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2021 Sigma Theta Tau Nursing Honor Society Induction Ceremony!

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Since its founding in 1922, Sigma Theta Tau has worked to enhance the value of nursing scholarship and in nursing practice—becoming the first organization in the United States to broadly fund research across the nursing disciplines.

Today, the mission of Sigma Theta Tau is to support the development of nurse leaders on a global scale with the aim of improving healthcare in every community around the world via: the promotion of nursing scholarship and thought leadership; the expansion and development of domestic and international strategic nursing partnerships; and the advancement of innovative opportunities that develop nurse leaders.

On April 26th, the College of Nursing inducted 125 deserving nursing scholars into Sigma Theta Tau—the international Nursing Honor Society—during Downstate’s 2021 Psi Tau Chapter Induction Ceremony.

photo of Lori EscallierIt was my distinct pleasure and privilege to kick off the ceremony with Welcoming Remarks to our nursing scholars and to introduce Lori EscallierPh.D., RN, CPNP-PC, FAAN, Dean of the College of Nursing, who offered Congratulatory Remarks to the inductees for rising to every challenge in their academic journeys, and exceeding the standard of excellence here at Downstate and across the nursing profession.

photo of Richard RicciardiKeynote Remarks to students were provided by Richard Ricciardi, Ph.D., CRNP, FAANP, FAAN, President of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society, who encouraged inductees to remain hungry to advance their learning and understanding of their fields—noting that every day is an opportunity to learn what has not yet been understood in every community of the world in an effort to improve the health of people everywhere.

photo of Kathleen BratbyThe ceremony continued with the presentation of Inductees, led by Kathleen Bratby, EdD, RN, Clinical Associate Professor and Director of the Advanced Level MS in Nursing Track. 

CONGRATULATIONS to our new inductees and THANK YOU for remaining committed in your pursuits to be experts and pillars of excellence within your chosen fields.


Please see the full list of 2021 Inductees below!

