December 2023 Announcements

By Office of Communications & Marketing | Dec 1, 2023

Call for Nominations: 2023-2024 Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence in the Classified Service

photo of medal

Deadline: Friday, January 26, 2024

The SUNY Downstate Selection Committee, chaired by Cheryl Rolston, Chief Nursing Officer, invites you to nominate Classified Service employees for special recognition by the SUNY Chancellor!

union logos

Nominees must meet the following criteria:

  • Member of the Classified Services, i.e. CSEA, PEF, NYSCOPBA or PBA-NYS employee;
  • Minimum three (3) continuous years of service;
  • Outstanding achievement, skill and commitment to excellence within their role; and
  • Demonstrated excellence in activities beyond the scope of their job description.

The ideal candidate will demonstrate creativity and flexibility in performing their duties to meet campus needs, with special consideration given to employees who consistently provide exemplary customer service to students, staff, patients and other members of the campus community.

poster imageNominations must be submitted to your respective Vice President representative by no later than close of business Friday, January 26, 2024.

For more information, please see:

P.S. Please print out & display the official poster in a conspicuous spot within your Department.

Nominate a Student for the 2024 SUNY Chancellor’s Award | Annual Dean’s Awards for Comprehensive Student Excellence

Each year the State University of New York honors students from across the State University of New York with the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence. At Downstate, we have expanded that process to include up to one potential nominee from each of our five schools and colleges to win the annual Dean’s Award for Comprehensive Student Excellence. Dean’s Award winners are then considered to be one of Downstate’s two nominees for the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence.

The Dean's Awards for Comprehensive Student Excellence acknowledges students who have received recognition for outstanding achievement in multiple areas. We are seeking nominations of students who have best demonstrated and been recognized for the integration of academic excellence with other aspects of their lives. Students nominated for this award are expected to have excelled in, at a minimum, academics, leadership through campus and community activities, campus involvement, community service, and career achievements. (Nominee must meet each of these criteria.) The committee also considers excellence in the creative and/or performing arts, and/or athletics (but these categories are not required). Students who achieve this honor for the 2024 award must have a graduation date from Downstate between June 2023 and May 2024.

Nominations for this honor must include the following:

  • A nomination letter which includes examples of the student’s achievements in all of the following areas: academics, leadership through campus and community activities, campus involvement, community service, and career achievements. (The nomination letter must specify how they meet each of these categories.) In addition, achievements in the creative and/or performing arts, and/or athletics, if applicable, should also be added to the nomination.

The nomination can include (but does not require) additional letters of support of the nomination.

  • A copy of the nominee’s resume or list of activities (if available) should also be included.

Please submit your nominations to Dr. Jeffrey Putman, Ed.D., Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, via email to no later than Friday, January 5, 2024.

Third Vesting Period Health Care Workers Bonus

On check dated 12/20/23, the Third Vesting Period for the Health Care Workers Bonus will be paid to eligible employees that meet the third vesting period criteria from 10/1/22-3/31/23. 

Per guidelines from Department of Budget Bulletin, please be aware that the maximum amount that an employee can receive is $500 - $3,000. If an employee has already received his/her allotted amount, she/he will not be eligible for additional payments.  The payment is based on your status as a part-time, full-time, or hourly worker.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Employees must be in a Qualified Title, Qualified Location, and Qualified Services during the vesting period mentioned above
  • Employees must be continuously employed during the vesting period
  • Employees with Disciplinary Leave are not eligible
  • During the vesting period, employees with an Annual Compensation Rate code, salaries that exceed $125,000.00 are not eligible (overtime & Extra Services are not included)
  • During the vesting period, employees with an Hourly Compensation Rate code, salaries that exceed $62,500.00 are not eligible

SUNY Downstate Mourns a Loss

photo of Anastasiia and Alexander Bulakhov

Dr. Alexander Bulakhov, a post-doctoral scientist in Cell Biology who recently began working at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, tragically lost his life on November 12 while defending his family from robbers during a walk in Downtown Memphis. Dr. Bulakhov left SUNY Downstate in July to move to Memphis. This devastating news has deeply affected his former Downstate colleagues. A GoFundMe page has been created to help support his wife, Anastasiia, who was also a cell biology laboratory scientist, and his 2-year-old daughter, Barbara, in this difficult time.

