SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University
School of Public Health
Dr. W. Marcus Lambert Joins the Faculty in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
The School of Public Health (SPH) at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University would
like to take this opportunity to officially welcome our new faculty member, W. Marcus Lambert, PhD,
in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.
Dr. Lambert comes to us from Weill Cornell Medicine, where he served as Assistant Dean of Diversity and Student Life and Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine. While there, he developed and served as contact PI on a coveted NIH/NIGMS-funded Initiative to Maximize Student Development (IMSD) R25 grant to increase the number and enhance the success of Ph.D. students from underrepresented backgrounds. Dr. Lambert has also focused on educational interventions that mitigate implicit bias and racial inequities for health sciences faculty and trainees. He co-developed a course entitled “Sociocultural Barriers to STEM,” designed to give students an introduction to the sociological literature surrounding inequities in science and medicine.
Dr. Lambert has also been appointed as Associate Vice President for Research Strategy and Operations at SUNY Downstate. In this role, Dr. Lambert will join Dr. Christini’s group, and will focus on initiatives to expand Downstate’s extramurally funded research portfolio, particularly focusing on health disparities and public health research and training. Dr. Lambert will work with the Human Research Advisory Committee to develop and implement strategies to strengthen clinical trials efforts; partner with other SUNY campuses to develop SUNY-wide research networks and programs in human and laboratory research; envision and develop interdisciplinary research initiatives to support new research programs; interface with leadership of NIH, NSF, New York State, and other agencies to identify and target new funding opportunities for Downstate and its investigators; and work with leaders of the College of Medicine, School of Public Health, College of Nursing, School of Health Professions, and School of Graduate Studies on efforts to strengthen trainee research.
We are fortunate that Dr. Lambert's "academic home" will be with us in the School of Public Health. He will advise MPH and DrPH students, conduct externally-funded research, and eventually teach in our program. His recent research used quantitative and qualitative methodologies to understand determinants for research career success in underrepresented groups—who are more likely to serve in medically-underserved areas—and investigate diseases and conditions disproportionally impacting minority groups.
Please join us in welcoming Dr. Lambert to the School of Public Health!
New Program at SPH: Advanced Certificate in Climate Change and Planetary Health
The School of Public Health (SPH) is pleased to announce the creation of a new program: Advanced Certificate in Climate Change and Planetary Health. ‘Planetary Health’ is an emerging transdisciplinary field established by the Lancet Commission in 2015 that addresses the health impacts of human activity on the planet.
The School of Public Health is poised to play a leading role in training health professionals to mount strategies for prevention and preparing for climate-related response and adaptation across many sectors of society with a focus on health equity. Students will emerge from the Advanced Certificate program with the ability to provide guidance and leadership within academia, government institutions, the non-governmental sector, community-based organizations, or in private industry to address the health implications of the activities and behavior of global populations.
Students who complete the courses in this program will be equipped to:
- Identify adverse health impacts from climate change and planetary human activities.
- Learn to collaborate with peers, policymakers, and all relevant stakeholders to communicate climate change and planetary health risks.
- Learn to recognize and reduce climate-health effects in clinical and public health settings.
- Identify and develop culturally appropriate climate mitigation strategies.
Applications for the Advanced Certificate will be accepted via the Centralized Application Service for Public Health (SOPHAS Express) for enrollment in the Fall 2021 semester. To learn more about this program, please click here.
For more information, please contact Dr. Laura Geer, Program Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here to read SUNY Downstate Press Release.
Dr. Tracey Wilson Appointed as Vice Dean for Faculty Affairs and Research
The School of Public Health (SPH) at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University is proud to announce the appointment of Dr. Tracey Wilson, Distinguished Service Professor of Community Health Sciences, as Vice Dean for Faculty Affairs and Research.
In this role, Dr. Wilson will provide leadership in faculty initiatives that contribute to the strategic priorities of the School of Public Health. This includes development, implementation, and review of policies and procedures relating to faculty appointments and promotion, annual faculty review, and faculty mentoring and career development programs. In addition, she will oversee development and implementation of a research strategic plan for the School of Public Health, develop guidelines and oversee coordination of grant submissions; and support the School in responding to public health research priorities and in expanding interdisciplinary research efforts to improve the health and well-being of the populations that our school serves.
Dr. Wilson’s commitment to public health education, contributions to mentoring students and early-career faculty, experience in leading community-engaged and impactful chronic disease prevention research, and history of local and national public health leadership roles will serve as a critical foundation for advancing the vision and mission of the School of Public Health in these important areas.
