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SUNY Downstate Medical Center

SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH

Public Health for a Global Community

Faculty

Part Time Faculty – Profiles & Research Interests

Departmental faculty have been extensively involved in a broad range of scholarly and research activities. These include clinical outcomes and health care quality improvement, risk management in health care institutions, home health care, hospice care, cost containment and prospective payment, Medicaid, community mental health, strategic health planning, HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, cancer epidemiology, prostate cancer, and comparative mortalities in surgical procedures. Current plans for future research directions include disparities in health and health care among minority populations, urban health issues, cancer epidemiology, health care evaluation, women's health, prevention issues for urban minority populations, and HIV prevention and treatment.





David Ackman, MD, MPH

Dr. David Ackman, who received his MD degree from Downstate Medical Center, is Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health. He served as Assistant Medical Director for Ambulatory Care at Lutheran Medical Center. Prior to this, he was Director of the Bureau of Communicable Disease Control of the New York State Department of Health. Most recently, he served as Commissioner of Health of Nassau County, New York. Dr. Ackman did his residency in Primary Care Internal Medicine at Bronx Municipal Hospital, and received a Master of Public Health degree from Columbia University School of Public Health. He has also served as Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the SUNY Albany School of Public Health.

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Michael Augenbraun, MD

Dr. Augenbraun, Professor of Medicine, is Hospital Epidemiologist at University Hospital of Brooklyn. He received his MD degree from the University of Rochester, and did his residency in Internal Medicine at North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, NY, and at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Augenbraun held a Clinical Fellowship in Infectious Diseases, followed by a Research Fellowship in Infectious Diseases, at SUNY Health Science Center at Brooklyn. He is Medical Director of the KCH Sexually Transmitted Diseases Clinic, as well as Acting Director of the KCH Lumbar Puncture Clinic. Dr. Augenbraun serves as President of the Brooklyn Infectious Diseases Society.

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Jeffrey Birnbaum, MD, MPH

Dr. Birnbaum is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. He is the Principal Investigator and Program Director of Health & Education Alternatives for Teens (HEAT) as well as the Family Adolescent and Children's Experiences at SUNY (FACES) Network. At HEAT, he has provided medical care to hundreds of HIV infected youth ages 13-24 years since 1992. Dr. Birnbaum is an adolescent medicine specialist and Board certified pediatrician who has focused most of his professional career working with HIV infected youth. In addition to his clinical work at HEAT, he devotes much of his time in community mobilization efforts to identify and engage in care HIV infected youth. He serves as Board member for the SUNY Downstate Medical Center HIV Center for Women and Children and Institutional Review Board. He serves as liaison to the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute's Pediatic/Adolescent Ambulatory Care Guidelines Committee, which sets standards for HIV testing and medical care for HIV infected children and adolescents in New York State. His research collaborations include numerous cohort studies and behavioral intervention projects on HIV infected adolescents as well as pregnant women and clinical trials for new antiretroviral medications. He has lectured widely on issues relating to HIV/AIDS and adolescents in the USA and abroad. His overseas HIV technical assistance work has been conducted in Poland, the Czech Republic, Russia and Nigeria. He has also served as a consultant to the World Health Organization and UNICEF in developing guidelines for service development for HIV infected adolescents and young adults in resource poor countries.

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Elizabeth Boskey, PhD, MPH

Dr. Boskey, Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health. She received both her PhD in Biophysics and her Master of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University. She is a Building Interdisciplinary Research Centers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH) Scholar examining the role of feminine hygiene behaviors on women’s reproductive health. Her other research interests include the epidemiology of bacterial vaginosis, vaginal microbicides, and contraceptive choice. Dr. Boskey teaches Introduction to Epidemiology and Human Sexual Behavior in the School of Public Health.