Keisha Aboagye   

Daniel Acasuso

Peggy Adu-Kyei

Aubrey May B. Agcon

Trinidad D. Agtarap

Kieva Appleton*   

Amy Alpern

Osagie Alufa

Alexandra Aparicio

Victoria Ayvazian

Betty Babadzhanov

Milana Babaisakova  

Maritza Barber

Liesel D. Benjamin

Steven Berkowitz

Tzipora Berman

Allison Radha Bhikham

Josephine Esi Boateng

Alyssa Ashley Braithwaite

LaToya Nicole A. Campbell

Nikia Ebony Carter-Hunte

Maeve Carver   

Andre Cato

Jason Chan

Qian Cheng

Kristina Klarice Cudjoe

Lenelle Patrice Daniels-Jerome 

Chava Nechama Damoth

Coraima De La O Veliz

Clover Aunette Deer

Radha J. Dhautal  

 Chime Dolkar

Yvette A. Dolly

Kelly Donnelly

Gerald Eaddy    

Mfon Edem   

Anita Edwards

Erma Erika P. Entena

Cindy Etienne

Godwin Fakeye 

Shanika Findlay

Cheryl Fink

Shamille Precilla Foote

Susan Anabelle Gador 

Jaimee Goldschmidt

Jennifer Goldstein

Jillian Risa Goro

Debra Beth Greenberg

Claudine Guerra

Tanisha Gurley

Akima Haile

Marlin Jagganarine

Bregein Jean-Panel

Jan Jeremiah

Ayesha Roxanne Jones

Saundra T. Jones

Rebecca Kaye

Haley Ann Ketcham

Eliana Klein

Erica Koleosho

Ilya Kopach

Zora Kosoff

Veronica Lai

Laura Lake

Emily Jill LaMarca

Irina Langdon

Leandra Laundry 

Eunsun Lee

Naomi Marcelle Lucas

Martha Tatiana Lucero

Michael Lui

Eric Luo 

Natalia Malyguina

Christina Martinez

Francene Mascow

Daniel Stephen McCaffrey

Nicole Mcfarland 

Tahisa Mejia

Christine Mohr

Mohamed Mokhtar Benounnane

Dany Sydneus Mombrun

Kelsey O'Connell

Kanika Ojha

Ranti Ojo

Tania Ojo

Rochelle Pacheco

Nayoung Park

Bryttani Pestano

Rosamund Peters

Melissa Pierre

Yanique Pryce-Carby

Diana Pukhovich

Samuel Quinones

Rosy Diana Ramirez

Alexandra Ranftle

Ashlee Shiann Reid

Latisha Monique Romne

Keyona Sanders

Maia Santarina

Amanda Staszewski

Yasmin Stith

Asha Suresh

Karen E. Sutherland

Shelly Twito

Anoucheka Ulysse

Samuel Vaynblat*

Joanna Villamayor 

Dornalee Walker

Alexander Walsh

Hayley Weil

Naomi Weisel-Schear

Vanessa Wejuli

Vicki Wen

Virginia Rose Whetstone

Cassandra Maria Williams

Shana Williams

Marie Paris-Wilson

Tracy Wong

Nicole Alexandria Woo*

Laura Elizabeth Wooley *In Absentia

Sandra Noel

Jacqueline Broomes

Tiana Miller

Kemeisha Nastasia Patterson

Mark Schwartz


Department of Anesthesiology Announces New Chief Residents!

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Every year, Downstate’s Department of Anesthesiology appoints five Chief Residents in their third year of training to assume significant responsibilities in the management of the Anesthesiology Department’s 70+ Resident Training Program.  While medicine in general is seeing a higher number of women entering the field and assuming leadership roles, the field of anesthesiology remains largely a male-dominated clinical discipline with only 33% of US anesthesiology residents identifying as women. This year, notable Downstate history on the gender equality front was made when four of the five appointed Chief Anesthesiology Residents named were women!


Introducing Anesthesiology’s 2021 Chief Residents:

Alyssa Lowenwirt, D.O.—Operations Chief Resident

A graduate of the NY Institute of Technology School of Osteopathic Medicine, Dr. Lowenwirt will be responsible for supporting the management of the residency candidate interview and evaluation process, and will act as Delegate to NYSSA Resident Section – communicate activity to residents.

Emily Deutsch, D.O.—Educational Chief Resident

A graduate of the NY Institute of Technology School of Osteopathic Medicine, Dr. Deutsch will be responsible for assisting the program director’s development and implementation of the education program, organize special board review sessions, and will be in charge of Colloquia, ITE and board review preparation.

Theresa Feng, M.D.—Research Chief Resident

A SUNY Downstate College of Medicine alum, Dr. Feng will be in charge of ensuring each resident will graduate having fulfilled his/her research or scholarly activity requirement.  To do so, Dr. Feng will serve as a research project mentor to students, match each resident with a project based on knowledge of peers interests, and will serve as a liaison between resident and administration in order to voice resident concerns or potential barriers that may prevent the resident from fulfilling their research requirement. 

Diana Fidrocki, M.D.—Wellness Chief Resident

A Western Michigan University School of Medicine alum, Dr. Fidrocki will be responsible for planning events that prioritize wellness and maintaining a work environment that encourages resident togetherness and professional development by emphasizing the importance of work-life balance and teamwork. Dr. Fidrock will also serve as a resource that residents can consult during times of stress or distress.

Matthew Gao, D.O.—Administrative Chief Resident

And finally, serving as the Administrative Chief Resident, Dr. Gao, a graduate of the NY Institute of Technology School of Osteopathic Medicine, will be primarily responsible for overseeing the operations, education and research Chiefs responsibilities and activities, as well as acting as Resident Advocate on all departmental and institutional committees.

CONGRATULATIONS to all of our Chief Anesthesiology Residents on this inspiring achievement and honor—may you all continue to break glass ceilings throughout your journeys in medicine!


SPH Announces New Advanced Certificate Program in Climate Change and Planetary Health

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I’m proud to announce the development of the Advanced Certificate in Climate Change and Planetary Health— a new academic program from Downstate’s School of Public Health that was designed to address one of the greatest challenges of our time, climate change!

The consequences of climate change are rapidly transforming how we live and continue to negatively impact the health of our global community. As these effects will only be more pronounced and felt more broadly as time goes on, it is imperative for Downstate and academic institutions to intentionally acknowledge and address the threat climate change poses to community health and the viability of our planetary future.

With ‘Planetary Health’ emerging as a critical transdisciplinary field, Downstate SPH stands ready to play a unique and leading role in training the broad spectrum of health professionals who will later conceptualize and launch programs that aim to mitigate the community health risks associated with climate change, while advancing a climate-related response that places an emphasis on health equity.

Students who matriculate through the Advanced Certificate program will be equipped to offer professional counsel to leaders across industries—academia, government affairs, private sector, community-based organizations—that will serve to address and reform the activities of our global populations with negative health implications. Students will be able to:

  1. “Identify adverse health impacts from climate change and planetary human activities.
  2. Collaborate with peers, policymakers, and all relevant stakeholders to communicate climate change and planetary health risks and develop strategies for prevention to advance health equity.
  3. Learn to recognize and reduce climate-health effects in clinical and public health settings through various policies at the individual, local, and global level.
  4. and Identify and develop culturally appropriate climate mitigation strategies to foster community resiliency.”