If you would like to contribute, please contact for how you can help.

Health Insurance Option Transfer Period, Pre-Tax Program, an Health Insurance Opt-Out Program (2024)

The Employees Benefits Division (EBD) of the Department of Civil Service (DCS) has announced that the Option transfer Period for health insurance changes runs from November 30 to December 29, 2023. Changes made during this period will go into effect for the calendar year 2024. This period is not for “New Enrollment”. New enrollment can be done at any time during an employee’s employment with the New York State.

Option Transfer Period: 

During the 2024 Option Transfer period, an employee may change his/her NYSHIP health insurance option from or to: The Empire Plan, or HIP of New York, cancel coverage or delete dependents, make changes to the Pre-tax Contribution, and/or OPT-OUT of health insurance for a dollar value, if eligible. 

In September, DCS mailed information describing each of the specific programs above to an employee’s home address on file. If you did not receive the Planning for Option Transfer report from the DCS or require clarification of the information, you may contact the Benefits Office, by calling (718) 270-3015 or email  Also, please take this opportunity to ensure that the address on file in the Benefits Office is correct for future mailings.

Health Insurance Opt-out Program

The Opt-Out Program allows eligible CSEA, PEF, Management Confidential (M/C), NYSCOPBA and PBANYS employees, who have ‘other’ employer-sponsored group health insurance, to opt out of their NYSHIP coverage in exchange for an incentive payment. On an annual basis, employees will receive incentive payments totaling $1,000 for Individual coverage or $3,000 for Family coverage. The incentive amount of $38.47 for Individual coverage ($1,000/26 paychecks) or $115.39 for Family coverage ($3,000/26 paychecks) will be credited to the employee’s bi-weekly paycheck and will be treated as taxable income.

As defined by the Dept. of Civil Service, “other” means an employer sponsored group health insurance provided through employment outside of any New York State Government Agency.

Eligibility Criteria for Opt-out Incentive Payment: 

Employees must meet the eligibility criteria to receive the Opt-out incentive payment:

  • Must currently participate in the Opt-out Program; or
  • Must have been continuously enrolled in NYSHIP, as a State employee, on April 1, 2023, or on the date first eligible for NYSHIP if that date is after April 1, 2023 through the end of the plan year; and
  • Must provide plan information on employer or benefits letterhead, and can attest to having other employer sponsored group health insurance in effect for the Opt-Out period, which begins January 1, 2024.

Employees who are currently enroll in NYSHIP and wish to continue participation in the Opt-Out Program for 2024 are no longer required to make an annual re-election.  

Opting Out for Newly Eligible Employees:

  • An employee who is newly eligible to enroll in NYSHIP and wishes to participate in the Opt-out Program must make the election no later than the first date of his/her eligibility for NYSHIP benefits, (after 28 days waiting period has been satisfied).
  • A newly eligible employee is one who was not previously eligible for NYSHIP benefits as an employee of New York State.
  • An employee who is newly eligible for the Opt-Out Program due to changes in the bargaining unit may elect to participate in the Program within 30 days of the effective date of the bargaining unit change.
  • An employee who is transferring from one State agency to another within one year is not considered as newly eligible, unless the employee was previously working in a non-benefits eligible position or in a bargaining unit not eligible for the Opt-out Program.
  • A new eligible employee must complete both a PS 409 Opt-out Attestation Form, and the PS 404 NYS Health Insurance Transaction Form.

Incentive payments to employees participating in the Opt-out Program will begin on January 4, 2024.


Pre-Tax Contribution Election Period (PTCP)

The Pre-tax Contribution Program (PTCP) now runs concurrently with the Option Transfer Period dates and ends close of business December 29th, 2023. This period allows an employee to change the status of his/her health insurance premium deductions from post–tax to pre-tax or pre-tax to post-tax based on an employees’ preference.

