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Research Roundup

Downstate Incubator Company Mirimus, Inc. Named Winners in XPRIZE Rapid Covid Testing Competition

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I am pleased to share that one of our Biotechnology Incubator companies at BioBAT, Mirimus Inc., recently became a top five winner in the XPRIZE Rapid COVID-19 Testing Competition—a national competition for organizations and companies that were actively involved in the advancement of COVID-19 Testing! Their place in the competition has earned Mirimus a generous $500k prize for their winning testing method, as well as a secured spot in the next phase of the competition that could also render an additional $500k prize.

Mirimus began their work to identify successful COVID testing methods in April 2020. Their SalivaClear method that was designed with affordability and efficacy prioritized, enables administrators to pool test or test multiple samples simultaneously. Although many healthcare providers were initially skeptical of this strategy, pool testing has since taken off as a highly viable testing alternative.

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This is exactly the type of leading-edge innovation coming out of our Biotechnology Incubator companies. The founding and development of the Biotechnology Incubator and BioBAT demonstrates our institutional commitment to our mission of growing and transforming Downstate into a state-of-the-art research enterprise, and to advancing the progressive development of science and technology that will contribute to the economic engine that drives advancements throughout Brooklyn.

CONGRATULATIONS to everyone at Mirimus!



School of Public Health

DrPH Candidate Bianca Rivera Launches Anti-Asian Hate Crime Patrol Group

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News reports and data from police departments nationally continue to show an upward trend of hate crimes against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities. Cities across the country have seen both a sharp increase in the number of incidents, as well as an increase in the severity of cases—such as the tragic mass shooting at an Atlanta spa in March that sadly claimed the lives of at least eight people total, most of them being AAPI women. 

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In response to the these unthinkable events, I am very pleased to share that Bianca Rivera, MPH, CPH, DrPHc, in the School of Public Health, has helped launch an anti-Asian hate crime patrol group in Flushing, Queens. Ms. Rivera now serves as the official Chief Operations Officer for the organization, Main Street Patrol

Main Street Patrol is dedicated to protecting the Flushing community by standing against xenophobia, speaking out against racism, and safeguarding the neighborhood from hate crimes. The organization employs a multi-faceted approach that encompases operating as a civilian patrol group skilled in bystander intervention techniques, offering resources on becoming an ally, supporting community outreach efforts by offering goods and services to those most vulnerable to these crimes, and celebrating the diversity of the community.

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We are all saddened and angered by the growing attacks against Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities here in New York City and throughout the United States. While the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored major issues within our society forcing us to reevaluate the values we stand for as a country, I remain hopeful and encouraged by the incredible coast to coast support. We can all do a little more to be better neighbors, listeners, observers, and caring humans to each other—and Ms. Rivera’s efforts demonstrate how you can step up and actively be a part of the solution instead of watching from the sidelines.

Many thanks to Ms. Rivera for taking quick action and advocating on behalf of our AAPI communities in NYC.

College of Medicine

ODR Hosts Fourth Annual Dr. Dale Blackstock Lecture and Awards Ceremony

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In celebration of National Women's History Month—commemorated each year in March— the Office of Diversity Education and Research sponsored the 4th Annual Dr. Dale Blackstock Lecture and Awards Ceremony to honor nine dynamic women at Downstate for their contributions and commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion.

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Christina Pardo, M.D., MPH, FACOG, Assistant Professor, Vice Chair of Quality & Innovation and Director of the Division of Health Equity in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, presented a dynamic lecture entitled “The Intersectionality of Caribbean Women’s Health.

Moderated by Anika Daniels-Osaze, Ed.D., Director of the Office of Diversity Education and Research, the celebration highlighted the importance of recognizing women in the Downstate community who champion the cause of diversity via their teaching, patient care, administrative support, community engagement, and service.

The celebration is also a way to continue recognizing the legacy of Dr. Dale Blackstock. The late Dr. Blackstock was a respected Attending Physician and Nephrologist in the Department of Medicine here at Downstate. As a New York native, her ability to provide equitable and quality clinical care in the very community she grew up in was a point of pride. As such, she continued to be involved in advocacy work and supported initiatives that connected the worlds of medicine and community relations. Present at the event were the late Dr. Blackstock’s daughters, Oni Blackstock, M.D. and Uche Blackstock, M.D., who are also trailblazers in their fields. 

