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  • Chironi a n S P R I N G / S U M M E R 2 012 New York Medical College INSIDE: Social Media in Medicine Researchers Stalk Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease Medicine + Music = One Extraordinary Professor
  • Chironi a n New York Medical College A Member of the Touro College and University SystemEDITORIAL TABLE OF CONTENTSEditorDonna E. Moriarty, M.P.H. ’04WritersNelly Edmondson Gupta Alicia Prater, Ph.D. ’07 01 PARTING THOUGHTS FROM THE OUTGOING DEANAndrea Kott, M.P.H. Cynthia A. ReadLori-Ann Perrault Marjorie RobertsMelissa F. Pheterson FEATURESContributors 02 AN EXPERT AT PROBING FOR ANSWERSChirag Upreti Elizabeth Kertowidjojo  Zbigniew Darzynkiewicz, M.D., Ph.D., develops the technology and methodsEditorial Board for understanding cell proliferation, opening doors to more effective cancerDoris Bucher, Ph.D. Jennifer Minieri-Arroyo, M.S. ’06 treatment.Catharine Crea Alberto Nasjletti, M.D.Eileen M. Dieck, M.D. ’86 James O’Brien, Ph.D. 06 PIECES OF THE CARDIOVASCULAR PUZZLERhea Dornbush, Ph.D., M.P.H. Matthew A. Pravetz, O.F.M., Ph.D. ’88  Huang, M.D., Ph.D., studies estrogen, blood flow and blood pressure, and AnMichael Goligorsky, M.D., Ph.D. Ira Schwartz, Ph.D. how they fit together.Thomas Hintze, Ph.D. ’80 Michal L. Schwartzman, Ph.D.Maximilian Klein Paul Wallach, M.D. 10 MAKING A MENU FOR LIFE WITH MUSIC AND MEDICINEJulie A. Kubaska, M.S. Gary P. Wormser, M.D. Stephen E. Moshman, M.D., gives equal time to his main passions.Edmund LaGamma, M.D. ’76 14 IS MEDICINE READY FOR SOCIAL MEDIA?Design Curran & Connors, Inc. Photography William Taufic  proponents claim the use of new media in medicine is a boon, causing ItsADMINISTRATION shifting paradigms, seismic changes, and better connections online and off.Edward C. Halperin, M.D., M.A., Chancellor for Health Affairs and  Chief Executive OfficerAlan Kadish, M.D., PresidentRalph A. O’Connell, M.D., Dean, School of Medicine STUDENTS AND FELLOWSFrancis L. Belloni, Ph.D., Dean, Graduate School of Basic Medical Sciences 18 BEYOND SKIN DEEPRobert W. Amler, M.D., Dean, School of Health Sciences and Practice and  learning to treat the skin—the mirror of internal diseases—dermatology In  Vice President, Government residents inject dermatologic care into a host of other specialties.Office of Public RelationsDonna E. Moriarty, M.P.H. ’04, Associate Vice President, Communications 22 STUDENT ATHLETES COMPETE TO STAY MENTALLY ANDLori-Ann Perrault, Public Information Editor PHYSICALLY FITKevin R. Cummings, M.P.S., M.P.H. ’00, Director, Web Communications John Nunez, Izuchukwu Ibe and Andrea LoveKarla Cambron, Department Administrator 26 GRADUATE STUDENTS EXPLAIN IT ALLPlease direct all inquiries to: Chirag Upreti and Elizabeth KertowidjojoNew York Medical College/Chironian, Valhalla, NY 10595. We authorizethe use of any material with attribution to New York Medical College. ALUMNI NEWSChironian is published semi-annually by the Office of Public Relations.We welcome reader feedback. Contact us at (914) 594-4536 orchironian@nymc.edu. 28 IRINA ELLISON, PH.D. ’05NEW YORK MEDICAL COLLEGE AFFILIATES Stamping Out Smoking and Building CommunityAcademic Medical CenterWestchester Medical Center 30 SUSAN J. BLAKENEY, M.S. ’92, M.P.H. ’10University Hospital Two Degrees, Two Paths to Making a DifferenceMetropolitan Hospital Center 32 TIMOTHY HSIEH, M.D. ’98Specialty Hospital An Easterner, Now at Home in OklahomaThe New York Eye and Ear InfirmaryAffiliated HospitalsBenedictine Hospital Richmond University Medical CLASS NOTES AND PHOTOSCalvary Hospital CenterGreenwich Hospital Saint Joseph’s Regional Medical 09 COMMENCEMENTHoboken University Medical Center Center, Paterson (NJ) 29 IN MEMORIAMJamaica Hospital Medical Center Saint Joseph’s Medical Center,Keller Army Community Hospital, Yonkers 30 MILESTONES West Point Saint Vincent’s Medical Center, 33 ALUMNI REUNIONSLenox Hill Hospital Bridgeport (CT)Montefiore Medical Center, Sound Shore Medical Center North Division of WestchesterMount Vernon Hospital Terence Cardinal Cooke HealthNorthern Westchester Hospital Care Center Center VA Hudson Valley Health CareNorwalk Hospital SystemPhelps Memorial Hospital Center ON THE COVER:Affiliated Ambulatory Care Programs For practitioners and their patients, new media—consisting of social media platforms, portable applications (“apps”)Center for Comprehensive Health Practice and mobile devices—are becoming a force to be reckoned with in health care today. Pew Surveys show that 44 millionOpen Door Family Medical Centers health care apps were downloaded in 2011. Our cover photo imagines a future that might not be so far-fetched.Westchester Institute for Human Development iPad image courtesy of www3d4medical.com. Photo by William Taufic, ©2012, all rights reserved. Follow us on Twitter @NYMC_tweets
  • Parting Thoughtsf r o m t h e O u t g o i n g D e a n On June 1, the day after New Touro’s president, was appointed president of New York York Medical College cele­ Medical College. Following a nationwide academic search, brates its 153rd Commence­ a candidate was selected to lead New York Medical College ment in Carnegie Hall, I will into the future. We are all very pleased to inform you that on step down as dean of the May 1, Edward C. Halperin, M.D., M.A., became chancellor School of Medicine. As I plan for health affairs and chief executive officer of New York to tell some 362 graduates Medical College. and their families and friends, A graduate of Yale School of Medicine, Dr. Halperin completed the first time I went to medical an internship in internal medicine at Stanford and his residency school it took me only four at Harvard’s Massachusetts General Hospital. He spent 23 years to get through; this time years at Duke University, where he rose to become chairmanit required sixteen. You do slow down as you get older, but in of the Department of Radiation Oncology and vice dean of themy defense, medical education is much more complex today. School of Medicine. He also earned a Master of Arts in LiberalThe 174 newly minted physicians of the Class of 2012 matched Studies there. Before coming to the College, Dr. Halperin wasin twenty medical specialties at strong teaching hospitals dean of the School of Medicine at the Univer­ ity of Louisville. saround the country. We are very proud of our graduates; they I had the privilege of getting to know Ed when we were bothwill enhance the reputation of New York Medical College serving on the Council of Deans. I can assure you New Yorkwherever they go. The about-to-enter Class of 2016 is shaping Medical College is in very good hands.up as I write this. From more than 11,000 applicants, 1,400 Dr. Halperin will also serve as provost for biomedical affairswere selected to interview for admission to a class of 190. at Touro, and will serve as executive dean of the School ofTheir personal characteristics, diversity and academic creden­ Medicine after I step down. With his ten years of experience astials predict a very strong class, and we are glad to note that a medical school vice dean and dean, Dr. Halperin is eminentlyour robust applicant pool—among the largest in the nation— qualified to serve in this capacity until we begin a search for aallows us to select the very best candidates. new dean—probably in the coming academic year.The last two years have presented the College with challenges One of the first concrete (literally and figuratively) results of theand opportunities. When Saint Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan Touro affiliation will be the construction of a new clinical skillsclosed in 2010, we were required to reassign 50 medical students center, which is expected to open in 2013. Watch for moreto clerkships at other teaching hospitals and to place 300 news about this exciting development—and for more in future“orphaned” residents in GME programs. It was a monumental issues of Chironian, both about and by Dr. Halperin, a prolificchallenge that was successfully met thanks to the cooperation writer and speaker who was chosen to deliver this year’sof our teaching affiliates, Westchester Medical Center and Commencement address.Metropolitan Hospital Center. Helping to ease the burden werenew or expanded affiliations with Keller Army Hospital at West In my final weeks as dean, I received numerous calls and visitsPoint, Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, Phelps Memorial from colleagues and students stopping by to say goodbye andHospital Center in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., and Saint Joseph’s wish me the best. With great tact, I told them that I planned toHealth Care System in Paterson, N.J. This complicated logisti­ stay on the faculty, teaching in the Department of Psy­ hi­ try c acal exercise would not have been possible without the support and Behavioral Sciences. I have thoroughly enjoyed the honorof our clinical chairs, program directors and the good will of and challenge of serving as dean and, prior to Dr. Halperin’sorganized medicine. I want to express my gratitude to Paul M. arrival, as provost. The best reward is the assurance thatWallach, M.D., vice dean for medical education, Richard G. during my tenure, with the unwavering support of the BoardMcCarrick, M.D., vice dean for graduate medical education of Trustees, department chairs, faculty and administration,and affiliations, and Gladys M. Ayala, M.D., M.P.H., senior approximately 3,000 individuals received M.D. degrees fromassociate dean for student affairs, for playing key roles in the New York Medical College, and are now in residency or prac­effort, which provided the opportunity to explore new models tice, shaping the future of medicine.for the curriculum. Sincerely,The transition from sponsorship by the Archdiocese of NewYork to the Touro College and University System was com­pleted this academic year. This historic undertaking was carriedout in the best academic tradition of collegiality, with input from Ralph A. O’Connell, M.D.faculty, administration and students. Alan H. Kadish, M.D., Immediate Past Provost and Dean, School of Medicine
  • 02 : : Spring/Summer 2012An Expert at Probing
  • C H I R O N I A N : : New York Medical College : : 03for AnswersZbigniew Darzynkiewicz, M.D., Ph.D., develops the technologyand methods for understanding cell proliferation, opening doorsto more effective cancer treatment.By Alicia M. Prater, Ph.D. ’07T he “War on Cancer” marked its 40th anniversary in Dr. Darzynkiewicz has the distinction of being a pioneer in the December—a long time in anybody’s book, but not field, a man who has been at the forefront of cell cycle, cell long enough to come up with a reliable cure for any of proliferation, and apoptosis research since before he joinedthe thousands of symptoms that use uncontrolled cell growth New York Medical College in 1990. In addition to directingto thrive. President Richard M. Nixon began using the metaphor the Brander Cancer Research Institute (BCRI), he also holdsin speeches to support the National Cancer Act, a historic bill professorships in the departments of pathology, medicine,passed at the close of 1971 to initiate federal government and microbiology and immunology. His research, which hasspending for cancer research. Scientists and physicians could earned him international repute, has been supported by grantsapproach their studies from the laboratory or by clinically treat­ from the NIH and the National Cancer Institute, including aing patients with medicinal remedies specifically designed prestigious MERIT award for his research on the effects ofaround their genetic make-ups in a process now called trans­ anticancer drugs on the cell cycle. He was also a recipient of alational, or bench to bedside, treatment. At New York Medical grant from NASA to develop new technologies for cell stainingCollege and affiliated Westchester Medical Center, there are and analysis applicable to the micro-gravity conditions of thenearly 20 investigators with M.D. and Ph.D. degrees who have Space Station. He is the holder of eight U.S. patents, authorspent their entire lives waging the war. One of them, Zbigniew or editor of 15 books, and has published nearly 700 peer-Darzynkiewicz, M.D., Ph.D., has been point man at the cellular reviewed articles.level, achieving world renown for his dogged pursuit of answers COLLEAGUES IN CYTOMETRYto a puzzle: how to turn cancer cells against themselves, Frank Traganos, Ph.D., professor of experimental pathologyinstead of taking more human lives. and of medicine and associate director of BCRI, has workedWhen a cell is damaged, chemical signals are activated that with Dr. Darzynkiewicz for more than three decades anddrive the cell to die without affecting nearby healthy cells. co-authored more than 120 papers with him. “He has madeKnowing how to control this process, known as apoptosis, numerous contributions to our understanding of the processescould allow doctors to control tumor growth with little, if any, and mechanisms underlying cell proliferation, cell death, andtoxicity to healthy cells. Research examining the differences cell damage by investigating processes at the single cell level,”between apoptotic and normal cells uses techniques that dif­ says Dr. Traganos. In 1992, the two collaborated with otherferentiate between the molecular attributes of individual cells. colleagues on a paper published in Cytometry describing the
