Menu

Announcements

MPH Alumna, Sonia Saakian, Awarded HRSA National Health Service Corps Scholarship

September 2021

Photo of Sonia Saakian

The School of Public Health is proud to share that our MPH 2020 alumna, Sonia Saakian, was awarded the HRSA National Health Service Corps Scholarship. Ms. Saakian is currently a first-year student at the New York University (NYU) College of Dentistry. The scholarship will cover Ms. Saakian’s tuition and eligible fees at NYU and will also provide monthly stipends to Ms. Saakian to assist with her living expenses while she pursues her degree.

The National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program (NHSC SP) awards scholarships to students pursuing eligible primary care health professions training. In return, scholars commit to provide primary care health services in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs).

Ms. Saakian plans to work as a primary care dentist to under-served communities. Janet Rosenbaum, PhD, Assistant Professor of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, wrote one of Ms. Saakian’s two recommendations in support of her scholarship application.

Congratulations, Ms. Saakian, on receiving the scholarship!

Dr. Marlene Camacho-Rivera Wins NIOSH Small Research Grant

August 2021

Photo of Dr. Marlene Camacho-Rivera

The School of Public Health (SPH) is very pleased to share that Marlene Camacho-Rivera, Sc.D., MS, MPH, Assistant Dean for Student Engagement and Success and Assistant Professor in the Community Health Sciences Department in the School of Public Health, has been awarded $161,373 from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Small Research Grant Program (R03) to conduct research on COVID-19 exposure, response, and physical and mental health sequelae among nurses in New York State. Dr. Camacho-Rivera will be joined by co-investigators Elizabeth Helzner, PhD, MS, Interim Chair and Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics; Paul Landsbergis, PhD, EdD, MPH, Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences; and Janet Rosenbaum, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

The grant is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), aiming to support occupational safety and health research projects. The goal of the R03 grant is to (1) develop an understanding of the risks and conditions associated with occupational diseases and injuries, (2) to explore methods for reducing risks and preventing or minimizing exposure to hazardous conditions in the workplace, and (3) to translate significant scientific findings into prevention practices and products that will effectively reduce work-related illnesses and injuries. More detail about the grant can be found here.

Dr. Camacho-Rivera and her co-investigators acknowledge that since the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been over 38 million COVID-19 cases and over 630,000 deaths in the United States (US). Simultaneously, the physical and mental health impacts of health care workers managing the COVID-19 pandemic (frontline workers) has been increasingly documented, and include increased rates of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and COVID-19 infection. Associations between individual-level and organizational-level characteristics on risk of COVID-19 infection and mental health outcomes, however, are under explored among frontline nurses. To address these gaps, Dr. Camacho-Rivera’s project will (1) evaluate the associations between COVID-19 related burnout, coping strategies, on mental health symptoms, (2) examine the impact of organizational-level factors on report of COVID-19 symptoms and diagnosis, and (3) identify how individual and organizational-level protective factors may buffer adverse mental health outcomes.

To accomplish these goals, the study will leverage the significant expertise of Dr. Camacho-Rivera’s research team in COVID-19 and occupation health disease disparities research, community-engaged and mixed-method approaches, and their partnership with the PEF Union at the University Hospital of Brooklyn, to recruit 2,000 frontline nurses in New York State to complete a cross-sectional online survey, as well as in-depth qualitative interviews in a subset (N=100) to provide a mixed method dataset of COVID-19 exposures and impacts among a COVID-19 vulnerable occupational group. In this proposed project, Dr. Camacho-Rivera and her co-investigators seek to address several key needs as identified by nurses through their union partnerships, including nurse-specific data on inadequate access to PPE, mental health impacts (depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder), quantitative and qualitative data on how nurses are coping during the COVID-19 pandemic period.

Further, these research questions will be examined within the context of the New York State nursing workforce, which was the early epicenter of the US COVID-19 pandemic. Findings from this study will contribute to the development of multilevel organizational strategies to support frontline workers by elucidating factors associated with COVID-19 stress and physical and mental health and identifying modifiable factors to improve well-being among vulnerable occupational groups.

Congratulations and thank you to Dr. Camacho-Rivera, for your seminal work in studying the physical and mental health impacts of the health care workers managing the COVID-19 pandemic. This study will not only increase our awareness of the well-being of our frontline workers, but it will also address the important role an organization can play in advancing occupational health.

Doctoral Epidemiology Students Involved in the United Nations 2021 International Youth Day Webinar

August 2021

Photo of Aliye Mosaad

Aliye Mosaad

In exciting news, the School of Public Health (SPH) is very pleased to share that our DrPH Epidemiology student, Aliye Mosaad, MPH, who is currently conducting her APEx project at the United Nations (UN), was involved in developing the theme and concept for this year's International Youth Day, and producing an associated 2.5-hour webinar in partnership with several UN divisions. The theme of this year's event was, "Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health.” The webinar was shared with the entire UN system and all UN agencies. The audience included the UN and all UN Member States (193 countries), as well as civil society organizations.

Photo of Ayanna Besson

Ayanna Besson

In addition, Ms. Mosaad provided the general introduction to the webinar, and our DrPH Epidemiology student, Ayanna Besson, MPH was featured in Segment 2 of the webinar (her part starts at 48:28 of the video) entitled, "Nutrition Education, Health, and Inequalities in Access to Nutritious Food". In the video, Ms. Besson highlighted the work the SPH is doing to evaluate the Plant-Powered Metro New York 21-day plant-based jumpstart program in Central Brooklyn. She also mentioned our new Advanced Certificate Program in Climate Change and Planetary Health.