Please join us in congratulating Dr. Wilson.
SPH Celebrates National Public Health Week in April with Two Virtual Events
In honor of National Public Health Week, the School of Public Health (SPH) will be hosting two virtual panel discussions on April 6th and 7th. Please click the flyers below for more information.
Click here to register for the Zoom meeting on April 6th, 2021 at 6:00 p.m.
Click here to register for the Zoom meeting on April 7th, 2021 at 6:00 p.m.
Five SPH Students Receive Spring 2021 Lenard and Christine Szarek Fellowship Award
The School of Public Health (SPH) is excited to announce the student recipients of the Spring 2021 Lenard and Christine Szarek Fellowship Award! The following students received the prestigious merit scholarship:
MPH, Community Health Sciences
MPH, Community Health Sciences
The Lenard and Christine Szarek Fellowship Fund was established by Michael Szarek, PhD, MS, Associate Dean for Research Administration and Executive Director of the Center for Clinical and Outcomes Research, for students enrolled in SUNY Downstate School of Public Health (SPH) Master of Public Health (MPH) and Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) programs. Each year, the fund provides up to $50,000 to a maximum of 10 eligible masters and doctoral students, at a grant level of $5,000 each. Selection criteria is based on academic merit within the School—applicants must have a minimum 3.75 G.P.A. through a minimum of 12 hours of coursework to qualify.
Congratulations to our exceptional student recipients! We are proud of their achievements and wish them continued success!
Dr. Marlene Camacho-Rivera Appointed as Assistant Dean for Student Engagement and Success
The School of Public Health (SPH) is pleased to announce the appointment of Marlene Camacho-Rivera, SCD, MS, MPH, as Assistant Dean for Student Engagement and Success. In this role, Dr. Camacho-Rivera will oversee the development, implementation, and evaluation of SPH initiatives to support student engagement, advancement, and academic success.
Dr. Camacho-Rivera joined Downstate in Fall 2019 as a faculty member in the Department of Community Health Sciences. As a social epidemiologist, her research focuses on community and social factors influencing chronic disease prevention and self-management, and the design and evaluation of community-engaged interventions to reduce chronic disease disparities in urban racial and ethnic minority communities. During the current COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Camacho-Rivera has played a prominent role in supporting and mentoring students across Downstate in COVID-19 disparities research and scholarship, developed a focused research agenda on uptake of COVID-19 vaccination and other preventive behaviors among high-risk groups, and has served as a valued member on important institutional initiatives, including the COVID Community Education Committee and the Taskforce to address COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake within Downstate.
Dr. Camacho-Rivera’s courses, in topics such as urban public health and methods of community-engaged intervention development, are highly valued by our students, and incorporate pressing public health topics utilizing assets-based frameworks, community-engaged methods, and trauma-informed pedagogical practices. Dedicated to recruiting and training the next generation of public health professionals, Dr. Camacho-Rivera has been actively involved in in-person and virtual information sessions, recruitment at national conferences, and serves as the Chair of the School of Public Health Admissions Committee. She has worked to strengthen the integration of health equity and social determinants of health initiatives between the School of Public Health and the College of Medicine, and serves as a faculty mentor to students throughout the University’s health professional programs. Prior to her joining SUNY Downstate, Dr. Camacho-Rivera served as Assistant Professor of Community Health and Social Medicine at the CUNY School of Medicine, where she served on their Committee on Admissions, Inclusive Excellence Council, and mentored students through the City College of New York-Memorial Sloan Kettering Partnership for Cancer Research.
Dr. Camacho-Rivera received her ScD and MS degrees in Social Epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health. Her research has been funded by the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, and the Stony Wold-Herbert Fund. For her commitment to health equity, she has been awarded prestigious fellowships from the National Hispanic Health Foundation, the New York Academy of Medicine, and the Association of American Medical Colleges.
“Dr. Camacho-Rivera’s strong history of public health scholarship, dedication to training and mentorship, and commitment to supporting development of the next generation of public health leaders are critical assets to our public health community. We look forward to benefiting from her considerable strengths in this new position,” –Kitaw Demissie, MD, PhD, Dean and Professor of the School of Public Health.
Please join us in congratulating Dr. Camacho-Rivera!.
