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Downstate Leaders Complete SUNY SAIL Clinical Leadership Academy

SAIL logo

Congratulations to the recent graduates of the SUNY SAIL Institute who completed the Clinical Leadership Academy, a seven-month cohort model designed to help physicians become physician leaders and develop the knowledge and skills necessary to lead academic medical centers (AMCs). This intensive program focuses on leadership practices not often included in physician training.

Participants learned about driving innovative change-efforts to advance their institutions, assuming ambassador roles for their AMCs, and bringing positive attention to patient and staff experiences. In addition, cohort members gained knowledge of the economic healthcare landscape, regionally and statewide, and how to improve the financial wellness of their AMCs. Lastly, they acquired skills to build personal and professional networks while leveraging the power of SUNY as a system-wide institution.

Congratulations to Residency program director Sanjeev AgarwalM.D.; Surgery Department associate professor Lisa DresnerM.D., FACS; Family Medicine Residency program director Eve FaberM.D.; assistant professor, Residency program director, associate DIO Christina GuillenM.D., FAAP; Urology clinical associate professor Llewellyn HyacintheM.D., MBA, FACS; Clinical Medicine associate dean Elka Jacobson-DickmanM.D.; Musculoskeletal Radiology section chief Srinivas KollaM.D., Sports Medicine & Sports Medicine Fellowship program director Christine Persaud, M.D.; CMIO and Medicine Department vice-chairman Mafuzur RahmanM.D. FACP, and Emergency Medicine Residency program director James Willis, M.D.

Thank you to the following Downstate team who led training modules and panel discussions: COM dean F. Charles Brunicardi, M.D., FACS, and Office of Diversity & Research associate dean Carla Boutin-Foster, M.D., MS, who led a workshop on Negotiating Skills & Conflict Resolution. In addition, DIO Teresa Smith, M.D., MSEd, FACEP, and Mafuzur Rahman, M.D., FACP, took part in a panel discussion on media-savvy physician leaders led by Communications & Marketing vice president Dawn S. Walker, MPA. And lastly, I extend a heartfelt thank you to UHD chief executive officer David F. Berger, M.D., MHCM, FACS, who delivered the commencement address.


Downstate Alums Join SOPH Midwifery Faculty

The School of Health Professions (SOHP) welcomes two new Midwifery faculty members: Susanrachel Condon, CNM, LM, and Shakima Wiggins, CNM, LM. Both recently joined as Clinical Assistant Professors.

image_of_dr_condonDr. Condon has experience in midwifery practice, including six years mentoring Downstate students as a clinical preceptor and five years as a clinical associate at the University of Pennsylvania. In addition, she maintains a private practice specializing in home birth, providing students with much-desired insight into this unique component of the practice. Her primary teaching will focus on labor, delivery, and postpartum.

Dr. Condon received a certificate in Midwifery Education from Downstate and a doctorate in Midwifery from Jefferson University. She is one of the first eight individuals in the United States to earn this newly developed terminal degree in Midwifery.

image_of_shakima_wigginsProfessor Wiggins received her master’s degree in Nurse-Midwifery and Advanced Certificate in Midwifery from Downstate. Before joining the Midwifery faculty, she was an assistant clinical professor, teaching Maternity and Pediatrics at Helene Fuld College and Downstate’s STAR program, holding dual practitioner roles in the Women’s Interagency Health Study/Combined Cohort Study research program and the Family-Focused HIV Health Care for Women Program. 

Professor Wiggins does extensive work in lactation and childbirth education, having certifications in each. She also advocates for decreasing health disparities that disproportionately affect families of color in her work the Chocolate Milk Café, the New York Midwives of Color group, and the Mothers of Color Health Access (MOCHA) maternity program.


University Police Department Personnel Honor NYPD Fallen Officers

photo of University Ploice at event

University Police Department (UPD) officers represented Downstate at the funerals for fallen NYPD officers Jason Rivera and Wilbert Mora. They joined thousands of police and other law enforcement personnel who came from throughout the nation—and other countries—to pay their respects to the officers.

