SUNY Downstate Medical Center
School of Public Health
Part Time Faculty – Profiles & Research Interests
Departmental faculty have been extensively involved in a broad range of scholarly and research activities. These include clinical outcomes and health care quality improvement, risk management in health care institutions, home health care, hospice care, cost containment and prospective payment, Medicaid, community mental health, strategic health planning, HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, cancer epidemiology, prostate cancer, and comparative mortalities in surgical procedures. Current plans for future research directions include disparities in health and health care among minority populations, urban health issues, cancer epidemiology, health care evaluation, women's health, prevention issues for urban minority populations, and HIV prevention and treatment.
David Ackman, MD, MPH
Dr. David Ackman, who received his MD degree from Downstate Medical Center, is Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health. He served as Assistant Medical Director for Ambulatory Care at Lutheran Medical Center. Prior to this, he was Director of the Bureau of Communicable Disease Control of the New York State Department of Health. Most recently, he served as Commissioner of Health of Nassau County, New York. Dr. Ackman did his residency in Primary Care Internal Medicine at Bronx Municipal Hospital, and received a Master of Public Health degree from Columbia University School of Public Health. He has also served as Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the SUNY Albany School of Public Health.
Michael Augenbraun, MD
Dr. Augenbraun, Professor of Medicine, is Hospital Epidemiologist at University Hospital of Brooklyn. He received his MD degree from the University of Rochester, and did his residency in Internal Medicine at North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, NY, and at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Augenbraun held a Clinical Fellowship in Infectious Diseases, followed by a Research Fellowship in Infectious Diseases, at SUNY Health Science Center at Brooklyn. He is Medical Director of the KCH Sexually Transmitted Diseases Clinic, as well as Acting Director of the KCH Lumbar Puncture Clinic. Dr. Augenbraun serves as President of the Brooklyn Infectious Diseases Society.
Jeffrey Birnbaum, MD, MPH
Dr. Birnbaum is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. He is the Principal Investigator and Program Director of Health & Education Alternatives for Teens (HEAT) as well as the Family Adolescent and Children's Experiences at SUNY (FACES) Network. At HEAT, he has provided medical care to hundreds of HIV infected youth ages 13-24 years since 1992. Dr. Birnbaum is an adolescent medicine specialist and Board certified pediatrician who has focused most of his professional career working with HIV infected youth. In addition to his clinical work at HEAT, he devotes much of his time in community mobilization efforts to identify and engage in care HIV infected youth. He serves as Board member for the SUNY Downstate Medical Center HIV Center for Women and Children and Institutional Review Board. He serves as liaison to the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute's Pediatic/Adolescent Ambulatory Care Guidelines Committee, which sets standards for HIV testing and medical care for HIV infected children and adolescents in New York State. His research collaborations include numerous cohort studies and behavioral intervention projects on HIV infected adolescents as well as pregnant women and clinical trials for new antiretroviral medications. He has lectured widely on issues relating to HIV/AIDS and adolescents in the USA and abroad. His overseas HIV technical assistance work has been conducted in Poland, the Czech Republic, Russia and Nigeria. He has also served as a consultant to the World Health Organization and UNICEF in developing guidelines for service development for HIV infected adolescents and young adults in resource poor countries.
Jeffery S. Borer, MD
Jeffrey S. Borer, M.D., is Professor of Medicine, Cell Biology, Radiology and Surgery at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center. For many years he served as Chief, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine and, simultaneously, as Chairman, Department of Medicine, at SUNY Downstate, administrative positions he has relinquished to concentrate on directing two research institutes (Gilman Institute for Heart Valve Disease and Schiavone Institute of Cardiovascular Translational Research) at Downstate. Dr. Borer received a BA from Harvard, a M.D. from Cornell, trained at the Massachusetts General Hospital, spent 7 years in the Cardiology Branch, NHLBI, and a year at Guy’s Hospital (London) as Senior Fullbright Hays Scholar and Glorney-Raisbeck Fellow in the Medical Sciences, completing the first clinical demonstration of nitroglycerin’s utility in acute MI following his preclinical studies at NIH. Upon returning to the NIH, he developed stress radionuclide cineangiography, enabling the first non-invasive assessment of cardiac function with exercise and importantly changing the practice of cardiology. He then returned to Cornell for 30 years as Gladys and Roland Harriman Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and Chief, Division of Cardiovascular Pathophysiology. At Cornell and now at Downstate, he performs clinical service, teaching and research, the latter primarily developing prognosticators for regurgitant valve diseases, and assessing the effects of heart rate modification on clinical outcomes, with trials in coronary artery disease and heart failure. He has been an Advisor to the USFDA for 39 years, chaired the CardioRenal Drugs Advisory Committee for 3 terms and the Circulatory Devices Advisory Panel for one term, was a life sciences Advisor to NASA for 24 years, and is the Chairman-elect of the Cardiovascular Devices Committee of the International Stndardization Organization (ISO). He has served as officer/board member of several national professional societies (most recently founding President, Heart Valve Society of America 2004-2014), has published almost 500 scientific papers and 8 books, has participated in various roles in numerous clinical trials, is editor-in-chief of the journal, Cardiology, and has received several awards and other recognitions for his work including, most recently, the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Heart Valve Society of America and Society of Heart Valve Disease of Europe (2014), and a Legends of Cardiology award at the 10th Annual Complex Catheter-based Cardiovascular Therapeutics conference (2014). His research has been supported by NIH, AHA and, for many years, by several large private foundations.
