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University Hospital of Brooklyn

UHB Receives High Marks in 2020-21 U.S. News & World Report “Best Hospitals” Rankings

COPD Badge

Heart Failure Badge

Each year, US News & World Report releases its annual “Best Hospitals” rankings, to identify which hospitals and healthcare systems are renowned or high performing across a number of key, clinical disciplines. For the 2020 cycle, US News & Word Report developed its list from the American Hospital Association’s (AHA) annual hospital survey—a questionnaire filled out by more than 4500 hospitals and healthcare facilities across the nation.

This past July, the publication released its 2020 rankings—its 31st rendition of the coveted list—to identify the best hospitals around the country, both comprehensively and across 16 specialties. The 16 ranking specialties include: ophthalmology, psychiatry, rehabilitation, and rheumatology, cancer, cardiology & heart surgery, diabetes & endocrinology, ear-nose-throat, gastroenterology & GI Surgery, geriatrics, gynecology, nephrology, neurology & neurosurgery, orthopedics, pulmonology & lung surgery, and urology.

photo of UHB entrance

I'm very pleased to share that SUNY Downstate’s University Hospital of Brooklyn (UHB) has been included in this year’s rankings, and after data were collected from more than 4,000 institutions, UHB received a ranking of “High Performing” in the Cardiology & Heart Surgery, as well as the Pulmonology & Lung Surgery categories. Considering less than half of the hospitals were even qualified to be considered for a rating in the above specialties—and even fewer ranked—this is quite an impressive honor.

To provide a comprehensive and accurate score and rank, each of the eligible hospitals were assessed and scored on four criteria points:

  1. Health Outcomes, determined by risk-adjusted mortality
  2. Organization of hospital patient care resources and inventory
  3. The Methodology employed for delivering patient care offering expert opinion
  4. and overall patient experience

Congratulations and THANK YOU to our incredible and tireless hospital workforce for their endless contributions that helped make these rankings possible. I’d also like to commend our leadership at UHB for their vision, guidance, and commitment to Downstate.  While this is an incredible accomplishment already, I have no doubt we’ll only continue to rise to the top!


Public Health Students Lee Hoff and Thomas Reid Published in the Brooklyn Eagle and Newsday

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Lee Hoff

photo of Thomas Reid

Thomas Reid

I am delighted to share that Lee Hoff and Thomas Reid, two of our students in the School of Public Health SPHPH), are now published authors after penning Op-Eds on the importance of social connectedness of older adults in the age of COVID-19.

Both Lee and Thomas drafted and successfully placed their compelling pieces, in the Brooklyn Eagle and Newsday respectively, as a part of an assignment in one of SPH’s new and dynamic required courses, entitled Public Health Leadership and Interprofessional Practice PUBHBH 5201.

photo of Lori HoepnerThe course—designed and led by Lori A. Hoepner, DrPH, MPH, Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences—was introduced in the Fall 2019 Term as a SPHPH core curriculum course to introduce MPH students to the interrelated components that exist in public health practice and health care. The course is delivered using an interprofessional education IPEPE) model where faculty and students from each of the schools across our campus, as well as non-SUNY faculty have been involved in the education.

I had the distinct privilege of convening the inaugural lecture for this course in 2019, and in the semesters following the course featured an innovative Big Data Workshop with students and faculty from the College of Medicine and the School of Graduate Studies. In the Spring of 2020, the course held a special screening of the documentary Nor Any Drop to Drink followed by Q&A with director-writer-producer Cedric Taylor, as well as an incorporation of geriatriI PEPE in collaboration with the BRIDGE program in Summer 2020 Term.

The course provides students with the tools needed to be successful public health practitioners in a variety of settings that include: departments of health, academic research, as well a s non-profit and community-based organizations. Students gain the ability to discuss and clarify different health professions' scopes of practice and identify the roles of each interprofessional team member.

phhoto of Ludmila FerruzziLeadership skills are taught and reinforced through a semester-long writing project where each student produces and refines an Op-Ed around a predetermined topic and then submits their original piece to the media outlet of their choice. For the Summer 2020 Semester, the topic was “COVID-19 in the US: Older Adult Population.” Student projects were facilitated by Public Health Geriatrics Teaching Fellow and current DrPH student LudmilFerruzzizi, MPH.

Lee’s piece, At the very least, take this as a sign to call your grandma, covers the isolation effect COVID-19 and its social-distancing protocols have on aging population—cautioning that the direct physical effects of the virus are not the only things to be concerned with, noting the dangers of isolation to one’s health. Thomas' article, A Stronger Way to Connect with Our Elderly, addressed thvaueue of unified communications via enhanced information and communications technologyICTCT) stating that the creation of "age-friendly hardware and software design might have public health benefits."