  • 04 : : Spring/Summer 2012 molecular attributes that characterize apoptotic cells in flow work is important, because “if replicated, in vivo the findings cytometry. Now considered a landmark paper, it has been would have broad applicability, even though it can take a long cited more than 1,500 times—and Dr. Darzynkiewicz has time to see clinical applications.” written a host of other papers with citations numbering in In the 1970s and 1980s, the understanding behind fighting can­ the hundreds. cer was to poison the malignant cells, which resulted in devas­ He coined the term cell necrobiology, or the biology of cell tating side effects that made cancer a word spoken only in death, and is credited with developing techniques for analyz­ hushed tones of dread. During this period, Dr. Darzynkiewicz’s ing cell kinetics, tumor progression and cell senescence. He lab successfully characterized the mechanism of action of discovered the basis for identifying a cellular resting phase anti-cancer drugs that were effective at lower doses, resulting known as “quiescent” or G 0. Although his name is not quite in less toxicity to the patient than most of the drugs in use at a household word, he is perhaps best known for developing that time. One of those drugs was mitoxantrone, which is cur­ the TUNEL assay (TUNEL stands for terminal deoxynucleotidyl rently used in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer, acute transferase dUTP nick end labeling), which remains one of the myeloid leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. most widely used techniques for measuring apoptosis. But his GOING WITH THE FLOW work goes beyond simply trying to understand cell suicide. Shortly after being named director of the Flow Cytometry Core After earning his M.D. from the Medical University of Warsaw, Facility at Sloan-Kettering he was recruited to New York Medi­ Poland, in 1960, Zbigniew Darzynkiewicz earned the equiv­ cal College. Zalmen Arlin, M.D., tapped Dr. Darzynkiewicz to alent of a Ph.D. on the basis of a thesis on the teratogenic head the College’s new Cancer Research Institute, founded actions of insulin in the chicken embryo. He developed a fasci­ the summer before to enable research in the etiology, classi­ nation with cell biology “because the analysis of molecular fication, diagnosis and treatment of tumors. The key to this mechanisms in individual cells reveals the mystery of life.” His research would be flow cytometry, which allows variability early work focused on developing new methods for studying among cancer cells to be evaluated in terms of their sensitiv­ enzymes in individual cells using radioisotope-labeled enzyme ity to anticancer drugs. “The knowledge of such variability inhibitors. Two years later he accepted a position at the is essential in design­ng clinical treatments that may be suc­ i Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, which, he says, cessful in eradicating all cancer cells and thereby preventing “was the Mecca for cell biologists because of the capability to cancer relapse,” says Dr. Darzynkiewicz. measure DNA and RNA content in individual cells.” With flow cytometric measurements, apoptosis moved to the ADVANCING METHODOLOGY forefront. When damaged, normal cells become senescent, With the methods and equipment available at that time, but tumor cells do not have the same ability to respond. Lack­ Dr. Darzynkiewicz was capable of measuring 80 cells per ing any damage control mechanism, they die via apoptosis, a day—a pittance compared to the thousands per second he pattern of events that is so orderly the process is often called measures now. Over the years the technology, and his capa­ programmed cell death. This difference can be exploited to bility, advanced with radioisotope labeling and autoradiography, increase the response to cancer treatment. and then with flow cytometry and fluorescent probes capable “New strategies are being developed and tested in pre-clinical of identifying a variety of cell attributes. He expanded on each studies to enhance the susceptibility of cancer cells to radia­ of these approaches to explore mechanisms underlying cell tion and DNA-damaging drugs by increasing their propensity proliferation and the response of cells to anticancer drugs. for cell suicide,” explains Dr. Darzynkiewicz. “Attempts are also In the late 1960s it was time to head for the U.S. There he being made to force cancer cells to undergo ‘cellular senes­ held positions at SUNY Buffalo and the Boston Biomedical cence,’ which permanently halts their reproductive capability.” Research Institute before moving on to positions in New York His lab is also studying the mechanisms in normal, non-tumor at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Cornell cells to understand resistance to DNA damage. The goal is University Graduate School of Medical Sciences, where he the same as it has been for the past three decades: to ease met Dr. Traganos. “I was fascinated—not so much by the the injurious side effects of radiotherapy and chemotherapy by technology as with the biological problems this technology reducing toxicity to healthy cells. could help solve,” he says. In their early work together at Sloan-Kettering, Dr. Darzynkiewicz and Dr. Traganos evalu­ Speaking with Dr. Darzynkiewicz, one gets the sense that new ated potential chemotherapeutic drugs in vitro, and their work avenues in basic research are closely intertwined rather than today is still in vitro. Dr. Traganos explains that the cell-based disconnected areas of study. In the past his work has integrated
  • C H I R O N I A N : : New York Medical College : : 05The Darzynkiewicz team is well acquainted with the sophisticated technology that aids in his research. From left are Frank Traganos, Ph.D., M.D./Ph.D. studentElise McKenna, Dr. Darzynkiewicz, Dorota Halicka, M.D., Ph.D., Jiangwei Li, Ph.D., and Jan Kunicki. Not pictured is Hong Zhao, Ph.D.chemotherapy with apoptosis, and now it integrates cancer determine the mechanism of anti-cancer drugs. And manybiology with the process of aging. probes used world­ ide for detecting different stages of cell w differentiation were developed by his lab, including acridineDr. Darzynkiewicz’s work in DNA damage also spans several orange and BrdU incorporation into nucleic acids. “We are onedecades. He was the first to show that the genetic defect in step ahead because we’ve been developing the technology,”DNA repair in xeroderma pigmentosum can be corrected. And he says.in 2010 he published work on double-stranded breaks and thecarcinogenicity of tobacco smoke. His laboratory also detected The probes used in cytometry can include different molecules,constitutive DNA damage signaling as a consequence of oxi­ such as fluorescence-tagged antibodies or stains. The anti­dative metabolism. He explains, “This oxidative DNA damage bodies used as probes can be specific for cell surface pro­causes DNA replication stress which, when combined with teins or indirectly labeled by a secondary antibody. Regardlesscellular growth driven by the mTOR (mammalian target of of the type of probe, they are important in a variety of researchrapamycin) pathway, is considered to be the major cause of areas and have a greater impact over time as more about theaging and predisposes an individual to cancer.” In addition to role of a particular protein in the cell is understood. Dr.rapamycin, the diabetes medication metformin and vitamin D Darzynkiewicz’s lab includes a cell sorter as well as a four-laserare potential agents for suppressing the mTOR pathway. This scanning cytom­ ter, both with multiple channels for detecting esuppression could create leaner and healthier cells, a context different types of fluorescence.of aging currently being studied in Dr. Darzynkiewicz’s lab. In terms of sheer lab output, Dr. Darzynkiewicz ranks at theSETTING THE STANDARD top of the fields of cell cycle, flow cytometry and apoptosis.Without flow cytometry and similar techniques “the work He explains that his accomplishments in different areas of cellDr. Darzynkiewicz does would be decades behind,” says biology are due to the development of new methods for prob­Dr. Traganos. His colleague agrees. “Without these tools, our ing individual cells at the molecular level. With these methodsresearch would be impossible,” Dr. Darzynkiewicz admits. cell growth, proliferation, carcinogenesis and response to anti­His current work, supported by a grant from the NIH, aims to tumor treatments can be studied.develop probes to study the DNA damage response and And in this, his thirty-third year of continuous funding,aging processes. He is already credited with developing Zbigniew Darzynkiewicz, M.D., Ph.D., continues to probeprobes identifying individual stages of the cell cycle to cells for answers. ■
  • 06 : : Spring/Summer 2012  Pieces of theCardiovascular PuzzleAn Huang, M.D., Ph.D., studies estrogen, blood flow and bloodpressure, and how they fit together.By Cynthia A. ReadA re you among the one percent? need for better understanding becomes professors, so her interest in medicine The question is not about what even more critical. developed early. But her path was tem­ you may think it is. It refers to porarily derailed by the harsh reforms of An Huang, M.D., Ph.D., associate profes­the percentage of Americans who enjoy the Chinese Cultural Revolution. At the sor in the Department of Physiology, isideal cardiovascular health, according to time she graduated from high school, studying one aspect of this challenge:a position paper released by the American many students were being forced out of the gender-specific regulation of endo­Heart Association last March. The figure cities and effectively exiled to work in thelial function in arterioles, the tinyis actually less than one percent. factories or farms, rather than going to blood vessels that branch out from arter­ college. In 1977, after these policiesHeart disease is still the leading cause of ies throughout the body. Her research, changed, Huang was among the firstdeath—not only in the U.S., but in every supported by a series of grants from the group of students allowed to enter college.major developed country. The myth that National Institutes of Health, is part of She received her M.D. from Shanghaiit is primarily a man’s problem has also a multi-faceted, multi-department pro­ Second Medical University in 1982 andbeen debunked. In fact, more women’s gram at the College that pairs basic sci­ was directed by the government to enterlives are claimed by cardiovascular dis­ ence and clinical research in a quest to the practice of general surgery.ease than by cancer, chronic respiratory improve the outcomes in diseases thatdisease, Alzheimer’s disease, and acci­ affect the heart and circulatory system. By the time China began to open to thedents combined. When factoring in outside world in 1990, Dr. Huang had FROM CHINA TO NEW YORKdeaths from stroke, diabetes and other earned an M.S. and a Ph.D. in surgery. The youngest of four children, An Huangdiseases that are related to problems Feeling that she’d advanced in her pro­ grew up in the People’s Republic ofwith blood flow and blood pressure, the fession as far as she could in her home China. Both of her parents were medical country, she was eager to see what she
  • C H I R O N I A N : : New York Medical College : : 07might learn elsewhere. Although she was After their daughter Angela was born in Hypertension from overly constrictedstill thinking about pursuing her clinical 1996, Dr. Huang brought her to work blood vessels increases the workloadinterests, she landed a position as a in her bassinet when she was only a on the heart, leading to thickening of theresearch fellow in the Depart­ ent of m month old so the family research proj­ heart muscle (myocardial hypertrophy),Physiology in 1992. And, in what she ects could continue. often followed by heart failure. Womencalls “one of the luckiest moments in my have a bigger vasodilator response than GENDER DIFFERENCESlife,” she met the late Gabor Kaley, Ph.D., men and, before menopause, a lower Beginning with her first research projectswho served for 37 years as chairman risk of heart disease. It appears that estro­ with Drs. Kaley and Sun, along with Akosof the Department of Physiology. “He gen is responsible. When the ovaries Koller, M.D., Ph.D., professor of physiol­taught me everything about research,” are removed from experimental animals ogy, Dr. Huang has investigated microcir­she says. “It was my great honor to be such as rats, the females have a reduced culation—the term for the small bloodable to work with Dr. Kaley. It would have dilator response, but if the same females vessels embedded in organs that arebeen impossible for me to become an are given estrogen after ovariectomy, the responsible for the distribution of bloodestablished scientist without him.” dilator response returns. within the organ tissues and for maintain­The College brought Dr. Huang an addi­ ing blood pressure. The arterioles carry In their initial studies, Dr. Huang and hertional gift: Dong Sun, M.D., who was blood to the capillaries and, like all blood collaborators explored the mechanismsalso a product of the first wave after the vessels, are lined with a thin layer of cells of nitric oxide (NO) in dilating arterioles inCultural Revolution, was then a Ph.D. comprising the endothelium. Among the rats and mice. When synthesized in thestudent under Dr. Kaley. The two came many functions of endothelial cells are endothelium of blood vessels, nitric oxidehalfway around the globe to meet on the controlling the dilation and constriction is also called endothelium-derived relax­Valhalla campus, and married in 1994. of the arterioles. ing factor, so named for its ability, when