Click here to watch the webinar on the UN website.

International Youth Day 2021 Logo

International Youth Day is one of the official days observed annually by the UN system. As part of the Programme on Youth Unit of the Division for Inclusive Social Development/Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Ms. Mosaad partnered with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN as well as the Major Group for Children and Youth (this group is the UN General Assembly-mandated and self-organized mechanism for young people to meaningfully engage in certain UN processes), which includes youth organizations from around the world.

Click here to learn more about International Youth Day.

Thank you, Ms. Mosaad, for your instrumental work in planning such an important, wide-reaching and large-scale event! Thank you, Ms. Besson, for your terrific discussion of the plant-based health program and interest group at SUNY Downstate, highlighting the great work being done in our own School of Public Health to an international audience!

Dr. Marlene Camacho-Rivera and Dr. Rose Calixte Awarded COVID-19 Research Accelerator Grant

June 2021

The School of Public Health is pleased to share that Marlene Camacho-Rivera, Sc.D., MS, MPH, Assistant Dean for Student Engagement and Success and Assistant Professor of Community Health Sciences, and Rose Calixte, PhD, MS, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, have been awarded a COVID-19 Research Accelerator Grant for their proposal titled “EVIDENCE: Elucidating COVID Disparities in Engagement of Chronic Disease Care.”

Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the COVID-19 Research Accelerator Grant program provides the resources for researchers to leverage the COVID-19 Research Database to study the impact of the current pandemic with the goal to accelerate evidence for policies that mitigate the effects of COVID-19 and strengthen future disaster preparedness.

Dr. Camacho-Rivera and Dr. Calixte are one of the 15 teams selected from almost 130 applications that were submitted globally to receive the grant. They will begin their research this summer and the results will be published in peer reviewed journals. They will be featured in the COVID-19 Research Database Grand Rounds webinar series later this year.

Dr. Marlene Camacho-RiveraDr. Marlene Camacho-Rivera

Dr. Rose CalixteDr. Rose Calixte

A social epidemiologist by training, Dr. Camacho-Rivera’s research interests center around understanding and defining the roles of structural and social determinants of health. The objective of her work is to reduce health disparities and improve health outcomes among some of the most vulnerable, at-risk brown and black communities. Dr. Camacho-Rivera is actively engaged in examining determinants and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on structurally vulnerable groups (e.g. urban minority communities, individuals with chronic health conditions, essential workers). Her research has been funded by many institutions and published in numerous epidemiological and clinical journals.

A biostatistician with many years of teaching and research experience, Dr. Calixte’s main research interest is in child health outcomes. Particularly, she is interested in factors that are associated with health care utilization in children with special health care needs (CSHCN) and barriers to access to care in CSHCN. Her collaborative research has resulted in over 40 peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Calixte also has a passion for teaching and thus, for several years, has taught a statistics course in the program in nutrition at Stony Brook University. She will be teaching several biostatistics courses in the MPH and DrPH program at Downstate. Recently, she has become a PStat® accredited biostatistician.

Please join us in congratulating and thanking Dr. Camacho-Rivera and Dr. Calixte for their seminal work in examining COVID-19 disparities among vulnerable communities.

Click here to read the official press release.

SPH Welcomes Recent MPH Graduate, Samiha Hussain, as the New Community Engagement Coordinator for Applied Practice Experience (APEx)

June 2021

Samiha Hussain

Please join us in giving a warm welcome to Samiha Hussain, our School’s recent graduate of the MPH program, as our new Community Engagement Coordinator. Ms. Hussain will be supporting our Applied Practice Experience (APEx) activities while Ms. Arlene Mbonu, Coordinator for Strategic Partnerships, is on family leave. Ms. Hussain will be assisting Dr. Aimee Afable, Associate Dean for Community Engagement and Associate Professor of Community Health Sciences, in outlining and implementing the School of Public Health’s strategic vision for public and private sector engagement.

Ms. Hussain was a very active MPH student. She was a First Response Worker contributing to our campus COVID-19 surveillance efforts while also serving as President of the Student Council, following her tenure as Vice President. She is passionate about women’s health issues.

Ms. Hussain will be coordinating all APEx communication and maintaining MPH and DrPH student E-portfolios. We look forward to working with Ms. Hussain and growing our APEx project and community partnerships portfolio.

Thomas I. Mackie, PhD, MPH, Appointed as Chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management

June 2021

Dr. Thomas Mackie

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Thomas Mackie, Chair of Health Policy and Management, to our School of Public Health!

Trained as a medical sociologist and health services researcher, Dr. Mackie’s research aims to bring new evidence to pressing pediatric and perinatal mental and behavioral healthcare policy and practice dilemmas. His portfolio of work is motivated by the rapid expansion of system-wide innovations that seek to address the well-documented gaps in access to quality mental healthcare for youth who are Medicaid-insured and their caregivers. His mixed methods research examines an array of system-level innovations, including universal screening programs, delivery system enhancements (e.g., investment in a trauma-informed systems of care), healthcare provider supports (e.g., consultation programs), and monitoring programs (e.g., prior authorization and drug utilization reviews). Dr. Mackie has received over 6 million dollars in external funding as Principal Investigator from a diverse array of sponsors, including W.T. Grant Foundation, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, National Institute of Mental Health, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Dr. Mackie has also recently taught graduate courses in U.S. Health Systems and Policy, Mixed Methods Research, and Mental Health Policy. He is deeply committed to an experiential pedagogy integrating opportunities for case-based learning to occur in the classroom and for students to join as members of his research team. Dr. Mackie most recently served as faculty at the Rutgers School of Public Health and as core faculty at the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research at Rutgers. He received a Joint-Doctorate in Social Policy and Sociology at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Brandeis University.