We extend our deep gratitude to University Police Department, who keep us and our surroundings safe.


Downstate Opens its first onsite Pharmacy

worker at new pharmacy

Congratulations to the Department of Pharmacy on the opening of The State University of New York Outpatient Pharmacy, the first onsite outpatient pharmacy on the Downstate campus. The Outpatient Pharmacy, seen in this video, will increase communication among prescribers, pharmacy staff, and patients, and is also open to the public.

The Pharmacy will offer personalized patient and family education on medication management, therapy management services, immunization services, and post-discharge patient follow-up for medication-related questions or concerns. In addition, a 20 percent discount is available for faculty, staff, and students.




College of Medicine Students Awarded AMSNY Diversity in Medicine Scholarships 


Three Downstate College of Medicine students received first-time Diversity in Medicine scholarships from the Associated Medical Schools of New York (AMSNY) for 2021-2022. The AMSNY Diversity in Medicine Scholarship is designed to increase diversity among New York State’s physician workforce. The scholarships are available to medical students from backgrounds underrepresented in medicine who commit to working in underserved areas in New York State upon completion of their education.

The AMSNY Diversity scholarship program was launched in 2017 with funding from the New York State Department of Health and support from the New York State Legislature and the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus.

For the first time, more than 20 percent of first-year medical students attending the 17 medical schools based in New York came from underrepresented backgrounds. Yet, the diversity gap is still significant. Underrepresented minorities (Blacks/African Americans & Hispanics/Latinos) make up approximately 31.1 percent of New York’s population, but only 12.1 percent of the State’s physician workforce. Scholarships such as those provided by AMSNY help address the gap. 


Class of ‘25

Originally from Ghana, Jesse’s passion for healthcare was ignited when visiting his sister as she was treated in a hospital intensive care unit. After moving to the United States, he worked as an adjunct instructor at Buffalo State College, learning the importance of equipping underrepresented students with the proper tools to prepare them for medical school. Jesse, also interned at the Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network (GBUAHN), where he saw dedicated healthcare professionals providing services in a low-income community.


Class of '23

Raised in Brooklyn by Jamaican immigrants, Colleen experienced the systemic inequalities in American healthcare after her father was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia. Noticing these disparities sparked her passion for translational research and serving communities that medicine has abused and neglected. Subsequently, she has researched infectious diseases and antibacterial resistance at a NICU unit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and at ICUs in hospitals throughout New York City. In her third year at SUNY Downstate, she is currently the co-coordinator for the Health Professions Recruitment Exposure Program (HPREP). She organizes instructional sessions to introduce students to the health professions. In addition, through Downstate’s Brooklyn Free Clinic and Student COVID Response Team, she has developed outreach for clinical resources and supplied information to patients about the SARS-COV-2 virus and the vaccine.


Class of '25

Jose plans to become an Emergency Department physician, his interest in medicine having been piqued after tearing his ACL and wanting to learn more about his ailment and the human body. As a native Spanish speaker, he has volunteered at Lincoln Hospital in the Adult Emergency Room as an interpreter for Spanish-speaking patients. Jose has also worked with City Harvest, an anti-hunger program that provides food to underserved communities of New York. He plans to continue addressing healthcare disparities through the Health Equity Advocacy and Leadership (HEAL) Pathway in the College of Medicine. After graduation, he hopes to continue working at Lincoln Hospital to provide accessible healthcare services to his community. 


Downstate’s CME Program Granted Reaccreditation with Commendation

ACCME logo

Congratulations to our Office of Continuing Medical Education on the CME program’s full accreditation with Commendation in December from the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education. It is the third consecutive time—following successful reviews in 2010, 2015, and now 2021—that we have achieved this outstanding outcome.

Continuing medical education plays a critical role in academic medical centers, helping physicians stay abreast of new developments while facilitating lifelong learning.

Receiving the “Commendation” designation means that Downstate has implemented best practices in CME pedagogy, engagement, and meaningful outcomes. It also recognizes our GME program for patient engagement, collaboration with interdisciplinary teams, population health, and research achievements.