  • 08 : : Spring/Summer 2012“All the expertise I need is here at NYMC.” Assisting Dr. Huang in her study of gender-specific regulation of endothelial function in arterioles are, from left: Dong Sun, M.D., Ph.D., Hongyan Wu, technician, and Caroline Ojaimi, Ph.D.released from the endothelium, to signal exists, which genes are involved, what somewhat protected from cardiovascu­the surrounding smooth muscle to relax. earlier influences come into play, and lar events. She has also provided signifi­This dilates the vessel and increases how changes in vasodilation, and there­ cant evidence on the relevancy of theblood flow, therefore decreasing blood fore in the regulation of blood pressure, microcirculation in vascular biology andpressure. The team showed that estro­ are related to aging associated with medicine.”gen increases the expression and activity menopause. LOOKING AHEADof eNOS, the enzyme that synthesizes NO. “All the expertise I need is here at Dr. Huang thinks that better understand­Genetically modified mice that lack the NYMC,” she says. She continues to col­ ing the mechanisms by which estrogengene to produce eNOS, and therefore laborate with her husband and with regulates the dilation of blood vesselslack nitric oxide, are hypertensive—yet co-investigator Caroline Ojaimi, Ph.D., could lead to improved treatment forstill, female mice have better regulation of assistant professor of physiology. She menopausal women, and her researchblood pressure than males do. also receives support from Edward J. could point to a new therapeutic targetSo Dr. Huang’s next step was to study Messina, Ph.D. ’73, professor, and to improve cardiovascular function wherehow estrogen affects the dilation of Thomas Hintze, Ph.D. ’80, professor and NO is deficient.blood vessels independent of the activity chairman of the Depart­ ent of Physiology, m That is down the road, however. Forof nitric oxide. She discovered additional as well as other members of the depart­ now, Dr. Huang relies on a motto ofendothelial mediators were dependent ment. Dr. Messina says, “It has been a sorts: “Be solid at every step,” she says,on cytochrome P450 (CYP). She has pleasure and an honor to watch the “keep going, and never give up.” It hasalso learned that different forms of CYP growth of Dr. Huang as an independent served her well, not only in her years ofare responsible for the release of other investigator. I am impressed with her research at New York Medical Collegevasodilators in rats, mice and humans. research success, which has offered but in the life journey that brought herBecause this sequence seems specific important clues to our understanding more than 7,000 miles from Shanghaito females, Dr. Huang has begun to as to why premenopausal women are to Valhalla. ■explore why these gender difference
  • 2012encement! Our omm C H I R O N I A N : : New York Medical College : : 091 C 2 3 4 7 5 8 6 9 PHOTOS 1: Drs. Alan Kadish, Karl Adler, Edward Halperin,  3:  rustee Ronald F. Poe, President Alan Kadish, M.D., T 6:  r. Halperin with Rabbi Moshe Krupka. D Francis Belloni, Ralph O’Connell and Robert Amler, Honoree Karl P. Adler, M.D., and Board Chairman 7:  ace Bearer, Fredrick Z. Bierman, M.D. M and Mr. David Raab. Dr. Mark Hasten. 8:  chool of Medicine graduates capture the excitement S 2: Chancellor and CEO Edward C. Halperin, M.D., M.A.,  4:  raduates from the Graduate School of Basic G in Carnegie Hall. gives the Commencement address. Medical Sciences. 9:  raduates from the School of Health Sciences G 5:  rs. Kadish, Hasten and Halperin. D and Practice.
  • 10 : : Spring/Summer 2012Music and MedicineMaking a Menu for Life with }Stephen E. Moshman, M.D., } gives equal time to his main passions.
  • C H I R O N I A N : : New York Medical College : : 11By Marjorie RobertsT he Department of Medicine is a challenging and exceptional place to work. Many members of the fac­ ulty were recruited to the Valhalla campus by friendsand colleagues from their previous lives. A case in point isStephen E. Moshman, M.D., who radiates energy, caring and has mentored students who are learning to make critical decisions that will impact how they practice medicine the rest of their lives. “My greatest passions are medicine and music, but I am ardent about a lot of things,” he admits, and he is not exaggerating. The mere mention of baseball, history andcollegiality on a daily basis—weekends included. This not only astronomy causes his eyes to light up and his voice to riseenables him to perform an unusual variety of tasks for his job, in intensity.but also allows him to have a second life filled with music. This You can only wonder how he is able to find the spiritualspring, his dual passions for teaching and music became a wherewithal and physical strength to staff, rehearse and con­perfect storm that honored Dr. Moshman for both his roles. He duct the Einstein orchestra in four concerts a year. Ask him,was promoted to Professor of Clinical Medicine, a title he will and this Renaissance man replies, “I can do it because I amcherish in recognition of his 43 years of service to medicine—10 a very happy man.”at the College and Westchester Medical Center (WMC)—andgratification for acknowledgement of his 30th anniversary year BEING HAPPYas founder, composer, and conductor of the Albert Einstein How happy is he? Enough to spar with the colleague whoSymphony Orchestra, serving the Bronx community through recruited him from Einstein and its affiliated Montefiore Hospital:the talents of 60 mostly non-professional musicians with a William H. Frishman, M.D., the Barbara and William Rosenthalconcert agenda each year. Professor and Chairman of Medicine. They were both faculty members at Einstein, where Moshman spent 30 years beforeMedicine inspires him to teach, for Moshman a sacred word coming to the College. They take their sworn allegiance tothat covers everything he does for the young heroes who follow differing New York baseball teams as set in stone, yet theirin his path. As director of the third-year medicine clerkship, he
  • 12 : : Spring/Summer 2012}In both the classroom and the orchestra pit,Stephen Moshman dictates what happens from themoment he walks into the room. }love of the game is reason enough to sustain their friendship. the Adult Primary Care Clinic and his teaching duties in the“Baseball is the only sport. I come alive when pitchers and Pre-Internship Program, formerly called the Fifth Pathway. As tocatchers report for spring training,” says Moshman, a former the variety of situations in which he finds himself, Dr. MoshmanBrooklyn Dodger fan. He is ready to take on another frus­ expresses his satisfaction with volunteering for unscheduledtrating year as a Met supporter, but he wouldn’t want it any teaching assignments by insisting that, “I have always consid­other way. ered myself a militant non-specialist. I accept these assign­ ments with enthusiasm. After all, teaching medicine is 75Robert G. Lerner, M.D., vice chairman of the Department of percent of what I do and I absolutely relish it all.” Dr. FrishmanMedicine at the College and chief of hematology at WMC, concurs: “We go back 40 years. Currently, every July, he andshares Moshman’s double appreciation of teaching and music. I share the welcoming lectures for the new clerkship studentsThe Moshmans and Lerners, who have enjoyed many perfor­ and we teach together on the wards at WMC. He is also verymances of the Einstein Orchestra, also attend Lincoln Center active in recruiting house staff for Valhalla.”events together. “I have been very impressed with everythinghe’s done,” says Dr. Lerner, although it is Moshman’s work When pre-concert time rolls around, you wouldn’t know fromethic that draws Lerner’s greatest interest and admiration. his disposition that he was stressed. Norma Moshman, who“I got to know him better when he and I began teaching sounds as laid back as the husband she is describing, offerssecond-year students along with his brother, Eliot Moshman, this assessment:[M.D., clinical assistant professor of medicine], an internist in “For the most part he is very relaxed. He doesn’t worry. HeWhite Plains who plays French horn in the orchestra.” may have trepidations about a certain passage the orchestraThere is also Norma Moshman, Stephen’s wife, who is coordi­ is having trouble with, but in 30 years the orchestra has nevernator for the Internal Medicine Residency Program. Together failed him.” Any changes planned for season 31? “He doesn’tthe Moshmans make up a sort of parents-by-proxy situation, wear tails and the musicians just wear black jackets, althoughwhich makes it seem like there are Moshmans everywhere. at the March concert the orchestra wore what is calledStephen claims he never repeats a task two days in a row, but Broadway Black. Stephen wore a silver tie and they all reallycertain responsibilities are his alone. He teaches “Foundations looked good. Now they are considering wearing Broadwayof Clinical Medicine,” a mandatory course for first- and second- Black all the time.”year students. And there is “Harvey,” a favorite mechanism NATURAL BORN TEACHERthat involves an inventive way to teach, sometimes using musi­ In both the classroom and the orchestra pit, Stephencal sounds for emphasis. Moshman dictates what happens from the moment he walksAN APPRECIATIVE COLLEAGUE into the room. In between he gets as close as he can byThe Harvey Cardiopulmonary Patient Simulator is a digital life becoming an excellent teacher who, like any good performer,size model of a patient with lots of heart problems, which can makes things exciting. A slew of teaching awards attest to hisbe dialed up at will. Cardiac pathology and proper diagnosis tremendous teaching talents and famous sense of humor. Butare the basic skills that Harvey helps teach to third-year stu­ can he continue to do everything himself? With the orchestra,dents, pre-internship students, interns and residents. this encompasses making the selections to be played (many are his own compositions), choosing the soloists and evenAmong Dr. Moshman’s other purviews are the residency writing the program notes before he rehearses the musiciansprogram in internal medicine where he is deputy director, and conducts the day of the performance. He has been
  • C H I R O N I A N : : New York Medical College : : 13immersed in this medical/musical arrangement all his life, past season there were six players from New York Medicaland there is one doctor/musician who has been a part of College; about one-third of the group are medical students,most of it. faculty and house staff, and the rest are from the community. Dr. Moshman believes his is one of the longest running com­Etta Eskridge, M.D., Ph.D., now an assistant professor of med­ munity orchestras in the city, and “certainly, the only medicalicine at the College, was 22 when she met Steve Moshman. school-affiliated orchestra.”Both had earned their undergraduate degrees at the Universityof Rochester; she chose Einstein for medical school while he Dr. Moshman has established that even in his spare time, he isselected the University of Buffalo. She found out he was devoted to the students who are his audience—in and out oflooking for musicians for a new orchestra he was assembling hospital settings. Just as he learned to play the violin from hisand she played the viola, a rare commodity in terms of slots to father, his first teacher who made music such an integral partbe filled. The rest, since 1982 and then some, is history. Four of his upbringing, he makes himself available to those whoyears ago Dr. Moshman recruited her to join Westchester need help—even the ones who come around only when heMedical Center, where she is a hospitalist and director of hosts his annual pool party at his Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., homepalli­ative care. (which, by the way, was designed by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright). The party is Dr. Moshman’s way of plying his guests“He is like a savant,” she says of Moshman. “He is a walking with art and the finer things in life. He has no ulterior motive forencyclopedia of knowledge, and he writes the best program this gesture, and no message is intended or implied—othernotes ever…He has given all of us an unbelievable gift—the than to enjoy life and art, which are all around us. ■opportunity to play music—and we do a pretty good job.” This  
  • 14 : : Spring/Summer 2012Is MEDICINE Readyfor Social Media?Its proponents claim the use of new media in medicine isa boon, causing shifting paradigms, seismic changes, andbetter connections online and off.