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Ruth C. Browne, MPP, MPH, ScD

Dr. Browne is an Assistant Professor in the College of Health Related Professions at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center. She is the founding Executive Director of the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health (AAIUH). Dr. Browne’s commitment to community health empowerment is evident in her work with AAIUH, where she has created behavioral health intervention programs in low-income communities of color. These intervention programs engage lay leadership in churches, schools, beauty salons, barbershops, tattoo and body-piercing salons, and laundry mats. She is the principal investigator on two National Cancer Institute research grants. In April 2003, she was appointed to the NIH Director’s Council of Public Representatives.

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Gerald W. Deas, MD, MPH

Dr. Deas, Research Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health, and Director of Health Education Communication at the HSCB. A graduate of the Downstate Medical Center, he did his residency in Medicine at Kings County Hospital. Prior to attending medical school, he received a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Michigan. For many years Dr. Deas had a primary care practice in an inner-city area of Queens, NY, and has been deeply involved in health education throughout his career. For ten years he was the medical reporter on the McCreary Report on Fox Television (Channel 5). For 20 years, he has spoken on WLIB radio five mornings a week, Monday through Friday, addressing issues of health promotion and disease prevention. In addition, he has a weekly half-hour show on Time-Warner cable TV, as well as shows on Brooklyn Cable Access TV (BCAT) and Brooklyn/Queens Cable TV. His articles appear regularly in the Amsterdam News, Caribe News, and the New York Voice, among other publications. Dr. Deas has lectured and served as a preceptor in the department's required small group teaching programs for more than twenty years.

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John A. Fallon, MD, MBA

Dr. Fallon is Clinical Professor of Medicine. He previously served as Chief Executive Officer and Senior Vice-President for Clinical Affairs at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center, with oversight of the entire clinical enterprise including University Hospital of Brooklyn and the Physician Faculty Practice. Currently, he is Chief Physician Executive at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. He received his MD from Tufts University School of Medicine, and an MBA from the University of South Florida. He completed his internship and residency in Medicine at Boston City Hospital, and had over 20 years of internal medicine practice in a teaching environment. He also has over 17 years of managerial experience involving all aspects of hospital operations, finance, quality management, physician practices, and health care network development. He also has an extensive history of managed care experience including contracting, negotiations, and operations. Dr. Fallon actively teaches in the School of Public Health. He previously served as course director for the required course, Principles of Health Systems Management.

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Stephen M. Friedman, MD, MPH

Dr. Friedman is an Assistant Commissioner in the New York City Department of Health, where he oversees the Immunization Program, and Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health. He received his medical degree from New York University School of Medicine, and a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from the Columbia University School of Public Health. He completed a New York City Public Health Residency Program in the Bureau of Preventable Diseases.

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Francesca Gany, MD, MS

Dr. Gany received her MD degree from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and a M.S. degree in management and health from New York University. Since 1989, she has been the Executive Director of the New York Task Force on Immigrant Health, and Director of the Center for Immigrant Health. She is an Attending Physician at New York University Medical Center, and is an Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health at the Downstate Medical Center.

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Wayne Gietz, MA, BS

Wayne Gietz is Clinical Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Management, in the School of Public Health. He received his Master of Arts degree with a concentration in Organizational Leadership from Bellevue University He is currently Vice President of Outpatient Services at Brookdale Hospital Medical Center. Prior to joining Brookdale, he served eleven years on active duty in escalating healthcare leadership positions in the United States Army. 

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Norma J. Goodwin, MD

Dr. Goodwin is Clinical Associate Professor. She received her medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia, and did her residency in Internal Medicine at Kings County Hospital, where she served as Chief Resident. She later was a National Institute of Health Fellow in Nephrology, and Director of the Hemodialysis Center at the Health Science Center at Brooklyn and at Kings County Hospital. Dr. Goodwin then joined the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, where she became Senior Vice-President for Community Health and Ambulatory Care. She is the Founder and immediate Past-President of AMRON Management Consultants, a consulting firm specializing in planning, developing, delivering, administering and evaluating human services, and in conducting training programs. Dr. Goodwin is also the Founder and President of Health Watch Information and Promotion Service, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the health and longevity of blacks in America by motivating healthier lifestyles and behavior. Dr. Goodwin also founded the Bedford Stuyvesant Healthy Heart Program.

