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College of Medicine

Dr. Samuel Marquez Elected to the Board of the American Association of Anatomists 

photo of Samuel Marquez

I’m proud to share that Samuel Márquez, Ph.D.—Professor in the Department of Cell Biology, Co-Discipline Director of Anatomy in the College of Medicine, and Director of Anatomy in the of School of Health Professions—was recently elected to the Board of the American Association of Anatomists (AAA).

American Association of Anatomists logo

Founded in 1888, the AAA is a global membership organization for higher-education and biomedical research professionals who are experts in the anatomical and structural elements of health and disease. The organization’s mission seeks to connect its members comprised of a broad range of health professionals—including gross anatomists, physical anthropologists, neuroscientists and more— with the aim of enhancing the anatomical sciences through advanced curriculum, scientific research, and professional training and development. Dr. Marquez and his fellow board members will serve an essential role to the AAA—developing the organizations strategic plan, addressing the critical issues of the organization and its global members, and delivering on the founding objectives and goals established by the Association.

Dr. Márquez is a renowned functional craniofacial comparative anatomist whose work has been rooted in traditional gross anatomic dissection, morphometrics of dry skulls, and CT & MR imaging to understand the diversity across living human populations. His groundbreaking studies—primarily in paranasal sinus-related scientific research—have been published in countless journals, his discoveries have made headline news globally, and his investigations have taken him around the world.

Dr. Marquez's research has been featured in museums across the United States, Central and South America, as well as Europe, with his work on diversity in skull specimens housed within their osteological collections. Locally, his work can be found in Manhattan’s American Museum of Natural History where a vast array of scanned crania is housed in the Division of Anthropology and Mammalogy, as well as Egyptian mummies from the predynastic era (circa 3,600 B.C.E.).

Dr. Márquez remains committed to advancing the anatomical sciences, with an emphasis on encouraging the exploration of STEM for students in underserved populations. As the founder of Anatomy Education Day, he reaches hundreds of grade-school students, introducing them to the world of science, and helping to open their eyes and minds to the possibilities of their futures. Here at Downstate, Dr. Marquez’s work has enabled more than 100 Downstate scholars to present their anatomical research directly to the AAA.

CONGRATULATIONS Dr. Marquez and thank you for your invaluable contributions to scholarship, to our institutional distinction, and for continuing to develop, advance, and diversify the anatomical sciences!


School of Public Health

DrPH Student Dr. Eric Persaud Published in the AOHP Newsletter

photo of Eric PersaudOne of our very own doctoral students in the School of Public Health (SPH), Eric Persaud, DrPHc, MEA, recently co-authored an article for the Association of Occupational Health Professionals Newsletter. The article focuses on raising awareness related to occupational needlestick injuries and mass COVID-19 vaccination programs, in honor of the 20th anniversary of the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act.

As jurisdictions across the country continue launching their COVID-19 inoculation programs, which involves the dissemination of both the vaccine, and hypodermic syringes and needles, Mr. Persaud and his co-author underscore the importance of mitigating needlestick injuries, as well as shielding professionals administering the vaccine from the strain of coronavirus that leads to COVID-19. Mr. Persaud notes that while there has been much discourse about the need for protective equipment (PPE), virtually no attention has been given to built-in safety controls—specifically, devices with sharps injury prevention (SIP) features.

Mr. Persaud also states that as vaccine uptake continues to increase nationally, mass vaccination should not be pursued while ignoring the growing risk of needlestick injuries and bloodborne pathogen exposure. He further notes that in addition to growing PPE supply, improving airflow and ventilation in closed spaces, and reducing the density of onsite workforce, occupational health professionals at healthcare systems should work to further protect their workers from infection—suggesting the following to mitigate risk:

  • Encouraging frontline workforce to assess medical devices and learn to correctly activate safety features
  • Collaborating with infection prevention and control, risk management, supply chain, and local departments of health and public health to elevate the conversation of preventing needlestick injuries in our national inoculation strategy, and
  • Promoting full healthcare facility management to identify gaps in infectious disease safety infrastructure.

Mr. Persaud, who is a candidate in our DrPH Program, has also written a commentary article that is undergoing peer review related to this subject.