  • C H I R O N I A N : : New York Medical College : : 15By Melissa F. PhetersonT witter, tablets, texting: these are using them for health care purposes, Among the speakers was Kent Bottles, means and methods of social and 44 million health apps were down­ M.D., who serves as the social media media now surging in popularity. loaded in 2011. Even the prestigious liaison for the Association of AmericanThey are also revolutionizing medical Mayo Clinic in Minnesota has started a Medical Colleges. “Most older medicalpractice and education, including Center for Social Media to train physi­ educators like myself are ‘digital immi­at New York Medical College. From cians in social media strategy. grants’ who still speak the new languagethree-dimensional views of anatomy with an accent,” says Dr. Bottles, a “When I first started to meet with groupsto classroom discussions sparked by Senior Fellow at The Thomas Jefferson about social media in medicine, theirtext-messaging, the wealth of material University School of Popula­ion Health t eyes were rolling,” recalls Dr. Luks. “Theysummoned by a few finger-taps helps in Philadelphia. “It is the medical stu­ thought it meant posting what you hadeducators share and receive critical dents who are the digital natives that for dinner or checking in at Starbucks.findings, more fully engages students are really leading the way. I think it’s But as in all professions, the immediacywith the curricula, and helps doctors relevant that the topic was introduced and interactivity of social media helpsbuild stronger connections, online and [to NYMC] at a medical student confer­ us clinicians humanize our presenceoff, with patients. ence and not by faculty.” and foster our relevance in a world“Why am I on social media? Because that’s increasingly going online. TRANSFORMING MEDICINEI’m social,” says Howard Luks, M.D. ’91. Resources for doctors. Smart phones “They’re talking about us, talking aboutThe associate professor of orthopedic and tablets, equipped with task-specific health,” he declares. “Now it’s up to ussurgery at the College and chief of programs (called “apps”), make a wealth to jump into that conversation. If wesports medicine and arthroscopy at of clinical information and references don’t control our own message, othersWestchester Medical Center likes to readily available on a portable screen. will define who we are.”add, “That means sincere, open, collab­ Among College faculty, popular appsorative, interested, authentic, and like­ The College has been doing its part to include Epocrates RX, a mobile drugable.” (He’ll admit the acronym is not join in. In April, the annual Student Physi­ reference database, Medscape, a medi­original, but it’s been re-tweeted many cian Awareness Day (SPAD), organized cal reference guide, and Diagnosaurus,times behind his Twitter handle, @hjluks.) by first-year medical students, was a database of diseases and symptoms.Dr. Luks writes several blogs on ortho­ devoted to exploring “iMedicine: The Resources for patients. Social mediapedic surgery and social media, has Role of Social Media in Medicine,” with is changing the doctor-patient dynamic:5,000 Twitter followers, and offers iPads renowned experts convening to discuss how doctors reach out and what kindsin the exam room with videos to edu­ how social media is altering the nature of information patients bring into thecate his patients. “Why confine my of patient care, medical education and office or hospital. Apps can help doc­expertise to the four walls of my prac­ community outreach. The event was tors engage with their patients by dem­tice?” he asks. well-attended, and in social media (or onstrating procedures using 3-D views SoMe) parlance, there was a great dealFor doctors and patients alike, social of anatomy, displaying test results, and of chatter and following activity thatmedia is triggering a paradigm shift in sending text message reminders of nudged the College’s profile a bit higherhealth care. Pew Surveys show that appointments and vaccinations. In in the Twittersphere.17 percent of mobile phone users are between office visits, doctors and
  • 16 : : Spring/Summer 2012 patients can communicate directly via text or Twitter messages, or even brief video messages, the form preferred by more than half of the patients Dr. Luks surveyed. “Email,” he says, “is passé.” Telemedicine, the concept of caring for patients remotely, is also gaining ground. Dr. Bottles cites research predicting that by 2016, three million patients will be moni­ tored via their smartphones, rather than in hospitals, for chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes. Social media can empower the patient without imperiling the doctor, stresses Dr. Bottles. “Some patients want to record their interactions during office visits, butPhoto by Susan Woog Wagner many physicians are reluctant to embrace social media because of fears of malprac­ tice suits,” he says. “And yet, studies have shown that patients retain only 50 percent of what the doctor tells them during an office visit, and half of what the patient does remember is remembered incorrectly.” So instead of fearing the patient who comes in with reams of information printed from the Internet, doctors can seize the chance to guide patients as they search for repu­ table articles, e-mail information after appointments, or maintain a blog or website with concise answers to common questions. Says Dr. Luks: “Some doctors will shy away from a patient coming in with material they’ve Googled, whereas I’m turning on the iPad, hitting Google, saying ‘There are 600 articles on medicine published every day; let’s see if anything was posted today that’s pertinent to your case.’” Resources for both. Increasing numbers of clinicians and researchers have now launched Twitter accounts, whereby they can issue brief messages called tweets to a group of followers, comprising doctors and patients alike. Tweets might include links to new medical findings, spotlight topics posted by other experts, or offer advice on medical issues or healthy living. More than 1,300 physicians have now registered their Twitter feeds on twitterdoctors.net, and communities are emerging online among doctors (Doximity.com, a social networking site for physicians) and patients (PatientsLikeMe.com, a forum for people with similar health conditions to support and advise each other). BEYOND THE CLASSROOM One morning before class, Daniel Peters, M.D., F.A.C.S., assistant professor of cell biology and anatomy, noticed his students deeply absorbed in their phones. “It was clear that almost everyone was texting away furiously, trying to get out that last mes­ sage before class started,” Peters says. He also noted these same students hadn’t yet responded to emails he’d sent a few days earlier. “I realized that email was obso­ lete to them: in their world, it served no purpose and it was too slow and inefficient for real-time needs.” But a text or tweet would pop up instantly on their phones, compelling them to respond. As an experiment, Peters began to send messages to the class via Twitter, posing questions and offering points for reflection to spur critical thinking and discussion among his students. “Twitter allowed me to put ideas in their heads outside of class, when they might be together in some social situation, and use the opportunity to have an open and free discussion,” he says. “I was also trying to show that they always had to be think­ ing—the thought process does not, and should not, stop as soon as class is out.”
  • C H I R O N I A N : : New York Medical College : : 17 43.7%IN A FACULTY SURVEY, 85 RESPONDENTS WERE ASKED: 40.2% 34.5%Which social media platform do 33.3%you use: Facebook, Twitter,LinkedIn, YouTube or Google+? 10.3%Among students, the study groups posts Twitter and Facebook updates on American Medical Association hasknown as “journal clubs” now benefit behalf of the College several times per released social media guidelines sug­from instant access to groundbreaking week. “The institution becomes more gesting that doctors use the maximumnews in medicine, with Twitter alerts real to them, more personal, through privacy settings for each mode of onlineoutpacing the snail’s-paced peer-review social media activity. It’s a way to communication, and consider usingmodel that produces journals. spread news to our students and separate profiles for personal and pro­ employees about what is happening fessional use. Many hospitals and prac­ “Physicians and researchers in far-flung here, and offers a window for prospec­ tices now raise the issue with patientslocations can discuss articles and tive students, parents and alumni to as soon as they check in, presenting aexchange knowledge instantly,” says peer through and see what we’re up to.” contract with waivers or disclaimers.first-year medical student Neil Shah,chair of the committee that organized RED FLAGS “Once I learned about social media, ISPAD. “The flow of information is the In the uncharted waters of social media, realized the user has controls,” saysbiggest way social media has helped new ethical and legal dilemmas can Anthony Sozzo, M.A., M.S.Ed., associ­improve academic medicine.” pose unexpected hazards. Should doc­ ate dean for student affairs, who main­ tors or professors initiate and accept tains a popular page on student financialFor institutions like New York Medical “friend” requests from patients or stu­ planning, and who has produced pod­College, social networking sites also dents? What if a patient solicits medical casts and YouTube video clips for, andprovide an opportunity to reach out to advice online that ends up flawed? with, the students. “You can still main­prospective students, current students What if a medical student or resident tain a professional presence on socialand alumni. The Office of Public Rela­ posts descriptive comments of a clinical media.” That synthesis of clinical excel­tions, responsible for the College’s offi­ experience, inadvertently violating HIPAA lence and social media was among thecial social media presence, is now rules governing patient privacy? These major objectives at SPAD, with a liveencouraging other departments and issues are a “major concern,” says Shah, Twitter feed enhancing discussion andgroups to establish their own presence but doctors, professors and institutions debate even further.in social media, using guidelines posted can protect themselves by educatingon the College’s website. "Because of SPAD, the College will gain students and patients about the perils a significant amount of attention, kudos“Curating and sharing information with of social media. “Anyone using social and support,” says Dr. Luks. If it meansan audience of followers on social media,” says Kent Bottles, “needs to dissolving the barriers to communica­media is a way to engage people, and think about the permanent and public tion, then New York Medical Collegeget them talking with us about some­ nature of anything on Twitter and has added a few more instruments tothing that is of interest to them,” says Facebook.” Howard Luks emphasizes its black bag. ■Donna Moriarty, M.P.H. ’04, associate that he doesn’t treat patients via socialvice president of communications, who media, only shares information. The
  • 18 : : Spring/Summer 2012 BEYOND SKIN DEEP In learning to treat the skin—the mirror of internal diseases— dermatology residents inject dermatologic care into a host of other specialties.