We would also like to add a sincere thank you to Dr. Daniel Ehlke for his commitment, dedication, and leadership during his service as Interim Chair of Health Policy and Management.

MD/MPH Student, Lily Lee, Awarded the 2021 National Excellence in Public Health Award

June 2021

Lily Lee

In exciting news, we are pleased to share that Ms. Lily Lee, MD-MPH Candidate, was recently awarded the Local 2021 Excellence in Public Health Award, and the National 2021 Excellence in Public Health Award by the U.S. Public Health Service Physician Professional Advisory Committee! The award was announced at the 17th Annual Awards Ceremony for the School of Public Health.

At the suggestion of Kitaw Demissie, M.D., Ph.D., Dean and Professor for the School of Public Health, and a nomination written by Michael Joseph, Ph.D., MPH, former Downstate SPH Vice Dean and Associate Professor—F. Charles Brunicardi, M.D., FACS, Dean for the College of Medicine and Senior Vice President, nominated Ms. Lee for the prestigious honor. The award recognizes medical students who are public health champions, whose work advances the US Public Health Service mission to protect, promote, and advance the health and safety of our nation, and who are helping address public health issues in their community.

A native from Queens, New York, Ms. Lee studied Chemistry and Children studies in undergrad, before arriving at Downstate to pursue her MD-MPH with a concentration in Epidemiology. Her professional and research interests include adolescent risk behaviors, media influences, and environmental exposures.

An SPH Student Ambassador that focuses on recruiting students into the MPH program, Ms. Lee has remained actively involved in a number of different research projects with faculty in the College of Medicine and the School of Public Health. Additionally, she serves as an instructor for the Arthur Ashe Institute of Urban Health, as well as a researcher and volunteer with the Kings Against Violence Initiative (KAVI).

CONGRATULATIONS on this incredible double-achievement, Ms. Lee! We are very proud of the meaningful work you are doing here at Downstate, and of the commitment and passion for which you are pursuing your chosen fields.

Click here to read the full article in the President's Bulletin.

Click here to read Lily Lee's Student Spotlight interview.

SUNY Downstate School of Public Health 17th Annual Awards Ceremony

May 2021

Cover Page of Awards Ceremony Program

The 17th Annual Awards Ceremony was held on May 18th, 2021 to recognize several students at the School of Public Health for their outstanding academic performance and field experience. Eight students and a faculty member were inducted into Delta Omega Beta Iota.

This year, one of our awardees, Lily Lee, MD/MPH student in Epidemiology, was selected by the U.S. Public Health Service Physician Professional Advisory Committee as both the local and national winner of the prestigious 2021 Excellence in Public Health Award. The award recognizes medical students who are public health champions, advancing the US Public Health Service mission to protect, promote and advance the health and safety of our nation, and who are helping address public health issues in their community. Ms. Lee is the first Downstate student receiving this national award. Congratulations, Ms. Lee!

Please join us in congratulating all award recipients. We are incredibly proud of their work at Downstate!

Click here to view the award program and a complete list of awardees.

New Program at SPH: Advanced Certificate in Public Health Geriatrics

May 2021

Geriatrics

The SUNY Downstate School of Public Health (SPH) is pleased to announce the creation of a new academic program: Advanced Certificate Program in Public Health Geriatrics. This certificate program will provide training on a broad spectrum of public health-related issues affecting the rapidly growing aging population that is expected to double by 2050. This demographic shift will increase demands on public health systems as the prevalence of chronic diseases and geriatric syndromes rises.

Students who complete the program will obtain training on the unique health and social issues impacting aging populations and will be trained to understand and implement public health research approaches that are best-suited for studying older adults. Using evidence-based approaches, students will learn to develop and evaluate social and behavioral health promotion interventions aimed at older adults. Students will also receive training on the federal, state and local government policies that are relevant to aging and health.

Students who complete the courses in this program will be equipped to:

  1. Apply learned theories of aging (including biological, psychological, and sociological) to the development of projects and programs to improve well-being among older adults.
  2. Develop health literacy around age-associated health issues including medical comorbidity, polypharmacy, functional decline, insurance coverage, caregiving, policy issues, and end of life planning
  3. Develop capability to find and summarize relevant research on important issues affecting older adults at the local, national, and global levels.
  4. Communicate the unique health risks and social issues facing the aging population to patients, caregivers, health professionals, and the public.

This certificate program has been developed as part of SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University’s Brooklyn Initiative to Develop Geriatrics Education (BRIDGE) Program, a Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP) managed by the Health Resources and Services Administration.

“I am very pleased SUNY Downstate School of Public Health has pioneered this important program which will be instrumental in understanding and shaping equitable, healthy aging in this growing segment of our population,” said Dr. Kitaw Demissie, Dean and Professor of the School of Public Health.

“The BRIDGE program is working throughout Brooklyn to transform our educational programming, healthcare environments, and communities to be Age- and Dementia-Friendly. This critical program will create the public health leaders our borough needs to improve the health of our diverse elderly patient communities for years to come,” said Dr. Michael Reinhardt, co-Director of the BRIDGE Program.