The dead-line for these changes is close of business December 29, 2023. No document will be accepted after this date.  Attached to this memo is a PS 404 for changes to health insurance and Pre-Tax, and PS 409 to decline or enroll in the OPT-OUT Program.

Email completed application to, faxed to 718-221-5722 or call 718-270-3015 for assistance.

2024 NYS Health Insurance Program (NYSHIP) Rates
Employee Health Insurance Deduction Per Bi-Weekly Paycheck

NYS Empire Plan (001)

Individual Coverage

Family Coverage

MC, UUP, CSEA, PEF, PBANY, NYSCOPBA, – SG- 09 & below – $49,403



MC, UUP, CSEA, PEF, PBANY, NYSCOPBA, -- SG- 10 & above – $49,403




Individual Coverage

Family Coverage

MC, UUP, CSEA, PEF, PBANY, NYSCOPBA – SG- 09 & below – $49,403



MC, UUP, CSEA, PEF, PBANY, NYSCOPBA, – SG- 10 & above – $49,403 & above



Changes to FMLA and ADA Administration

We hope this message finds you well. The Department of Human Resources wishes to inform you of some important changes in the administration of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) within our organization.

Effective immediately, the responsibilities for managing FMLA requests will transition to the Benefits Department. This team will be dedicated to ensuring a smooth and efficient process for employees seeking leave under FMLA. If you have any questions or need assistance specifically related to FMLA, please reach out to the Benefits Department at

Simultaneously, the Office of Employee and Labor Relations will now be responsible for handling matters related to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This includes accommodation requests and any issues related to ADA compliance. For any inquiries or support regarding ADA, please contact the Office of Employee and Labor Relations at (718) 270-3019, or by email at

We believe that this realignment of responsibilities will enhance our ability to provide support for both FMLA and ADA, ensuring that employees receive the necessary guidance and assistance in a timely manner.

We appreciate your cooperation during this transition. If you have any concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Department of Human Resources at for further assistance.

Thank you for your understanding and continued commitment to making Downstate Health Sciences University a great place to work.

Reminder About Engaging Elected and Public Officials for Campus and Other Activites

Now that Election Day has come and gone, we would like to remind the SUNY Downstate community of the importance of understanding the rules for engaging elected and other public officials at our campus and the University Hospital at Downstate. Downstate’s Office of Government & Community Relations serves as the primary liaison with government officials and manages interactions with city, state, and federal entities. 

Ms. Alishia Goodridge, Assistant Vice President of Government & Community Relations, is the designated point of contact for all University-related communications with government and other public officials. Individuals seeking to communicate with elected officials on behalf of Downstate Health Sciences University (including extending invitations to the campus for any reason) must first contact Ms. Goodridge, who will ensure strategic interactions are appropriately aligned with Downstate’s interests and collective advocacy efforts. 

Adherence to this guidance is vital as we are an agency of the state of New York. This guidance also seeks to ensure clarity and accurate representation arising from uncoordinated contact with government and community organizations.

Ms. Goodridge can be reached via email at or by phone at 718-270-3866.

2024 Holiday Schedule for Management Confidential, CSEA and PEF Employees

The state of New York has designated the following dates as holidays in 2024:

New Year’s Day Monday January 1, 2024
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Monday January 15, 2024
Lincoln's Birthday Monday February 12, 2024
Washington's Birthday (Observed)* Monday February 19, 2024
Memorial Day Monday May 27, 2024
Juneteenth Wednesday June 19, 2024
Independence Day Thursday July 4, 2024
Labor Day Monday September 2, 2024
Columbus Day Monday October 14, 2024
Election Day Tuesday November 5, 2024
Veterans’ Day Monday November 11, 2024
Thanksgiving Day Thursday November 28, 2024
Christmas Day Wednesday December 25, 2024

       *  Also known as Presidents’ Day

The State has designated Lincoln’s Birthday (Monday, February 12, 2024) and Election Day (Tuesday, November 5, 2024) as floating holidays for M/C, CSEA, and PEF employees. Downstate will be open for business as usual on these dates. Eligible part-time employees are credited with floating holidays if they are scheduled to work or are directed to work on either of the above dates. 