  • C H I R O N I A N : : New York Medical College : : 19 experiences she and the other residents gain from treating patients, says Jodi Langer, M.D., who serves as co-chief resi­ dent with William Rietkerk, M.D. MANY CALLED, FEW CHOSEN Considered among the nation’s best, the New York Medical College dermatology residency program is very competitive. From more than 300 applicants, just three are chosen annu­ ally. To be selected, says Dr. Safai, a resident “must have an intelligent mind and be able to quickly retrieve and grasp a lot of information.” She or he also must be a clear thinker, a good writer and an effective “people person.” Finally, says Dr. Safai, residents must be able to learn independently and be good team players.By Nelly Edmondson Gupta In fact, the competition for dermatology residency slots has become increasingly stiff nationwide. “When I took over, resi­I n 1993, Bijan Safai, M.D., professor of dermatology, took dents were mostly selected from the New York area,” says over as chairman of the Department of Dermatology at Dr. Safai. “Now we get the best applicants from all over New York Medical College in Valhalla. Several years later, the country.”he moved the residency program from Westchester to upper In addition to working with a wide variety of interesting patients,Manhattan’s Metropolitan Hospital Center, a public hospital one of the best things about the NYMC program, say the resi­and College affiliate that treats many underserved patients. dents, is the solid grounding in both clinical work and pathology.This move turned out to be a boon for both the residency “One of the things that initially attracted me to NYMC was thisprogram and the patient population it serves. clinical-pathologic correlation,” says first-year resident James“I brought the residency to the patients,” says Dr. Safai. By Highsmith, M.D. In other programs, he explains, residents maythat he means that taking care of a more diverse, inner city learn to read pathology slides, but not necessarily the slidespopulation gives the future dermatologists under his tutelage they themselves have prepared from biopsies. “It’s nice to seean opportunity to treat the full spectrum of clinical diseases. the clinical picture—your patients—and then review their biopsyThe residents care for everything from acne to leprosy to toxic slides under the microscope,” says Dr. Highsmith. “It reallyepidermal necrolysis (TEN), a potentially deadly skin disease helps you learn and remember.”that usually results from a drug reaction. TEACHER, TEACH THYSELFThere are other benefits as well. “One of the great things about Yet another draw for the NYMC program is the fact that allworking at Metropolitan Hospital is that we see patients from dermatology residents have plenty of opportunities to teachvaried ethnicities,” says first-year resident Lavanya Krishnan, as well as learn. Each week the residents complete multipleM.D., one of 10 residents currently enrolled in the College- academic duties, including journal reviews of medical and sur­sponsored program. Many skin diseases, she explains, pre­ gical dermatology, Kodachrome sessions (clinical slides usedsent very distinctively in different types of skin. For example, for diagnostic practice), pathology training and book reviewrashes that appear on deeply pigmented skin tend to be more lectures. The residents take turns delivering lectures to theirsubtle or textured. If a doctor isn’t well-versed in these skin peers on topics in the main textbook. In order to answer ques­differences, making an accurate diagnosis can be especially tions and provide background and context, the designatedchallenging. lecturer must go beyond the text, thereby deepening his or her knowledge base.Residents’ learning touches on the entire spectrum of medicaldermatology, including immunologic diseases of the skin, The dermatology residents also teach medical students andcutaneous lymphomas and sarcomas, drug eruptions, genetic give lectures to other departments. “Medical students have asyndromes affecting the skin, and dermatologic emergencies. limited exposure to dermatologic disease during med school,They also learn how to perform laser surgery, Mohs micro­ but many other specialties, such as internal medicine andgraphic surgery, blepharoplasty and skin cancer removal. In pediatrics, need significant knowledge about the skin,” explainsshort, they learn it all. “We could write a textbook” with the Richard McCarrick, M.D., vice dean for graduate medical
  • 20 : : Spring/Summer 2012 Dermatology director and department chair Bijan Safai, M.D., above, says the highly competitive program at New York Medical College admits only three new residents per year. Residents Lavanya Krishnan, M.D., and William Rietkerk, M.D., prepare to treat a patient at Metropolitan Hospital Center.education and affiliations. “So they rely on the dermatology been migrating away from primary care and general surgery. Asresidents to build their knowledge of skin diseases.” a recent article in The New York Times noted, dermatology—like plastic surgery and otolaryngology—provides relatively controlla­Although relatively few patients are admitted to hospitals solely ble hours, autonomy, and improved quality of life, and has thebecause of skin conditions, they may have skin problems in tan­ added benefit of being the kind of doctor patients actually likedem with other disorders. For example, a psychiatric patient may and want to visit.be admitted in crisis, and a subsequent physical exam reveals arash or severe lesions on his lower back. Having dermatology Second-year resident Kathryn Russell, M.D., says that while sheresidents available for consult enables the psychiatric team to was growing up in Sarasota, Fla., her dermatologist “was theprovide comprehensive care. “There is a tremendous benefit only doctor I enjoyed going to.” Every year, her mother tookto having a derm residency in a hospital that goes far beyond fair-skinned, redheaded Kathryn to a dermatologist for a full-treating patients who present with primary skin problems,” says body skin exam; the Russells have a family history of skin can­Dr. McCarrick. “Throughout the hospital, having derm residents cer and Kathryn is at increased risk. Instead of dreading theseand attendings is clinically and educationally very helpful.” medical visits, she actually looked forward to learning about her skin, hair and nails during her examinations. DermatologyThe residents truly must learn to master the art of diagnosis in “is a very fulfilling field because patients really appreciate you,”order to recognize underlying systemic conditions. In fact, the she says. “You treat them, and they look better—and feel bet­residents and their supervising attending physicians provide der­ ter about themselves.”matologic consultation for all inpatient services and ambulatorycare programs. They have to know the basics of internal medi­ HAVING SKIN IN THE GAMEcine, pediatrics, neurology, surgery and psychiatry to be able to “There’s a whole list of reasons to go into dermatology,” sayscompetently integrate dermatologic care into all of these fields. second-year resident Robert Lott, M.D. He points out that research in the field of cutaneous immunology and molecularIT’S NATIONAL AND PERSONAL biology of skin is moving at a rapid pace. “As a result, we areIndeed, dermatology has been getting more respect from all developing a better understanding of the immunologic andquarters lately, and is now the most competitive specialty. In molecular pathogenesis of skin disease leading to optimizedrecent years, many American medical school graduates have diagnosis, management and treatment of patients,” he says.
  • C H I R O N I A N : : New York Medical College : : 21These new developments are helping researchers create used for growing hair and curing some of the blistering dis­“designer drugs” for the treatment of skin-related autoimmune eases of childhood, and skin manifestations of graft vs. hostdiseases, like psoriasis. “Many systems collide in the skin,” disease, a serious condition that can develop after bonenotes co-chief resident Langer. “The skin is a mirror of internal marrow transplantation.diseases, with sequelae from immunologic, neurologic, infec­ “Dermatology is a rapidly evolving field, and cutting-edge intious, endocrine and neoplastic processes.” This “collision” terms of new technology,” adds Dr. McCarrick. “Dermatologistsis evident in many systemic diseases, such as lupus, some are in great demand, and there’s a shortage in many parts ofcancers, hypercholesterolemia and liver disease, which often the country.”show up first on the skin. In other words, adds Dr. Langer,“The research we’re doing on skin may have greater applica­ Drs. McCarrick and Safai believe this group of residents willtions beyond the skin.” become experts and leaders in the field. Every year, says Dr. Safai, he continues to be pleasantly surprised. “Our der­Each year, every NYMC dermatology resident must undertake matology residents are committed and diligent, and they arean intensive research project. This year, they are studying here to learn. They study hard, help each other and work wella broad array of topics, including polymorphisms of non- as a team.” ■melanoma skin cancers, skin stem cells, which can beResidents gather weekly for peer-teaching sessions. Clockwise from the presenter, Pantea Hashemi, M.D., are Jodi Langer, M.D.; David Weinstein, M.D.; JenniferLeininger, M.D.; Lavanya Krishnan, M.D.; Robert Lott, M.D.; William Rietkerk, M.D.; Jennifer Vickers, M.D.; Kathryn Russell, M.D.; and Bijan Safai, M.D., professorand chairman. Not pictured is resident James Highsmith, M.D. • A REAL HONOR   In February, Dr. Safai was elected president of the Physician Affiliate Group of New York (PAGNY), made up of more than 2,500 phy­ icians s and health care professionals who provide services to the half dozen hospitals that comprise the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), the largest public health system in the U.S. “It is quite an honor for me to be trusted by my colleagues and elected as president of such an important organization,” Dr. Safai says.
  • 22 : : Spring/Summer 2012
  • C H I R O N I A N : : New York Medical College : : 23John Nunez,Izuchukwu Ibeand Andrea Love:Student AthletesCompete to StayMentally and John Nun ezPhysically FitBy Andrea Kott, M.P.H.T he biggest disconnect in pre­ JOHN NUNEZ, SOCCER “I’m playing at a higher level than I ever paring for a career in the health School of Health Sciences and thought I’d play,” says Nunez, who now sciences may be how unhealthy Practice competes among world class players.the journey can be. Too little sleep, too As John Nunez tells it, two things saved His level of commitment might seemmuch fast food and not enough exercise him during his first semester as a doc­ incompatible with doctoral studies.are the pillars of life for medical students toral candidate in physical therapy: the Indeed, Nunez says some classmatesand graduate students. That is, unless camaraderie of classmates and playing scratch their heads when he closes histhey are so committed to fitness that semi-pro soccer. “It was the hardest books and leaves for practice. Yet fortheir success depends on it. academic semester of my life,” the this 27-year-old, who is both exuberant second-year PT student says, recalling and calm, there is no choice. In the firstJohn Nunez, Izuchukwu Ibe and Andrea a schedule that included neuro­ cience, s place, playing soccer keeps him aca­Love are such fitness-philes. They don’t physiology and exercise science. Then, demically focused. “It keeps you on topjog or take the occasional Zumba class. two months before school started, he of your school work,” he says. Second,They train for marathons, compete in was invited to try out for the Cosmo­ being fit is critical for physical therapists,semi-pro soccer tournaments and prac­ politan League—the Cadillac of amateur who often must lift patients heavier thantice black belt judo. They would no soccer leagues. It was a fantasy come themselves and are uniquely positionedmore miss a workout than they would true for the lifelong soccer player, who to inspire patients toward greater levelscut a class, clinic or lab. had always dreamed of playing college- of health. “As a medical professional, level soccer (he played Division 1 at you should demonstrate fitness and College of the Holy Cross) or going good health to patients,” Nunez says. into medicine.