Introducing Dr. Yang Lin, New Instructional Designer at the School of Publich Health
The School of Publich Health (SPH) is pleased to introduce Dr. Yang Lin, our new Instructional Designer. In this vital role, Dr. Lin will provide expertise in planning, development and delivery of high-quality distance learning experience. Dr. Lin has a wealth of experience that is critical to our institution. Specifically, he has experience working with faculty on best practices for curriculum development and managing technology to enhance the learning experience at the highly ranked Weill Cornell Medical College. Dr. Lin also has industry experience working at IBM, where he designed instructor-led, self- guided, and virtual technical training solutions for IBM’s world-wide business intelligence software clients. Dr. Lin will work closely with the School of Public Health, the School of Health Professions, the College of Nursing and the Academic Computing Technology department to help us achieve the goal of increasing student enrollment, retention and revenue as well as make our mark on the map as an institution recognized for quality distance education.
Dr. Lin has a Ph.D. degree in Instructional Design and a masters degree in Education, Curriculum & Instruction from the track of Learning Technologies at the University of Minnesota.
Please join us in giving a very warm Downstate welcome to Dr. Yang Lin.
Dr. Rose Calixte Joined the Faculty of Biostatistics
The School of Public Health (SPH) at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University is delighted to announce a new addition to our Biostatistics faculty, Rose Calixte, PhD, MS.
Dr. Calixte has a BS in mathematics from The City College of New York, an MS and a PhD in Statistics from Stony Brook University. She was a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Biostatistics at Yale School of Public Health. Dr. Calixte has worked as a collaborative biostatistician for more than 9 years, resulting in over 40 co-authored publications. Prior to coming to Downstate, she was a Research Associate in the Department of Community Health Science and Social Medicine (CHASM) at the CUNY School of Medicine (CSOM), where she provided statistical supports to CHASM faculty and CSOM students. In October 2020, Dr. Calixte received PStat® accreditation from the American Statistical Association.
She will be teaching Applied Regression Analysis for MPH and DrPH students next semester and will be adding additional courses next year. She is also available to consult on research projects for faculty and students.
Please join us in welcoming Dr. Calixte.
Dr. Elizabeth Helzner Appointed as Interim Chair for the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
The School of Public Health (SPH) at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University is pleased to announce the appointment of Elizabeth Helzner, PhD, Associate Professor of Epidemiology, as Interim Chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.
Dr. Helzner is a chronic disease epidemiologist who has been affiliated with SUNY Downstate since 2009. Her research has focused on the epidemiology of chronic diseases and in particular conditions affecting the nervous system, including age-related hearing loss and Alzheimer’s disease.
A dedicated educator and mentor, Dr. Helzner is actively involved in MPH and DrPH program curriculum development and revision. She has held numerous faculty governance positions and currently serves as Presiding Officer of the Faculty and Professional Staff Assembly in the School of Public Health. As the Vice-Chair of SUNY Downstate’s Committee on Plant-Based Health and Nutrition, she has been instrumental in the development of both academic and community-facing educational programming regarding the role of nutrition in disease prevention and treatment. She also leads public health education efforts for SUNY Downstate’s multidisciplinary Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program and is a member of SUNY Downstate’s Institutional Review Board.
Former Chair for the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Michael Szarek, PhD, MS, has recently been appointed to serve as SPH’s New Executive Director of the Center for Clinical and Outcomes Research. Dean Kitaw Demissie, MD, PhD, extends his great appreciation to Dr. Szarek for his commitment to the growth and continued success of the School of Public Health over the years.
Please join us in congratulating Dr. Helzner.
Dr. Simone Reynolds Appointed as Director of Online Learning and Instructional Innovation
The School of Public Health (SPH) at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University is proud to announce the appointment of Simone Reynolds, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, as Director of Online Learning and Instructional Innovation. In this role, Dr. Reynolds will oversee faculty training and online course innovation, as well as the design, development, delivery, quality assurance, and assessment of SPH courses offered in all distance delivery formats, including remote instruction.
Dr. Reynolds joined SUNY Downstate in Fall 2012 as a faculty member in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. She is an exceptionally gifted instructor who consistently receives high praise from students taking her introductory epidemiology and epidemiologic methods courses. She also has significant experience developing, implementing, and managing online programs, and has been responsive to the current academic climate in which adult learners request more flexible learning options that do not fit the traditional mold of the 20th-century learner. She has created learner-centered environments for both flipped and asynchronous classroom designs to meet this demand.
During the current coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Reynolds championed the transition of our faculty to remote teaching and worked with our faculty to mitigate the dip in the change curve. In addition, Dr. Reynolds stepped up to serve as a valued member on several external SUNY Downstate committees, including the Distance Learning Coordination Team, and the Coronavirus Academic Technology Working Group, to aid our Downstate campus in a successful transition to remote teaching.