Ruth C. Browne, MPP, MPH, ScD
Dr. Browne is an Assistant Professor in the College of Health Related Professions at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center. She is the founding Executive Director of the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health (AAIUH). Dr. Browne’s commitment to community health empowerment is evident in her work with AAIUH, where she has created behavioral health intervention programs in low-income communities of color. These intervention programs engage lay leadership in churches, schools, beauty salons, barbershops, tattoo and body-piercing salons, and laundry mats. She is the principal investigator on two National Cancer Institute research grants. In April 2003, she was appointed to the NIH Director’s Council of Public Representatives.
Gerald W. Deas, MD, MPH
Dr. Deas, Research Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health, and Director of Health Education Communication at the HSCB. A graduate of the Downstate Medical Center, he did his residency in Medicine at Kings County Hospital. Prior to attending medical school, he received a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Michigan. For many years Dr. Deas had a primary care practice in an inner-city area of Queens, NY, and has been deeply involved in health education throughout his career. For ten years he was the medical reporter on the McCreary Report on Fox Television (Channel 5). For 20 years, he has spoken on WLIB radio five mornings a week, Monday through Friday, addressing issues of health promotion and disease prevention. In addition, he has a weekly half-hour show on Time-Warner cable TV, as well as shows on Brooklyn Cable Access TV (BCAT) and Brooklyn/Queens Cable TV. His articles appear regularly in the Amsterdam News, Caribe News, and the New York Voice, among other publications. Dr. Deas has lectured and served as a preceptor in the department's required small group teaching programs for more than twenty years.
John A. Fallon, MD, MBA
Dr. Fallon is Clinical Professor of Medicine. He previously served as Chief Executive Officer and Senior Vice-President for Clinical Affairs at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center, with oversight of the entire clinical enterprise including University Hospital of Brooklyn and the Physician Faculty Practice. Currently, he is Chief Physician Executive at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. He received his MD from Tufts University School of Medicine, and an MBA from the University of South Florida. He completed his internship and residency in Medicine at Boston City Hospital, and had over 20 years of internal medicine practice in a teaching environment. He also has over 17 years of managerial experience involving all aspects of hospital operations, finance, quality management, physician practices, and health care network development. He also has an extensive history of managed care experience including contracting, negotiations, and operations. Dr. Fallon actively teaches in the School of Public Health. He previously served as course director for the required course, Principles of Health Systems Management.
Stephen M. Friedman, MD, MPH
Dr. Friedman is an Assistant Commissioner in the New York City Department of Health, where he oversees the Immunization Program, and Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health. He received his medical degree from New York University School of Medicine, and a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from the Columbia University School of Public Health. He completed a New York City Public Health Residency Program in the Bureau of Preventable Diseases.
Wayne Gietz, MA, BS
Wayne Gietz is Clinical Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Management, in the School of Public Health. He received his Master of Arts degree with a concentration in Organizational Leadership from Bellevue University He is currently Vice President of Outpatient Services at Brookdale Hospital Medical Center. Prior to joining Brookdale, he served eleven years on active duty in escalating healthcare leadership positions in the United States Army.
Norma J. Goodwin, MD
Dr. Goodwin is Clinical Associate Professor. She received her medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia, and did her residency in Internal Medicine at Kings County Hospital, where she served as Chief Resident. She later was a National Institute of Health Fellow in Nephrology, and Director of the Hemodialysis Center at the Health Science Center at Brooklyn and at Kings County Hospital. Dr. Goodwin then joined the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, where she became Senior Vice-President for Community Health and Ambulatory Care. She is the Founder and immediate Past-President of AMRON Management Consultants, a consulting firm specializing in planning, developing, delivering, administering and evaluating human services, and in conducting training programs. Dr. Goodwin is also the Founder and President of Health Watch Information and Promotion Service, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the health and longevity of blacks in America by motivating healthier lifestyles and behavior. Dr. Goodwin also founded the Bedford Stuyvesant Healthy Heart Program.