M/C, CSEA, and PEF employees eligible to observe holidays will receive compensatory time off for holidays scheduled on a pass day if they are not assigned to work. CSEA and PEF employees eligible to observe holidays and are required to work on a holiday will receive additional compensation, or if elected to waive such additional compensation, employees will receive compensatory time off. M/C employees eligible to observe holidays but are required to work on a holiday will receive a compensatory day off. 

Compensatory days off shall be subject to applicable rules governing annual leave, and, where specified by the applicable collective bargaining agreement, shall be forfeited unless used within 1-year from the date time is accrued.  

If additional information is needed, please contact the Office of Employee & Labor Relations at extension 3019.

View PDF

2024 Holiday Schedule for UUP Employees

The following dates are designated as holidays for the 2023-2024 academic year:

Labor Day Monday September 4, 2023
Columbus Day Monday October 9, 2023
Election Day* Tuesday November 7, 2023
Veterans' Day Saturday November 11, 2023
Thanksgiving Day Thursday November 23, 2023
Christmas Day Monday December 25, 2023
New Year's Day Monday January 1, 2024
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Monday January 15, 2024
Lincoln's Birthday* Monday February 12, 2024
Washington's Birthday (Observed) Monday February 19, 2024
Memorial Day Monday May 27, 2024
Juneteenth Wednesday June 19, 2024
Independence Day Thursday July 4, 2024

*Election Day (Tues., Nov. 7, 2023) and Lincoln's Birthday (Mon., Feb. 12, 2024) have been designated as floating holidays. Downstate will be open for business as usual on floating holidays. Employees scheduled to work must obtain prior supervisory approval to observe these holidays or alternative days.

Employees (including part-time) eligible to observe holidays but are required to work on a holiday (i.e. where clinical and other services/operations are open) will receive compensatory time off for each holiday worked (1.5 compensatory days for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and 1 compensatory day for New Year’s Day), or, if they have elected to waive such compensatory time, additional compensation of equivalent value for work on those holidays. Employees eligible to observe holidays will receive compensatory time off for holidays scheduled on Saturday, i.e. Veteran’s Day, if they are not scheduled to work. Compensatory days off shall be scheduled at times mutually agreeable to the employee and the University and must be used within 1-year of accrual. Please contact the Office of Employee and Labor Relations at extension 3019 for more information.

View PDF

NYS OFPC Annual Fire Safety Inspection

The NYS Office of Fire Prevention & Control will conduct their inspection on the following dates:

  • December 4 to December 15, 2023

It takes all of us working together to increase our fire safety awareness and maintain a safe campus.  In preparation for a successful inspection, we have compiled a list of the most common inspection items for you to reference while inspecting your area.  We have also included a solution for you to put in place to become compliant.

THINGS YOU CAN DO:                                                                                                      Item: Piggybacked surge suppressors
Solution: In place of multiple surge protectors plugged into each other - use one surge protector with a long cord plugged directly into a wall outlet

Item: Extension cords used as permanent wiring
Solution: The use of extension cords is prohibited.  Remove all extensions cords from devices, such as computers, televisions, refrigerators, etc.

Item: Fire and smoke doors chocked in the open position
Solution: Remove all chocks and keep doors closed (i.e. exit doors, staircases, corridor double doors, etc.)

Item: Required width of egress not maintained
Solution: Remove all storage from corridors and areas of egress

Item: Combustible material accumulation in building
Solution: All storage should be stored neatly in cabinets, closets, filing cabinets or on a desk, not stored on the floor

Item: Unsecured compressed gas cylinders

Solution: Secure or fasten cylinders to wall or inserted in cylinder crates

Item: Storage height

Solution: Storage should be maintained 24” or more below ceiling in non-sprinklered areas and not less than 18” below sprinkler heads in sprinklered areas

If there are any questions regarding the inspection or fire-safety concerns contact the Office of Environmental Health & Safety at 718-270-2395 or 718-270-1216.

