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The Inaugural Joel S. Levine Health Policy Lecture


It was my great honor to host the inaugural Joel S. Levine Health Policy Lecture at Downstate. This was the first of the annual lectureship and was launched with Dr. Levine’s niece, Mandy Cohen, M.D., MPH as its inaugural speaker. Dr. Cohen is the Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of Aledade Care Solutions and former Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

As a 1971 graduate of Downstate’s College of Medicine, Dr. Levine spent most of his career in practice and administrative positions at Denver Health and the University of Colorado School of Medicine. He also served as a Member and Chairman of the Board of Regents for the American College of Physicians (ACP). 

I first met Dr. Levine in 1994 when as a young internal medicine resident at Baylor College of Medicine, I was elected to the National Resident Council of the ACP. I learned a great deal about the art of medicine from his passion for patient care, serving communities, and simply doing the right thing in healthcare. 

Working with the Obama administration, Dr. Levine played a pivotal role in the campaign for national healthcare reform. A number of his recommendations became pillars of the Affordable Care Act, including universal access to affordable coverage and federal policy that supported patient-centered healthcare.  

I had the privilege of awarding Dr. Levine an honorary Doctor of Science degree in 2019 in recognition of his outstanding service to the United States and his vision of a healthcare system that would provide insurance coverage to all Americans.   

Because he was such a strong supporter of Downstate, prior to his death, Dr. Levine generously offered to endow a visiting lectureship at Downstate focused on expanding access to care for the underserved, health policy, and increasing physician diversity. 

I have never forgotten his friendship as a young physician. He was a consistent and a great person who cared deeply about the impact and importance of healthcare for communities with the greatest need.

I look forward to nurturing this project and ensuring that future Dr. Joel S. Levine lectures are appropriately befitting of his legacy.

To listen to Dr. Cohen’s address, “Leading with Equity through the COVID Crisis,” click here.



Downstate Receives $50K Grant to Enhance Provider-Patient Communication

NYS Health Foundation

SUNY Downstate was recently selected by the New York State Health (NYSHealth) Foundation to receive a $50K grant to support and enhance provider-patient communication through OpenNotes, at University Hospital at Downstate (UHD). Established in 2010, OpenNotes is a national effort to give patients access to their patient visit notes written by their doctors, nurses, or other clinicians.

Shared-visit notes—often referred to as open notes—are essential to help consumers become active participants in their care. UHD is among 16 hospitals throughout the state selected to receive this grant that will provide funding, technical assistance, and peer-learning opportunities to comply with the 21st Century Cures Act which went into effect last year. Additionally, the OpenNotes portal will stimulate a culture change allowing and engaging patients more effectively. Patient information will be more uniform, allowing for better communication among patients, providers, and payers, helping them make more effective decisions about their healthcare options.

In June 2014, UHD went live with OpenNotes as part of a hospital-wide commitment to make electronic health information available to patients. Funding from this grant will provide resources to retain staff dedicated to training healthcare workers, assisting patients in accessing open notes, and increasing the hospital’s focus on the patient population’s distinct needs via a digital literacy plan that includes customer feedback.

Many thanks to the team who made this opportunity possible for Downstate: Information Services and Technology vice president and chief information officer Dennis Sutterfield; UHD chief medical officer Jameela J. Yusuff, M.D., MPH, FACP; Hospital Finance senior associate vice president and deputy CFO Sean P. Smith, CPA, FHFMA; CMIO and Medicine Department vice-chairman Mafuzur Rahman, M.D., FACP, Compliance and Audit Services vice president Shoshana Milstein, CHC, CHP, RHIA, CCS; Patient Relations chief experience officer and director Wren Lester, Ph.D.; and Department of Planning assistant vice president Lori Bruno, MPA


Finance’s Bernadette Selby Honored as a trailblazing SheRo


Finance Senior Associate Vice President/Deputy CFO Bernadette Selby was recognized by New York State Senator Kevin Parker and New York City Council Member Farah Louis at a Women’s History Month event recognizing community trailblazers. The event, Honoring Our SheRoes, celebrated the exceptional contributions of five community leaders.