  • 24 : : Spring/Summer 2012 “ f we’re going to tell patients to be I healthy, then we have to be healthy,” he says. “Just saying you can’t do it isn’t a reason not to do it.” about pushing physical limits. “As a IZUCHUKWU IBE, RUNNING m. om.co physical therapist, you always wonder School of Medicine if a patient is at risk. How far can they Excuses don’t exist for Izuchukwu Ibe rightro push themselves?” either, although the second-year medical from b student admits his runner’s discipline Nunez lives to push himself. Twice a developed only recently. “The mental ission week at 9 p.m., after eight hours of part of pushing myself was there, but school, he drives to Queens to prac­ ith perm not in running,” says the Nigerian native, tice with his team, the New York Greek who played soccer for SUNY Albany, Americans. The exhaustive workout se d w where he entered as a freshman at age includes more than two hours of fast 16. “I always told myself, ‘Running is hoto u runs, sprints and interval training, drills boring, I’m never going to run past six tailored to build lung endurance and thon p miles.’” But last summer, just one month the body’s ability to recover quickly. into his first year of medical school, the y Mara “It’s about [seeking] the maximum 22-year-old traded his soccer cleats for of what your body can do,” he says. ork Cit running shoes to train for the New York He plays two games on weekends, City Marathon. Along the way, he dis­ New Y although he tries not to compete when covered he was capable of more than his schedule includes clinical rotations, he ever knew.Izuchuk because an injury could prevent him wu Ibe from performing necessary physical Ibe had never run more than three or tasks. Throughout the year, Nunez four miles a couple of times a week keeps up with training and practices, to stay in shape. Then he met Debra picking up games with indoor soccer Gerson, M.D., medical director of the leagues at home in Fishkill, N.Y., playing Open Door Family Medical Center, aNunez has always been fascinated by club soccer with other students on College affiliated clinic. Dr. Gerson wasthe human body and its capacity for campus, lifting weights in the College his supervisor during a summer programendurance. Although he once envisioned fitness center and training for marathons. that exposed high school students tofollowing in the footsteps of his orthope­ the medical field. A cancer survivor, shedist father, his own athleticism sparked The regimen keeps this emerging physi­ described the thrill of running her firsthis interest in the more hands-on, pre­ cal therapist in top physical shape, dis­ marathon. Her feat inspired him to giveventive approach of physical therapy. ciplined and focused. Plus, it just feels it a try.“Once you get injured a few times and good, he says, “knowing I can do some­undergo PT, you realize how you can thing like that and still maintain the At the beginning of his second year,use your knowledge to be safe and grades.” Not that he would have it any with only three months to train and aprevent injuries,” he says. Conversely, other way. “As an athlete, excuses don’t mandate to raise at least $2,000 for aNunez the athlete is always thinking exist for you.”
  • C H I R O N I A N : : New York Medical College : : 25sponsoring charity, Ibe harnessed his Judo puts Love back on track. Four to (she has run marathons and half-mara­medical student’s mettle. He started five nights a week, she drives to North thons), strength training and practicingrunning three to five days a week, and Bergen, N.J., where she practices a on the judo mat. If she can leave mid-lengthened each run by one- to three- repertoire of skills that include throwing experiment to work out, she will, some­mile increments. Fortunately, his work­ opponents, pinning them down, chok­ng i times returning to the lab as late as 11outs provided a valuable respite from them (to unconsciousness if they don’t p.m. to finish. “When you’ve been work­studying. “Training for the marathon forfeit the match) or twisting their elbow. ing on an experiment for two monthswas my getaway from school,” he says. and it fails, it’s really nice to beat up on With her long dark braids, chic black somebody,” she kids. “It definitely helpsBut school got hectic and by marathon eyeglasses and a tiny stud in her nose, my mood and productivity.”day, Ibe had not managed to train beyond Love, 24, doesn’t look like a judo cham­18 miles, the point in the actual race when pion, let alone a nationally certified coach After she graduates in two years, Lovehis legs almost buckled. That’s when he with the U.S. Judo Association. She hopes to work in the field of infectiousnoticed other runners. “I saw a runner clearly gets a kick out of that. “Dude, I disease for the Centers for Diseasewith one leg, racers in wheelchairs, run­ fight people,” she says, displaying her Control or the National Institutes ofners who were overweight, skinny, young unmanicured nails. “If I leave practice Health. Wherever she lands, she saysand old,” he says. They inspired him. and I don’t have any bruises, I feel like she will keep practicing judo. “It’s anFour hours and 38 minutes later, Ibe I didn’t work out hard enough.” awesome full body workout and incredi­finished the race. He also raised $3,000 ble stress relief.” ■ Growing up in Norwich, Conn., Lovefor Shoe4Africa, which builds children’s started studying judo at age 4. “I hatedhospitals in Kenya. “I crossed the finish ballet,” she recalls. “I was a tomboy—line and I thought, ‘I’m signing up for always in the woods, building tree houses, Andranother one.’” ea Lo collecting bugs. I was a feisty little kid,” veAs other runners have inspired Ibe, who she says. She started competing at 5,is set on practicing orthopedics, so does was a nationally ranked champion by 15he hope to inspire patients. “If we’re and a black belt one year later. Althoughgoing to tell patients to be healthy, then injuries kept her off the competition cir­we have to be healthy,” he says. “I said, cuit during her undergraduate years at‘I can’t run more than six miles’ and I SUNY Stony Brook, she is preparing toran 26. I said ‘I can’t raise $2,000’ and return. This means her days in the lab,I raised $3,000. Just thinking you can’t where she studies the immune responsedo it isn’t a reason not to do it.” to infection with Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, areANDREA LOVE, JUDO especially long. But she doesn’t miss aGraduate School of Basic Medical workout, which typically includes runningSciencesFor Ibe and Nunez, training for athleticcompetition is about staying mentallysharp, physically fit and pushing personal “I   was a tomboy,limits. For judo black belt Andrea Love,a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of always in theMicrobiology and Immunology, it is alsoabout increasing productivity and releas­ woods, buildinging stress. Working out is non-negotiable tree houses, col-for Love, even if it means sacrificing a lit­tle sleep. “You reach a saturation point,” lecting bugs. Ishe says of the long hours she spends inthe lab. “If you take an hour-long break was a feisty littleto do anything, it can really get you backon track.” kid,” she says.
  • 26 : : Spring/Summer 2012 Graduate Students Explain It AllInvestigating electrical signals in the postsynaptic neurons, thus success­ fully transferring the electrical information from one neuron toEpilepsy: Calming the the other. The presynaptic mechanisms that may be altered in epilepsy remain poorly understood, though research from ourElectrical Storm lab suggests that epilepsy leads to both structural and func­ tional alterations. My current research examines prospective changes in these synaptic compartments, and whether they could serve as therapeutic targets for novel drugs.By Chirag UpretiE The most common drug-resistant form of epilepsy is called pilepsy is a debilitating neurological disorder that affects mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE). My research has about one percent of the world’s population. In the brain, focused on the hippocampus, a part of the brain that can be neurons communicate with one other at specialized junc­ severely damaged by MTLE. A few very limited studies havetions called synapses. Electrical signals that travel down the examined the functional properties of how neuronal propertiespresynaptic neurons release a chemical messenger, or neu­ are altered in epilepsy. In particular, I was interested in how therotransmitter, which then diffuses and activates its receptors neurons may alter the secretion of the neurotransmitter in epi­on the post-synaptic neurons, leading to the generation of lepsy, by altering the recycling of the packets or vesicles into which they are packed. In the laboratory of Patric K. Stanton, Ph.D., professor of cell biology and anatomy and of neurology, the tools and the expertise—along with animal models that can robustly recapitulate the human disease—allowed me to focus on a precise question: Do the vesicles that contain the neurotransmitter recycle in a manner different than under nor­ mal circumstances? Using live cell imaging and 2-photon microscopy of these sub- cellular compartments called presynaptic terminals, we were able to demonstrate that the acute brain slices derived from epileptic animals showed greater vesicle fusion and recycling characteristics. This suggests that regions of the brain could secrete more of the excitatory neurotransmitter and thus lead to hyperexcitability and hypersynchronization of neurons, likely progressing to the epileptic state. In collaboration with colleagues at the University of Texas (UT) Brownsville and UT Austin, we used transmission electron microscopy to determine persistent alterations in the ultra­ structure of these presynaptic terminals. Our work suggests that these synaptic terminals are persistently altered in struc­ ture and function in the pathophysiology of epilepsy and could also serve as therapeutic targets for novel drugs targeting intractable epilepsy. ■➤ CHIRAG UPRETIChirag Upreti has been studying the cellular and molecular mechanism of epilepsy, an interest that dates back to his witnessing a childhood friend suffera seizure as they played a cricket match in his hometown of Nainital, India. His fascination with neuroscience grew as an undergraduate at OsmaniaUniversity in Hyberabad, where he received a B.Sc., and at Panjab University in Chandigarh. He is a member of the American Epilepsy Society, and hopesto further his career with postdoctoral study in the field. At press time, he had just accepted a postdoctoral position in the lab of Nobel Prize winner EricKandel, M.D., at Columbia University.
  • C H I R O N I A N : : New York Medical College : : 27 My work centers around the effects of high fructose consump­ tion on the cardiovascular system. Metabolic syndrome increases the risk of cardiovascular mortality more than three- fold, and many of the harmful effects of fructose, such as hypertension, atherosclerosis and endothelial dysregulation, are directly related to metabolic syndrome. A link that is often found between lifestyle factors and cardiovascular dysfunction is inflammation and oxidative stress, specifically an elevated superoxide level. Superoxide is a free radical generated by a one-electron reduction of oxygen, and is mainly produced as an essential part of the immune process of pathogen killing. Elevated superoxide is often found in patients with detrimental lifestyle factors, such as smoking.Not All Sugars Are Created Among the harmful effects of superoxide is the scavenging of nitric oxide (NO), a gaseous signaling molecule essentialEqual: Effects of High to normal cardiovascular function. Discovered more than 20 years ago, NO is best known for its role as a vasodilator andFructose Consumption is still intensively investigated because of its numerous roles in signaling events and cardiac metabolism, many of whichon the Heart are essential to the cardiovascular system. We hypothesize that the detrimental effects of high fructose consumption stem from an increased level of superoxide, effectively reducing NOBy Elizabeth Kertowidjojo bioavailability and negatively affecting the heart.T he simple monosaccharide fructose has generated a In accordance with the literature, our study shows the devel­ controversy unlike any other sugar. A recent national opment of metabolic syndrome in fructose-fed animals, namely health and nutrition examination survey found that hypertension, insulin resistance and hyperurecimia. FructoseAmericans consume more than 10 percent of their caloric feeding alters cardiac substrate utilization and increases car­intake in the form of fructose, with adolescents consuming diac work. The left ventricle of fructose-fed animals also dem­up to 15 percent. onstrates an altered cellular metabolism, which is corrected with the addition of an exogenous NO donor. Incubation withThe consumption of fructose, especially in the form of high tiron, the superoxide scavenger, or losartan, an angiotensin IIfructose corn syrup (HFCS) is almost impossible to avoid in receptor blocker, had a similar rescue effect.commercial food products. Parallel to the rise in fructose con­sumption is an increase in obesity and the development of Overall, our results have shown that high fructose consump­metabolic syndrome, a constellation of signs and symptoms tion increases the production of superoxide, lowering NO bio­including elevated plasma glucose, hypertension, dyslipidemia, activity and inducing detrimental changes in the heart. We areinsulin resistance, and central obesity. Studies have found a currently conducting studies to further investigate the mecha­causal relationship between high fructose consumption and nism behind this process, specifically determining the role ofthese conditions, although the mechanism behind this rela­ angiotensin II, a known activator of the superoxide-producingtionship remains unclear. enzyme, NADPH oxidase. ■➤ ELIZABETH KERTOWIDJOJOElizabeth Kertowidjojo, originally from Jakarta, Indonesia, is an M.D./Ph.D. candidate in the laboratory of Thomas H. Hintze, Ph.D. ’80, professor andchairman of the Department of Physiology. After earning a B.S. in biochemistry and psychology from University of California, San Diego, in 2007, shejoined NYMC as a medical student, and later the Graduate School of Basic Medical Sciences to pursue a joint M.D./Ph.D. degree. Ms. Kertowidjojointends to pursue both a clinical and academic career, aiming to further the field of translational science.
