August 2023 Announcements

By Office of Communications & Marketing | Aug 1, 2023

Department of Emergency Medicine Notice of Personnel Change

Downstate HealthFollowing the resignation from Downstate of Dr. Ninfa Mehta, Dr. Cynthia Benson has agreed to serve as the Interim Medical Director of the UHD Emergency Department.

Dr. Benson joined the Department of Emergency Medicine as an Assistant Professor in 2020 and served as a resident and chief resident at Downstate/Kings County Hospital Center from 2008-2012. Dr. Benson will continue serving as the UHD ED's Quality Director.

We will post for a permanent position of Medical Director and soon begin the search to fill this critical position.

We look forward to working with and supporting Dr. Benson in this temporary expanded role.

Downstate Assembly Faculty and Professional Staff Special Election Results

Special Election results

Recognizing National Immunization Awareness Month

immunizationAugust is National Immunization Awareness Month, and we want to remind everyone about the importance of getting appropriate vaccines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that thousands of American adults become ill each year from diseases that can be prevented through vaccinations.

Three years into the pandemic, COVID infections are still occurring, and we must remain vigilant in protecting ourselves and our loved ones. We encourage you to do so if you have not been vaccinated against COVID. Since bivalent boosters became available, over two million doses have been administered to New Yorkers.

For parents and guardians of minor children, it is vital to raise awareness of the importance of childhood immunizations. Vaccines have been scientifically proven to prevent various illnesses that were once prevalent and dangerous. Diseases like measles, whooping cough, and polio, which used to pose significant threats, can now be prevented through vaccination. Childhood vaccines protect children early on and contribute to their long-term health. Immunizations reduce the risk of complications and chronic health issues arising from preventable diseases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends routine vaccination to prevent 17 vaccine-preventable diseases in infants, children, adolescents, and adults. Here are some important reminders:

  • Check your vaccination status:  Ensure you and your loved ones are up-to-date with all recommended vaccinations.
  • Talk to a healthcare provider:  If you have concerns about vaccinations, consult a healthcare professional for personalized guidance.
  • Educate others: Spread awareness among your family, friends, and colleagues about the importance of vaccines and their benefits.
  • Come together as a community:  Prioritize vaccinations to create a healthier and safer environment for everyone.
National Immunization Awareness Month

Michael H. Augenbraun, M.D., Professor of Medicine, Vice Chair, Department of Medicine, and Director of the Infectious Diseases Division, explains the importance of immunizations in this critical message.

University Physicians of Brooklyn Welcomes New Chief Financial Officer

University Physicians of Brooklyn

Matthew MielzcarekThe University Physicians of Brooklyn Board of Trustees welcomes Matthew Mielczarek as the new Chief Financial Officer of the University Physicians of Brooklyn team. 

Matthew is an experienced healthcare financial executive with over twenty years of expertise. At Summit Health, where he spent most of his career, he moved up in leadership roles from billing to accounts payable. Matthew served as Interim Controller managing a budget of over $500M, including over 500 physicians, both contracted and employed. He collaborated with all external and internal stakeholders, helping create partnerships to further business strategies and growth initiatives with relevant information, modeling, and education.  

As the CFO, Matthew, a graduate of Rutgers Business School, will direct the organization's fiscal functions, including financial planning and budgeting. He is responsible for directing the fiscal functions of UPB, including leading the UPB clinical departments in managing a $65 million budget. He will also oversee fiscal planning, budgeting, financial audits, and controls.

We also thank Alan Dzija for his dedication and expertise as Chief Financial Officer for UPB over the past six years. Alan's journey with UPB began as Interim CFO during a critical period when we needed solid financial leadership. His decision to step up and fill this gap showcased his commitment to the organization's success from the beginning.

Before joining UPB, Alan served as CFO at SUNY Downstate, where he acquired extensive and diverse experience in healthcare financial management. When asked to join UPB, Alan graciously took on the leadership role, providing a depth of specific expertise, even staying much longer than he initially promised. 

Please join us in welcoming Matthew to his new role and thanking Alan for his service.

Dean Escallier Re-Elected to the CCNE Board of Commissioners

Lori Escallier, PhDCongratulations to Lori A. Escallier, Ph.D., RN, CPNP-PC, FAAN, Dean and Professor of the College of Nursing on her re-election to the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) Board of Commissioners in the chief nurse administrator role.

The CCNE is an autonomous accrediting agency, contributing to the improvement of the public's health.  CCNE strives to promote the quality and integrity of baccalaureate, graduate, and residency/fellowship programs in nursing and serves the public interest by assessing and identifying programs that engage in effective educational practices. 

