reviewer during the SIPID mock study section and serves as a mentor. As the Director of the Training and Mentoring Core of the BHDRC, Dr Boutjdir supervised and coordinated the monthly cultural competency and health disparities seminars that are attended by faculty, cardiology fellows and students institution-wide. In addition, he directly supervises the placement of fellows under the Core with mentors who conduct health disparities research.

Dr Boutjdir's major research interests are channelopathies in the cardiovascular system, sudden cardiac death and antiarrhythmic therapy. He has published more than 70 articles in peer reviewed high impact journals and served as Chair and reviewer in several national review committees such as NIH, AHA, Veterans Affairs and March of Dimes. He is also a reviewer in a number of important journals such as Circulation, Circulation Research, Journal of American College of Cardiology and the American Journal of Cardiology and serves on several executive boards, thesis committees and editorial board.



SUNY Downstate Faculty and Advisors:

Clinton D Brown, MD

Clinton D Brown, MD is Director of the BHDRC and Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Renal Diseases at Downstate. Dr. Brown received his education at prestigious institutions with a long history of high quality training and of serving the medically underserved. He earned his medical degree from Tufts University School of Medicine. He completed his postgraduate training at Harlem Hospital where he was instrumental in providing medical services to African-Americans in that community at a time when there was a stark lack of services in the area. Dr. Brown completed his nephrology fellowship at Downstate. Dr Brown became a Rockefeller Scholar at the Rockefeller University where he conducted research in lipid metabolism. Dr. Brown's clinical and research interests are in the areas of lipid disorders, arteriosclerosis, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, kidney disease and hemorheology. He has served as PI for many clinical trials that involve treatment of high blood cholesterol, hypertension and the anemia of kidney disease. Dr Brown will lead and participate in the panel discussions on Challenges and Opportunities for Minority Faculty along with other Minority Faculty at Downstate and serve on the Advisory Committee.

Ruth C. Browne, ScD

Ruth C. Browne, ScD, Executive Director of the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health will be one of the faculty in charge of providing training in cultural competency and community-based participatory research. Dr. Browne received her doctorate from the School of Public Health at Harvard and has extensive community-based research experience, especially as it relates to Brooklyn communities. She is the PI on a center grant (P20) supporting the BHDC. Dr. Browne is an expert in the field of health disparities, community-based participatory research strategies and increasing the numbers of minority students in the health professions. In this regard, she leads the NY Committee for Minorities in the Health Professions, an effort funded by the Kellogg Foundation. She is African-American. Dr Browne and her staff provided will provide one full day training on competency and community-based participatory research.


Jeffrey S. Borer, MD

Jeffrey S. Borer, MD, is Professor, Chairman of Medicine and Chief/Division of Cardiovascular Medicine and Director of the Howard Gilman Institute of Heart Valve Disease and The Institute for Cardiovascular Translational Research, SUNY Downstate. Dr Borer was Gladys & Roland Harriman Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, Weill Medical College of Cornell University (1983 - 2008) where he was Chief, Division of Cardiovascular Pathophysiology. Currently, he Chairs the Circulatory System Devices Advisory Panel of FDA, having served 3 terms as Chairman of the Cardio-Renal Drugs Advisory Committee during his tenure as a FDA Advisor, which began in 1977. He also was Advisor to NASA from 1984-2005, chairing the NASA-NIH Advisory Subcommittee on Biomedical and Behavioral Research (1995-2003). Dr. Borer is Editor-in-Chief of Cardiology and Advances in Cardiology. He serves on the editorial boards of nine peer-reviewed journals in cardiology and cardiovascular imaging and has authored 400 scientific papers and book chapters and four books. He is the past President/NY Cardiology Society (1990 - 1991) and is the President and Founding Board Member, Heart Valve Society of America (2004 - present). Dr Borer will participate in the Institute by attending the welcoming sessions along with the President and Dean of Downstate, gives a seminar on writing and publishing, participate at the mock study section and serve on the Advisory Committee.


