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SUNY Downstate Sesquicentennial

Downstate at 150: A Celebration of Achievement


Downstate at 150: A Celebration of Achievement Folio Cover

I am grateful that so many people were eager and willing to help create the FOLIO. We started with scant resources and little idea of what we were doing or how to succeed to accomplish this testament to achievement. The help and support have been critical to this project's success.

Haseeb Siddiqi, PhD, early on has been a stalwart source of excellent advice and superb suggestions, good judgment, and ever present encouragement. Randall Bloomfield, MD, cheered this effort forward from a nascent idea with boosts of reassurance and expressions of confidence in the project and my decisions. Ellen Watson, a continuing supporter, provided significant aid and assistance. Mark Stewart, MD, PhD, has given enthusiastic encouragement and tangible provision of resources that have been crucial to the overall project. Bruce Gordon, MD, has from the very outset provided help, encouragement, and the support of the Alumni Fund. Cheryl Marriott has delivered records and leads believed long-since lost; she has been indefatigable in the quest for needed information and portraits. Douglas W. Blackeller has ably assisted in the search for photographs and records. The unbridled enthusiasm with which former President John C. LaRosa responded to this idea and then welcomed the evolution of the program and supported it in the face of its many obstacles has my heartfelt appreciation. Jill Ditchik provided help and needed resources from the Alumni Association. The authors of the monographs need be acknowledged for their time and effort. Much more will be said about this volunteer workforce in the publication of the next act Downstate at 150: A Celebration of Achievement. Also, I appreciate the aid and assistance from so many others to this project.

John Zubrovich and his terrific staff in Biomedical Communications are a marvelous, talented group translating vague ideas into handsome presentations in many media. John has assembled all 153 portraits of the honorees and sought out the needed pictures. Ernest Cuni skillfully assisted in the recovery of the photographs. Bruce Kuo has created splendid graphic designs. He has done the layouts for the FOLIO and designed the invitations and the Innovation Symposium program. Aaron P. Cormier was responsible for the terrific web development to disseminate the contents of the FOLIO to the Downstate community and to our many friends and associates. The handsome screens and simple elegance of access are a credit his inventive and creative ability. Sze-Ying Lee continues her formidable struggle with the notices and communication records in order to share our work with the authors and honorees and with all of those who have worked to make this a success. My not-so-secret sharer Jane Stafford Salwen, continues to be central to my work and creativity. Her enthusiasm, patience, humor, support and warmth are, for me, my fuel and my sustenance. My deepest thanks and warmest appreciation to all who have shared in this effort to celebrate these achievers.


The FOLIO is sister to Downstate at 150: A Celebration of Achievement, a collection of biographical monographs about notable alumni and faculty who have been at Downstate. A title and brief abstract written for each of those included in the FOLIO was taken from the monograph. In this volume the authors of the essays are given. However, most of the titles and abstracts have been written by the editor, Martin Salwen, MD derived from the monographs.

Partly, the decision to include a candidate in this project was influenced by both the available biographical record of scholarship and academic achievement and by my success in recruiting an essayist to undertake the time-consuming work of writing the monograph. Many declined my invitation. Some who tried, withdrew or were dropped. My eternal appreciation is reserved for the twelve dozen who are responsible for this great gift that documents how great a place this is.

Portraits are provided for every entry, an extraordinary accomplishment by John Zubrovich, the staff of Biomedical Communications and Cheryl Marriott, the Archives Coordinator. On several occasions we almost abandoned this terrific idea, but driven by John Zubrovich's zeal, or what he called his fixation, the impossible was done, including the image of Richard Augustus Taylor, MD 1903. No graduation portrait was located of Richard Taylor. However, a class photograph was found on the front page of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle and is included in this volume. It was first called to our attention by Joy Holland, PhD, division manager of the Brooklyn Collection at the Brooklyn Public Library, who participated in several other searches. A copy of the front page photograph was in our Archives. There was no legend for the photograph however, and there hangs a legend. There were three men in the Class of 1903 who appear to be black, a finding that warrants a graduate thesis, but what to do? Initially we thought to publish the picture with the title, "Can you identify Richard Taylor?" However, luck was with us, or rather, Dr. and Mrs. Randall Bloomfield. Richard Taylor was their family physician more than half a century ago. Randy thought the fellow on the upper right of the photograph looked like Taylor, Edris independently clinched the identification, and so the set was completed.

The heading of each entry is the name of the honoree. For Downstate Alumni the year their degree was awarded is given, following the degree without punctuation. Honorary Alumni are identified with the year of election followed by an H.

Other than our archives which were established by Jack E. Termine there are few files about our forebears. It is sad that Jack could not be with us for this adventure and share some of the tales of Henry Street and of Clarkson Avenue. There is little else at Downstate to provide the record of the many creative and talented workers who came through these halls. The great Downstate eraser abolishes the traces so soon as anyone leaves the campus. We are dependent on oral history and that is, in part, the basis for these monographs, because they should not be forgotten.

I agree that the abstracts are too short. It is one of the many compromises made in this project. Why stop at about 150 essays. There are so many others. I agree and leave that fertile ground for those who wish to explore the Downstate achievers by discipline or specialty, or sex, or ethnicity or just to assemble the many luminaries I left out.


This is a history of Downstate and its College of Medicine without it being about the construction of buildings, funding of programs, or the approval of government agencies. The history of the SUNY Downstate Medical Center can best be told through the activities and achievements of the alumni and faculty. We present here titles and abstract about those included in the volume Downstate at 150: A Celebration of Achievement that will be published in a few weeks. That collection of biographical essays records the careers and contributions and the academic accomplishments of these noteworthy people who were educated or who taught and worked at this school.

In celebration of the sesquicentennial of the College of Medicine at Downstate I initially thought it would be a nice idea to arrange for a symposium about a few of the super-achievers. There was little interest or willingness. I then proposed essays on thirty of these luminaries. The list proved impossible. Just too short. Too many of the giants of this turf could not be included. Subsequent efforts limited to fifty and one hundred suffered the same fate. Ellen Watson suggested 150, since it was a sesquicentennial that we were celebrating and that became the objective.

These records of achievement are little short of astounding. How is it possible that so many talented people who have worked here had such outstanding creative careers of accomplishment? They have made the world a better place. Who to credit? Is it Brooklyn and its environment and the legacy of all those generations of hard-working, dedicated health care workers? This school never had enough money and always struggled with limited resources. But what we have had is talent and an environment that worked for science and for patient care.

For many of us, the gift of Downstate has been the many wonderful teachers and classmates and students and the rich supply of sick patients. The debt we owe is that we have been given an outstanding education that let us see further. After all, we have stood on the shoulders of giants. These volumes are a testament to the treasures on Henry Street and on Clarkson Avenue and are an expression of appreciation for all that we have been given. It is also a record for generations to come, and perhaps it will help to guide their striving for success. These books document some of those who reflect on this school and another time.

"Make recollection as durable as possible by putting it down on paper." Benjamin Franklin

Martin J. Salwen, MD 1957

Hard copy available at SUNY Downstate Campus Book Store or download the Downstate at 150: A Celebration of Achievement PDF