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College of Nursing

Masters in Nursing Degree Program Ranks 19th in Intelligent’s National Top 50 List!

College of Nursing Rankings

Every year, Intelligent.com releases its annual “50 Best Master of Science in Nursing Degrees” national rankings, to identify the institutions and programs that continue to outperform their peers across a number of critical data points. For the 2020 cycle, the outlet developed its list by zeroing-in on programs that have been nationally accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), the Council on Accreditation (COA), and the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), as well as programs with a reputable history of distinction. 


I'm very pleased to share that Downstate’s College of Nursing (CON) has been included in this year’s rankings. After data were collected from more than 160 institutions nationally, our MS In Nursing Degree Program was ranked #19 in the country, and was named the institution that is “BEST for Women’s Health”!

To provide a comprehensive and accurate score and rank, each eligible school and program was assessed on the following points:

  • Accreditation
  • Program Flexibility
  • Program Strength
  • Student Engagement
  • Student Readiness
  • Program Cost
  • Return on Investment


I’d like to congratulate Dean Lori Escallier, Ph.D., RN, CPNP-PC, FAAN and all of our dedicated and passionate faculty and staff in the College of Nursing’s Women's Health NP Program, for their incredible work in adding to the history of excellence at the College of Nursing, as well as our beloved institution. I’d also like to extend a special thank you to Beth Steinfeld, DNP, WHNP-BC, Associate Professor and Director of the Women's Health Nurse Practitioner Program, for her leadership in driving the program’s success.

To view Intelligent.com’s 2020 Rankings, for "50 Best MS in Nursing Programs" CLICK HERE!


School of Health Professions

Medical Informatics Program Ranks 6th in Intelligent’s National Top 50 List!

Informatics Lead

Earlier this month, the Medical Informatics (MI) Program in the School of Health Professions (SOHP) earned competitive regional and national rankings from three different notable outlets—Universities.Com, the Health Informatics Degree Center, and Top Master’s in Healthcare Administration. This week, the MI Program is making headlines again with yet another national ranking—#6 out of Intelligent.com’s “Top 50 Master’s in Health Informatics Degree Programs” in the country, as well as a regional top spot with their “BEST in the Northeast” ranking!

Intelligent Rankings

Intelligent.com’s Master’s in Health Informatics rankings for all programs were assessed on the following key criteria:

  • Reputation
  • Course strength
  • Flexibility
  • Faculty
  • Cost

Mohammad Faysel

I’d like to extend congratulations to Allen Lewis, Ph.D., CRC, Dean of the School of Health Professions, and Mohammad FayselPh.D.FAMIA, Chair and Associate Professor of the Medical Informatics Program, for his leadership in driving the program’s incredible success.

Dr. Faysel was recently elected to Fellowship in the American Medical Informatics Association (FAMIA, Class of 2021) in recognition of his contributions to the field. He has also served as a reviewer for the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) Annual Symposium, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Annual Conference, and International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA) World Congress, as well as for several journals. Dr. Faysel is a sitting member of both  HIMSS and AMIA.

To view Intelligent.com’s 2020 list for "Top 50 Master’s in Health Informatics Programs" CLICK HERE!


University Hospital of Brooklyn

UHB Earns Two #1 NYSDOH Rankings for Performance in Newborn Screening!

UHB Lead Image Baby Feet

I am proud to announce a spectacular quality performance achievement by our NICU and Nursery staff in the Department of Pediatrics: Two #1 rankings from the New York State Department of Health.

As part of its effort to improve childhood health, NYSDOH mandates all newborns be screened for serious metabolic and genetic conditions that require timely diagnosis. A blood sample must be drawn between 24-36 hours of life and specimens submitted to the DOH’s Wadsworth Center testing site in Albany for analysis.

UHB Screening

In August of 2020, our Children’s Hospital drew and submitted 100 percent of its specimens within this time period, for a #1 ranking out of 122 hospitals. We also achieved a #1 ranking for submitting blood samples using proper specimen collection techniques, with zero specimens reported as unsuitable.

CONGRATULATIONS to our Nursing staff for their tremendous efforts and dedication to improving the quality of our newborn screens. Following the reopening of Labor and Delivery in June, our Nursing staff developed a plan of action and undertook the task of drawing specimens that stemmed from our change in phlebotomy services. The newborn screens require great skill to draw correctly within the allotted time and this is the first time that we have scored so highly. It is truly an amazing feat to be ranked  above so many facilities in New York State.


College of Medicine

Dr. Ovitsh elected as AAMC's President-elect of Directors of Clinical Skills Courses

DOCS logo

Dr. Ovitsh

I’m delighted to announce that RikkiRobin” Ovitsh, M.D., Associate Dean of Clinical Competencies and Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics in the College of Medicine, has been elected as the President of the Directors of Clinical Skills Courses (DOCS), an affiliate of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

Established as a national organization in 2011, DOCS’s mission is to improve the clinical skills of medical students across the country through the promotion of scholarship, development of best practices, and via the strategic sharing of ideas across the spectrum of clinical skills education. To achieve this, DOCS aims to build a national cohort of clinical skills educators that Dr. Ovitsh will preside over as the elected President and work to strategically advance the clinical skills of future physicians.

