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New Senior Associate Vice President for Human Resources 

photo of Jamie GreccoI am pleased to announce the appointment of Jamie Grecco, Esq., as Senior Associate Vice President of Human Resources. In this role, Mr. Grecco is reponsible for Human Resources Operations, Labor Relations, and the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). He most recently served as Director of Redeployment / Realignment and Employee Relations at the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation.

As an experienced human resources and employment leader with a record of success in the public hospital sector, Mr. Grecco will help Downstate meet its strategic HR priorities. These include a commitment to the principles of inclusiveness, implementing sound HR practices, assisting the five colleges and schools, and departments in recruiting talented faculty and staff, and ensuring that HR policies adhere to federal, state, and local regulatory requirements.  

Please join me in giving Mr. Grecco a warm Downstate welcome! 


Going Green: Downstate Marks Earth Day to Promote Electric Vehicle Charging Stations 

Earth Day Photo 1

In partnership with Con Edison and the FLO Network – operators of the leading North American charging network – Downstate hosted an Earth Day event to demonstrate how to use the electric-vehicle (EV) curbside charging stations  located at the Downstate campus.

The event was hosted by Downstate senior vice president and chief of staff, Keydron Guinn, Ph.D., MA, MBA, and Con Edison Brooklyn Corporate Affairs manager Juliet Lewis. They were joined by Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce president & CEO Randy Peers, District 43 Assemblymember Brian Cunningham, District 45 Councilmember Farah Louis, and other representatives from Con Edison and the FLO Network.

The EV charging stations located on Lenox Road between New York Avenue and East 34th Street are open to all on a first-come, first-served basis. Consumers pay a Flo Network hourly fee to plug in. The spaces are designated for electric vehicle use only; the Department of Transportation will issue tickets on nonelectric vehicles parked in spaces designated for charging. 

The project is part of a New York City Department of Transportation plan to create a citywide municipal electric vehicle charging network to help reduce toxic tailpipe emissions.

View a video of the launch event here.

Earth Day Photo 5

Downstate was selected as a site based on feedback from elected officials, community boards, and the general public. This location is one of 16 charging sites installed in Brooklyn as part of a limited pilot program aimed at expanding New York City’s electric vehicle infrastructure. The plan is to create a healthier community for our patients, students, faculty, staff, and those who live and work in our communities.

Earth Day Photo 8

For more information on this initiative, and the EV parking rules, visit https://www.coned.com/nyc-public-charging.


14th Annual Earth Day Fair at Downstate

The Office of Student Life, the Office of Residential Life, and the Office of Policy and Planning hosted the Downstate 14th Annual Earth Day Fair in the Student Life Courtyard with over 300 people in attendance. Students, faculty, and staff enjoyed live music, ate fresh fruit, and received a plant, travel utensil kit, a tree stress ball, and seeds.  Congratulations to Davin McFarlane, Laureen Chan, and Ali Elsayed who were the raffle winners of two bicycles and a large plant!


Earth Day Fair - veggies

A huge thank you to Office of Student Life interim director, Adam Burgman, M.Ed., Strategy and Community Campus Initiatives director Wolf Lacossiere, MPA, Office of Residential Life and Services assistant director Sherice Fields, Desk Operation supervisor Jacqueline Tonge, 511 Ride Share, Con-Edison, and the NYC Department of Sanitation for their contribution to this fantastic day. 

Earth Day Fair - veggies

To join the planning committee, please contact Adam Burgman at Adam.Burgman@downstate.edu.


Dr. Brian McNeil Appointed to Urology Care Foundation Board of Directors

photo of Brian Keith McNeil, M.D.The Urology Care Foundation (UCF), the world’s leading nonprofit urological health foundation and the official foundation of the American Urological Association (AUA), announced the appointment of Department of Urology vice chair and UHD Urology Service chief Brian Keith McNeil, M.D., MBA, FACS, to its Board of Directors

With more than 23,000 members, the AUA is a leading advocacy organization for the specialty of urology. Its foundation advances research, disseminates patient education material, and supports humanitarian efforts. UCF also raises awareness of urologic diseases that include prostate, kidney, and bladder cancers all of which disproportionally affect communities of color. 

American Urological Association logo


Dr. McNeil works closely with AUA on community outreach and media campaigns designed to increase awareness of urologic diseases. This appointment to the foundation’s board will help shape how the AUA and UCF address the many urologic healthcare disparities that impact communities at risk.

As an example, Healthline recently featured Dr. McNeil on a guide to understanding the side effects and emotional toll that prostate cancer treatment can have on sexual health and self-esteem. 

Dr. McNeil earned his undergraduate degree from Morehouse College, medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and pursued advanced training in urological oncology at the National Cancer Institute of the NIH, Johns Hopkins and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. He has served as a member of the AUA’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, AUA Public Policy Council and the UCF’s Prostate Health Committee.

Dr. McNeil recently took on the role of associate dean for clinical affairs in the College of Medicine working to promote Downstate's clinical enterprise while also assuming responsibility for the curriculum of the entire medical school senior class. 