The certificate program is comprised of five courses in the School of Public Health’s Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, and will be offered via online, distance learning format.


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Kitaw Demissie, M.D., Ph.D.

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Laura Geer, Ph.D., MHS

I’d like to extend a very big THANK YOU to SPH Dean and Professor Kitaw Demissie, M.D., Ph.D., and Laura Geer, Ph.D., MHS, Associate Professor and Chair in the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Department, for their leadership in advancing our public health curriculum in response to current future climate challenges on the horizon.  



OT Faculty Vikram Pagpatan Announced as 2021 FACT2 Excellence Award Recipient!

photo of Vikram PagpatanIn exciting news, I'm pleased to share that Vikram Pagpatan, MS, OTRL, ATP, Assistant Professor and Admissions Coordinator for the Occupational Therapy Program in the School of Health Professions, was recently announced as The SUNY Faculty Advisory Council on Teaching and Technology (FACT2) Award recipient in the Excellence in Administrative Leadership category! This is a highly competitive honor with only six awardees announced annually across SUNY’s 64 campuses.

The FACT2 Excellence Awards, are system-wide honors bestowed to recognize leadership who have achieved notable success within their professional roles, and to inspire a continued hunger for excellence across the SUNY System.


The SUNY Faculty Advisory Council on Teaching and Technology and their Excellence Awards are a part of SUNY’s system-wide commitment to enhancing technology at the program and institutional level to increase accessibility to quality education, to expand the “boundaries of knowledge”, and to serve the public good.

The Excellence in Administrative Leadership category was designed to recognize standout leaders in higher education who employ the use of technology to develop and grow their academic offerings with the aim of advancing student success. Recipients of these awards are professionals who have used their leadership platforms to promote innovation in program and curriculum development, scholastic achievement, and institutional enhancements that encourage transformational shifts to campus culture.

CONGRATULATIONS on this wonderful achievement, Professor Pagpatan! Your work here at Downstate and this incredible honor continue to make us all #DownstateProud!



Shout-Out To...

Downstate Med Council, Student Center Governing Board and University Council for sponsoring Downstate in SUNYFest on April 24.  

Steven L. Cohn, M.D., MACP, SFHM, Adjunct Professor Emeritus of Medicine and former Division Chief of Internal Medicine, for his latest book, “Decision Making in Perioperative Medicine: Clinical Pearls,” published by McGraw Hill in March and co-sponsored by the American College of Physicians.  

Kitaw Demissie, M.D., Ph.D., Professor and Dean of the School of Public Health, for his opinion piece, “The Racial Cost of NYC’s COVID-19 Vaccination Rollout,” co-authored with State Senators Brian Benjamin and Roxanne Persaud. The piece ran in the local online news site Bklyner among other media outlets and CAN BE READ IN FULL HERE!

Christina Pardo, M.D., MPH, FACOG, Assistant Professor and Director of Health Equity in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, for being honored by the Consulate General of Haiti for her work on behalf of the health and wellbeing of the Haitian community, on the occasion of International Women’s Day. 

Teresa Y. Smith, M.D., MSEd, Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education and Affiliations and ACGME Designated Institutional Official, for participating in the first COVID Theater Think Tank Town Hall on April 1, which addressed the current state of the pandemic and its implications for the performing arts industry. New York Magazine theatre critic Helen Shaw moderated. 

April is Occupational Therapy Month, and this shout out goes to University Hospital of Brooklyn’s inpatient Occupational Therapy team – Reesa Antony, MS, CCC-SLP, MPH; Samuel Bucholz, OTR/L CHT; Ramon Fontanez, COTA; and Angelica Vissagio, MS, OTR/L – for evaluating over 2,000 patients in 2020 and the essential work they do in helping our patients improve function and achieve more independence, including:

  • Training wheelchair-bound patients and amputees to navigate independently; 
  • Recommending equipment, such as eating aids, to help patients during mealtime; 
  • Helping patients with dementia adapt to memory loss by labeling or color-coding items; 
  • Helping patients with a stroke perform various tasks, such as getting dressed or cooking a meal;
  • and  Collaborating with physical therapists, speech-language pathologists, physicians, nursing staff, and families to help patients be independent in their activities of daily life.