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Judith Hey-Hadavi, MD, DDS

Dr. Hey-Hadavi received her MD and D.D.S. degrees from the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands. An Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health, she is also an Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine and Assistant Professor of Clinical Dentistry at Columbia University. Dr. Hey-Hadavi is Medical Director of Medical Regulatory Affairs for the Metabolic and Cardiovascular Group at Pfizer Inc. Her area of expertise is research design.

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Mary Huynh, PhD

Dr. Huynh is currently an epidemiologist working with the World Trade Center Health Registry at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. She received her PhD in epidemiology from the University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health. After graduation, Dr. Huynh did her post-doctoral training at the Center for Disease Control’s National Center for Health Statistics. Her research interests include environmental exposures, maternal and child health, and health disparities.

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Robert J. Karp, MD

Dr. Karp is Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Social Pediatrics Initiative at Downstate. He received his MD degree from Jefferson Medical College, interned in Pediatrics at New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center, and was Chief Resident in Pediatrics at Temple University School of Medicine, St. Christopher's Hospital for Children. For eleven years, until 1998, Dr. Karp was Director of the Pediatric Resource Center of Kings County Hospital, a comprehensive health care center providing integrated team-delivered care for high risk inner-city children and families. He is also Associate Director of the New York/New Jersey Regional Center for Clinical Nutrition Education, sponsored by the New York Academy of Medicine.

Among his research interests are the effects of malnutrition and undernutrition among low-income children in the United States.

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Bonnie Kerker, PhD, MPH

Dr. Kerker is the Assistant Commissioner of the Bureau of Epidemiology Services at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The Bureau focuses on collecting, analyzing and communicating data to inform policy-makers and program-planners both within and outside of the Health Department. The Bureau also conducts epidemiologic analyses to help further the work of the agency and improve the health of New Yorkers. Dr. Kerker received her MPH and PhD in health policy and epidemiology at Yale University’s School of Public Health. Her main interests include social and structural determinants of health, child welfare policy, and translating data into policy. Most recently, her research has focused on the health of homeless, under-housed and incarcerated populations.

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Patricia Kizilay, EdD

Dr. Kizilay has been practicing nursing for many years and has had several roles in her career. She is a Family Nurse Practitioner and a Mental Health Clinical Specialist. Prior to coming to SUNY Downstate she was the coordinator of the graduate program at Seton Hall University.

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John C. LaRosa, MD

Dr. John C. LaRosa’s career has included positions as a teacher, researcher, and senior administrator. His research has focused on cholesterol metabolism and its relationship to heart and blood vessel disease. That experience fostered a life-long interest in the understanding and treatment of atherosclerosis or "hardening" of the arteries. Dr. LaRosa has published 250 scientific articles and has appeared as a cholesterol expert on the Today Show, Nightline, the Charlie Rose Show and numerous local news outlets. He has appeared in similar public affairs programs in the U.K., Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai and throughout Europe. In addition to his research, Dr. LaRosa has had an interest in health policy and administration. He completed a year-long sabbatical as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellow working in the Pentagon for the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs. Dr. LaRosa has served as Dean for Research at George Washington University School of Medicine, Chancellor of the Medical Center at Tulane University in New Orleans and President of the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center. During his tenure as President at Downstate, Dr. LaRosa oversaw the creation of a new School of Public Health, the opening of a new biotechnology incubator, a larger biotech facility at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, now under construction and promising a new role for Brooklyn as a center for new companies and industries.