Component courses such as Principles of Epidemiology, Epidemiology of Aging, Public Health Leadership in Interprofessional Practice, Program Design and Evaluation, and Legal Issues in Aging and Health are a combination of required courses for the Master’s in Public Health and Epidemiology concentration. The certificate is offered completely online.

“We are excited to offer this innovative program to prepare future public health leaders to address the increasing and unique health concerns of our aging adult populations,” said Elizabeth P. Helzner, Associate Professor and Interim Chair, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Applications for the Advanced Certificate will be accepted via the Centralized Application Service for Public Health (SOPHAS Express) for enrollment in the Fall 2021 semester. To learn more about this program, please click here.

For more information, please contact Dr. Elizabeth Helzner, Program Director at elizabeth.helzner@downstate.edu.

Click here to read SUNY Downstate Press Release.

The New York State Health Foundation Awards Multi-Disciplinary Downstate Team a $225K Grant in Support of Health Equity

May 2021

NYS Health Foundation Logo

We are proud to announce that the New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth) recently approved an incredible $224,952 grant in support of advancing health equity to a multi-disciplinary team of Downstate scientists from the School of Public Health and the Department of Family Medicine, as well as participants from One Brooklyn Health!

Together the team will serve as leads to their project, Central and Northeast Brooklyn Health Equity Index (BKHI)—which will engage members of our diverse patient populations as partners in the care they receive, with the aim of promoting and advancing equitable care on behalf of our most vulnerable communities. The project will employ the use of community engaged research to develop the Brooklyn Health Equity Index and to expand and implement its use across clinical and policy settings, nationally.

Congratulations to the team, including Aimee Afable, PhD, MPH, Associate Dean for Community Engagement and Associate Professor of Community Health Sciences at the School of Public Health, who is a member of the academic-community leadership. This is an incredible accomplishment that will have an enduring impact on the communities we serve.

Click here to read the full announcement on NYSHealth.

Click here to read the feature article in the President's Bulletin.

EOHS DrPH Alumnus Dr. Macceau (Max) Medozile Accepted to NIH Funded Post-Doctoral Training Program, GATHER

April 2021

Dr. Macceau (Max) Medozile

The School of Public Health (SPH) is proud to share that Dr. Macceau (Max) Medozile, 2020 DrPH alumnus of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences (EOHS), has been accepted to the Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health's Global Alliance for Training in Health Equity Research Program (GATHER). GATHER is an NIH funded T37 post-doctoral training program that partners trainees with mentors to receive intensive skills-based research training, and have an opportunity to travel to one of three research sites in Brazil, Kenya, and Mexico.

Dr. Medozile plans to build on his doctoral research in Haiti "Factors Affecting Cholera Mortality in Haiti: 2010-2012" by studying risk factors and determinants of health associated with HIV and tuberculosis in Kenya. He will be paired with faculty mentors at Drexel, Dr. Jerry Fagliano and Dr. Gina Lovasi, as well as the Head of Health and Systems for Health at the African Population and Health Research Center, Dr. Abdhalah Ziraba.

While at SPH, Dr. Medozile wrote his dissertation under the advisement of Dr. Lori Hoepner (EOHS). Dr. Paul Landsbergis (EOHS) and Dr. Sergios Kolokotronis (EPI/BIOS) were on his dissertation committee. In 2019, Dr. Medozile received the Rao Scholarship enabling him to travel to Haiti to collect raw data on cholera vaccination delivery efforts from clinics. Unfortunately, his travel to Haiti coincided with major unrest in the country, but he was able to successfully conduct on-site interviews with cholera treatment facility administrators, and take breathtaking photographs of the remains of cholera treatment centers.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Medozile on his exceptional accomplishment. We rejoice and wish Dr. Medozile much success in his research in Kenya.

Click here to read the full article in the President's Bulletin.

Click here to learn more about the GATHER program.

Click here to learn about various research projects sponsored by the African Population and Health Research Center.

Epidemiology DrPH Student, Alecia James, Won 1st Prize in Student Poster Competition at Regional Conference of the American Statistical Association

April 2021

Alecia James

The School of Public Health (SPH) is excited to announce that our Epidemiology doctoral student, Alecia James, won first prize in the student poster competition at a regional conference, UPSTAT 2021, of the American Statistical Association for her study "Child Abuse and Chronic Sleep Problems: Investigating the Mediating Role of Negative Affect – Findings from Midlife in the United States.” Based on a semester-long original research project in Dr. Janet Rosenbaum’s Epidemiology 5205/7202 research methods II class, Ms. James found that the association between abuse during childhood and sleeping problems in mid-adulthood is mediated by negative affect using Imai’s causal mediation methods: 14% for physical abuse and 27% for emotional abuse. These findings provide a better understanding of the causal pathway between child abuse and chronic sleep problems, which is essential for disrupting the child abuse-sleep problems link.

The Upstate New York Statistics Conference (UPSTAT), is an annual gathering forum for statisticians and data scientists as well as graduate students and advanced undergraduate students involved in research to present their work. The theme for the 2021 conference is Statistics Serving Social Justice. The 9th Joint Conference of the Upstate Chapter of the American Statistical Association was held virtually on April 23rd and April 24th, 2021.

Please join us in congratulating Ms. James. We are very proud of her achievement. 

Please click on the image below to view Ms. James' poster.