Dr. Escallier was first appointed to the CCNE Board of Commissioners in 2021, and through national election was appointed to a second and final term. Dr. Escallier also currently serves as Co-chair of the CCNE Report Review Committee, and is an active member of the CCNE Standards Committee. 

Kudos to Dean Escallier on her re-election to the CCNE Board of Commissioners. We are grateful for her continued contributions at Downstate and the accolades she has received for all her amazing work in transforming the future of nursing.

We Bid Stanley Friedman, M.D., PH.D., A Fond Farewell After 58 Years of Service to SUNY Downstate

Dr. Friedman & Dr. RileyStanley Friedman, Ph.D., Distinguished Teaching Professor, Physiology and Pharmacology, has announced his retirement as a Downstate faculty member and Director of the M.D./Ph.D. program, effective August 3, 2023.

In May of this year, I honored Dr. Friedman as our longest-serving employee and presented him with a fitting accessory for a retired Downstate faculty member. Dr. Friedman celebrated his 58th year at SUNY Downstate and has decided to relax and retire to enjoy more quality time with family and friends.

Dr. Friedman’s medical career began with his NYU College of Medicine degree earned in 1959 when Dwight D. Eisenhower was president, movie tickets were $1, gas was $0.25 a gallon, and homes cost around $12,400!

Dr. Friedman completed his residency at Grace-New Haven Community Hospital—today known as Yale New Haven Hospital—and post-graduate work in Biochemistry at Oxford University. He was a research associate for the National Institutes of Mental Health in the Department of Cellular Physiology and the Department of Molecular Biology & Biophysics at Yale University. Dr. Friedman joined SUNY Downstate in 1965, serving as Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and later moving on to leadership positions as professor and acting chair in the Department of Pharmacology.

For over two decades, Dr. Friedman served as director of the M.D./Ph.D. program and previously as assistant dean and senior associate dean for education. His outstanding contributions to Downstate have been in teaching and administration, where he served as acting Chair of Pharmacology from 1984 to 1990, having served on countless committees. He has also served as a liaison with the American Association of Medical Colleges and LCME.

Dr. Friedman is immensely proud of his graduates’ success, many significantly contributing to their respective fields. The growth and accomplishments of his graduates served as a source of motivation for Dr. Friedman, reaffirming his passion for teaching and guiding the next generation of professionals. As a mentor, he enjoyed staying in touch with his alum network, hearing about their achievements, and offering support whenever needed.

We collectively acknowledge the indelible mark that Dr. Friedman has left on the scientific landscape and the lives of those touched during such an extraordinary career in scientific exploration and discovery and a testament to the transformative power of his curiosity and dedication.

Dr. Friedman has amassed many honors and accolades that include Alpha Omega Alpha, Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi, and a Distinguished Teaching Award (2007). His society memberships include the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, the New York Academy of Science, and the Harvey Society. He is a former Visiting Nurses Association board member and president of the Kane Street Synagogue in Brooklyn. He is also a well-published scholar and scientist.

On behalf of SUNY Downstate Health Science University’s students, faculty, and staff, we thank Dr. Friedman for 58 years of dedication and commitment to prioritizing healthcare and research for our community. We wish him the greatest for a well-earned retirement.

Introducing Your HR Team

Human Resources Orginizational Chart

As part of our ongoing commitment to customer service, transparency, and enhancement of the workplace environment, we are pleased to introduce (or reintroduce!) you to your HR staff.  

The attached HR Table of Organization outlines the structure and roles within our HR department. It will help you understand the specific areas of responsibility and expertise of each HR team member. We believe that clarity in our organizational structure will enable more effective communication and assistance for all your HR-related needs. 

In our endeavor to foster communication and efficient HR assistance, we have also compiled a contact list of our HR team members. This list includes names, titles, and contact information for each HR representative, making it easier for you to reach out to the relevant person whenever you need support, guidance, or clarification.  

We also want to take this opportunity to emphasize that our HR department operates under an open-door policy. This means that we are always available to lend a listening ear, address your concerns, and collaborate with you to find effective solutions. Your well-being and professional growth are of utmost importance to us, and we encourage you to feel comfortable approaching any member of our HR team with your inquiries, feedback, or suggestions. 

Above all else, please remember that our primary objective is to serve and support our staff members. We are committed to creating an inclusive and respectful workplace environment where everyone can thrive and contribute to the success of our institution. Your dedication and hard work inspire us daily, and we are here to ensure you have the resources and assistance needed to excel in your roles. 