Ms. Selby oversees the Financial Division, including the management of Accounts Payable, Bursar, Card Services, Payroll, and Residence Life Services. Most recently, she took on the oversight of the Logistics department (including Receiving & Stores, Mail Room, and the Print Shop). Her leadership role includes the review of critical protocols and operations to promote enhanced efficiencies.  

Ms. Selby is the treasurer for the Health Science Center of Brooklyn Foundation, managing Endowments, Investments, Real Estate Finances, and overall Foundation financial management.

A native of Trinidad, Ms. Selby has several decades of medical revenue cycle, finance, and university work experience. She is a past assistant to former Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and served as an adjunct professor at LIU.

Thank you, Bernadette, for all you do to ensure a standard of excellence at Downstate.

Downstate SPH Faculty Member Sergios-Orestis Kolokotronis Contributes to GAO Congressional Study

Sergio Kologotronis

As the country inches closer to normalcy during the pandemic, Downstate Public Health faculty continue to contribute to investigations examining how the nation might prevent future pandemics.   

Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases assistant professor Sergios-Orestis Kolokotronis, Ph.D., was recently among a select group of experts invited to participate in the closed-door Meeting of Experts on a Technology Assessment on Bioforensic Technologies for Pandemic Origins

The event was organized by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO)– the nonpartisan auditing agency of the U.S. legislative branch–and co-hosted by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM). Dr. Kolokotronis met several times with members of both organizations in the run-up to the meeting. 

Dr. Kolokotronis contributed to the technology assessment helping to formulate questions around forensic genomics, evolutionary algorithms, genetic engineering, disease ecology, pathogen emergence, and epidemiology. 


Diagnostic Medical Imaging Program Spearheads Humanitarian Donation to Ukraine

ukraine donations

Hats off to the School of Health Professions Council and the Diagnostic Medical Imaging (DMI) Program faculty and students for sponsoring a drive to collect donations of medical items for the people of Ukraine. Items received included duffle bags, band-aids, trauma kits, first-aid kits, wound dressings, antiseptic skin cleanser, PPE, and more.

DMI partnered on this effort with Razom for Ukraine, an agency responding to urgent needs and providing critical humanitarian war relief and recovery. Additionally, the group works with local partners on the ground to get supplies to where they are needed.  

Thanks to SOHP Council president Christianne Salac and DMI Class of 2023 president Roberto Berton for getting this initiative off the ground!


Downstate Awarded ACGME’s Barbara Ross-Lee, D.O. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award


The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) awarded Downstate for its work on diversifying the underrepresented physician workforce and creating an inclusive workplace that fosters a humane, civil, and equitable environment. The award was formally received at ACGME’s recent annual meeting. 

The recognition celebrates initiatives where diverse learners are developed, diverse faculties are constructed, and the GME community embraces differences, and highlights them as examples of what is achievable. 

The award is named for Barbara Ross-Lee, D.O., who was the first woman and first Black dean of a medical school when she was appointed to the role at Ohio University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1993. Dr. Ross-Lee studied biology and chemistry at Wayne State University and earned her medical degree from Michigan State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine. However, she originally wanted to follow her older sister, Diana, into show business.  Dr. Ross-Lee was the closing plenary speaker at Downstate’s Office of Graduate Medical Education and Undergraduate Medical Education Faculty Development and Resident-as-Teacher Symposium on February 9, 2022.

Thank you to Graduate Medical Education and Affiliations associate dean Teresa Y. Smith, M.D., MSEd, FACEP, and all our residents and residency program directors, teaching faculty, and mentors. This award is yours, and it celebrates your many achievements, dedication, and commitment to serving Downstate and our diverse communities. 

SOHP’s Annual Interprofessional Clinical Case-Based Learning Event

SOHP InterprofessionalNearly 40 students from the College of Nursing, the School of Public Health, and the School of Health Professions participated in an Interprofessional Clinical Case Study session hosted by SOHP. The annual event introduced students to the value of interprofessional education, collaboration and a multidisciplinary, integrated team approach to healthcare.  

Although case-based learning is not new, clinical case-based learning featuring a team approach has become a critical learning modality in today’s healthcare educational landscape. Respect for the expertise and contributions of multiple disciplines typically delivers the highest levels of quality care and service recipient outcomes.   