  • 28 : : Spring/Summer 2012A LU M N I NEWS Irina Ellison, Ph.D. ’05: puts some minorities at greater risk than whites—stoked her interest even more. “I’m interested in bridging basic science research with public health research to help people understand STAMPING OUT SMOKING AND BUILDING how their behaviors affect their health,” she says. COMMUNITY To hear Ellison make her case against smoking is to understand how one person can convince an entire community to make By Andrea Kott, M.P.H. public health a top priority. “Smoking is the number-one cause of preventable disease in the world,” she says, revving up to If you smoke within sight of Irina Ellison, Ph.D. ’05, she will recite a litany of smoking-related facts. “Cigarette smoke affects make a point of asking you to stop. She won’t lecture, judge or fertility and sexual performance. It is a huge source of free radi­ harass you. But she will take the time to explain that smoking cals and air pollution. And cigarette butts are the most littered endangers not just a smoker’s health but also the health of item in the world.” She lets the information sink in, then continues: nearby nonsmokers. Not smoking around others is, therefore, “The number of people who die per year from secondhand a matter of personal and social responsibility. smoke is much greater than the number of people who die in “There are people who roll their eyes—usually the smokers,” drunk-driving accidents. We have laws about drunk driving. Ellison says of the reactions to her crusade. “But when I get For some reason the message has not hit home with second­ them one-on-one they open up and realize why there’s a fault hand smoke.” in their logic in terms of exposure to secondhand smoke.” Ellison recognized the problem of secondhand smoke at St. Soft spoken and cheerful, Ellison does not seem audacious Francis College when she arrived in 2006 and observed smokers enough to ask a complete stranger to put out a cigarette. She congregating at the school’s only entrance and exit. “Not only definitely seems too mild-mannered to inform a pack of students was it not a good image for the college, but it was a public health that they cannot smoke on the campus of St. Francis College concern for both the community and the college,” she said. in Brooklyn, where she teaches cell and molecular biology. But She convinced the administration to host a “Great American the 31-year-old pathologist is fearless, and has done both. Smokeout,” which encourages smokers to give up the habit Moreover, she is determined to persuade people that personal acts have public consequences: that one person’s smoking can harm the health of many. Because of her activism, St. Francis College became a fully smoke-free campus in 2011. “We are the first New York City campus to go completely smoke free,” she says proudly. Unlike some anti-smoking advo­ cates, Ellison’s campaign is not a backlash against a child­ hood spent choking on rela­ tives’ secondhand smoke. She has simply always been inter­ ested in disease prevention. Her dissertation research on the ways that different racial groups metabolize cigarette smoke— and her finding that smoking
  • C H I R O N I A N : : New York Medical College : : 29 I N M E MOR I A M“’m interested in bridging I Alumni William P. Coats, M.D. ’53, died March 19, 2012. He was 90. basic science research Renee A. Perry, M.P.H. ’98, died Irving N. Rubinstein, M.D. ’53, June 27, 2011. She was 64. died August 30, 2011. Richard L. Blitz, M.D. ’88, Carl J. Levinson, M.D. ’52, with public health research died November 23, 2011. He was 51. Dean H. Wasserman, M.D. ’75, died November 21, 2011. Arthur G. Sullivan, M.D. ’52, to help people understand died on May 21, 2012. He was 61. Stephen R. Bolkin, M.D. ’71, died December 12, 2011. He was 86. Stanley A. Wanlass, M.D. ’52, died January 18, 2012. He was 68. died in 2012. He was 89. how their behaviors affect Robert C. Sabatelle, M.D. ’65, died January 13, 2012. He was 72. Charles V. Tierney, M.D. ’51, died February 16, 2012. their health,” she says. Anthony Barone, M.D. ’64, died February 21, 2012. He was 73. Henry T. Uhrig, M.D. ’51, died November 17, 2011. He was 89. Leon I. Miller, M.D. ’64, Richard R. Bass, M.D. ’49,for a day. The event, co-sponsored by the American Cancer died January 20, 2012. He was 79. died January 12, 2012.Society, featured workshops in hypnosis and stress reduction, John J. Bucchiere Jr., M.D. ’62, Eugene E. Gaudet, M.D. ’46,karaoke singing (to test lung capacity) and the dispensing of died February 3, 2012. He was 75. died November 4, 2011.free, six-week supplies of nicotine patches. The smokeout was Howard B. Grunther, M.D. ’62, Walter W. Kelley, M.D. ’44, died January 11, 2012. He was 75. died December 10, 2011. He was 96.such a success that the college recently hosted its fifth. William E. Tesauro, M.D. ’62, Joseph M. Andronaco, M.D. ’42,With each smokeout, approximately 30 people kick the habit, died November 7, 2011. He was 76. died February 11, 2012.Ellison says, noting the modest but encouraging result. “It takes R.P. Altman, M.D. ’61, William Rubin, M.D. ’37, died July 27, 2011. died November 4, 2011.the average person 7 to 10 tries to quit smoking,” she says, Nicholas A. Conforti, M.D. ’61,clearly compassionate toward those struggling to kick the habit. died November 1, 2011.Compassion may be atypical among anti-smoking zealots, but Joseph F. Kennedy, M.D. ’61, died January 24, 2012. He was 76. FacultyEllison believes it is critical for conveying her message. She Robert Goldstein, M.D., professordoesn’t just tell people they should quit. She injects empathy William F. Flynn, M.D. ’60, died December 9, 2011. emeritus of medicine and formerinto a broader message about the toll that smoking takes on the associate dean for student affairs, Henry T. Grant, M.D. ’60, died on April 27, 2012 at the age ofpublic health. “I don’t lecture that smokers should quit so much died December 17, 2011. He was 78. 99. Dr. Goldstein joined the Collegeas explain how their smoking affects other people,” she said. Leo J. Greco, M.D. ’60, faculty in 1961 and served as chair-“I thank people for moving away. I tell them, ‘You’re impacting died December 24, 2011. He was 78. man of the Department of Medicinethe quality of people’s lives, and if you need resources about Herbert H. Joseph, M.D. ’60, from 1969 until 1976. Althoughquitting smoking, let me know.’” died August 1, 2011. He was 77. he retired in 1985, he continued Stephen T. Cogen, M.D. ’59, serving on numerous committeesSo far, a college in Virginia has contacted Ellison to ask for guid­ died February 15, 2012. He was 79. until 2002. Dr. Goldstein’s true fer-ance in making its campus smoke-free. Meanwhile, at St. Francis, Donald J. Bradley, M.D. ’56, vor was his dedication to the medicalher campaign has evolved from a lesson in public health to a died October 18, 2011. He was 83. students he served. Students dedi- James C. Wright, M.D. ’56, cated the yearbook to Dr. Goldsteinmodel for community building, sparking conversations about died March 22, 2012. He was 81. five times, and in 1993 the graduat-the importance of promoting respect when opinions differ. To ing class established the Robert Alois Kallfelz, M.D. ’55,Ellison, not smoking is showing respect. “I talk to my students Goldstein, M.D., Society of Teachers died February 16, 2012.about it. We talk about why it’s important to respect the health Award to recognize exceptional and George W. Valentine, M.D. ’55, inspiring faculty members.of others.” died July 2, 2011. Harold Michal-Smith, M.D., formerTo some, Ellison is a godsend; to others, she is a challenge. Richard Fisch, M.D. ’54, died October 23, 2011. He was 85. professor of pediatrics, died onStill, she is undaunted. “I’m about to go home and I will probably December 20, 2011. Edward I. Henry, M.D. ’54,see someone smoking and get into a 45-minute conversation died in December 2011. He was 82.with them,” she says with a laugh. “This is my opportunity to John E. Aiken, M.D. ’53,help somebody.” n died December 6, 2011. He was 87. A LU M N I N EWS
  • 30 : : Spring/Summer 2012 Milestones Susan J. Blakeney, M.S. ’92, ALUMNI ACHIEVEMENTS M.P.H. ’10: TWO DEGREES, TWO PATHS TO MAKING In this section of Chironian, we publish Class Notes sent A DIFFERENCE by our readers. News items should be brief, timely—and legible! Submit Class Notes online at www.nymc.edu/ By Cynthia A. Read alumupdate, or by mail to Alumni Relations, New York In May, Susan Blakeney flew to New Delhi, India, to begin six Medical College, 40 Sunshine Cottage Road, Valhalla, months as a Pfizer Global Health Fellow, working with Project NY 10595. Be sure to look for us on Facebook and HOPE’s India Diabetes Educator Project. That’s a long way, Twitter (@NYMC_tweets). geographically and conceptually, from her education in bio­ chemistry and her career as a principal research scientist in Pfizer’s vaccine research program in Pearl River, N.Y. But, look­ ing back, she describes her life as a process of stones falling the 00s Rehabilitation (PASSOR) Legacy Award and Lectureship. Dr. Fredericson is into place, one by one, all leading her to where she is now. Kira Geraci-Ciardullo, M.D., professor and director of PM&R Blakeney has always been a questioner, eager to understand M.P.H. ’07, was re-elected vice sports medicine in the Department how things work. “Chemistry is like that—think of the Periodic speaker of the Medical Society of of Orthopedics at Stanford University Table,” she says. After receiving her B.S. in chemistry from the State of New York. She is also and fellowship director for Stanford Manhattan College in 1986, she got her first job at General an adjunct assistant professor of Sports Medicine. Foods, working on a project seeking to genetically engineer a pediatrics at NYMC. decaffeinated coffee bean. This introduction to biochemistry Leona Borchert, M.D. ’87, is a medical director for oncology medi- led her to her next position at Lederle Laboratories. There she the 90s cal affairs at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals in Ridgefield, Conn. has built a career in molecular biology, working on the develop­ ment of vaccines for polio, Norwalk virus, rotavirus and herpes Hurrah’s Nest: Memoirs of a Money As a senior medical reviewer for the simplex virus. She is currently with Pfizer’s 13V Pneumococcal Trader is the latest book written by oncology division, she ensures that Conjugate Vaccine program. Along the way, she went to New Barbara A. Kennedy, M.P.H. ’96. all oncology information, including York Medical College for her M.S. in biochemistry and molecular Ms. Kennedy worked on Wall Street television commercials that are biology and wrote her thesis on translation of poliovirus mRNA. for more than 20 years prior to directed toward health care providers attending NYMC. The novel explores and patients, is medically accurate Meanwhile, Blakeney began to explore the world. In 2000, the bio/psycho/social/spiritual and meets FDA regulations. she went to Africa, first to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and then— issues of relationships. “having sufficiently tired myself out so I could relax in a vehicle” Steven J. Litman, M.D. ’87, was —on safari. That trip first sparked her interest in other cultures. named to Castle Connolly’s top But her dream was to go to the Far East, and her colleagues the 80s doctors for pain management. David Gross, M.D. ’84, his son at Wyeth (which had acquired Lederle Laboratories) supported her taking a leave of absence to travel. In 2004, she visited Victoria T. Crescenzi, M.D. ’89, Joshua A. Gross, a medical