Megan Hall, ScD, MS, BS
Dr. Hall is an epidemiologist with teaching experience in the areas of epidemiologic methods, environmental health, and nutrition. Her rese arch has focused predominantly on the interplay between nutritional and environmental exposures . In particular, she is interested in how nutrients may modify the effects of environmental exposures. For example, her research has examined nutritional influences on arsenic metabolism (a detoxification pathway) in Bangladesh, where there is widespread exposure to arsenic through drinking water, using both observational and intervention studies.
Mary Huynh, PhD
Dr. Huynh is currently an epidemiologist working with the World Trade Center Health Registry at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. She received her PhD in epidemiology from the University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health. After graduation, Dr. Huynh did her post-doctoral training at the Center for Disease Control’s National Center for Health Statistics. Her research interests include environmental exposures, maternal and child health, and health disparities.
John C. LaRosa, MD
Dr. John C. LaRosa’s career has included positions as a teacher, researcher, and senior administrator. His research has focused on cholesterol metabolism and its relationship to heart and blood vessel disease. That experience fostered a life-long interest in the understanding and treatment of atherosclerosis or "hardening" of the arteries. Dr. LaRosa has published 250 scientific articles and has appeared as a cholesterol expert on the Today Show, Nightline, the Charlie Rose Show and numerous local news outlets. He has appeared in similar public affairs programs in the U.K., Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai and throughout Europe. In addition to his research, Dr. LaRosa has had an interest in health policy and administration. He completed a year-long sabbatical as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellow working in the Pentagon for the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs. Dr. LaRosa has served as Dean for Research at George Washington University School of Medicine, Chancellor of the Medical Center at Tulane University in New Orleans and President of the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center. During his tenure as President at Downstate, Dr. LaRosa oversaw the creation of a new School of Public Health, the opening of a new biotechnology incubator, a larger biotech facility at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, now under construction and promising a new role for Brooklyn as a center for new companies and industries.
Joseph Lovett is a Lecturer in the School of Public Health. He was a producer on the ABC-TV News show "20/20" for ten years, and prior to that was an editor and producer at CBS News for five years. He now runs his own film company, Lovett Productions. Mr. Lovett has participated in conferences sponsored by the Institute for Health Policy Analysis at Georgetown University Medical School, and is on the Executive Board of AIDSFILMS, a non-profit company committed to furthering AIDS education and prevention in the inner city. In 1997, he was a recipient of the National Leadership Award of the AIDS Action Foundation in Washington, D.C. because of his many fine media contributions in the field of AIDS and health. He has lectured regularly to second year medical students on issues related to medicine and the media.
Helen E. Murphy, BA, MSW, PhD
Dr. Murphy is Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health. She received her BA in Psychology at St. Francis College, her MSW from the University of Hawaii, and her PhD in Clinical Child Psychology from St. John’s University. She is a co-founder of Thursday’s Child, which has provided services to over 500 families with children diagnosed with autism. She is also the Director of Clinical Services at Thursday’s Child, and serves as a preceptor for MPH students performing practica at this agency.
Steven D. Ritzel, MPH
Steven D. Ritzel is Clinical Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health. He received his Master of Public Health degree from Columbia University School of Public Health. He is currently Director of the Regional Planning and Research Unit in the Office of Planning and Institutional Advancement at the Downstate Medical Center. He previously served in the New York City Department of Health in several capacities including Public Health Epidemiologist and as Senior Grants Manager.
Pamela Sass, MD
An Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Practice, Dr. Sass serves as Director of Community Medicine activities and Course Director of Community Oriented Primary Care for Family Practice Residents. She is also active in curriculum reform for the College of Medicine at Downstate. Dr. Sass received her MD degree from Rush Medical College and completed a three-year Family Practice residency at Brookdale Hospital. Prior to coming to Downstate, she was a physician and Medical Director of Montefiore Medical Center's Valentine Lane Family Practice Center.
Rebecca Schwartz, PhD
Dr. Rebecca Schwartz is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences. She received her B.A. in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1996. She received her PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2004. While in graduate school, Dr. Schwartz was a recipient of a NIMH predoctoral research training fellowship in urban children’s mental health and AIDS prevention. Dr. Schwartz has clinical expertise in psychotherapy with youth and has particular experience in therapeutic interventions for youth who are HIV positive. She completed her clinical internship in June 2004 in the Pediatric Psychiatry Department of New York Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia Medical Center. Dr. Schwartz was a NIH BIRCWH (Building Integrative Research Careers in Women's Health) postdoctoral fellow at SUNY Downstate from 2004-2007. Her primary research interests are in the areas of primary and secondary prevention of HIV and other STIs with a focus on mental health and other psychosocial correlates of risk behavior, particularly as they pertain to women. She is currently a co-investigator on a multi-site study of HIV positive women and the principle investigator on a local study focused on the association between gender-based violence and medication adherence among HIV positive women.