Congratulations, Dr. McNeil, and thank you for all you do for Downstate.


Downstate Investigators Use All of Us NIH Database to Measure Prevalence of Psychiatric Disorders

All of Us logo

Researchers from Downstate’s Department of Psychiatry have used information from the recently released National Institutes of Health’s All of Us database to examine linkages between psychiatric disorders and phenotypic data extracted from electronic health records. 

All of Us – the largest national health and medical research program on precision medicine – is a landmark initiative for population-scale investigations into a variety of health conditions, including psychiatric disorders. The goal of All of Us is to understand better how biology, lifestyle, and social determinants can affect health. 

Hundreds of individuals from across the country have contributed their personal information and linked their electronic health records to the database. Approximately half of this information comes from individuals who self-identify with a racial or ethnic minority group, making it one of the most diverse datasets globally.

Downstate’s study, published in the April issue of JAMA Psychiatry, analyzed over 300,000 patient records to estimate the prevalence of psychiatric diagnoses and their overlap along with risk associated with various sociodemographic factors. The study also compared their results with findings from other nationally representative samples. 

The Downstate team primarily looked at psychiatric disorders across six broad domains: mood, anxiety, substance use, stress-related, personality, and psychotic disorders. The team found that non-Hispanic White people, individuals with low socioeconomic status, women and individuals assigned female at birth, and sexual minority individuals are at greatest risk for most disorders in All of Us. The team also found that considerable variations, comorbidities, and disparities exist across social groups. 

The study’s first author, Peter Barr, Ph.D. noted that results from this analysis must be interpreted in context, and through large and diverse, it is not a representative sample of the United States. The prevalence of diagnoses in electronic health records should not be used to infer how widespread these problems are in the broader U.S. population. 

Dr. Barr says the current results underscore the continued need to invest in developing quality ascertained case-control and nationally-representative samples. Data from electronic health records alone cannot yield an accurate picture of risk and prevalence in the general population.  

Thank you to Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences assistant professors Peter Barr, Ph.D., Tim B. Bigdeli, Ph.D., and Jacqueline Meyers, Ph.D., for this fascinating and highly relevant research!


UHD Comprehensive Epilepsy Center Recognized for High-Quality Care

National Association of Epilepsy Centers logo

University Hospital at Downstate (UHD) has received Level 3 Epilepsy Center accreditation from the National Association of Epilepsy Centers (NAEC) for 2022 and 2023. This distinction recognizes Downstate for providing the highest standards of quality care for patients with complex epilepsy.

NAEC, which monitors standards of care through its accreditation program, is a nonprofit association with a membership of more than 260 specialized epilepsy centers. Downstate’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center provides a multi-disciplinary approach to the complex needs of adults and children with epilepsy and seizures.

Downstate has the only NAEC Level 3 Epilepsy Center in Brooklyn and Queens, and boasts fellowship-trained and board-certified specialists in adult and pediatric epilepsy. The center provides the high-level medical, neuropsychological, and neuro-diagnostic services needed to treat patients with severe or uncontrolled epilepsy. 

This achievement underscores the hard work and commitment of the entire Epilepsy Division. Thank you to Neurology Department chair Daniel M. Rosenbaum, M.D., Neurology professor and Epilepsy program director Arthur C. Grant, M.D., Ph.D., Neurology assistant professor Susanna O’Kula, M.D., and clinical associate professor and Epilepsy Monitoring unit director Katherine Mortati, M.D. 

For more information on SUNY Downstate’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, visit: https://www.downstate.edu/epilepsy-center.


Downstate Represented at the National Kidney Foundation’s Spring Clinical Meeting

National Kidney Foundation logo

Downstate had a strong presence at the National Kidney Foundation’s (NFK) Spring Clinical Meeting, including 12 abstracts accepted for poster presentations, the majority of which feature students as "first author." Downstate had more student-authored abstracts accepted for presentation than any other medical school, including nine posters presented by members of the class of 2024.

Downstate’s presentations fell within two major categories:  diet and nutrition and factors affecting treatment adherence. The majority of the posters assessed kidney disease through the lens of the pandemic and the relationship of kidney disease to vaccine acceptance. 

In alignment with NFK's call to examine how structural racisim affects the risk of developing kidney disease, the majority of Downstate presentations also recognized that health equity and societal factors play significant roles in the development of kidney disease. 

Thank you to the Renal and Transplant Divisions, and the students and faculty who submitted abstracts, presented posters, or attended the meeting. 

The complete list of presentations can be accessed here


Be an Organ Donor!

group photo

As part of recognizing April as Donate Life Month, and in collaboration with LiveOnNY, Downstate hosted an information table in Sodexo Court to educate students, employees, and visitors about the importance of organ donation.  

Becoming an organ donor is a generous and selfless decision that can save a life. Many individuals are alive today because they received the gift of an organ. However, the need remains greater than supply and the waiting lists increase each year. In New York State, nearly 9,000 New Yorkers are waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant. At Downstate, there are more than 400 patients listed or being evaluated for kidney transplantation.

