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College of nursing

Downstate’s Psi Tau Honor Society Chapter Receives 2021 Chapter Key Award

Sigma Theta

It is an honor to share that the College of Nursing’s Psi Tau Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing has been honored with the 2021 Chapter Key Award! The award is an accolade that Richard Ricciardi, Ph.D., CRNP, FAANP, FAAN, President of Sigma Theta Tau, emphasized is “quite an accomplishment given the extraordinary circumstances of the biennium.”

Established in 1991 to acknowledge the work of Sigma Theta Tau chapters across the globe that exceed expectations and drive success in key priority areas—the Chapter Key Award looks at performance excellence in the following key areas:

  • "Membership recruitment and retention
  • Publicity and programming
  • Professional and leadership development
  • Local, national, and international collaboration"

Lori Escalier

Since its inception in 1922, Sigma Theta Tau has worked to advance nursing scholarship and nursing practice on global scales. Through the College of Nursing and its Psi Tau Chapter, the mission of Sigma Theta Tau is supported as our scholars are groomed to become the nursing leaders of tomorrow, and to improve health care in every community domestically and abroad. Moreover, the College of Nursing continues to push for enhanced nursing scholarship as it grows strategic nursing partnerships and opportunities that prepare our students to be the nursing thought leaders of tomorrow.

BratbyCONGRATULATIONS to our incredible honor society scholars and THANK YOU to Lori EscallierPh.D., RN, CPNP-PC, FAAN, Dean of the College of Nursing, for her leadership, as well as Kathleen Bratby, Ed.D., RN, Clinical Associate Professor and Director of the Advanced Level MS in Nursing Track and Faculty Advisor for Downstate’s Sigma Theta Tau chapter, for working to guide the curiosity, work, and ambitions of our honor society scholars in ways that continue to elevate the standards of excellence in nursing, both here at Downstate and beyond.



School of Public Health

Doctoral Epidemiology Scholars Participate in UN’s 2021 International Youth Day!

Food AgricultureTwo of our very own Doctoral Epidemiology scholars in the School of Public Health were prominently featured in the United Nations’ 2021 International Youth Day activities!

mossadAliye Mosaad, MPH, DrPH Epidemiology student, was a significant contributor to the development of the United Nations’ International Youth Day 2021 theme, as well as the production of the official webinar executed in collaboration with a number of UN committees, agencies, and partners. The 2021 theme, "Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health,” underscored that the success of this global mission is impossible without the intentional and committed participation from our youngest members of society—a notion not lost on our SPH student body who just recently launched Downstate’s inaugural Planetary Health Club.

In support of International Youth Day, as well as the Programme on Youth Unit of the Division for Inclusive Social Development and the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Ms. Mosaad collaborated with the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization and the UN General Assembly-mandated Major Group for Children and Youth, which serves as a pathway for our youth to meaningfully participate in a number of UN activities and work around the world. Ms. Mosaad also gave the opening remarks and introduction to the Youth Day webinar.

BensonAyanna Besson, MPH, DrPH Epidemiology student, also contributed significantly to the day appearing as a guest speaker in the second segment of the webinar. She developed and presented, "Nutrition Education, Health, and Inequalities in Access to Nutritious Food." In her presentation, Ms. Besson spoke to SPH's evaluation of the Plant-Powered Metro New York 21-day plant-based jumpstart program in Central Brooklyn, and also highlighted SPH's academic offerings, like the Advanced Certificate Program in Climate Change and Planetary Health, that advance the health of the environment.

The webinar was shared with the entire United Nations enterprise and can be viewed by the Downstate Community HERE, as well.

A BIG THANKS and CONGRATULATIONS to both Ms. Mosaad and Ms. Besson for their contributions to this important work, for helping to advance planetary health, and for showcasing to the world the talents of our public health scholars in Downstate School of Public Health!


School of Health Professions

Honoring the October Healthcare Professions

SOHP Lead Image

Every day, I am thankful for the students and professionals across the health professions—both here at Downstate and around the world. Through our most trying times, they have served as steadfast heroes and deserve our unending appreciation and respect.

