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SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 26, 2021
MEDIA CONTACT: Sefanit Befekadu | sefanit.befekadu@downstate.edu| 718-270-3702

SUNY Downstate President Wayne J. Riley, M.D. To Receive National Humanism in Medicine Medal At The 2021 Arnold P. Gold Foundation Annual Gala

Chief Medical Advisor to President Biden Dr. Anthony Fauci, and renowned molecular cardiologist Dr. Eric Topol will also receive National Humanism in Medicine Medals

January 25, 2021: Brooklyn, NY—The Arnold P. Gold Foundation recently announced that Gold Foundation Board Member and SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University president Wayne J. Riley, M.D., will receive the National Humanism in Medicine Medal at its 2021 Gala.

Joining Dr. Riley in receiving this distinguished leadership honor are Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Chief Medical Advisor to President Biden, and Dr. Eric Topol, renowned molecular cardiologist, and researcher.

“I am exceptionally grateful to the Gold Foundation and am honored to be recognized alongside these stellar leaders of American medicine,” said Dr. Riley. “Humanism and compassion are both core attributes to the effective practice of medicine and are especially critical now, as we care for patients, their families, and communities during the pandemic.” 

“We are thrilled to honor these three national leaders, all of whom have been beacons of trust, scientific excellence, and compassion in the COVID-19 pandemic, and through them, recognize the great contributions to America of all healthcare professionals on the front lines,” said Richard C. Sheerr, Chairman of the Gold Foundation Board of Trustees.

Dr. Wayne J. Riley is the 17th president of SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University, the only academic medical center in Brooklyn. Downstate’s footprint includes the University Hospital of Brooklyn, College of Medicine, College of Nursing, School of Health Professions, a School of Graduate Studies, a School of Public Health, and a multifaceted biotechnology initiative. Dr. Riley is also Professor of Medicine, College of Medicine and Professor of Health Policy & Management, School of Public Health.

In 2020, he was named the Chairman of the New York Academy of Medicine, the first African American to lead the Board of Trustees in its 173-year history. As a Board member, Dr. Riley significantly impacted the academy’s strategic plans, including its new Action Agenda for Health Equity, and helped guide the institution to respond with vigor to the public health crisis of COVID-19 and social justice issues. Additionally, in 2020, he was appointed to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), a nonpartisan congressional agency that provides the U.S. Congress with analysis and policy advice on the Medicare program. Dr. Riley joined the board of The Arnold P. Gold Foundation in 2018 and serves as Secretary of the Board of Trustees.

Dr. Anthony Fauci was appointed Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the U.S. National Institutes of Health in 1984. He oversees an extensive portfolio of research to prevent, diagnose, and treat infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and those caused by coronaviruses, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), and COVID-19. He has advised seven presidents, currently serving as Chief Medical Advisor to President Biden on domestic and global health issues.

Dr. Eric Topol is the Founder and Director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute and Professor of Molecular Medicine, and Executive Vice-President of Scripps Research. He is one of the top 10 most cited researchers in medicine. His principal scientific focus has been on the genomic and digital tools to individualize medicine. He has made significant contributions to the understanding and treatment of cardiovascular diseases, including pioneering the use of anticoagulants and leading a landmark trial of thrombolytic therapy, which transformed the care of heart attacks.

All three leaders will accept the medal at the Gold Foundation’s Annual Gala on June 10, 2021, a virtual gathering of the Gold community of clinicians, students, healthcare leaders, patients, deans, CEOs, and supporters of the human connection in healthcare.

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About SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University is the borough’s only academic medical center for health education, research, and patient care, and is a 342-bed facility serving the healthcare needs of New York City, and Brooklyn’s 2.6 million residents. University Hospital of Brooklyn (UHB) is Downstate’s teaching hospital, backed by the expertise of an outstanding medical school and the research facilities of a world-class academic center. More than 800 physicians, representing 53 specialties and subspecialties—many of them ranked as tops in their fields—comprise Downstate's staff.

A regional center for cardiac care, neonatal and high-risk infant services, pediatric dialysis, and transplantation, Downstate also houses a major learning center for children with physical ailments or neurological disorders. In addition to UHB, Downstate comprises a College of Medicine, College of Nursing, School of Health Professions, a School of Graduate Studies, a School of Public Health, and a multifaceted biotechnology initiative, including the Downstate Biotechnology Incubator and BioBAT for early-stage and more mature companies, respectively. For more information, visit www.downstate.edu or follow us on Twitter at @sunydownstate.