Alecia James' UPSTAT Poster

Dr. W. Marcus Lambert Joins the Faculty in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics

April 2021

Dr. W. Marcus Lambert

The School of Public Health (SPH) at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University would like to take this opportunity to officially welcome our new faculty member, W. Marcus Lambert, PhD, in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

Dr. Lambert comes to us from Weill Cornell Medicine, where he served as Assistant Dean of Diversity and Student Life and Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine. While there, he developed and served as contact PI on a coveted NIH/NIGMS-funded Initiative to Maximize Student Development (IMSD) R25 grant to increase the number and enhance the success of Ph.D. students from underrepresented backgrounds. Dr. Lambert has also focused on educational interventions that mitigate implicit bias and racial inequities for health sciences faculty and trainees. He co-developed a course entitled “Sociocultural Barriers to STEM,” designed to give students an introduction to the sociological literature surrounding inequities in science and medicine.

Dr. Lambert has also been appointed as Associate Vice President for Research Strategy and Operations at SUNY Downstate. In this role, Dr. Lambert will join Dr. Christini’s group, and will focus on initiatives to expand Downstate’s extramurally funded research portfolio, particularly focusing on health disparities and public health research and training. Dr. Lambert will work with the Human Research Advisory Committee to develop and implement strategies to strengthen clinical trials efforts; partner with other SUNY campuses to develop SUNY-wide research networks and programs in human and laboratory research; envision and develop interdisciplinary research initiatives to support new research programs; interface with leadership of NIH, NSF, New York State, and other agencies to identify and target new funding opportunities for Downstate and its investigators; and work with leaders of the College of Medicine, School of Public Health, College of Nursing, School of Health Professions, and School of Graduate Studies on efforts to strengthen trainee research.

We are fortunate that Dr. Lambert's "academic home" will be with us in the School of Public Health. He will advise MPH and DrPH students, conduct externally-funded research, and eventually teach in our program. His recent research used quantitative and qualitative methodologies to understand determinants for research career success in underrepresented groups—who are more likely to serve in medically-underserved areas—and investigate diseases and conditions disproportionally impacting minority groups.

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Lambert to the School of Public Health!

New Program at SPH: Advanced Certificate in Climate Change and Planetary Health

April 2021

Global Heatlh Picture

The School of Public Health (SPH) is pleased to announce the creation of a new program: Advanced Certificate in Climate Change and Planetary Health. ‘Planetary Health’ is an emerging transdisciplinary field established by the Lancet Commission in 2015 that addresses the health impacts of human activity on the planet.

The School of Public Health is poised to play a leading role in training health professionals to mount strategies for prevention and preparing for climate-related response and adaptation across many sectors of society with a focus on health equity. Students will emerge from the Advanced Certificate program with the ability to provide guidance and leadership within academia, government institutions, the non-governmental sector, community-based organizations, or in private industry to address the health implications of the activities and behavior of global populations.

Students who complete the courses in this program will be equipped to:

  • Identify adverse health impacts from climate change and planetary human activities.
  • Learn to collaborate with peers, policymakers, and all relevant stakeholders to communicate climate change and planetary health risks.
  • Learn to recognize and reduce climate-health effects in clinical and public health settings.
  • Identify and develop culturally appropriate climate mitigation strategies.

Applications for the Advanced Certificate will be accepted via the Centralized Application Service for Public Health (SOPHAS Express) for enrollment in the Fall 2021 semester. To learn more about this program, please click here.

For more information, please contact Dr. Laura Geer, Program Director at laura.geer@downstate.edu.

Click here to read SUNY Downstate Press Release.

Dr. Tracey Wilson Appointed as Vice Dean for Faculty Affairs and Research

March 2021

Dr. Tracey Wilson

The School of Public Health (SPH) at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University is proud to announce the appointment of Dr. Tracey Wilson, Distinguished Service Professor of Community Health Sciences, as Vice Dean for Faculty Affairs and Research.

In this role, Dr. Wilson will provide leadership in faculty initiatives that contribute to the strategic priorities of the School of Public Health. This includes development, implementation, and review of policies and procedures relating to faculty appointments and promotion, annual faculty review, and faculty mentoring and career development programs. In addition, she will oversee development and implementation of a research strategic plan for the School of Public Health, develop guidelines and oversee coordination of grant submissions; and support the School in responding to public health research priorities and in expanding interdisciplinary research efforts to improve the health and well-being of the populations that our school serves.

Dr. Wilson’s commitment to public health education, contributions to mentoring students and early-career faculty, experience in leading community-engaged and impactful chronic disease prevention research, and history of local and national public health leadership roles will serve as a critical foundation for advancing the vision and mission of the School of Public Health in these important areas.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Wilson.

SPH Celebrates National Public Health Week in April with Two Virtual Events

March 2021

In honor of National Public Health Week, the School of Public Health (SPH) will be hosting two virtual panel discussions on April 6th and 7th. Please click the flyers below for more information.

National Public Health Week Flyer

Save the dates!

Public Health Week April 6 Flyer

Click here to register for the Zoom meeting on April 6th, 2021 at 6:00 p.m.

National Public Health Week April 7th Event Flyer

Click here to register for the Zoom meeting on April 7th, 2021 at 6:00 p.m.

