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Upstate to hold annual Celebration of the Faculty March 20

Upstate to hold annual Celebration of the Faculty March 20

The event was originally scheduled for March 14, but was postponed due to the winter storm.

“The Celebration of the Faculty is my favorite event of the year,” said Paula M. Trief, PhD, senior associate dean for Faculty Affairs & Faculty Development and professor of psychiatry and medicine at Upstate. “It brings together our diverse and talented faculty to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of so many. It also provides a chance for us to join as a community in mutual recognition and support.”

Seven faculty members will receive Upstate’s 2017 Gold Standard awards for demonstrating dedication, passion, vision and commitment to their work and to Upstate. The recipients are:

- Barbara L. Feuerstein, MD, associate professor, Medicine
Feuerstein helped launch Upstate’s Joslin Diabetes Center where she continues to gain the respect and admiration of her many patients who are treated for diabetes and endocrine conditions. She supports Joslin’s transgender program, and, as a certified specialist in Integrative and Holistic Medicine, she was instrumental in introducing integrative medicine techniques in the management of obesity and diabetes for the practice. She has volunteered at the Poverello free clinic for the past 12 years, caring for individuals with diabetes and other endocrine disorders who lack insurance; she also has worked with refugee families in Syracuse. She has participated in international medical missions, caring for people with diabetes and other endocrine disorders in impoverished areas while teaching pre-med students in the field. At Upstate, she has assisted the medical school admissions group for the past 20 years. She served on the board of directors of the Syracuse Regional Chapter and is a past Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation honoree.

- Teresa M. Hargrave, MD, MPH, associate professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Hargrave is a community expert who bridges the gap between children and families with emotional and behavioral problems and local mental health services. Fluent in Spanish, she dedicates part of her private practice to working with families whose sole language is Spanish. She developed a clinical rotation for child fellows on early child development and developed and teaches the Pediatric Mental Health Lecture Series for Pediatric Residency Program. She has led the SUNY Upstate Child and Adolescent Psychiatry for Primary Care Physicians (CAPPC) program, a collaboration between five university medical centers to address the unmet need for mental health services for children and adolescents in New York State. Hargrave is a member of several initiatives, including the Upstate Active Learning Collaborative and the Academic Affairs Committee. This past year she was honored by graduating residents of the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry as an “Outstanding Teacher, Mentor and Guide.”

- Moustafa Hassan, MD, associate professor, Surgery and Anesthesiology
One of Hassan’s nominators says that he “is dedicated, enthusiastic and passionate about trauma and acute care surgery and almost single-handidly transformed the General Surgery coverage at Upstate into the more contemporary and efficient acute care surgery model.” A faculty member for 10 years, he has served as medical director of Trauma Services, director of the Surgical ICU and director of Acute Care Surgery. He is considered by his peers to be a superb clinician, respected educator and a humanitarian. Hassan is the driving force and co-founder of the Rahma Free Clinic, a “safety net” for Central New Yorkers who lack health insurance. An exceptional clinician, he is an expert in abdominal wall reconstruction, managing patients who have surgical catastrophes. Due to his expertise in abdominal wall reconstruction, Upstate has received referrals from surgeons throughout the region. Hassan is respected by medical students and residents for his teaching abilities and has been selected for a number of teaching awards throughout his career.

- Dilip S. Kittur, MD, ScD, FACS, Surgery
Kittur is division chief of Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery and medical director of the Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery Program. A nominator credits him as “a true expert in the field who immediately embraced the laparoscopic donor program and sailed with the program into the success it maintained.” Kittur started the first Hepato-biliary academic surgery program in Central New York that now attracts patients from throughout the region as well as surgeons and researchers from other universities. Prior to the program, patients traveled to distant sites for this highly specialized surgery.  Kittur’s calm demeanor in the operating room and while teaching students and residents how to perform a surgical task, in addition to his approachability, has made him one of the most popular physicians and educators at Upstate and in the region.

- Mark Polhemus, MD, associate professor, Medicine
Polhemus serves as director of Upstate’s Center for Global Health & Translational Science (CGHTS). A nominator says that he “demonstrates commitment, vision and a deep sincerity for global health...embodying the value of Upstate through his innovative work, respect for his colleagues, service to Upstate while demonstrating a high degree of integrity and the embracement of diversity.”  Under his leadership, the CGHTS program has emerged as a $20 million research enterprise with studies in vaccine trials, a human infection model for the dengue virus and overseas research in Ecuador. He strengthened Upstate’s global health education program for medical students. The program sponsored six student rotations in Ecuador, resulting in three of the students presenting at an international conference and writing a manuscript for publication.  For his outstanding leadership in global health education, Polhemus received the International Educator of the Year by the International Center of Syracuse in 2014.

- Brian W. Thompson, MD, assistant professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology; associate dean for diversity
Thompson helped to develop the midwifery program at Upstate’s Community Campus, currently serving as the program’s medical director. He has served as director of quality assurance for Obstetrics and Gynecology and is instrumental in promoting safe care for women within the Central New York region. He has been appointed to numerous national committees for the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), including the National Committee for American Indian/Alaska Native Women’s Health. He serves as a resource for ACOG in its understanding of Native American affairs and inequities in care. His medical students and residents call him an outstanding educator, role model and an ideal mentor.

- Robert W. Zajdel, PhD, assistant professor, Cell and Developmental Biology
According to a nominator, “as an instructor for now 20 years, Zajdel remains patient and thorough in both the lecture hall and lab and he has an excellent knowledge of the material that is constantly improving.” His students call him one of the most approachable teachers at Upstate, helping them to feel relaxed and excellently guiding them in their studies to maximize their learning. As Anatomy and Cell Biology Thread Leader, Zajdel creates a positive working environment for students, faculty and course directors. His work ethic and consistent communications with unit directors is a model for success, encouraging positive teamwork between members of his and other teams. As a unit director for the Circulatory, Respiratory 1 Unit, he is successful in balancing the load of content weaving through his unit. He is credited by a nominator as being “quite simply, a leader in medical education here at Upstate.”

The Celebration of the Faculty and the Gold Standard Awards are included among the university’s programs that recognize and support members of the faculty. Other such programs offered by Upstate’s office of Faculty Affairs & Faculty Development include the Academy of Upstate Educators, comprised of highly innovative and excellent educators who also serve as a resource to colleagues for education-related consultations; and an innovative “trackless” promotion system for full- and part-time College of Medicine faculty. Upstate also recognizes the accomplishments of its faculty members at the annual Fall Faculty Convocation ceremony.