If you have any questions or require further information about this email or any other HR-related matters, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us individually or at our main email address:

Thank you for your dedication and support. We look forward to our continued partnership in helping to create a positive and fulfilling work environment for everyone. 

View The Human Resources Contacts

Register Today For An Upcoming AVERT Active Shooter Training

AVERT, short for Active Violence Emergency Response Training goes beyond active shooter training by teaching emergency bleeding control techniques, warning signs of a potential aggressor, quick response in a violent situation, escape, evade, or attack in critical seconds during an event, and staff confidence needed to respond. University Hospital at Downstate is now a training center with 14 certified instructors that includes staff from Emergency Management, University Police, the HAZMAT team, and the ED.

Please RSVP by using the link below to register for an upcoming Active Shooter Training:

UPD Announce Evolv Weapons Detection System (Evolv)

In response to the seemingly endless tragic mass shootings nationwide, the President’s Office has instructed University Police Department (UPD) to impose greater rigor in screenings at the various entrances to our campus, including enhancing technology to improve safety for all constituent groups. As such, UPD is proud to announce the deployment of the Evolv Weapons Detection System (Evolv) throughout the campus.  

Evolv is a non-intrusive system that balances a new approach in technology with the community's needs and understanding the role that security measures play in reducing anxiety and improving safety on campus. The system incorporates state-of-the-art weapons detection that identifies weapons while ignoring harmless personal items as students, staff, patients, and visitors enter at a natural pace. This technology has been employed around the state, including at other SUNY campuses. We want to ensure that we are doing everything possible to keep each member of the Downstate community safe. 

Regardless of these new measures, always remember that safety is a shared responsibility. If you hear, see, or have an alarming or unusual experience on or near the campus, it is vital that you immediately contact UPD at X-2626 or from a non-campus phone at (718) 270-2626. If you are off campus, dial 911 for emergency assistance. Timely reporting can help prevent crimes or other incidents.

UPDATE: Wearing Masks in the Hospital and Clinical Areas

Back to work logo

As of now, we will not screen staff or visitors at the entrance utilizing WellScreen or with hand-held devices. If any employee has any symptoms related to COVID-19, please report to Employee Health Service.

Masks are to be worn on all inpatient nursing units, the Emergency Department, procedure areas, diagnostic testing areas, Student Health Center, Employee Health Service, and all outpatient clinics. 

Masking will no longer be required in first-floor corridors, lobbies, the cafeteria, break rooms, conference rooms, and offices. 

Staff who elect to wear face masks should continue to feel comfortable doing so.

It is strongly recommended that staff, patients, and visitors with respiratory symptoms wear a face mask and practice respiratory etiquette. 

The Infection Control Office actively monitors the situation and will adjust the hospital masking policy accordingly. Our paramount concern remains with the safety of our patients, visitors, and staff. 

We thank everyone for their continued dedication and cooperation.

Upcoming Events

Meet With Your Fidelity Workplace Financial Consultant

Meet with WFC Combo event Flyer

SUNY Startup Summer School Class of 2023 Demo Day University at Albany, ETEC

August 9, 2023
3:00 pm - 6:30 pm


SUNY Startup Summer School culminates with a Demo Day Celebration, where over a dozen selected teams will pitch their ventures and compete for $100,000 in SUNY Technology Accelerator Fund Catalyst Investments. The Demo Day pitches will be judged by investors and venture development professionals who work closely with early-stage startups.

The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. You will not want to miss it!

Please RSVP by Monday, August 7.


meet the team at suny startup

University at Albany, ETEC Building
1220 Washington Ave, Albany, NY 12226

Enter "ETEC Building" into Google Maps and select the first option. Parking is free!

Demo Day will start promptly at 3 pm.
Please arrive early.
There will be a networking reception following the pitches after the winners are announced.

If you have any questions regarding Demo Day, please email

Join Us for Nursing Grand Rounds

Thursday, August 17th, 2023
12:30 PM - 1:30 PM
Lecture Hall 6 - Basic Science Building

Nursing Grand Rounds

View the Flyer

Community Healthy Lifestyle Fair

Saturday, September 9th, 2023
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
445 Lenox Road (at Brooklyn Ave.)

Health Fair Poster

Visit the Event Website

School of Health Professions Dean's Lecture Series - 4th Edition 2023-2024 "Telehealth"

Dean's Lecture Series

View the PDF


Check back for regular updates to this page!

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