That said, October is an especially significant month for the School of Health Professions (SOHP) in particular; it is a month that honors the contributions of four of SOHP's six disciplines with national/international professional commemorations. Although most events this year will remain virtual, I wanted to acknowledge and honor these professions, as well as shine a light on the students, faculty, and clinicians from Downstate who advance great work on behalf of these critical disciplines.

  • October 4th – October 10th was National Midwifery Week, celebrating and recognizing midwives and the compassionate, equitable midwife-led care they provide to millions.
  • October 6-12 was National Physician Assistant Week, recognizing and honoring the Physician Assistant Profession and its contributions to the nation's health.
  • The month of October is National Physical Therapy Month, a designation designed to raise broad awareness about the public health benefits provided by physical therapy.
  • and October is also Medical Ultrasound Awareness Month, a month that commemorates and sheds light on the role diagnostic medical sonographers play in medicine, as well as to educate the public on the broad use of medical ultrasound and its critical role in health care.

THANK YOU to everyone at SOHP (students, faculty, and staff) who contribute to the Physician Assistant, Diagnostic Medical Imaging, Midwifery, and Physical Therapy Programs. We are proud of you and greatly appreciate your invaluable work, as well as the critical roles you play in safeguarding health and advancing quality of life on behalf of the communities we serve.



Introducing the REACH Program at Downstate!


At the very core of SUNY Downstate’s mission is educating and training future generation of scientists and physicians, especially those from underrepresented populations in the biomedical sciences. Research Experience in Autism for College and High School students (REACH) is a new 8-week pipeline summer course for college and high school students from underrepresented backgrounds who are interested in careers in neuroscience.


Libien, M.D., Ph.D.


Marcos Alarcon, Ph.D.

Developed by Jenny Libien, M.D., Ph.D., Chair of Pathology and Associate Professor of Pathology and Neurology, and Juan Marcos Alarcon, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology-Division of Neuroscience—the REACH summer program is funded by a 5-year NIH grant. The goal of REACH is to provide hands-on experience in autism research and neuroscience and to expose students to a myriad of career options in the field of neuroscience.

This intensive and immersive summer program comprises a didactic component, neuroanatomy lab sessions, and clinical demonstrations. Additionally, students are exposed to multiple cutting-edge technologies and approaches, including molecular, immunohistochemical, electrophysiologic and behavioral techniques, to gain insight into autism spectrum disorders. Students were grouped into teams of four or five with supervisions by a PhD student and a faculty mentor from the Neuroscience Graduate Program. Each team developed its own research hypothesis and designed experiments for testing those hypotheses. Over the course of the program, students acquired and developed skills in creative thinking, problem-solving, peer-mentoring, and team dynamics. At the end of  the eight-week program, the teams presented their projects as formal scientific talks to the entire Downstate community. In its first year, the REACH program recruited a total of 18 students.

David J. Christini

These impressive high school scholars have had a unique experience that we hope will serve as a foundational guide throughout their academic pursuits. Many thanks to Drs. Libien and Alacron for their vision in developing this critical initiative, as well as Daniel Mishan, Program Coordinator, for his continued support and seamless coordination of program logistics and activities. I’d also like to extend my appreciation to David J. ChristiniPh.D., Senior Vice President of Research, for his leadership in advancing our institution’s research mission. 



Iraq War Veteran and Army National Guard Captain Enrolls in College of Nursing

Valerie Hudson

I’m elated to share that we continue to welcome increasingly diverse cohorts of students across the campus in each of our academic units. Today, I’d like to highlight one of those students—Valerie Valerie, one of our newly admitted students in the College of Nursing.

Ms. Valerie moved to the United States from the Dominican Republic when she was 19 years old, and a few short months later enlisted in the United States Army in search of greater opportunities. She served for six years as an active duty enlisted Soldier, conducting electronic communication equipment repair for helicopters. It was during her active duty that she began taking college classes in pursuit of her nursing degree. 

