Upstate News

September 10, 2008
Doretta Royer 315 464-4833

College of Medicine alumni return to campus for weekend full of activity and honors

SUNY Upstate Medical University welcomes College of Medicine alumni back for Reunion Weekend Sept. 19 to 21

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Tibet Vision Project to end preventable blindness in Tibet—the subject of the award-winning documentary “Visioning Tibet”—will be discussed by Melvyn Bert, M.D., class of 1967, following a presentation of the documentary at SUNY Upstate Medical University’s Weiskotten Lecture Sept. 19, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in the Ninth Floor Auditorium at Weiskotten Hall, 766 Irving Ave., Syracuse. The lecture, free and open to the public, is a highlight of SUNY Upstate’s 133rd Reunion of the College of Medicine to be held Sept. 19 and 20.

“This documentary and presentation is a must-see for everybody,” said Vincent J. Kuss, executive director of the College of Medicine Foundation. “On behalf of the Medical Alumni Association, we are honored to have Dr. Bert on campus and thank him for taking the time to travel across the country to his alma mater and deliver this extraordinary lecture.”

Bert assisted in the earliest founding of the Tibet Vision Project whose members—American ophthalmologists—make an annual month-long pilgrimage to Tibet to train local doctors in cataract and lens implant surgery. Bert, who has worked and taught in Tibet on multiple occasions, is an ophthalmologist in private practice in San Francisco. He also serves as clinical professor of ophthalmology at the University of California, San Francisco, and as Distinguished AOA Professor for SUNY Upstate.

Awards and scholarship presentations will follow the Weiskotten Lecture at 5 p.m.

Welton M. Gersony, M.D., class of 1958, will receive the 2008 College of Medicine Distinguished Alumnus award. Anthony G. Visco, M.D., class of 1993, will receive the 2008 College of Medicine Outstanding Young Alumnus award.

Gersony is the Alexander Nadas Professor of Pediatrics at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University and professor of pediatrics at Weil Cornell Medical College of Cornell University. He has served as director of pediatric cardiology at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital—New York-Presbyterian Medical Center. He directed the combined Pediatric Cardiology Program at Columbia/Cornell and over the past 35 years has supervised the training of more than 100 fellows in pediatric cardiology. He was principal investigator for the first and second collaborative studies on the Natural History of Congenital Heart Defects; principal investigator and primary author of the report of the “Effects of Idomethacin on Premature Infants with Patent Ductus Arteriosis” for the National Collaborative Study; and a principal investigator of the Pediatric Heart Network of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. He is the author of more than 300 published papers and chapters, and the textbook “Congenital Heart Disease in the Adult.”

Visco is associate professor and director of the Division of Urogynecology and Reconstructive Pelvic Surgery, director of gynecologic robotic surgery, and vice chair of gynecologic surgery for the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Duke University. He is a nationally respected leader in urogynecology and has served as the principal investigator of a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant evaluating the mechanism of pelvic organ prolapse. He developed the technique for performing robotic sacrocolpopexy, a highly successful, minimally invasive treatment for advanced pelvic organ prolapse.

Reunion Weekend events include a medical alumni writing seminar, campus tours, class dinners, and, new to this year’s event, tours of the Health Sciences Library and the library’s historical exhibits. Also featured will be a photography exhibit depicting SUNY Upstate, from the 1940s through the 1990s.

Reunion Weekend is sponsored by the Medical Alumni Foundation at Upstate Medical University and the College of Medicine.

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