Michael A. Joseph, PhD, MPH

Michael A. Joseph, PhD, MPH, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health at Downstate. He completed his MPH in Chronic Disease Epidemiology at Yale University and his Ph.D. in Epidemiologic Science at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Dr. Joseph's research interests are in social epidemiology, particularly issues of behavioral and cultural determinants of cancer screening practices among communities of color, and he is currently extending his research endeavors internationally through collaborations with the University of Zimbabwe School of Medicine in Harare, Zimbabwe. Dr. Joseph teaches Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the School of public health Program and previously served as Course Director for Fundamentals of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education at the City College of NY. He will participate in the Institute through didactic and hands-on laboratory application of epidemiologic, statistical analytic tools such as SPSS and Principles of Biostatistics.

Judith LaRosa, PhD, RN

Judith LaRosa, PhD, RN, Professor and Vice Dean of the School of Public Health at the Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health at Downstate was the first Deputy Director of the Office of Research on Women's Health, National Institutes of Health. She is co-author of the legislatively mandated 1994 NIH Guidelines on the Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in Clinical Research. Dr. LaRosa has published in the areas of heart disease, women's health, workplace health promotion and disease prevention. She is a fellow in the New York Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Nursing and the AHA. Dr. LaRosa has received numerous awards for her work such as the 1994 NIH Director's Award and NIH Merit Award for her outstanding contribution to women's health and the 1993 AHA for her outstanding contribution to the prevention and treatment of heart disease in women. She will contribute to the Institute through the didactic courses on Cultural Perception of Acute Coronary Syndrome, Healthcare Policy, the mock study section, will serve as a mentor, and on the Advisory Committee.

Jason Lazar, MD, FACC

Jason Lazar, MD, FACC, is Director of Cardiology fellowship program and non-invasive cardiology section at Downstate. Dr. Lazar received his medical degree from the SUNY at Syracuse and completed his postgraduate training at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pennsylvania. Dr. Lazar is currently Director of Non-Invasive Cardiology and Associate Director of the Cardiovascular Fellowship Training Program at Downstate. He is also Clinical Assistant Dean in the College of Medicine. Dr. Lazar's research interests include the epidemiology of coronary heart disease in women, in high risk populations, and health disparities. He is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Invasive Cardiology, serves as a reviewer for several peer-reviewed journals, and is widely published. He is a Fellow of the ACC and the ACCP. He is also a member of the AHA Long Island Chapter, and the American Society of Echocardiography. Dr Lazar will be responsible for the lectures on Pathophysiology of Hypertension and Basic Cardiac Pathophysiology, a tour of the non-invasive cardiac laboratory, will serve on the mock study section and as a mentor.

Samy McFarlane, MD

Samy McFarlane, MD is Professor of Medicine and Endocrinology at Downstate. Currently he is Director of the sub-specialty Fellowship Program in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Hypertension. He was selected for the Outstanding Educator of the Year Award, 2002-2003 by his students. He is also one of five mentors in an important NIH-training grant: Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health. As a mentor, Dr. McFarlane has won 2 international Awards in 3 years for research projects conducted by his fellows. He is the PI on several clinical trials, and has been extraordinarily successful in recruiting the largest number of patients for the DREAM study, which is an international trial to determine whether or not commonly prescribed drugs could prevent diabetes. Dr. McFarlane's is a co-founder of the Brooklyn Diabetes Task Force, an organization aimed at empowering the community through education and advocacy. He has published over 40 articles over the past 2 years including book chapters, reviews and original research in major journals. He also serves as guest and section editor for several medical journals. Dr McFarlane will lecture about Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and health disparities, will contribute to the mock study section and as a mentor.

Michael A. Weber, MD

Michael A. Weber, MD, is a Professor of Medicine and Associate Dean for Research at Downstate. Dr. Weber's career has focused primarily on hypertension and preventive cardiology. He has published numerous research articles in the medical literature and has authored and/or edited 10 books. Dr. Weber was one of the founders of The American Society of Hypertension and has served as its President. He is currently Chair of the Society's Hypertension Specialists Program. He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, the ACC and the AHA. Dr. Weber has particular expertise and extensive experience in the design and conduct of clinical trials. He has helped design and participated in a large number of national and international clinics outcomes trials. His primary research interests include the role of the renin-angiotensin system in the genesis of hypertension and as a major factor in cardiovascular prognosis. He will contribute to the didactic courses on research design and conduct of clinical trials as well as to the mock study section.