Upcoming Events


TIAA logo

Meet with a TIAA financial consultant at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

No matter where you are in life—just getting started or planning for retirement—a session with Stephen Baumeister can help you create a plan for your goals. And, it's at no cost as a part of your retirement plan. You’ll get answers to these questions and more:

  • Am I invested in the right mix of investments to help meet my goals?
  • Am I saving enough to create the retirement income I need?
  • How do I take income from my retirement account once I stop working?

TIAA will be available these dates and times for one-on-one sessions.

Date Time Location
Thursday, Dec 14, 2023 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 450 Clarkson Avenue, Brooklyn, New York,11203 Classroom 2D
 Tuesday, Dec 19, 2023 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 450 Clarkson Avenue, Brooklyn, New York,11203 Classroom 5B
 Thursday, Jan 11, 2024 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 450 Clarkson Avenue, Brooklyn, New York,11203 Classroom 2D
 Tuesday, Jan 16, 2024 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 450 Clarkson Avenue, Brooklyn, New York,11203 Classroom 2D

date iconRSVP today, as space is limited. Register for sessions at or by call- ing 800-732-8353, weekdays, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (ET).. We look forward to working with you.

This material is for informational or educational purposes only and does not constitute fiduciary investment advice under ERISA, a securities recommendation under all securities laws, or an insurance product recommendation under state insurance laws or regulations. This material does not take into account any specific objectives or circumstances of any particular investor, or suggest any specific course of action. Investment decisions should be made based on the investor’s own objectives and circumstances.

Investment, insurance, and annuity products are not FDIC insured, are not bank guaranteed, are not bank deposits, are not insured by any
federal government agency, are not a condition to any banking service or activity, and may lose value.

The TIAA group of companies does not offer tax advice. See your tax advisor regarding your particular situation.

TIAA-CREF Individual & Institutional Services, LLC, Member FINRA, distributes securities products. Annuity contracts and certificates are issued by Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA) and College Retirement Equities Fund (CREF), New York, NY. Each is solely responsible for its own financial condition and contractual obligations.

Corebridge Financial - Updated Onsite & Virtual Meeting Schedule

2 people boating

In preparation to meet retirement and financial goals, employees are encouraged to sign up for appointments being offered by AIG. Employees in the TDA program are also welcome as there will be some valuable information. AIG Retirement Services is now Corebridge Financial.

Now is a great time to take action for your financial future  - Free Financial Planning

Schedule a time to meet to make sure you’re on track for the retirement you want. 

When we meet, we can discuss:

  • The benefits of enrolling in your workplace retirement plan
  • How to boost your overall financial wellness
  • What your retirement income picture looks like – Thorough Financial analysis
  • Your broader financial/retirement  goals so we can put a plan in place to help you get there 

We can meet in person at a time that is convenient for you. 

Click here to schedule an appointment



  • Wednesday, December 13th

Time:   7:45 AM to 2:00 PM
(45 minute appointments available)
Location:  Downstate Student Library - 1st Floor OR your Office


  • Thursday, Dec. 7th
  • Thursday, Dec. 14th
  • Monday, Dec. 18th

Location: Microsoft Teams Meeting, Link sent after registration

Need help? Contact us. 

With Corebridge, you get help from a financial professional at no extra cost – plus access to our tools and resources. 