CONGRATULATIONS, Mr. Persaud, and many thanks for your significant contributions to public health literature!

School of Health Professions

The 2021 Midwifery White Coat and Blessing of Hands Ceremony

online group image

Last month the Midwifery Program in the School of Health Professions (SOHP) held its Annual White Coat and Blessing of the Hands Ceremony, a rite of passage that emphasizes the importance of compassionate patient care as students advance through their academic journeys.

Hosted by the Midwifery Student Association, the virtual event continued the tradition of preparing students for their clinical experience by receiving words of wisdom and support from honored faculty, staff and a guest speaker.  On this special evening, the Class of 2022 was reminded of both the history and responsibility that are inherent in donning a white coat. 

photo of Ronnie LichtmanRonnie Lichtman, CNM, LM, PhD, FACNM, SOHP Midwifery Program Chair, welcomed students, noting that as they enter the clinical phase of their academic journeys, they are stepping into their roles as providers—promising to heal via evidence-based, compassionate care for women, families, and diverse communities, under the guidance of our exceptional midwifery faculty and alumni.

photo of Patricia LoftmanThe evening also featured a keynote address from Patricia Loftman—a renowned midwife who served NYC for three decades and has been instrumental in fighting for equity for the BIPOC community. She charged the students to fully and respectfully acknowledge each person before them, challenging them to create authentic relationships with each patient they serve, so that they may provide culturally competent and equitable care. 

The event concluded with the reading of the poem Hands of a Midwife, as the students symbolically joined hands with the generations of midwives who came before them—forming a circle that will continue to pass on the knowledge, strength and patience needed to step into their roles.  Surrounded by family, friends and fellow midwifery students, the Class of 2022 was celebrated with roaring cheers from the  Zoom crowd of loved ones who are now ready to enter their clinical experience with renewed energy this spring.

CONGRATULATIONS to the Midwifery Class of 2022! Many thanks to SOHP Dean Allen Lewis, Ph.D., CRC, and Dr. Lichtman for their leadership, and to all participating students and faculty in SOHP’s Midwifery Program for hosting a beautiful virtual program.




The Office of Patient Relations: On the Front Lines of Hope and Healing

university hospital of brooklyn

As we cross the 1-year mark since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared and acknowledge the millions of vaccinations administered around the country and the world, it’s important we recognize the essential workforce who have enabled Downstate and the communities we serve to weather the storm. In addition to the work of our tireless healthcare heroes, the Office of Patient Relations in University Hospital of Brooklyn has remained unsung.

For many, having a family member or loved one who has fallen ill and is under hospital care can be an incredibly vulnerable time. The feeling of helplessness and despair patients experienced at the height of the pandemic was only exacerbated by the distance and safety protocols enforced throughout the pandemic. Thankfully, when hospital visitations were prohibited and people were unable to be at the bedsides of their family and friends, Downstate was able to provide comfort, support, and guidance for our patient population’s loved ones.

Understanding the delicate nature of these circumstances, the Office of Patient Relations wasted no time to spring into action—quickly becoming a trusted resource, advocate, and system of support for families of the patients we served and continue to serve.

During patients stay at UHB since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, our staff in the office of Patient Relations:

  • Served as an empathetic liaison between patients’ families and Downstate frontline hospital staff
  • Resolved and allayed the concerns of both patients and their families
  • Ensured that the NYS Patient’s Bill of Rights was fully honored
  • and Worked to connect members throughout the communities we serve to local City and State resources.

In addition to supporting our patient populations, the Office of Patient Relations served as a liaison between the community and our healthcare heroes. Via the Hall of Hope, they shared messages from our friends here in Brooklyn, throughout the State, and around the country of gratitude, inspiration, support, and faith—helping to keep our frontline encouraged and reinforced as they braved each day. 

Patient relations requires a human touch and the ability to be a conduit of hope for our patients and their families. Today, in honor of their selfless service, I would like to take a moment to honor the essential role that the staff in the Office of Patient Relations play—they are truly stewards of healing for our communities. As the world endured the most colossal global health pandemic in modern history, we all came together as one Downstate. The staff in the Office of Patient Relations stepped up to the plate, standing alongside other heroes on the front lines of COVID-19.

photo of Wren Lester

I’d like to extend my gratitude to our incredible staff in the Office of Patient Relations for their tireless and thankless work. Special thanks to Wren LesterPh.D., Chief Experience Officer and Director of Patient Relations, for her leadership in elevating the standard of patient care here at Downstate.