Phyllis G. Supino, EdD
Dr. Supino is Adjunct Professor of Public Health in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. She is also Professor of Medicine in the College of Medicine, Director of Clinical Epidemiology and Clinical Research in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, and Chair of the SUNY Downstate Institutional Review Board. Dr. Supino received her doctoral degree from Rutgers- The State University of New Jersey (NJ), with concentrations in science education, research methodology and educational program evaluation, followed by postdoctoral training at Princeton University and the Educational Testing Service (ETS) She has held academic appointments at Princeton University, the University of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ, Weill Cornell Medical College, the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and SUNY Downstate Medical College (DMC).
Dr. Supino is highly respected for her research in cardiovascular epidemiology and clinical outcomes, for her expertise in research methods training, and for her teaching and mentoring. Her current research includes two studies evaluating adherence to discharge instructions among patients in SUNY DMC’s predominantly Black inner-city population, which builds on her earlier research on promoting adherence among hypertensive private practice patients. Her professional experience includes the design and introduction of SUNY DMC’s first comprehensive course on research methodology which she has offered for 6 years to clinicians, translational scientists and medical students at SUNY Downstate, and which is based on a similar course that she designed and offered for 18 years to almost 1,000 physicians and allied health professionals at Weill Cornell Medical College. Additional initiatives/achievements include a recently published textbook on principles of research methodology for clinical investigators (Springer-Verlag, 2012) on which she was principal editor and author. Her CV includes over 150 publications and presentations at major scientific meetings. She serves on a scientific advisory board in cardiovascular medicine, as a reviewer and Editorial Board member for clinical and medical education journals, and has chaired national panels to promote clinical research education and outcomes research.
Jeremy Weedon, PhD, MA, BS
Dr. Weedon is Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics. He is also Associate Director of Downstate's Scientific Computing Center, which provides consulting research support for faculty and students in terms of study design, data collection and analysis, writing results sections for journal articles, power analysis for grant proposals etc. He is also involved in teaching research methods and statistics to other parts of the SUNY Downstate community: medical residency programs, the College of Nursing, and the College of Health Related Professions. Dr. Weedon describes himself as a statistical generalist, but is particularly interested in the modeling of longitudinal data, and has been involved for many years in the epidemiology of HIV infection in the U.S.
Michael Walsh, PhD, MPH
Dr. Walsh is an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the School of Public Health. He received his PhD in epidemiology from the University of Pittsburgh and his MPH from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Walsh was a co-founder of the Swasthya Community Health Partnership in Sringeri, India. This five year project trained community health nurses to serve the unique health needs of women in this rural community in southern Karnataka. Dr. Walsh’s specific research focused on human papillomavirus infection and cervical cancer during his time with Swasthya, and on a tuberculosis eradication project among the indigenous Soliga communities in the B.R. Hills prior to that. Subsequently, Dr. Walsh worked on diabetes and its microvascular complications with the WHO DiaComp Study and the Epidemiology of Diabetes Complications Study in Pittsburgh, both under the direction of Dr. Trevor Orchard. Several important publications resulted from this fruitful research. Upon completion of his PhD, Dr. Walsh went on to work with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s NYC Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Following this he joined the faculty of New York University where his research focused on biosurveillance of nosocomial infection and musculoskeletal disease. Dr. Walsh currently conducts research in helminthiases and arthropod-borne infections with a particular focus on the landscape epidemiology of toxocariasis and West Nile virus.
Michael E. Zenilman, MD
Dr. Zenilman is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Health Policy and Management. He received his MD degree from SUNY Downstate and completed his residency training in surgery and a fellowship in gastrointestinal surgery at the Washington University School of Medicine-Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri. He has held academic appointments at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and at SUNY Downstate where he also served as Chair of the Department of Surgery. He was, in addition, in charge of quality assurance and improvement at Downstate’s University Hospital of Brooklyn.
A highly respected teacher and researcher, Dr. Zenilman is widely known for his research on and expertise in a number of health care issues especially among the elderly. These include the improvement of the quality of surgical care in the elderly, ethics in clinical practice, palliative care, and the demography of aging and disability.
One of Dr. Zenilman’s major projects in 2011 was co-editing the now standard text, Principles and Practice of Geriatric Surgery, New York: Springer, 2011. In this volume, he included an exceptional new nine chapter section that covers, among other topics, defining quality of care in geriatric surgery, decision making at the end of life, population based medical care, and medical ethics. Another important topic covered is that of physician performative and cognitive abilities with advancing age.
Dr. Zenilman has significantly assisted the Dean of the School of Public Health on a range of educational, administrative and research issues. He has recently provided assistance in the development of the new Advanced Certificate in Public Health Program that will soon be offered to students.