student, Bhutan, Thailand, and Nepal, primarily trekking and visiting retired from the U.S. Navy in and two colleagues were co-authors remote villages where health care was virtually nonexistent. September 2009 after 20 years of a paper, “Metastatic Hepatocellular “The experience really changed me,” she says. While she had of service. She is currently a devel- Carcinoma to the Skin Staining Posi­ opmental/behavioral pediatrician once believed one needed medical training to help people, tive With HMB-45,” published in the at Bremerton Naval Hospital in she realized she did not have to become a physician, which February 2012 issue of the American Washington State. She is married was not her natural bent. With the right training, she would be Journal of Dermatopathology. to Peter C. Carlo and they have able to make a difference through educating people and giving two children. Rebecca Steckel, M.D. ’83, reports them the tools to help themselves. her oldest son is enrolled at Ramapo The American Academy of Physical College of New Jersey, her second Soon after returning to the United States and to Wyeth, she Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) son is in 11th grade at Hillel Yeshiva went back to NYMC, this time in the School of Health Sciences awarded Michael Fredericson, High School in Ocean Township, N.J., and Practice in pursuit of an M.P.H. with a concentration in M.D. ’88, the Physiatric Association and her youngest daughter just international public health. As part of the practicum she did a of Spine, Sports and Occupational started high school there. six-month internship in East Harlem, where she was trained as a community health worker doing diabetes education. “This internship was the best experience in my education,” sheA LU M N I N EWS
  • C H I R O N I A N : : New York Medical College : : 31 William C. Reha, M.D. ’81, is William Wickemeyer, M.D. ’75, president of the Virginia Urological was named Cardiovascular Services Association, speaker of the house Physician Leader at Mercy Medical of the Medical Society of Virginia, Center–Des Moines, where he is member of the board of trustees responsible for implementing key at Strayer University and has a full- organization-wide strategies, pro- time private practice in urology in grammatic decision making, and Woodbridge, Va. communication and collaboration with medical staff. the 70s Nicholas Bonvicino, M.D. ’79, is the 60s leaving Horizon BCBS of New Jersey Richard Fogler, M.D. ’68, chair­ after 14 years as senior medical man emeritus of the Department of director to start a private health care Surgery, chief medical officer and consulting company, NB Healthcare designated institutional official at Advisors, LLC, to assist providers Brookdale University Hospital and in the development of accountable Medical Center, in Brooklyn, N.Y., care entities. writes, “The glimmer of retirement is in sight and the warmth of ‘Zayde- Scott Cutler, M.D. ’77, continues to hood’ is approaching.” practice adult psychiatry in Worcester,In 2004, she visited Bhutan, Mass., and New York City. His Morton Meltzer, M.D. ’65, is still daughter, Beth Cutler Freedman, working full-time in psychiatry M.D. ’06, recently achieved board but gave up family medicine andThailand, and Nepal, primarily certification in general surgery and is currently a fellow in breast surgi- urgent care. Stephen T. Batthany, M.D. ’64,trekking and visiting remote cal oncology at Beth Israel Medical Center/St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital resides in Lake Worth, Fla., and is awaiting an appointment as assistantvillages where health care Center in New York. clinical professor of family medicine. Nicholas V. Polifroni, M.D. ’77, He recently spoke with Ira Raff,was virtually nonexistent. chief of orthopedic surgery at Norwalk Hospital in Connecticut, M.D. ’64, and Robert Lieberman, M.D. ’62, and will attend the 50th received the hospital’s Tracey Award reunion.“The experience really for leadership, character, community service involvement and clinical skill. Stanley Ostern, M.D. ’60, is hap-changed me,” she says. pily retired in Santa Barbara and Michael J. Bronson, M.D. ’76, enjoying his 11 grandchildren. He was appointed vice chairman of the underwent aortic valve replacementsays, “and had the greatest impact on my career and my aspi­ Department of Orthopedic Surgery at surgery several months ago and is The Mount Sinai School of Medicine. happy to report that he is able torations, along with the support of Dr. Murthy [Padmini Murthy, play tennis six days a week. “NotM.D., M.P.H., M.S., CHES, the school’s international health Daniel Morhaim, M.D. ’75, is the bad for someone who just had hisprogram director].” author of The Better End: Surviving 77th birthday,” he writes. He is (and Dying) on Your Own Terms inBlakeney received her M.P.H. in 2010, after Wyeth was acquired involved in a program that teaches Todays Modern Medical World, pub-by Pfizer, Inc. She soon learned of the Pfizer Global Health troubled youth about the Holocaust, lished by Johns Hopkins UniversityFellows Program, which places people in short term volunteer and he would enjoy hearing from Press. Dr. Morhaim presents theassignments with international development organizations. It classmates. case that choosing end-of-life caresounded like a perfect fit. Her experience with East Harlem depends on accurate informationcommunity health education made her a good match for ProjectHOPE’s diabetes prevention and care initiative in India, which and personal values. He writes, “The book is about empowerment, dignity the 50sleads the world in the prevalence of the disease. She will remain and control in managing medical Ronald Pion, M.D. ’56, continues tothere through October 2012, lending her expertise and learning crises and end-of-life care.” offer strategic advice to early stageabout the culture. The project emphasizes the role of the edu­ companies that use innovative andcator in empowering patients, especially those at risk for the disruptive technologies.disease, to take responsibility for their daily care—a sustainablemodel of the kind Blakeney most admires. n
  • 32 : : Spring/Summer 2012 Timothy Hsieh, M.D. ’98: AN EASTERNER, NOW AT HOME IN OKLAHOMA By Andrea Kott, M.P.H. Tahlequah, Oklahoma, is not where Timothy Hsieh, M.D. ’98, expected to live after graduating from medical school. And, Photo courtesy of Cherokee Nation Communications. once he left, it is not where he expected to return. But between becoming a physician and raising a family, Dr. Hsieh found he needed balance, and that is what brought him back. After completing his training in internal medicine and geriatrics in 2003, Dr. Hsieh moved to Tahlequah to work in a clinic at the W.W. Hastings Hospital, a 60–70 bed facility that is part of the Indian Health Service under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Cherokee Nation operates the hospital, which cares exclusively for Native Americans of all tribes. Dr. Hsieh had expected to stay for three years, under the terms of his National Health Service Corps scholarship, which requires one year of service in an underserved area for every year of financial support provided. And, he did. But he missed family back east, so in 2006 he accepted a private practice position in State College, Pennsylvania. Once there, although he was in the same time zone, he found the new job did not give him enough “ he Cherokee Nation T time to spend with family. operates the hospital, which Moreover, he was spread too thin to be able to provide con­ tinuous, individual patient care. Thus, one year after leaving Hastings Hospital, Dr. Hsieh returned, and in 2010 he joined its cares exclusively for Native four-person hospitalist team. As a hospitalist, Dr. Hsieh is able to address patients’ needs as they occur throughout the day— Americans of all tribes.” faster than a primary care physician who visits only once a day and beliefs may foment distrust of Western medical care. or sees them briefly in a clinic. “In a clinic setting patients show “Language could be a hindrance to educating Native Americans up with chronic problems that require lifelong management,” he about why we’re giving them medicine,” Dr. Hsieh says, adding, says. “If you have many patients waiting for you, you see them “I’ve had patients who seek their own healers.” quickly and may not address them again until the next office visit. Hospitalists get satisfaction from seeing the results of fixing It has been nearly a decade since Dr. Hsieh first arrived at acute problems.” Hastings Hospital, and in that time he has found the balance between work and family life. His every-other-week schedule Such continuity is critical for treating acute presentations of allows him quality time with daughter Lauren, 8, and son Daniel, chronic medical problems like diabetes, hypertension, chronic 2. He has room for professional growth and recently became a obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure and board-certified sleep specialist. He also has time to teach medi­ coronary artery disease, which are prevalent in the Native cal students and residents at Oklahoma State University for American population and require ongoing monitoring. As part of Health Sciences, where he is an adjunct clinical assistant pro­ the rapid response team, hospitalists can also respond to acute fessor of internal medicine. Plus, Tahlequah is an affordable and sometimes urgent life-threatening situations. place to live and a great place to raise children, he says, adding, Following cases from admission to discharge allows hospitalists “I would never in a million years think I’d be in Oklahoma.” Not to develop good rapport with patients, which is especially only there, but there and back again—just like home.  n important in the Native American community, whose traditionsA LU M N I N EWS
  • ALUMNI REUNIONS 1 ALUMNI ASSOCIATION BOARD OF GOVERNORS Officers Eileen (Lee) M. Dieck, M.D. ’86 President Henry I. Saphier, M.D. ’61 2 3 President-Elect Charles W. Episalla, M.D. ’88 Vice President John R. Addrizzo, M.D. ’64 Treasurer Joseph L. Giamelli, M.D. ’02 Secretary Robert J. Furey, M.D. ’62 Archivist Elected Governors Class of 2014 4 Thomas D. Cerabona, M.D. ’82 John M. Cosgrove, M.D. ’83 Class of 2013 Roger S. Madris, M.D. ’79 Thomas J. Pacicco, M.D. ’85 Class of 2012 Patricia A. Barry, M.D. ’83 Matthew A. Bank, M.D. ’95 George C. Shapiro, M.D. ’88 Faculty Governor Leonard J. Newman, M.D. ’70 5 6 Past Presidents Dennis J. Allendorf, M.D. ’70 Michael A. Antonelle, M.D. ’62 Saverio S. Bentivegna, M.D. ’50 Joseph F. Dursi, M.D. ’59 Louis E. Fierro, M.D. ’60 Rita F. Girolamo, M.D. ’51* Cyrille R. Halkin, M.D. ’45* Henry P. Leis Jr., M.D. ’41* David T. Mininberg, M.D. ’61 E. Edward Napp, M.D. ’33* Christopher F. X. Riegler, M.D. ’88 Seymour Schlussel, M.D. ’51*PHOTOS Lawrence B. Slobody, M.D. ’36* Martin L. Stone, M.D. ’441:  he Class of 1962. T 4:  he Class of 1987. T Paul Tartell, M.D. ’52*2: Medal of Honor winners Robert J. Belsole, M.D. ’69, and  5: Eileen Dieck, M.D. ’86, left, Henry Saphier, M.D. ’61, and  Member Emeritus Eileen Dieck, M.D. ’86, with Edward C. Halperin, M.D., Joseph F. Dursi, M.D. ’59 (right), with winners of the Phillip A. Marraccini, M.D. ’50 M.A., the College’s new chancellor and CEO. 2012 Alumni Endowed Scholarships. *Deceased3:  ickey and Henry Saphier, M.D. ’61, president-elect of M 6:  roud parents Patricia Barry, M.D. ’83, and John P the Alumni Association Board of Governors. Cosgrove, M.D. ’83, with their daughter Susan Cosgrove, School of Medicine Class of 2012.
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