Five SPH Students Receive Spring 2021 Lenard and Christine Szarek Fellowship Award

March 2021

The School of Public Health (SPH) is excited to announce the student recipients of the Spring 2021 Lenard and Christine Szarek Fellowship Award! The following students received the prestigious merit scholarship:

Ayanna Besson

Ayanna Besson

DrPH, Epidemiology

Kunika Chahal

Kunika Chahal

MPH, Epidemiology

Nitya Devireddy

Nitya Devireddy

MPH, Community Health Sciences

Alecia James

Alecia James

DrPH, Epidemiology

Kristelle Pierre

Kristelle Pierre

MPH, Community Health Sciences

 


The Lenard and Christine Szarek Fellowship Fund was established by Michael Szarek, PhD, MS, Associate Dean for Research Administration and Executive Director of the Center for Clinical and Outcomes Research, for students enrolled in SUNY Downstate School of Public Health (SPH) Master of Public Health (MPH) and Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) programs. Each year, the fund provides up to $50,000 to a maximum of 10 eligible masters and doctoral students, at a grant level of $5,000 each. Selection criteria is based on academic merit within the School—applicants must have a minimum 3.75 G.P.A. through a minimum of 12 hours of coursework to qualify.

Congratulations to our exceptional student recipients! We are proud of their achievements and wish them continued success!  

Dr. Marlene Camacho-Rivera Appointed as Assistant Dean for Student Engagement and Success

February 2021

Dr. Marlene Camacho-Rivera

The School of Public Health (SPH) is pleased to announce the appointment of Marlene Camacho-Rivera, SCD, MS, MPH, as Assistant Dean for Student Engagement and Success. In this role, Dr. Camacho-Rivera will oversee the development, implementation, and evaluation of SPH initiatives to support student engagement, advancement, and academic success.

Dr. Camacho-Rivera joined Downstate in Fall 2019 as a faculty member in the Department of Community Health Sciences. As a social epidemiologist, her research focuses on community and social factors influencing chronic disease prevention and self-management, and the design and evaluation of community-engaged interventions to reduce chronic disease disparities in urban racial and ethnic minority communities. During the current COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Camacho-Rivera has played a prominent role in supporting and mentoring students across Downstate in COVID-19 disparities research and scholarship, developed a focused research agenda on uptake of COVID-19 vaccination and other preventive behaviors among high-risk groups, and has served as a valued member on important institutional initiatives, including the COVID Community Education Committee and the Taskforce to address COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake within Downstate.

Dr. Camacho-Rivera’s courses, in topics such as urban public health and methods of community-engaged intervention development, are highly valued by our students, and incorporate pressing public health topics utilizing assets-based frameworks, community-engaged methods, and trauma-informed pedagogical practices. Dedicated to recruiting and training the next generation of public health professionals, Dr. Camacho-Rivera has been actively involved in in-person and virtual information sessions, recruitment at national conferences, and serves as the Chair of the School of Public Health Admissions Committee. She has worked to strengthen the integration of health equity and social determinants of health initiatives between the School of Public Health and the College of Medicine, and serves as a faculty mentor to students throughout the University’s health professional programs. Prior to her joining SUNY Downstate, Dr. Camacho-Rivera served as Assistant Professor of Community Health and Social Medicine at the CUNY School of Medicine, where she served on their Committee on Admissions, Inclusive Excellence Council, and mentored students through the City College of New York-Memorial Sloan Kettering Partnership for Cancer Research.

Dr. Camacho-Rivera received her ScD and MS degrees in Social Epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health. Her research has been funded by the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, and the Stony Wold-Herbert Fund. For her commitment to health equity, she has been awarded prestigious fellowships from the National Hispanic Health Foundation, the New York Academy of Medicine, and the Association of American Medical Colleges.

“Dr. Camacho-Rivera’s strong history of public health scholarship, dedication to training and mentorship, and commitment to supporting development of the next generation of public health leaders are critical assets to our public health community. We look forward to benefiting from her considerable strengths in this new position,” –Kitaw Demissie, MD, PhD, Dean and Professor of the School of Public Health.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Camacho-Rivera!.

Introducing Dr. Yang Lin, New Instructional Designer at the School of Publich Health

February 2021

Dr. Yang Lin

The School of Publich Health (SPH) is pleased to introduce Dr. Yang Lin, our new Instructional Designer. In this vital role, Dr. Lin will provide expertise in planning, development and delivery of high-quality distance learning experience. Dr. Lin has a wealth of experience that is critical to our institution. Specifically, he has experience working with faculty on best practices for curriculum development and managing technology to enhance the learning experience at the highly ranked Weill Cornell Medical College. Dr. Lin also has industry experience working at IBM, where he designed instructor-led, self- guided, and virtual technical training solutions for IBM’s world-wide business intelligence software clients. Dr. Lin will work closely with the School of Public Health, the School of Health Professions, the College of Nursing and the Academic Computing Technology department to help us achieve the goal of increasing student enrollment, retention and revenue as well as make our mark on the map as an institution recognized for quality distance education.

Dr. Lin has a Ph.D. degree in Instructional Design and a masters degree in Education, Curriculum & Instruction from the track of Learning Technologies at the University of Minnesota.

Please join us in giving a very warm Downstate welcome to Dr. Yang Lin.

Dr. Michael A. Joseph, Vice Dean for Academic and Student Affairs and Associate Professor of Epidemiology for the School of Public Health (SPH), Bids Downstate Adieu

January 2021

Dr. Michael Joseph

We write today to share some bittersweet news that Michael A. Joseph, PhD, MPH, Vice Dean for Academic and Student Affairs and Associate Professor of Epidemiology for the School of Public Health (SPH), will be leaving his position at Downstate in acceptance of his new role as Vice Dean for Education at the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health. Dr. Joseph’s appointment will take effect on March 1st, 2021.