Faculty and Mentors from Other Institutions: Cardiovascular Health Disparities

Donna Arnett MD

Dr. Arnett completed her BS in nursing from the University of South Florida in 1981. For five years she practiced critical care nursing. In 1987 she began graduate work in epidemiology at the University of South Florida, working in cardiovascular clinical research. She received her MSPH in 1987. In 1988 Dr. Arnett began her PhD work under the mentorship of Drs. Al Tyroler and Gerardo Heiss. Among other advances, her research resulted in establishing arterial stiffness as an important cardiovascular risk factor. From 1992 to 1994, Dr. Arnett was an AHA Postdoctoral Fellow at UNC. Dr. Arnett joined the University of Minnesota in 1994. At UMN she ran the Minnesota Heart Survey and participated in the NHLBI Family Heart Study, studies that set out to identify genes that contribute to coronary heart disease and hypertension. In 1995, her first R01, "HyperGEN: Genetics of Left Ventricular Hypertrophy," evaluated the genetic contribution to LV enlargement among families with hypertension. Throughout her career, Dr. Arnett's genetic and pharmacogenetic research has been in the vanguard of evolving genotyping technologies and analytical methods, from the era of microsatellite linkage studies to state-of-the-art epigenetic analyses and whole-exome searches for rare causal variants. Dr. Arnett has served on various NHLBI committees, and she recently began her 3-year presidential tenure for the AHA.

Carla Boutin-Foster, MD

Carla Boutin-Foster, MD is a general internist and clinical epidemiologist who holds faculty positions in both the Division of General Internal Medicine and in the Department of Public Health as an Associate Professor of Medicine and Associate Professor of Public Health at Weill Cornell Medical College. She is also the Nanette Laitman Clinical Scholar in Public Health and Community Health. Dr. Boutin-Foster's research activities focus on identifying the psychological and social determinants of health outcomes in patients with cardiovascular disease and on the social epidemiology of health disparities in cardiovascular disease. Her previous funding includes a grant from the NHLBI to identify attributes in the doctor-patient relationship that are most associated with health behavior modification in patients with coronary artery disease. Her research also focuses on partnering with community-based organizations and faith-based organizations in conducting community-based participatory research in an effort to address health disparities in cardiovascular disease. Her teaching activities include teaching cultural competence to the first year medical students as part of Medicine, Patients and Society and teaching fellows in the Clinical Epidemiology Fellowship at the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences. Dr Boutin will contribute to the participatory research seminar with the Arthur Ash, the seminar on Linking Biology, Intellectual Attainment and Poverty to Health Disparities and the mock study section.

Karina W. Davidson, PhD

Dr. Davidson is the Herbert Irving Professor of Behavioral Medicine in Medicine and Psychiatry, and the Director of the Center for Behavioral & Cardiovascular Health within General Medicine at Columbia University. Her research focuses on the biopsychosocial mechanisms explaining why depression and anger predict worse outcomes for patients with CVD. She is the PI on am NHLBI-funded program project (PULSE) examining novel depression phenotypes and their pathophysiological and behavioral mechanisms underlying ACS recurrence risk.

Keith Ferdinand, MD, FACC, FAHAD

Dr. Ferdinand is an adjunct clinical professor at the Morehouse School of Medicine and Chief Science Officer of the Association of Black Cardiologists (ABC), Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Ferdinand received his medical degree from Howard University College of Medicine. He is board certified in internal medicine and cardiovascular disease, a diplomat certified in the subspecialty of nuclear cardiology, a certified specialist in clinical hypertension in the American Society of Hypertension, and a fellow of the American College of Cardiology. Dr. Ferdinand has served on the National High Blood Pressure Education Program Coordinating Committee and is a past member and President of the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners. Dr. Ferdinand is also a fellow at the American Heart Association (FAHA), American Society of Hypertension (FASH), and the National Lipid Association (FNLA). Dr. Ferdinand is also the past President of the Orleans Division of the American Heart Association (AHA); and past Chair of the Board of Association of Black Cardiologists, Inc. (ABC). In 2004, he received the Louis B. Russell, Jr., Memorial Award from AHA and the Walter M. Booker Community Service Award from ABC.