While most living organ donations occur when a donor and recipient know each other, anyone interested in becoming a living kidney donor can call our Downstate Transplant Surgery Division at 718-270-3169 for an evaluation. To join the organ donation registry, please enroll online at https://donatelifenys.org/register/.

Thank you to all those who helped to make this event a success, including Downstate’s Transplant Surgery chief Caroline Rochon, M.D.; Nursing Education and ICL director Karen Broomes-James, DNP, RN; Patient Education and Community Health coordinator Betty Jung, RN; and Clinical Transplant coordinator Andrea Johnson, RN, CCTC.

Also visiting Downstate to provide support were New York State Chronic Kidney Disease Champions chief financial officer Stephanie Dixon and LiveOnNY staff Shani L. Audain, Joanne Luliucci, and Rene Mascoll.  



Shout Out to:

Francisco A. Colón, MSW as the Assistant Director of Enrollment & Onboarding Management in the School of Public Health. He will oversee the enrollment and onboarding processes at the SPH, contribute to student recruitment efforts, support student success and retention, and facilitate graduation and commencement activities. 

Chief experience officer Wren Lester, Ph.D., CPXP, XPHQ, for serving as a panelist on “Black Maternal Health and the Pandemic: From Surviving to Thriving.” The event was   sponsored by the Greater Newark Health Care Coalition, in partnership with the Essex and Morris County New Jersey Chapters of The Links Incorporated.  The Links is an international, not-for-profit volunteer service organization for civic-minded African-American women dedicated to impacting their communities.   

Department of Anesthesiology chair David Wlody, M.D., FASA, for being appointed by the New York State Board of Regents to its New York State Board of Medicine, for a five-year term that began in early April.  In this role, Dr. Wlody will assist the Board of Regents on professional licensing matters in accordance with duties specified by Article 131 of the New York State Education Law.  

Downstate’s BioBAT, for receiving a $1.1M grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration. The grant, which will be matched with $500K in local funds, was authorized under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. 

Click here for the article featured in the Brooklyn Eagle.

SPH Epidemiology DrPH student Shabitri Dasgupta, for being awarded the Alfred Stracher Student Author Research Award in recognition of her manuscript, “Assessing Targeted Invitation and Response Modes to Improve Survey Participation in a Diverse New York City Panel: Healthy NYC.” Ms. Dasgupta’s study was conducted as part of an internship with the New York City Epi Scholars program at the NYC       Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Ophthalmology, Neurology, and Physiology & Pharmacology professor Susana Martinez-Conde, Ph.D., for presenting a keynote address, “From Fixation to Exploration: An Integrative View of Oculomotor Function,” at the joint International Society of Neurogatronomy Symposium and Association for Chemoreception Sciences 44th Annual Meeting on April 20, 2022.

To COM student Susan Gong, another recipient of the New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM) summer 2022 research award. She received the Ferdinand C. Valentine Student Grant in Urology Research for “Phenotyping Nocturia in Hypertensives according to 24-Hour Urine Composition, Free Water Clearance, and Volume Status in a Racially Diverse Primary Care Population.” As Board Chair of NYAM, I am proud to congratulate Susan, and her faculty mentor Department of Urology professor and chairman Jeffrey P. Weiss, M.D., Ph.D., FACS


In case you missed it...

Here are our Editor’s Picks 

Forbes – Real Estate

Featuring: SUNY Downstate’s Incubators

CRE Gains New Life – In Life Science Centers – April 25, 2022


Harlem World

Featuring: SUNY Downstate president Wayne J. Riley, M.D., MPH, MBA, MACP, and College of Medicine dean F. Charles Brunicardi, M.D., FACS

SUNY Downstate College of Medicine as Students Successfully Match for Residency – April 25, 2022


BK Reader

Featuring: Obstetrics & Gynecology Health Equity director and Quality & Innovation vice-chair Christina Pardo, M.D., MPH

Community Conversation at Kings Theatre Explores Solutions Around Black Maternal Health – April 20, 2022


U.S. News & World Report

Featuring: Department of Medicine chair, Division of Nephrology chief and Kidney Transplant Program director Moro Salifu, M.D., MBA, MPH, MACP participated in a sponsored panel at the 51st Annual Legislative Conference of the New York State Association of Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislators 

U.S. News to highlight health equity data – April 8 - 10, 2022


The new issue of the Positive Community Magazine featuring an ad for our Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Read the full issue of Positive Community here.


Must-see Downstate TV…

SUNY Downstate AOA ETA Chapter of New York Annual Lecture 2022

Role modeling health equity: Theory and Practice. Featuring keynote speaker Carla Boutin-Foster, M.D.


Training the Next Generation of Healthcare Leaders

Learn more about the Downstate School of Public Health Masters of Healthcare Administration Program.


College of Medicine White Coat Ceremony: Presenting the Class of 2024, Session I & Session II.

The White Coat ceremony symbolizes medical students’ entry into the profession of medicine.  


Save the Date…


2nd Annual Conference on Plant-Based Health and Nutrition 

Plant Based Conference


Commencement Announcement


2nd Annual Brooklyn Stroke Symposium

Stroke Symposium



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