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Joseph Lovett

Joseph Lovett is a Lecturer in the School of Public Health. He was a producer on the ABC-TV News show "20/20" for ten years, and prior to that was an editor and producer at CBS News for five years. He now runs his own film company, Lovett Productions. Mr. Lovett has participated in conferences sponsored by the Institute for Health Policy Analysis at Georgetown University Medical School, and is on the Executive Board of AIDSFILMS, a non-profit company committed to furthering AIDS education and prevention in the inner city. In 1997, he was a recipient of the National Leadership Award of the AIDS Action Foundation in Washington, D.C. because of his many fine media contributions in the field of AIDS and health. He has lectured regularly to second year medical students on issues related to medicine and the media.

Helen E. Murphy, BA, MSW, PhD

Dr. Murphy is Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health. She received her BA in Psychology at St. Francis College, her MSW from the University of Hawaii, and her PhD in Clinical Child Psychology from St. John’s University. She is a co-founder of Thursday’s Child, which has provided services to over 500 families with children diagnosed with autism. She is also the Director of Clinical Services at Thursday’s Child, and serves as a preceptor for MPH students performing practica at this agency.

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Karen A. N. Myrie, MD, MPH

Dr. Myrie received her MD from SUNY Downstate College of Medicine and her MPH from Columbia University School of Public Health. She completed her pediatrics residency in Social Medicine at Montefiore Medical Center (Bronx). Dr. Myrie, an attending pediatrician, is currently the Medical Director for the Lutheran Family Health Center Network School Health Program. The program has 14 School-Based Health Centers throughout Brooklyn and is the second largest in the state. She was recently appointed to the Advisory Panel on HIV, Hepatitis and STIs for the Medical Society of the State of NY.

Her dedication to educating the community about the needs of children and adolescents extends from her career through her personal life. Her civic duties include serving on the Board of the Edwin Gould Services for Children and Families; being the Financial Secretary and Health Committee chair for the New York Coalition of 100 Black Women; and being active in the Church of St Mark (Episcopal, Brooklyn) & Tau Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

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Sukhminder Osahan, PhD

Dr. Osahan is currently a Research Scientist, leading Statistical Unit in the World Trade Center Health Registry at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. WTC Health Registry was established in 2002, with the goal of monitoring the health of people directly exposed to the WTC disaster and will periodically follow-up with enrollees over the next 20 years to track changes in physical and mental health. He has taught courses at numerous institutions. His current interests includes performing a wide variety of scientific programming to extract information from various databases within and outside the WTC Health Registry, assisting in developing the qualitative and quantitative research methodology, extensive coding to collate and analyze health data.

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Steven D. Ritzel, MPH

Steven D. Ritzel is Clinical Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health. He received his Master of Public Health degree from Columbia University School of Public Health. He is currently Director of the Regional Planning and Research Unit in the Office of Planning and Institutional Advancement at the Downstate Medical Center. He previously served in the New York City Department of Health in several capacities including Public Health Epidemiologist and as Senior Grants Manager.

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Pamela Sass, MD

An Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Practice, Dr. Sass serves as Director of Community Medicine activities and Course Director of Community Oriented Primary Care for Family Practice Residents. She is also active in curriculum reform for the College of Medicine at Downstate. Dr. Sass received her MD degree from Rush Medical College and completed a three-year Family Practice residency at Brookdale Hospital. Prior to coming to Downstate, she was a physician and Medical Director of Montefiore Medical Center's Valentine Lane Family Practice Center.

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Rebecca Schwartz, PhD

Dr. Rebecca Schwartz is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences. She received her B.A. in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1996. She received her PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2004. While in graduate school, Dr. Schwartz was a recipient of a NIMH predoctoral research training fellowship in urban children’s mental health and AIDS prevention. Dr. Schwartz has clinical expertise in psychotherapy with youth and has particular experience in therapeutic interventions for youth who are HIV positive. She completed her clinical internship in June 2004 in the Pediatric Psychiatry Department of New York Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia Medical Center. Dr. Schwartz was a NIH BIRCWH (Building Integrative Research Careers in Women's Health) postdoctoral fellow at SUNY Downstate from 2004-2007. Her primary research interests are in the areas of primary and secondary prevention of HIV and other STIs with a focus on mental health and other psychosocial correlates of risk behavior, particularly as they pertain to women. She is currently a co-investigator on a multi-site study of HIV positive women and the principle investigator on a local study focused on the association between gender-based violence and medication adherence among HIV positive women.