Robert E. Fullilove, EdD

Dr. Fullilove is the Associate Dean for Community and Minority Affairs, Professor of Clinical Sociomedical Sciences and the co-director of the Community Research Group. He also co-directors the newly formed degree program in Urbanism and Community Health in the Department of Sociomedical Sciences. Dr Fullilove has authored numerous articles in the area of minority health. From 1995 to 2001, he served on the Board of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at the Institute of Medicine (IOM) at the National Academy of Sciences. Since 1996, he has served on five IOM study committees that have produced reports on a variety of topics including substance abuse and addiction, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and damp indoor spaces and health. In 2003 he was designated a National Associate of the National Academies of Science. In 1998 he was appointed to the Advisory Committee on HIV and STD Prevention (ACHSP) at the Centers for Disease Control, and in July, 2000, he became the committee's chair. Finally, in 2004, he was appointed to the National Advisory Council for the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health [NIH]. Dr Fullilove serves on the editorial boards of the journals Sexually Transmitted Diseases, and the Journal of Public Health Policy. He has twice been awarded the Distinguished Teaching Award at the Mailman School of Public Health, and in May, 2002, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Bank Street College of Education.

James R. Gavin III, MD, PhD

James R. Gavin III, MD, PhD is Clinical Professor of Medicine and Senior Health Advisor on Health Affairs, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Gavin has a long and distinguished history of research and commitment to minority faculty development. He is a past president of the Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA (2002-2004). He served as senior scientific officer at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) from 1991-2002 and director of the HHMI-National Institutes of Health Research Scholars Program from 2000-2002. Dr. Gavin is Senior Program Consultant and National Program Director (1992-present) of the Harold Amos Minority Medical Faculty Development Program (AMFDP) of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Approximately 150 scholars have completed all four years of the AMFDP. Of these, more than 80 percent are still in academic medicine, including 21 professors, 43 associate professors, and 45 assistant professors. In addition to serving as faculty and on the advisory committee to the Institute, Dr. Gavin will assist in identifying and recruiting senior minority faculty to increase the pool of mentors and assignment of mentees. Dr. Gavin is African American. He will continue to serve as a faculty member of the Institute by seminars on Career Development, Challenges and Opportunities for Minority Faculty.

Bill Gerin, PhD

Dr. Gerin is Professor of Behavioral Health; Director, The Mind-Body Cardiovascular Psychophysiology Laboratory. His current research interests include: the role of social stressors and angry rumination in biological dysregulation and development of heart disease, non-pharmacological interventions to reduce blood pressure in hypertensive patients, white coat hypertension, and stress and health. Dr. Gerin teaches pre- and post-docs in the art of obtaining NIH funding, and experimental and clinical trials methodology.

Eldrin Lewis, MD, MPH

Dr. Lewis is in his 8th year as a faculty member in the cardiovascular division at Brigham and Women's Hospital and is now an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He was one of the first recipients of the Minority Faculty Development Award, which is a 7 year award given to promising young physicians with research potential. He is involved with several large, international clinical trials and has approximately 50 publications during his early career. He also received a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to study the role of quality of life assessment in clinical decision making in patients with heart failure and several grants from the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Lewis is Vice-Chair of the American Heart Association Heart Failure and Transplant committee and Associate Director of the Cardiology clerkship for Harvard Medical School students who rotate at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Dr. Lewis has become an international expert in the area of quality of life and heart failure and serves on scientific committees to review grants for the American Heart Association and the recently formed Task Force for the Standardization of Definitions for Endpoint Events in Cardiovascular Trials.

Dexter A. McKenzie, MD

Dr. McKenzie is a dedicated and experienced medical provider, medical educator, organizer and community servant. As a strong believer in the power of knowledge, he has an unwavering commitment to research, community education, mentoring, promotion of healthy living and the elimination of racial and ethnic health disparities. Dr. McKenzie grew up in Brooklyn, New York, where he earned degrees in chemistry and pharmacy before obtaining an MD with honors from Meharry Medical College in Nashville Tennessee. He completed residency training at Kings County Hospital in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. He is the founder of the Student National Pharmaceutical Association at LIU, founder of the Global Alliance Independent Practice Association and co-founder of one of the earliest comprehensive outpatient HIV programs in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Dr. McKenzie is affiliated with SUNY Downstate as Assistant Professor of Medicine. He is the current Chairman of the Health Committee for the Brooklyn NAACP, Chairman of the Health Committee for the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS and President of the Provident Clinical Society of Brooklyn (Affiliate of the National Medical Association). Dr McKenzie conducts community health forums, hosts a popular radio talk show on health and contributes regularly as health editor of several publications.