In this multi-discipline learning session, students worked on a clinical case of a hospitalized woman in her sixties  who suffered a fractured hip and subsequently underwent surgery and determined how to provide the best treatment possible for the patient. The students determined that a team approach was the best approach to dealing with complex healthcare concerns. Student and faculty evaluations included positive comments about the benefits of interdisciplinary collaboration and engagement with each other during the presentation and breakout sessions.

Thank you to the School of Health Professions for highlighting the importance of interdisciplinary and collaborative education.


Downstate #4 in Top 10 Ranking for Small Colleges

Best UniversitiesI am pleased to share that Best Universities, an online higher education research organization, has released its 2022 list of the Best Small Colleges in America. Downstate ranks # 4 on its list! 

The list was developed using data sourced from the U.S. Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics survey.

Downstate also achieved high scores in two other Top 10 lists released by Best Universities. We are #2 on its list of Top 10 “Best Colleges for Nursing,” and also ranked #4 on its Top 10 “Best Public Universities” list. 


CON Faculty Present at Leading Nurse Practitioner Conference

Nurse PractitionerCollege of Nursing faculty presented two projects at the 2022 National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF) 48th Annual Conference held in Minneapolis last week. The organization represents a global network of NP educators and is the only one specifically devoted to promoting high-quality nurse practitioner education.

College of Nursing associate professor and Scholarship and Evaluation associate dean Annie J. Rohan, Ph.D., RN, and assistant professor Natalia Shaforost, DNP, discussed their novel, scalable model for DNP education.

Nurse Practitioner

Assistant professors Beth Steinfeld, DNP, and Jeanine O’Hagan-Murphy, DNP, MPH, along with Dr. Rohan, presented their work on virtual simulation to enhance anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology competencies in advanced practice nursing students, resulting in great attention.

Thank you, CON team, for representing Downstate well at this national forum.

Shout Out to:

Nursing assistant director Paulina Marfo-Boateng, MSN, RN, for having been named a Brooklyn COVID Hero by the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology chair Camille Clare, M.D., MPH, who was identified by Medpage Today as one of the “15 Black Doctors on Social Media You Need to Follow.” The list included physicians making an impact via social media and building legacies to address social inequality in healthcare.

Sunnyside Community Services, which partners with Downstate’s Center for Excellence for Alzheimer’s Disease, for winning a $20K Innovations in Alzheimer’s Caregiving Award from the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, Bader Philanthropies, Inc., and Family Caregiver Alliance. 


In case you missed it...

Here are our Editor’s Picks 


Featuring: Obstetrics and Gynecology chair Camille Clare, M.D., MPH

5 Things Black Moms Can Say to Their Doctors When They Aren’t Being Heard – April 11, 2022



Featuring: Psychiatry resident Galen Ballentine

New Insight Into How Psychedelics Work – April 11, 2022


NY City Lens

Featuring: School of Public Health student Karlynn Holland

House Bill Capping Insulin Copays Leaves Out Some New Yorkers – April 7, 2022


Must See Downstate TV…


National Public Health Week Event

An Interdisciplinary Discussion on Solutions to Brooklyn’s Maternal Health Crisis

SUNY Downstate’s School of Public Health and Borough President Antonio Reynoso Present Brooklyn’s Solution to NYC’s Maternal Health Crisis. Featuring Christina Pardo, M.D, MPH and speakers from NYC HH+ Corporation and Caribbean Women’s Health Association with Tenya Blackwell, Dr.PH, and Aimee Afable, Ph.D., MPH.


Save the Date…


Digital Health 101 series, entitled “How to Remain Patient-Centered as We Transition to Digital” with Aanand Naik, M.D., Guinee Chair of Management, Policy, and Community Health, University of Texas School of Public Health.

Thursday, April 21, 2022 



Complimentary Hearing Screening For Adults (18+)

Now through April 22, 2022

Hearing Loss Screening


Growth Hormone Deficiency Educational Conference for Pediatric Practitioners

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Growth Hormone


Administrative Professional Day 

Wednesday, April 27, 2022


Downstate Blood Drive

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Donate Blood


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