Thank you to CME Director Edeline Mitton, MEd, and her entire team—Judith Ruddock, Priscilla Fordjour-Akpatsu, Ed Jourdan, and Donna Handley—for their dedication to ensuring the effectiveness of Downstate’s CME program. 


New Student Health Center and Student Counseling Center Open

ribbon cutting photo

I am proud to announce that we are making significant improvements to support our students' physical and mental health and wellness. Last week, a new Student Health Center and a refurbished Student Counseling Center were opened with a ribbon-cutting.

The new Student Health Center has new examination rooms and a separate waiting room. Additional clinical and service staff are dedicated to students, including a new Nurse Practitioner and a new Student Coordinator to support the student operation and the student clearance process. This new location is at 440 Lenox Road, Suite 1W.

The Student Health Center will continue to be led by Mona Pervil-Ulysse, M.D., and has the support of Student and Employee Health Service. Additionally, the Student Health Electronic Medical Record, known as Medicat, will also be implemented. Students can already log in to the system through myDownstate.

Once the Student Health Center is fully open, students will be able to do check-in using the system; make appointments with clinicians; conduct virtual visits with Student Health clinicians; see lab results and view notes from student health visits; contact Student Health clinicians with health-related questions; and view and print immunizations and other data from the Student Health Record without needing to visit the Student Health Center in-person.

We are also proud to re-open the Student Counseling Center for in-person visits. Led by Maria Deutscher, Ph.D., the Center will continue to provide remote visits while making in-person appointments available. We are also in the process of refreshing the Student Counseling Center with new, more attractive, and comfortable furniture. The Student Counseling Center is located at 440 Lenox Road, Suite 1M.

The Center will also move to the Medicat Counseling Electronic Health Record system (separate from the Medicat Student Health record). Once implemented, the Medicat Counseling system will allow students to make appointments directly by selecting available times and electronically completing their intake documentation. To make an appointment with the Counseling Center, email them at counseling@downstate.edu.

Thank you to the College of Medicine team, including COM senior associate dean Elizabeth Smith, College of Medicine administrator Helen Poncet, Academic & Student Affairs staff administrator, Susan Vaughn, as well as General Counsel Lynne Reid-McQueen, Medicat, senior vice president and chief of staff Keydron K. Guinn, Ph.D., chief financial officer Richard Miller, Ph.D., and to Deans Brunicardi, Demissie, Escallier, Imperato, Lewis, and Stewart for their unwavering support in this critical space that is so important for our students.


Pediatrics Gastroenterology Division Features a Case Report Offering Clues to Long-Haul COVID

photo of Thomas WallachA case report submitted to JPGN Reports by Pediatrics assistant professor Thomas Wallach, M.D., went viral last month after being tweeted by scientist and Scripps Research executive vice president Eric Topol, M.D.

Dr. Wallach and his team described an 11-year old child whose chronic, acute abdominal pain persisted three months after a COVID diagnosis. Given the clinical history, Dr. Wallach suspected a possible viral infection and completed special staining of intestinal biopsy samples showing trace evidence of COVID.

This result suggests that prolonged gastrointestinal symptoms after a COVID diagnosis could reflect continuing infection with the virus. More broadly, the case offers clues to how “long haul” COVID develops and supplies evidence that the body can carry the coronavirus—or at least fragments of it—months after infection.

Traffic on the JPGN Report site to date includes, at least 2,833 tweets and pick-ups by numerous outlets. Additionally, Dr. Topol’s tweet resulted in more than 92 comments, 1,115 retweets, and 2,177 likes on the first day.

The Alicia and Madu Rao Translational Research Foundation funded the study.

Thank you, Dr. Wallach and your team, including third-year fellow Dalia Arostegui, M.D., second-year fellow Kenny Castro, M.D., Pediatrics professor of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition director Steven Schwarz, M.D., Pediatric Gastroenterology fellowship director Katherine Vaidy, M.D., and professor and Pediatrics vice-chairman Simon Rabinowitz, M.D., Ph.D


Shout Out to:

University Physicians of Brooklyn has been renamed Downstate Health Physicians under the Downstate Health umbrella as part of our new brand identity.