College of Nursing

Dr. Annie Rohan Publishes Op-Ed in MCN!

photo of Dr. Annie RohanI am pleased to share that Annie RohanPh.D., RNFAANPFAAN, Associate Dean for Research and Sponsored Programs and Director of the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program for the College of Nursing (CON), recently published an Op-Ed in the February edition of MCN, The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing!

The Op-Ed, "Black Lives Matter: COVID, Crisis, and Color," underscores the health disparities highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the critical roles nurses continue to play in improving health outcomes in our most vulnerable communities. It also addresses the great sacrifice being made as nurses serve on the frontlines, caring for and protecting childbearing women with COVID-19 and those with unknown status.

In the article, Dr. Rohan challenges the effects of racism and implicit bias at the clinical level stating that, “Nurses provide the majority of hands-on bedside care. They can make sure that care is respectful, encouraging, supportive, and affirming. Nurses in leadership positions can advocate for institutional changes and public health policies that promote the health and wellbeing of Black families. There is no place in a caregiving profession like nursing for racism.”

mcn coverDr. Rohan is a SUNY alumna. She earned her BS in Nursing from SUNY Binghamton and later earned a certificate in Neonatal Nurse Practitioner at Cornell University Medical College Continuing Education Program for Nurses, an MS degree from Columbia University, and a Post-Graduate certificate in Pediatrics Nurse Practitioner from Stony Brook University. Midway through advanced practice, Dr. Rohan returned to Columbia University where she earned the Ph.D. and was selected to become a member of the first national cohort of Jonas Nursing Scholars.

Dr. Rohan's more than 25-year clinical career notably supports her academic priorities, which includes work as a national advisor to the American Nurses Association (Nurse Practice Advisory Council) and to the March of Dimes (Nurse Advisory Committee). 

Many thanks to Dr. Rohan for your work in adding to this critically important and ongoing national conversation!

CLICK HERE to read Dr. Rohan’s Op-Ed!


Research Roundup

Introducing The 2021 Research Seed Grant Program!

Research Roundup

I am proud to announce an exciting new initiative from the Office of Research—introducing the 2021 Research Seed Grant Program! This new grant program was established and designed to stimulate the growth of Downstate’s research enterprise via targeted investments in competitive projects for federal extramural research support.

Applications will be solicited in two tracks from Downstate faculty across all five colleges and schools:

  • Track 1: Projects focused on health equity or health disparities (as described by NIH NIMHD) from individuals or teams of DHSU faculty investigators. 
  • Track 2: Projects in any area from teams (two or more) of DHSU faculty investigators who have not received federal (or other substantial) funding together in the last four years.

Downstate’s Research Seed Grant Program will fund up to five projects in each track (for a total expenditure of up to $400,000). The program allows funding to be requested for one full year and can include laboratory, clinical, computational (including secondary data analyses), or epidemiological (quantitative and qualitative) research for both tracks, provided it is appropriate for a federal funding mechanism. The program places an emphasis on collaborative projects—encouraged for Track 1; required for Track 2—which may help to create synergies among DHSU investigators and spur researchers to transform individual projects into larger programs with increased impact and visibility.

David Christini

This is truly an incredible opportunity that will add immense value both to the portfolio of work from our faculty members, as well as the merits of our institutions burgeoning research operations. Subsequent faculty and student-led research opportunities via additional seed-grant programs are expected to be launched in the coming years. Many thanks to David J. ChristiniPh.D., Senior Vice President of Research, for his leadership in advancing our institution’s growing research enterprise. 

The Seed Grant Program was designed in consultation with the Human Research Advisory Committee and the Laboratory Research Advisory Committee; CLICK HERE for more information about these committees.