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CONGRATULATIONS Lee and Thomas, and bravo on a job well done! I look forward to reading more of these publications from our talented students iSPHPH in the near future.


Downstate’s 2020 Summer and Fall Virtual Town Hall

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Since the onset of New York City’s COVID-19 outbreak back in early March of this year, so much has transpired, so much has changed, and so much of our lives—both personally and professionally—continues to evolve.  These have been transformative times for us all, and with all that has already changed and with so many uncertainties on the horizon, it was important to bring the Downstate Community together.

With the goal of welcoming our students, faculty and staff to the 2020-2021 Academic Year, and to provide a comprehensive update on important COVID-related issues and other business across the campus, I convened the 2020 Summer & Fall Virtual Town Hall to ensure our student body and workforce are all on the same page.

I opened the Town Hall with a series of updates including the recent announcement of Jim Malatras, Ph.D., as the new SUNY Chancellor, the  of University Hospital of Brooklyn’s (UHB) CEO, David Berger, M.D., FACSMHCMCM,  the appointment of Patricia A. Winston, RN, MSNEAEA-BCFACHEHE, as UHB's Senior Vice President of Hospital Operations, as well as updates regarding UHB’s COVID-1PCRCR and Antibodies Tests, and the COVID-19 experience at UHB. 

I also provided an overview of Downstate’s response to recent calls for action regarding racial and social injustice, the budget crisis, enrollment data across all five schools and colleges, and the newly launched Contact Tracing Corps, led by Kitaw Demissie, M.D., Ph.D., Dean and Professor in the School of Public Health.

photo of Charles Brunicardi

F. Charles Brunicardi

photo of Heidi Aronin

Heidi Aronin

photo of James Minto

James Minto

Following my opening remarks, there were brief updates relating to the Coronavirus Taskforce from F. Charles Brunicardi, M.D. FACS, Senior Vice President and Dean of the College of Medicine; information from the Back to New Normal Workgroup presented by Heidi Aronin, MPA, Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer; and finally, an update on our facilities maintenance and operations from James Minto, Vice President of Facilities Management & Development.

Many thanks to everyone who was able to tune in live and participate in the Town Hall. If you were unable to join us, please be sure to watch the Virtual Town Hall HERE so that you are abreast on all of our plans, protocols and the path forward for Downstate.



College of Nursing

CON Partners with NYS Department of Agriculture to Address Food Insecurity


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In collaboration with the NYS Department of Agriculture, the College of Nursing continues to disseminate information about Food Insecurity In New York City and is planning future work as part of the HRSA funded Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program. A recent presentation from College of Nursing leadership reflects the importance of studying the problem of food insecurity especially among older adults, as well as Downstate’s commitment to the issue as our community grapples with the coronavirus pandemic.

photo of Shirley Girouard

In March, Shirley Girouard, Ph.D., RN FAANAN, Professor and Associate Dean of Research and Innovations in the College of Nursing, presented her project, No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: How an Older Adult Food Insecurity Demonstration Project Morphed into Major Research, Policy & Practice Endeavors, to the Eastern Nursing Research Society at their annual conference, held virtually this year. 

This project was shared with the Council of State Governments- East’s Health Committee in August. This Committee is co-chaired by NYS Senator Gustavo Rivera, District 33, and Terr Gerratanana, Connecticut Senior Advisor to the Office of Health Strategy.

slide from Food Insecurity lecture

The program, titled- Food Insecurity and Health: A Multi-sector Approach, was presented by Kim Vallejo from the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, Jelanie DeShong, Director of Government Relations at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University, and, Dr. Girouard, who also serves as the CSGSG-East Health Policy Consultant in addition to her role in the College of Nursing here at Downstate. The group discussed an innovative collaboration between agriculture, health providers, and academia to address food insecurity among older adults.

Many thanks to Dr. Girouard for working with our local New York State partners to promote awareness around this critical issue on behalf of the communities we serve, both in Brooklyn and across the Greater New York area.



School of Health Professions

DMI Shines at American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine Conference!

American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine logo

The American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine AIUMUM) is an interdisciplinary society of more than 10,000 experts across the health professionsdoctors, nurses, sonographers, educators, students, and more—who are committed to promoting the safe and effective use of ultrasound in medicine via public education, scientific investigation, the establishment of policies and protocols, and accreditation. 