Office of Diversity Education & Research associate dean Carla Boutin-Foster, M.D., MSc., for expanding the Health Equity & Social Justice Task Force to include all five colleges and schools.

Interim Environmental Services director David Charles received a Healthcare Heroes award from Congressmember Yvette D. Clarke. Mr. Charles was recommended for this award by UHD senior vice president Patricia A. Winston, DNP, MS, for his outstanding work and commitment to meeting University Hospital at Downstate’s environmental needs during the pandemic.

School of Public Health dean and professor Kitaw Demissie, M.D., Ph.D., newly named to the 2022 City and State New York Health Care Power 100. This year’s list highlights influential figures who have shaped New York’s response to the pandemic—and other pressing healthcare matters—over the past year.

College of Nursing Practitioner students for the exciting news that the Pass Rate on the American Academy of Nurse Practitioner Certification Exam for the 2021 Family Nurse Practitioner graduates was 94 percent. We are proud of our graduates, faculty, and staff for this great accomplishment!

Clinical Neurology associate professor Nuri Jacobi, M.D., co-authored an opinion published online by JAMA Neurology in December on the need to make current training more reflective of contemporary models of care delivery.

Facilities Management & Development (FM&D) installed two new water hydration stations at locations on the first floor of the HSEB near the vending machine area opposite Lecture Halls A and B and in the BSB/PHAB lobby adjacent to the Women’s/Men’s Restrooms. These stations will help reduce the amount of water bought from outside vendors and lower the cost for students and staff who purchase water from the vending machines. It will also reduce the volume of plastic in the environment. FM&D will assess usage and consider students/faculty to determine if more hydration station locations may be needed.

In case you missed it…

Here are our Editor’s Picks from recent news articles featuring Downstate or quoting Downstate faculty, staff, or students:


The New York Times

Featuring: Pediatrics G.I. Division assistant professor Thomas Wallach, M.D., and SVP for Hospital Operations Patricia A. Winston, DNP, MS, RN, NEA-BC

How New York City's Hospitals Withstood the Omicron Surge - February 5, 2022

How New York City’s Hospitals Withstood the Omicron Surge - The New York Times (nytimes.com)


The New York Times

In Memoriam: Dr. Jeremiah Stamler, Downstate College of Medicine Graduate, Class of 1943

Jeremiah Stamler, Who Found Ways to Curb Heart Disease, Dies at 102 - The New York Times (nytimes.com)


Medpage Today

Featuring Margaret Hammerschlag, M.D., Director of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Fellowship Program

“Surge of Kids Hospitalized with COVID-19 in NY” – December 28, 2021



Health Exec

Featuring: Michael F. Myers, M.D., Professor of Clinical Psychiatry

“Most Doctors Would Trade a Salary Reduction for More Free Time”—January 17

Most doctors would trade a salary reduction for more free time (healthexec.com)

Must-see Downstate TV

Must see Downstate TV features….


Overcoming Disparities in Digital Health

Digital Health Interest Group

Barbara Messina, Ph.D., ANP, RN, is the Executive Director for Simulation and Interprofessional Education (IPE) in the College of Nursing. She is also a Professor of Nursing and oversees both the Center for Healthcare Simulation and College of Nursing Simulation Center facilities.

Barbara Ann M. Messina, Ph.D., ANP, RN | Overcoming Disparities in Digital Health - YouTube


Starting a Digital Health Company

Digital Health Interest Group

Yair Saperstein, M.D., MPH, is the Co-Founder and CEO of avoMD, a software building virtual clinical consultant. He is a board-certified internal medicine physician affiliated with Mount Sinai and a proud graduate of SUNY Downstate.

Starting a Digital Health Company | Dr. Yair Saperstein - YouTube


To submit an item in consideration for The President’s Bulletin, please email BulletinSubmissions@downstate.edu.