For details about eligibility, application process, forms, funding terms and selection criteria, please visit downstate.edu/research.html


Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Robert Gore Honored with Morehouse College’s "Candle in the Dark" Award

Spotlight Faculty Spotlight

I am proud to announce that Robert Gore, MD, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine in the College of Medicine, was honored with Morehouse College’s “Candle in the Dark” Award during their 33rd Annual “A Candle in the Dark” Gala!

A part of Morehouse College’s Founder’s Week, the “A Candle in the Dark” Gala honors and acknowledges the contributions of distinguished honorees in a variety of fields, including business, higher education, athletics, entertainment, public affairs, theology, law, and STEM in Morehouse graduates. Dr. Gore was honored for his commitment to diversifying the field of medicine, but also his efforts to reduce youth violence via the Kings Against Violence Initiative.

Robert Gore

Dr. Gore is the founder and executive director of the Kings Against Violence Initiative (KAVI)—a community-based youth violence intervention prevention and empowerment program that aims to reach young adolescents that have been victims of neighborhood violence and remain vulnerable to ongoing risk of violence.  He is also the founder of the Minority Medical Student Emergency Medicine (MMSEM) Summer Fellowship—an immersive professional development and enrichment program for underrepresented minorities with a strong interest in ER Medicine. The MMSEM fellowship allows scholars to focus on project development, build their body of research and work alongside Emergency Medicine mentors.

Reaching beyond the local communities Downstate’s serves, Dr. Gore’s work has had both domestic and international impact with lectures across the United States, South America, Asia, and the Caribbean. He has also worked to develop healthcare and public health infrastructures in East Africa, South America, and Haiti. For more than a decade, Dr. Gore has remained committed to his work in Northern Haiti developing a regional health care system. He is on the advisory board for EMEDEX International, a non-profit organization dedicated to the global promotion and advancement of emergency medicine, disaster management and public health.

Dr. Gore was nationally recognized for his work as Presidential Leadership Scholar and 2018 CNN Hero, and has been featured in the New York Times, the History Channel’s “History Now” series, TheRoot.com, and more. He earned his undergraduate degree from Morehouse College, his medical doctorate from SUNY Buffalo School of Medicine, and completed his Emergency Medicine residency training at Chicago’s Cook County Hospital.

CONGRATULATIONS, Dr. Gore! Your contributions to medicine, your commitment to supporting and empowering our youth, and your resolve to creating access and a pathway to healing in our most vulnerable communities—domestically and globally!


Downstate Shout Outs!

Shout out to…

All our Residents and Fellows for their intensive work and selfless round-the-clock care they provide our patients; the Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism Society, which launched the “Thank A Resident Day” campaign, held this year on February 26; and all the departments and members of the Downstate community who thanked our residents and fellows in person, on social media, or via video. Let’s go beyond a one-day recognition and thank our residents and fellows every day for their tremendous service!  

Salvador Dura Bernal, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Physiology and Pharmacology, for his poster presentation on “Data Driven Model of Auditory Thalamocortical System Rhythms” at the Cosyne 2021 online meeting, February 23 – February 26. Cosyne.org is a forum for the exchange of experimental and theoretical/computational approaches to problems in systems neuroscience. 

Camille A. Clare, M.D., MPH, Professor and Chair of Obstetrics & Gynecology, and Christina Pardo, M.D., MPH, Assistant Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology, for participating in a workshop on disparities in women’s health care during the 50th Annual Conference of the NYS Association of Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislators on February 26.  

Jeremy Coplan, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Director of Neuropsychopharmacology, for being appointed to the committee that chooses awardees for the Anxiety and Depression Association of America’s Career Development Leadership Program, an intensive mentoring and professional development opportunity for early career clinicians and researchers. Dr Coplan will serve a two-year term on the Neuroscience/Clinical Research track.  

Robert Gore, M.D., Clinical Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine and founder of the nonprofit Kings Against Violence Initiative, and Lorenzo Paladino, M.D., Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, for being honored with a 2020 Empire Whole Health Heroes Award, which honors individuals and teams who have helped improve the health, wellness, and safety of the city during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. The award is a joint program of Empire BlueCross BlueShield in partnership with Crain’s New York Business. Dr. Gore received individual distinction, while Dr. Paladino was recognized for team distinction.  

Have a Shout Out to recommend?

Send to Ellen.watson@downstate.edu