Richard Grofsick, CFP®
Financial Advisor

Direct: 973.902.8488
Office: 603.594.8340 

307 Fellowship Road, Suite 205
Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054


Michael L. Grofsick
Financial Planning Advisor

Direct: 973-461-3834
Client Care: 800.448.2542

307 Fellowship Road, Suite 205
Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054


Mike R Grofsick
Financial Advisor

Direct: 631.241.0493
Client Care: 800.448.2542

307 Fellowship Road, Suite 205
Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054


Securities and investment advisory services are offered through VALIC Financial Advisors, Inc., member FINRA, SIPC and an SEC-registered investment adviser and its Registered Representatives. Annuities are issued by The Variable Annuity Life Insurance Company (VALIC), Houston, TX. Variable annuities distributed by its affiliate, AIG Capital Services, Inc., member FINRA. All companies above are wholly owned subsidiaries of Corebridge Financial, Inc. Corebridge Retirement Services, Corebridge Financial and Corebridge are marketing names used by these companies.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: If you have received this communication in error, please do not use or disseminate the information, permanently and securely destroy all electronic and paper copies, and notify the sender immediately. Mis-transmission is not intended to waive confidentiality or privilege, if applicable. Corebridge Financial, Inc. (“Corebridge”) reserves the right, to the extent required and/or permitted under applicable law, to monitor electronic communications, including telephone calls with Corebridge personnel. By communicating with Corebridge, you acknowledge that you have read, understand and consent (where applicable), to the foregoing. You may have certain rights regarding the information that Corebridge collects about you. Please see our privacy notices available at the following link: for more information about your rights and how we process your personal information.

SPH Upcoming Info Session

Tuesday, December 5, 2023
3:00 PM - 4:30 PM

Mentoring & Research Spotlight

At SUNY Downstate, School of Public Health we train the next generation of public health leaders and professionals to improve the overall health of communities. We do that by developing strong ties to our surrounding community and building community within the institution. At our next SPH Info Session, we will be focusing on “Mentoring & Research Opportunities.”  

Tuesday, December 5 at 3:00 pm, join us to learn more about the admissions process, academic departments, and hear from our Faculty Feature, Dr. Anika Daniels-Osaze, Associate Dean for Education and Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Health Policy & Management. 

We look forward to you becoming a member of this amazing and impactful community. See you then!

Register for access to the session

Join Us for Our Menorah Lighting

Thursday, December 7, 2023
5:30 PM

Menorah Lighting

Dean's Lecture Series | 4th Edition 2023-2024

Wednesday December 20th 2023
5:00 PM

December SOHP Lecture

Holidays / Observances


December 26, 2023
Christmas Day

Days & Weeks

Dec 1: World AIDS Day

Dec 1-7: Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week

Dec 3: International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Dec 4-8: National Influenza Vaccination Week

Dec 5–11: National Handwashing Awareness Week

Dec 4-8: National Influenza Vaccination Week

Dec 6: National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women


Colorectal Cancer Education and Awareness Month

Gift of Sight Month

Global Health Engagement (Armed Services)

International AIDS Awareness Month

National Impaired Driving Prevention Month

National Safe Toys and Gifts Month

Seasonal Depression Awareness Month

Universal Human Rights Month

World AIDS Month

Worldwide Food Service Safety Month


Days & Weeks

Dec 3-9: National Older Driver Safety Awareness Week

Dec 3 – 24: Advent (Christian)

Dec 5: International Volunteers Day

Dec 7-15: Hanukkah (sunset to sunset) (Judaism)

Dec 8: Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Roman Catholic)

Dec 8: Rohatsu / Bohdi Day (Buddhism)

Dec 10: Nobel Prize Day

Dec 10: United Nations International Human Rights Day

Dec 12: Our Lady of Guadalupe (Christian)

Dec 13: Birthday of Imam Aga Khan (Islam)

Dec 15: United States Bill of Rights Day

Dec 16 – 24: Las Posadas

Dec 21: Yule/Winter Solstice (may be observed Dec 19-23)

Dec 22: Fast of Tevet 10 (Judaism)

Dec 24: Christmas Eve (Christianity)

Dec 25: Christmas Day (Christianity)

Dec 25: Rohini Vrat (Jainism)

Dec 26 – Zartosht-No-Diso (Zoroastrianism)

Dec 26: Boxing Day (Commonwealth Holiday)

Dec 26: St/ Stephen’s Day (Christian)

Dec 26: Sanghamitta Day (Buddhism)

Dec 26-First Day of Kwanzaa (African American heritage)

Dec 29: Wounded Knee Day of Reflection

Dec 31: New Year’s Eve


The President's Bulletin resumes immediately after the new year.

Happy Holidays!


Check back for regular updates to this page!

* New information highlighted in yellow *