Dr. Joseph has served as an invaluable educator and mentor—both within SPH and throughout Downstate—over the last 16 years working to enhance the competitive edge of our academic programming, the exit opportunities of our student body, and the career development of junior faculty members. His selfless and unflagging commitment to advancing our school and institution to new standards of excellence and innovation have been exemplary—earning him great respect from faculty, students, academic peer institutions, and community partners alike. In addition to his current role, Dr. Joseph has served as Vice Chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatics and Interim Chair of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, working to strengthen departmental leadership and streamline operational processes across the School of Public Health.

On January 7, 2019, Dr. Joseph was appointed as the Vice Dean for Academic and Student Affairs for SPH. During his two-year tenure as Vice Dean, under his strategic guidance, SPH experienced significant growth in student enrollment tied to his intentional growth strategy that included the development of a strong recruitment and enrollment team. As a direct result of his expertise, SPH has successfully created articulation agreements with three New York colleges with significant minority and first-generation student populations: SUNY Westbury, Department of Public Health; Medgar Evers College, School of Science, Health and Technology and School of Business; and Brooklyn College, Department of Health and Nutrition Science.

Dr. Joseph’s time at Downstate is marked by his rare leadership. He is one of those few that understands in order to lead a body to new heights, you must stand with them, not apart or above. In every position, he has rallied various SPH teams together—bringing the same approachable energy, enthusiasm, respect, and encouraging stewardship to every challenge. For many SPH students, Dr. Joseph’s presence ignited and fueled their motivation to achieve their maximum potential—enhancing student retention rates and contributing significantly to our primary mission—to diversify the next generation of public health leaders.

It is always a sad day when you must bid a highly-respected and revered colleague a farewell. That said, Dr. Joseph’s departure is only a testament to the quality and distinction of our faculty. When our leadership move into new roles that significantly advance their careers, it speaks greatly to the professional experience and foundation they developed at Downstate. The School of Public Health and Downstate are incredibly proud of Dr. Joseph’s accomplishments and look forward to honoring this achievement at a date and time that will be announced soon.

Though he will continue his role as Vice Dean at Downstate until February 1st, 2021, a search committee will be established soon for a permanent Vice Dean replacement. Please join us in wishing Dr. Joseph much success and happiness in his new position.

Dr. Rose Calixte Joined the Faculty of Biostatistics

November 2020

Dr. Rose Calixte

The School of Public Health (SPH) at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University is delighted to announce a new addition to our Biostatistics faculty, Rose Calixte, PhD, MS.

Dr. Calixte has a BS in mathematics from The City College of New York, an MS and a PhD in Statistics from Stony Brook University. She was a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Biostatistics at Yale School of Public Health. Dr. Calixte has worked as a collaborative biostatistician for more than 9 years, resulting in over 40 co-authored publications. Prior to coming to Downstate, she was a Research Associate in the Department of Community Health Science and Social Medicine (CHASM) at the CUNY School of Medicine (CSOM), where she provided statistical supports to CHASM faculty and CSOM students. In October 2020, Dr. Calixte received PStat® accreditation from the American Statistical Association.

She will be teaching Applied Regression Analysis for MPH and DrPH students next semester and will be adding additional courses next year. She is also available to consult on research projects for faculty and students.

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Calixte.

Dr. Elizabeth Helzner Appointed as Interim Chair for the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics

October 2020

Dr. Elizabeth Helzner

The School of Public Health (SPH) at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University is pleased to announce the appointment of Elizabeth Helzner, PhD, Associate Professor of Epidemiology, as Interim Chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

Dr. Helzner is a chronic disease epidemiologist who has been affiliated with SUNY Downstate since 2009. Her research has focused on the epidemiology of chronic diseases and in particular conditions affecting the nervous system, including age-related hearing loss and Alzheimer’s disease.

A dedicated educator and mentor, Dr. Helzner is actively involved in MPH and DrPH program curriculum development and revision. She has held numerous faculty governance positions and currently serves as Presiding Officer of the Faculty and Professional Staff Assembly in the School of Public Health. As the Vice-Chair of SUNY Downstate’s Committee on Plant-Based Health and Nutrition, she has been instrumental in the development of both academic and community-facing educational programming regarding the role of nutrition in disease prevention and treatment. She also leads public health education efforts for SUNY Downstate’s multidisciplinary Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program and is a member of SUNY Downstate’s Institutional Review Board.

Former Chair for the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Michael Szarek, PhD, MS, has recently been appointed to serve as SPH’s New Executive Director of the Center for Clinical and Outcomes Research. Dean Kitaw Demissie, MD, PhD, extends his great appreciation to Dr. Szarek for his commitment to the growth and continued success of the School of Public Health over the years.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Helzner.

Dr. Simone Reynolds Appointed as Director of Online Learning and Instructional Innovation

October 2020

Dr. Simone Reynolds

The School of Public Health (SPH) at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University is proud to announce the appointment of Simone Reynolds, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, as Director of Online Learning and Instructional Innovation. In this role, Dr. Reynolds will oversee faculty training and online course innovation, as well as the design, development, delivery, quality assurance, and assessment of SPH courses offered in all distance delivery formats, including remote instruction.