Please see the 2021 award recipients and categories, below:

  • Dr. Dale Blackstock Award—Christina Guillen, M.D., FAAP
  • Diversity Champions— Shirley Girouard, Ph.D., RN, FAAN; and Nkiruka Nwokoye, J.D.
  • Community Service—Sandra Chapman, MPA
  • Excellence in Mentoring— Laura Martello-Rooney, Ph.D.; and Simone Reynolds, Ph.D., MPH
  • Outstanding Service— Laurian Bradford; Carol Martin, RN; and Taryn Toval-Turpin

CONGRATULATIONS to all of the 2021 awardees, and THANK YOU to the faculty and staff in the Office of Diversity Education and Research for putting together a successful and meaningful event. 

For those that were unable to join live, please CLICK HERE to watch the full event! 


School of Health Professions

Dr. Richard Sabel and SOHP Students Publish Article in Today’s Geriatric Medicine!

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I am pleased to report that Richard Sabel, MA, MPH, OTR, GCFP, Clinical Assistant Professor in the School of Health Professions (SOHP), along with occupational therapy students Katherine Balton, BA, OTS, CYT; Krista Rozas; Isaura Reyes; and Brooke Serebryansky, recently published an article in Today’s Geriatric Medicine

The article, Easy Does it, addresses the danger of "falls" within aging populations, noting that falls are one of the leading causes of injury among older adults living in community-dwelling compounds. The authors emphasize that falling can have dangerous consequences that contribute to the aging population’s morbidity and mortality rates.

In response to the grave health risks that falling can impose on geriatric populations, the authors discussed physical modalities and various environmental and behavioral interventions that could help mitigate risk—and introduced Easy Does it, an Occupational Therapy-Based Fall Prevention Program.

The program consists of a 10-week fall prevention program, managed by licensed occupational therapists, that focuses on slow, controlled, full-body motions commonly found in many of the earliest forms of traditional exercise such as yoga, tai chi, and the Feldenkrais Method. They assert that by incorporating these movements into their daily routines,  participants in the program can seamlessly add these “movement strategies” to their everyday lives.

The authors conclude that the Easy Does It Program comprehensively addresses physical, behavioral, and environmental variables, and empowers participants to easily add movement strategies to their professional roles and everyday life. Participants in the program also experienced improved agility and balance, as well as decreased fear of falling.

My thanks to Dr. Sabel and his students for finding solutions that help to improve the quality of life and health outcomes for our vulnerable populations, and for adding greatly to Occupational Therapy literature!





Mohammed Faysel Selected for National Level Accreditation Council

photo of Mohammad FayselI’m proud to announce that Mohammad FayselPh.D.FAMIA, Chair and Associate Professor of the Medical Informatics Program in the School of Health Professions, was recently selected as a Health Informatics Accreditation Council Member of the national Commission on the Accreditation of Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM)!

CAHIIM is the only national accreditation body in the United States that oversees and accredits graduate level academic programs in health informatics. Selected for a 3-year term, Dr. Faysel will be serving with five other council members to maintain a list of well-organized accreditation standards to ensure high quality informatics education. Five council members were selected after a rigorous screening and interviews and candidates were selected based on academic qualification, contribution to profession, and academic and professional experiences. Dr. Faysel is an advocate of high quality of informatics education and a keen supporter of uniformity in health informatics curriculums across the US.

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As a council member, Dr. Faysel, along with selected council members, will be working with the CAHIIM Board of Directors in various activities including reviewing and revising accreditation standards, recommending programs for accreditation based on program reviews, appointing and overseeing peer reviewers, reviewing and revising qualifications for accreditation Peer Reviewers, contributing to CAHIIM’s yearly report of activities, and in making accreditation decisions. Prior to his selection as a council member, he served as a CAHIIM Accreditation Peer Reviewer between 2016-2020. Dr. Faysel firmly believes that having been selected for the council member role will provide him an opportunity to work at a national level to advocate for a high quality of informatics education to prepare the next generation of well-equipped informaticians and to serve the informatics community.

Dr. Faysel received his bachelor and master’s degrees in computer science and his Ph.D. in biomedical informatics. He has completed several NIH funded research training institutes in mobile health, global mobile health, and “Big Data” for computational medicine. He has over 15-years of experience  in teaching graduate-level informatics courses, informatics curriculum development, and conducting research. Dr. Faysel was awarded the 2019 SUNY Chancellor’s Award of Excellence in Teaching.

Dr. Faysel was recently awarded the designation of Fellow of the American Medical Informatics Association (FAMIA, Class of 2021) in recognition of his contributions to the field. He has also served as a reviewer of 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, and several journals. He is an active member of AMIA and HIMSS.

CONGRATULATIONS on this well-deserved honor, Dr. Faysel, and thank you for continuing to add to the excellence and quality of our Medical Informatics Program.





SOHP Deans Lecture Series

Deans Lecture Series


SPH Info Session

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Office of the Senior Vice Persident for Research



Office of the Senior Vice Persident for Research

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