Dr. Reynolds received her PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Pittsburgh in 2011. She is an OPEN SUNY Online Teaching Fellow and recently completed two (2) Professional Certificates in Online Education and Online Education Administration from the University of Wisconsin Madison.
Please join us in congratulating Dr. Reynolds.
Dr. Michael Szarek Appointed as New Executive Director of the Center for Clinical and Outcomes Research
The School of Public Health (SPH) at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University is pleased to announce the appointment of Michael Szarek, PhD, MS, Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, as Executive Director of the Center for Clinical and Outcomes Research effective immediately. In this role, Dr. Szarek will provide oversight and leadership in the development of academic programs in health economics, outcomes, and market access. He will also provide leadership in the management and execution of clinical research across SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University.
Dr. Szarek served as chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics from 2010 to 2020 and Associate Dean for Research Administration from 2015 to 2020. He has served as a member of Executive Steering Committees and Data Safety Monitoring Committees for clinical trials of treatments for cardiovascular disease (atorvastatin, torcetrapib, lomitapide, alirocumab, apabetalone, sotagliflozin), complications of COVID-19 infection (colchicine, rivaroxaban, rNAPc2), and cancer (anastrozole, naratuximab emtansine), and as the statistical editor for the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) and JACC – Cardiovascular Interventions.
Dr. Szarek has been a co-author on several publications in leading scientific journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association, and Cell, and on late-breaking presentations at the American College of Cardiology Scientific Sessions and the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions. While at Harvard University, he was a Schering Plough Scholar and recipient of a National Cancer Institute (NCI) National Research Service Award training grant.
Dr. Szarek has an MS in Biostatistics from Harvard School of Public Health and a PhD in Biostatistics from New York University.
Please join us in congratulating Dr. Szarek.
Dr. Tracey Wilson Appointed as Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development
The School of Public Health (SPH) at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University is proud to announce the appointment of Dr. Tracey Wilson, as Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development. In this role, Dr. Wilson will collaborate with Dean Demissie to advance ongoing efforts to build infrastructure that addresses the needs of SPH faculty members at every stage of development, and to advance the SPH mission through development and implementation of a strategic plan for research that addresses significant public health and health equity issues.
Dr. Wilson is a Distinguished Service Professor in the SPH Department of Community Health Sciences. Her research focuses on community-engaged intervention approaches to primary prevention and management of chronic diseases, with specific expertise in self-management interventions and multilevel prevention approaches to address socially determined causes of health disparities. She has received ongoing and significant federal funding over the past 20 years through the CDC, NIH, and other mechanisms in support of this research, and has published extensively in these areas. Her many contributions to public health scholarship have been nationally recognized through invited contributions and service on federal grant review panels and advisory committees, journal editorial boards and review groups, and leadership on national and local interest groups, centers, and coalitions. In addition to this work, Dr. Wilson is a committed educator and mentor, contributing to the career development of many early-stage investigators and MPH, DrPH, PhD and undergraduate students over the years.
Please join us in congratulating Dr. Wilson.
Dr. Daniel Ehlke Appointed as Interim Chair for the Department of Health Policy and Management
The School of Public Health (SPH) at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University is proud to announce the appointment of Daniel Ehlke, PhD, MA, as Interim Chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management. Dr. Ehlke will oversee the educational, research, and service mission of the department during the significant growth of the school.
Dr. Ehlke jointed Downstate as a faculty member in the Department of Health Policy and Management in 2010. Across the intervening years, he has excelled in the classroom teaching arrange of courses such as health policy, advocacy, and international health systems. He served as a frequent speaker on the Affordable Care Act, health reform across various centerwide venues including medical grand rounds, and co-hosted the Brooklyn Free Clinic-sponsored TedMed Live event in 2013. He also received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2018.
Dr. Ehlke is the co-editor (with James Morone) of the prominent health policy textbook, Health Politics and Policy, 5th edition, and recently began work on the next edition of that text. His research interests center around episodes in health reform, both in the United States and around the world, and the role of citizen-patients in shaping and reshaping the health systems in which they navigate. He continues to hone his expertise on the ever-shifting terrain underlying the Affordable Care Act. Dr. Ehlke has presented at the annual conferences of the American Public Health Association, American Political Science Association, and among other professional organizations. He is a 2009 graduate of Brown University, from which he received a PhD in Political Science.
Please join us in thanking Dr. Ehlke for his willingness to serve the department in this role. He brings good departmental knowledge and leadership given his leadership role in several school and campus wide committees.
We would be remiss if we did not acknowledge the hard and effective work of Dr. Karen Benker who served in this role for the last few years.