Dr. Reynolds joined SUNY Downstate in Fall 2012 as a faculty member in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. She is an exceptionally gifted instructor who consistently receives high praise from students taking her introductory epidemiology and epidemiologic methods courses. She also has significant experience developing, implementing, and managing online programs, and has been responsive to the current academic climate in which adult learners request more flexible learning options that do not fit the traditional mold of the 20th-century learner. She has created learner-centered environments for both flipped and asynchronous classroom designs to meet this demand.

During the current coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Reynolds championed the transition of our faculty to remote teaching and worked with our faculty to mitigate the dip in the change curve. In addition, Dr. Reynolds stepped up to serve as a valued member on several external SUNY Downstate committees, including the Distance Learning Coordination Team, and the Coronavirus Academic Technology Working Group, to aid our Downstate campus in a successful transition to remote teaching.

Dr. Reynolds received her PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Pittsburgh in 2011. She is an OPEN SUNY Online Teaching Fellow and recently completed two (2) Professional Certificates in Online Education and Online Education Administration from the University of Wisconsin Madison.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Reynolds.

Dr. Michael Szarek Appointed as New Executive Director of the Center for Clinical and Outcomes Research

October 2020

Dr. Michael Szarek

The School of Public Health (SPH) at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University is pleased to announce the appointment of Michael Szarek, PhD, MS, Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, as Executive Director of the Center for Clinical and Outcomes Research effective immediately. In this role, Dr. Szarek will provide oversight and leadership in the development of academic programs in health economics, outcomes, and market access. He will also provide leadership in the management and execution of clinical research across SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University.

Dr. Szarek served as chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics from 2010 to 2020 and Associate Dean for Research Administration from 2015 to 2020. He has served as a member of Executive Steering Committees and Data Safety Monitoring Committees for clinical trials of treatments for cardiovascular disease (atorvastatin, torcetrapib, lomitapide, alirocumab, apabetalone, sotagliflozin), complications of COVID-19 infection (colchicine, rivaroxaban, rNAPc2), and cancer (anastrozole, naratuximab emtansine), and as the statistical editor for the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) and JACC – Cardiovascular Interventions.

Dr. Szarek has been a co-author on several publications in leading scientific journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association, and Cell, and on late-breaking presentations at the American College of Cardiology Scientific Sessions and the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions. While at Harvard University, he was a Schering Plough Scholar and recipient of a National Cancer Institute (NCI) National Research Service Award training grant.

Dr. Szarek has an MS in Biostatistics from Harvard School of Public Health and a PhD in Biostatistics from New York University.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Szarek.

Dr. Tracey Wilson Appointed as Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development

October 2020

Dr. Tracey Wilson

The School of Public Health (SPH) at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University is proud to announce the appointment of Dr. Tracey Wilson, as Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development. In this role, Dr. Wilson will collaborate with Dean Demissie to advance ongoing efforts to build infrastructure that addresses the needs of SPH faculty members at every stage of development, and to advance the SPH mission through development and implementation of a strategic plan for research that addresses significant public health and health equity issues.

Dr. Wilson is a Distinguished Service Professor in the SPH Department of Community Health Sciences. Her research focuses on community-engaged intervention approaches to primary prevention and management of chronic diseases, with specific expertise in self-management interventions and multilevel prevention approaches to address socially determined causes of health disparities. She has received ongoing and significant federal funding over the past 20 years through the CDC, NIH, and other mechanisms in support of this research, and has published extensively in these areas. Her many contributions to public health scholarship have been nationally recognized through invited contributions and service on federal grant review panels and advisory committees, journal editorial boards and review groups, and leadership on national and local interest groups, centers, and coalitions. In addition to this work, Dr. Wilson is a committed educator and mentor, contributing to the career development of many early-stage investigators and MPH, DrPH, PhD and undergraduate students over the years.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Wilson.

Dr. Daniel Ehlke Appointed as Interim Chair for the Department of Health Policy and Management

July 2020

Dr. Daniel Ehlke

The School of Public Health (SPH) at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University is proud to announce the appointment of Daniel Ehlke, PhD, MA, as Interim Chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management. Dr. Ehlke will oversee the educational, research, and service mission of the department during the significant growth of the school.

Dr. Ehlke jointed Downstate as a faculty member in the Department of Health Policy and Management in 2010. Across the intervening years, he has excelled in the classroom teaching arrange of courses such as health policy, advocacy, and international health systems. He served as a frequent speaker on the Affordable Care Act, health reform across various centerwide venues including medical grand rounds, and co-hosted the Brooklyn Free Clinic-sponsored TedMed Live event in 2013. He also received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2018.

Dr. Ehlke is the co-editor (with James Morone) of the prominent health policy textbook, Health Politics and Policy, 5th edition, and recently began work on the next edition of that text. His research interests center around episodes in health reform, both in the United States and around the world, and the role of citizen-patients in shaping and reshaping the health systems in which they navigate. He continues to hone his expertise on the ever-shifting terrain underlying the Affordable Care Act. Dr. Ehlke has presented at the annual conferences of the American Public Health Association, American Political Science Association, and among other professional organizations. He is a 2009 graduate of Brown University, from which he received a PhD in Political Science.

Please join us in thanking Dr. Ehlke for his willingness to serve the department in this role. He brings good departmental knowledge and leadership given his leadership role in several school and campus wide committees.

We would be remiss if we did not acknowledge the hard and effective work of Dr. Karen Benker who served in this role for the last few years.