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Jeremy Weedon, PhD, MA, BS

Dr. Weedon is Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics. He is also Associate Director of Downstate's Scientific Computing Center, which provides consulting research support for faculty and students in terms of study design, data collection and analysis, writing results sections for journal articles, power analysis for grant proposals etc. He is also involved in teaching research methods and statistics to other parts of the SUNY Downstate community: medical residency programs, the College of Nursing, and the College of Health Related Professions. Dr. Weedon describes himself as a statistical generalist, but is particularly interested in the modeling of longitudinal data, and has been involved for many years in the epidemiology of HIV infection in the U.S.

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Grace Wong, MBA, MPH

Grace Wong, Assistant Professor at the School of Public Health, is the Vice President of Managed Care and Clinical Business at SUNY Downstate Medical Center as well as the Principle Investigator of the Brooklyn Healthcare Improvement Project. Before she joined Downstate, she was the Vice President of Managed Care at New York Presbyterian Health System at the same time, the CFO/Director of Finance of The NYH Community Health Plan. She has thirty years experience in managed care, finance, business planning, healthcare consulting, investment banking and hospital administration. She had served as board member of the largest local multi-social service planning council in NYC, community board and insurance company. She received her dual MBA/MPH degrees from Columbia University and was a Recognition Award Recipient of the American Society of Public Administrators.

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Michael E. Zenilman, MD

Dr. Zenilman is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Health Policy and Management. He received his MD degree from SUNY Downstate and completed his residency training in surgery and a fellowship in gastrointestinal surgery at the Washington University School of Medicine-Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri. He has held academic appointments at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and at SUNY Downstate where he also served as Chair of the Department of Surgery. He was, in addition, in charge of quality assurance and improvement at Downstate’s University Hospital of Brooklyn.

A highly respected teacher and researcher, Dr. Zenilman is widely known for his research on and expertise in a number of health care issues especially among the elderly. These include the improvement of the quality of surgical care in the elderly, ethics in clinical practice, palliative care, and the demography of aging and disability.

One of Dr. Zenilman’s major projects in 2011 was co-editing the now standard text, Principles and Practice of Geriatric Surgery, New York: Springer, 2011. In this volume, he included an exceptional new nine chapter section that covers, among other topics, defining quality of care in geriatric surgery, decision making at the end of life, population based medical care, and medical ethics. Another important topic covered is that of physician performative and cognitive abilities with advancing age.

Dr. Zenilman has significantly assisted the Dean of the School of Public Health on a range of educational, administrative and research issues. He has recently provided assistance in the development of the new Advanced Certificate in Public Health Program that will soon be offered to students.

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Marlene Zurack, MS, BS

Ms. Zurack is the Chief Financial Officer for the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC). HHC is the largest municipal healthcare system in the country with 1.3 million patients and revenues in excess of $6 billion. As CFO, she is responsible for the Corporation’s treasury, finance activities, its financial planning and analysis, accounting, debt financing, investor relations, revenue operations, budgeting functions. She is also in charge of managed care contracting and operations. Ms. Zurack joined HHC in March of 2000 as Deputy Chief Financial Officer and assumed her duties as CFO on April 7, 2003.

Prior to that Ms. Zurack was Deputy Budget Director for Health, Social Services and Intergovernmental Relations for the New York City Office of Management and Budget (OMB). In that position she was responsible for more than $10 billion in appropriations including the City share of Medicaid. Before joining OMB she served as Director for Program Development with the New York City Office of Business Development.

Ms. Zurack received a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations in 1982 and a Master of Science in Urban Planning from Columbia University, School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation in 1987.

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