Susana Morales, MD

Susana Morales, MD, is the Director of the Center for Multicultural and Minority Health and Associate Chair of Educational Affairs and Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine, Weill Medical College of Cornell University Associate. She is also an attending physician of the NY-Presbyterian Hospital (NY-Weill Cornell Campus). The mission of the Multicultural Center she directs is to promote cultural diversity among the faculty and house staff of the Department of Medicine; to foster research in minority health and health policy; to educate physicians on the sociocultural influences affecting patient's health, beliefs and behaviors; and to expand the relationship of the Department and the larger institution with the community. Dr. Morales will serve as a faculty for the Institute, bringing expertise in cultural competency training, health disparities and teaching and mentoring tools for recruiting and retaining minorities in medicine.

Thomas A. Pearson, MD, MPH, PhD

Dr. Thomas A. Pearson will serve as a mentor and a Faculty member of the Summer Institute. Dr. Pearson is the Associate Dean for Clinical research and Department Chair of Community & Preventive Medicine and the Albert D. Kaiser Professor, Division of Epidemiology, Community & Preventive Medicine at the University of Rochester in Rochester, NY. Dr. Pearson has a long and illustrious history in clinical research, research training and mentoring, and commitment to minority faculty development. He is the Principal Investigator for the Rochester Clinical Research Curriculum, supported by a K30 grant from the National Institutes of Health. He has trained more than 185 fellows in his K30 program, 20% of whom are from underrepresented minority groups. He is also Program Director for an Institutional Research Training Grant from the NHLBI, entitled "Research Training in Preventive Cardiology." Approximately one-third of the fellows in this program are minorities. Dr. Pearson also has a demonstrated commitment to patients and scientists with disabilities. He is Principal Investigator of the Centers for Disease Control Prevention Research Center at the University of Rochester. The focus of the center is on the health risks in the deaf and hard-of-hearing population of Rochester. This is the only center of its kind in the United States that addresses health needs among the deaf. Dr Pearson in partnership with the NHLBI staff will provide full day training on successful grant writing, will serve as a mentor and on the advisory committee.

Clyde Yancy, MD, FACC, FAHA, MACP

Dr. Yancy's post graduate training in Internal medicine and Cardiology from Parkland Memorial Hospital and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX; and his initial faculty appointment in 1989 from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX. After serving on the faculty at UT Southwestern [Professor of Medicine, Medical Director of the Heart Failure/Heart Transplantation Programs, and an Associate Dean of Clinical Affairs], he accepted his current appointment at Baylor University Medical Center and the Baylor Heart and Vascular Institute in September, 2006.Dr. Yancy's academic and professional interests include hypertension, heart failure and heart transplantation, ethnic/ racial disparities in cardiovascular disease, and clinical trials. He has been principal investigator, a member of the steering committee, or subcommittee chair or a participant in over 30 multicenter studies.Dr. Yancy has authored or co-authored more than 200 contributions to the literature including: abstracts, peer reviewed journal articles, review articles, book chapters, and books. He is an Associate Editor of the American Journal of Cardiology. He is on the editorial board of numerous other journals, including the American Heart Journal, Baylor University Medical Proceedings, Cardiology in Review, Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Circulation, Circulation – 'Heart Failure' and Circulation – 'Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes'. He is a regular reviewer for the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of the American College of Cardiology, and the Journal of the American Medical Association, among other publications. Dr. Yancy has been the recipient of numerous recent honors and awards: the Marquis Who's Who in America, October 2008; Cardiologists-In-Training Hero Award, Association of Black Cardiologists, Inc, 2006; Outstanding Teacher 2005-2006, UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas; America's Top Physicians, "Guide to America's Top Physicians," 2006 e-book; "Top 643 Doctors of 2006" featured "Top Doctor," D Magazine, October 2005; and Texas Super Doctors 2005 through 2008 noted in Texas Monthly magazine. In 2003, he was named "AHA (National) Physician of the Year".Dr. Yancy is a member of the Heart Failure Society of America, (Executive Committee); American College of Cardiology (Guidelines Taskforce Committee) the American Heart Association (multiple appointments) and several others. As of 2009-2010, he is President-Elect of the American Heart Association. Currently, he is the immediate past Chair of the FDA's Cardiovascular Device Panel, serves as an ad hoc adviser to the FDA, and is a member of several NIH study sections.



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