At the end of her active-duty enlistment, she joined the New York Army National Guard. During her time in the National Guard, she completed her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Long Island University—graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2009, and later being commissioned as an Army Nurse in 2015.

comp photos

An Iraq War Veteran, Ms. Valerie has served in uniform for 21 years and has been deployed to the Middle East three times in service of this country. She has also been a nurse for more than a decade, and currently works as a fulltime staff nurse at NYPH Alexander Cohen Hospital for Women and Newborns, as well as a Commissioned Officer Army Nurse Captain in the New York National Guard.

Ms. Valerie is now currently pursuing her MS-Family Nurse Practitioner degree here at Downstate, and has ambitions of pursuing her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree thereafter to, “become the best provider that I can be. I believe in always giving the best part of myself to everything that I do, that I may never feel that I didn't do all that I can.”

I’d like to extend a warm Downstate welcome to Ms. Valerie Valerie.  Thank you for choosing to pursue your education at Downstate, thank you for your commitment to your profession, and thank you for the sacrifices you’ve made to serve and protect this country.


Shout Outs

Shout out goes to...

College of Medicine student Vivienne Au, for being awarded the Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) 2021 Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship for her work on patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) in head and neck oncology, specifically oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer. The ultimate goal of Ms. Au’s research is to develop a high-quality, evidence-based model that can objectively guide patients and physicians in decision-making for tongue cancer surgery, with major implications for treatment for oral cavity cancer. Ms. Au is also working with the Forsyth Institute to study the differences in microbial interaction of oral tongue squamous cell carcinoma in younger and older patients.  The Forsyth Institute, an independent research institute affiliated with Harvard, focuses on the connections between oral health and overall wellness.

Kenya Kirkman, MBA, Senior Program Coordinator, Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health, for facilitating a partnership between the Institute and UNICEF USA that is helping to train community-based members to deliver mental health messages to children and adolescents. In September, AAIUH and UNICEF jointly  produced “Generation COVID: Coming of Age, Paused,” which you can ACCESS HERE

Marcus Lambert, Ph.D., Associate Vice President for Research Strategy and Operations in the Office of Research, for being featured in Dimensions of Diversity, a podcast that focuses on frank conversations with leaders in workplace diversity. Dr. Lambert was featured in the July 14, 2021, episode, “Mentoring in Underrepresented Groups.” 

CLICK HERE to LISTEN to the episode! 

William W. Lytton, M.D., Professor of Physiology and Pharmacology, for receiving a $2.1M extension grant from the National Institutes of Health for “Neuron Simulator for Simulation of Reaction-Diffusion in Neurons,” directed at understanding the nervous system dysfunction seen in neurological and psychiatric pathology. The new round of funding will enable Dr. Lytton to extend NEURON, one of the most widely-used nerve and brain computer simulators, to simulate chemical reactions both inside and outside of cells. Dr. Lytton expects that the neurotechnology under development will facilitate both basic research and clinical applications in personalized medicine.

Must See Downstate TV

Downstate videos from the New Media Division of Communications and Marketing, featuring faculty, students, and staff. Want to see more? Check out Downstate TV on YouTube HERE!

Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15 by sharing the histories, cultures, and contributions of individuals whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

This edition of Must See Downstate TV highlights faculty members Christina Guillen, M.D., Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, and Samuel Marquez, Ph.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Cell Biology and Director of the Anatomical Donor Program.






Media Moments

In case you missed it – here are a few Editor’s Picks from recent news articles featuring either Downstate or quoting Downstate faculty, staff, or students:


Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Featuring Richard Rosenfeld, M.D.

New Course Focuses on Food as Medicine – September 30, 2021



The New York Times

Featuring Sheldon Landesman, M.D.

A Last-Minute Rush to Get Vaccinated – September 29, 2021



SOHP Dean's Lecture Series

CLICK HERE to REGISTER for Lecture 2 (October 27, 2021): Building Key Processes for Continuous Quality Improvement


Support Downstate's Brooklyn Free Clinic team running in the New York Marathon on November 7!

(If you wish to make a donation, click here or on the flyer below!  So far, the team has raised $22,971 towards its goal of $30,000!)