Every year, the AIUMUM Annual Conference brings together a diverse collective of ultrasound health care professionals across all areas of expertise and levels of experience with the goal of helping its participants explore and understand the latest innovations and findings regarding the use of ultrasound in medicine.

Despite the in-person cancellation of the 2020 meeting, faculty in the Diagnostic Medical Imaging (DMI) Program in the School of Health Professions have been busy developing, investigating, and disseminating their research and working on new projects.  Still, in the absence of the national conference this year, DMI faculty competitively secured publishing online for four abstracts and three video presentations with the following titles:

A Study of Cardiac Screening Tests Utilized by NY State Rheumatologists in Treating Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis, by Rivka Hellmann, Charlene Nelson, Itselle Rivas, and Hannah Snyder

Glow Powder: An Innovative Teaching Technique for Infection Control Prevention by Yosefa Pessin

Various Ejection Fraction Measurements Utilizing Echocardiography Simulation In An Educational Setting by Douglas Dunstatter, Yosefa Pessin, Diana Heisler, Oksana Ozhekhovskyy, Sunah Byun

and Investigating Sonographers' Scope of Practice, Sound Words, by Yosefa Pessin, Carolyn Ho, Marcella Martino, Sarah Rothstein.

photo of Yosefa Pessin

Yosefa Pessin

photo of Rivka Hellmann

Rivka Hellmann

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Douglas Dunstatter

CONGRATULATIONS to Yosefa Pessin, DHSc, RDMS, RDCSRVTVT, Chairperson and Associate Professor of the DMI Program; Rivka Hellmann, MS, RDMSRDC appointment StS, Clinical Associate Professor and Clinical Coordinator in the DMI Program, and Douglas Dunstatter, MS, RDMS, RDCSRVTVT, Clinical Assistant Professor in DMI, for working to elevate the prestige and visibility of our DMI Program, and thank you for shining a light on the excellence and talented minds found at Downstate.



New Faculty Spotlight!

Dr. Seah H. Lim Appointed as New Division Chief of Hematology and Oncology

photo of Seah H. Lim, M.D., Ph.D.I am pleased to announce the appointment of Seah H. Lim, M.D., Ph.D., as its new Division Chief of Hematology and Oncology at University Hospital of Brooklyn (UHB). The became effective August 3rd, 2020.

Dr. Lim will lead the clinical, academic, and administrative facets of the Hematology and Oncology program. He will also build a coalition of cancer specialists with affiliate institutions to promote excellence in cancer care through service line realignment.

Born in Malaysia, Dr. Lim later pursued medical education at Aberdeen University, Scotland, followed by a specialization in hematology-oncology training at the University College London and Cambridge University. After being recruited by the University of Wales College of Medicine, he rose to the rank of Associate Professor before leaving the United Kingdom for the United States.

For the past 20 years, Dr. Lim has served in various leadership capacities across the country. He was a tenured Professor, Chief of the Division of Hematology and Oncology, and Director of the Bone Marrow Transplant Program, at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center; Clinical Professor and Director of Acute Leukemia at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center NCICI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center; and Professor and Director of Hematology at Brown University.

Before joining Downstate, Dr. Lim was Director of Hematology and Acting Chief in the Division of Hematology and Hemostasis, as well as Associate Director of the Hematology and Oncology Fellowship Program at Westchester Medical Center. He also served as Professor and Division Chief of Medicine and Pharmacology, and Director of Hematology at New York Medical College. 

Dr. Lim is a physician-scientist with expertise in tumor immunology, immunotherapy, precision medicine, and the effects of the intestinal microbiome on sickle cell disease. A lauded researcher, he has held several NINCICI R01 research grants and has published nearly 160 papers in high-impact medical and scientific journals and holds several patents on his discoveries.  Dr. Lim’s laboratory is noted for discovering four novel tumor antigens suitable for cancer immunotherapy, and he is additionally credited as the first researcher to demonstrate the occurrence of altered intestinal microbiome and increased gut permeability in patients with sickle cell disease.

With expertise as a cancer care specialist, researcher and scientist, Dr. Lim’s clinical and academic experiences will augment the institutions competitiveness in both the healthcare and education marketplace, while re-vitalizing cancer care at Downstate.   

Dr. Lim will be assisted by Elvira Neculeseanu, M.D., as Director of the Infusion Unit. Dr. Neculeseanu is a 2014 graduate of Downstate's Internal Medicine Residency Program and a 2017 graduate of the Hematology-Oncology Fellowship Program.

Please join me in giving Dr. Lim a very warm Downstate welcome!



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450 Clarkson Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11203