In support of the DOCS mission, Dr. Ovitsh and its members will exchange best practices, conduct robust medical education research, provide critical feedback on clinical skills education, and develop strategic partnerships with relevant medical/clinical educational programs and organizations.

CONGRATULATIONS Dr. Ovitsh, and thank you for your continued commitment to developing, enhancing, and advancing the leading-edge educational, and clinical experiences of our students in the College of Medicine.


School of Public Health

Dr. Marlene Camacho-Rivera Wins SUNY Prepare Innovation Seed Grant!

School of Public Health Lead Image

Marlene Camacho Rivera

I am 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 a SUNY Prepare Innovation and Internship Program seed grant to conduct research on barriers to COVID-19 vaccination among high-risk groups. Dr. Camacho-Rivera will be joined by co-investigators Aimee AfablePh.D., MPH, Associate Dean for Community Engagement and Associate Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences; and Azure Thompson, DrPH, MPH, Community Health Sciences Assistant Professor; as well as SPH students Estela Cohetero and Yael Schechter, and College of Medicine student Colm Mulvaney as student researchers.

SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras announced that 12 teams of SUNY students and faculty across seven campuses—including Dr. Camacho Rivera—will receive up to $10,000 each in seed funding to conduct research aimed at developing new and innovative solutions to COVID-19 or the next infectious disease. The goal is to address the SUNY strategic priority of supporting the safe operation of SUNY campuses, while also creating opportunities for students to engage in real-world applied learning experiences.

Dr. Camacho-Rivera’s Community Engaged COVID-19 Health Campaign project will investigate sentiments of high-risk populations concerning COVID-19 vaccination, and will thereafter launch messaging tailored to the vulnerable populations studied. The messages will focus on preventing infection and increasing COVID-19 vaccination.

A social epidemiologist, Dr. Camacho-Rivera’s research portfolio has been steeped in 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’s research interests center around three primary areas:

  • Elucidating social determinants of racial/ethnic disparities in chronic diseases such as asthma, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer;
  • Exploring within group heterogeneity the prevention and treatment of chronic disease outcomes among racial/ethnic groups;
  • Developing culturally-tailored, patient-centered interventions to improve chronic disease self-management among urban minorities.

CONGRATULATIONS and THANK YOU to Dr. Camacho-Rivera, for your seminal work in driving vaccine education and acceptance amongst our most impacted groups. This study will not only protect the health of the communities we serve, it may also serve to advance how other institutions address vaccine hesitancy.


(Please note, a second SUNY Prepare Innovation and Internship Program seed grant awarded to Dr. Ming Zhang will be covered in an upcoming issue of the President’s Bulletin.)



Downstate Welcomes Dr. Yang Lin as New Instructional Designer

Distance Learning

We are thrilled to welcome Yang Lin, Ph.D. as the new Instructional Designer for our Institution. In this vital role, Dr. Lin will lead the development of a high-quality distance learning experience for Downstate students—providing expertise in virtual curriculum planning, design, and delivery.

Dr. Lin brings a wealth of experience that will prove critical to the growth and viability of our institution. While at Weill Cornell Medical College, for example, Dr. Lin worked with faculty on best practices for curriculum development and managing technology to enhance the learning experience. Dr. Lin also brings industry experience from his stint with IBM, where he designed instructor-led, self- guided, and virtual technical training solutions for the organization’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 earn a reputation as an institution recognized for quality distance education. 

Dr. Lin earned his Ph.D. in Instructional Design and a master’s in Education, Curriculum & Instruction from the track of Learning Technologies at the University of Minnesota.

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


Downstate Shout Outs!

Shout out to…

Downstate’s Lifestyle Medicine Interest Group, which is spreading the word about how elements of a healthy lifestyle, including plant-based nutrition, can contribute to positive health outcomes. Learn more about the group and listen to past lectures at downstatelmig.wordpress.com.

Marlene Camacho-Rivera, Sc.D., MPH, Assistant Professor of Community Health, for receiving the American Association for Cancer Research (ACCR) Foundation’s Minority and Minority-Serving Institution Faculty award. Dr. Camacho-Rivera also presented on “Disparities in food insecurity among cancer survivors during the U.S. COVID-19 pandemic” during ACCR’s COVID-19 and Cancer Virtual Meeting,  February 3-5, 2021.

Downstate legislative representatives Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn and City Council Member Farah N. Louis, for hosting a COVID-19 vaccine informational webinar that featured President Riley as well as other Brooklyn health leaders.

Have a Shout Out to recommend?

Send to Ellen.watson@downstate.edu





President's Bulletin
SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University
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Brooklyn, NY 11203