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Six Upstate employees win Excellence in Healthcare Awards.

Six from Upstate honored with annual Excellence in Healthcare Awards

Six individuals from Upstate Medical University were honored at 2019 Excellence in Healthcare awards program Oct. 16 at Embassy Suites, Destiny.

The Excellence in Healthcare program is presented by Bankers Healthcare Group.

Upstate employees winning honors are:

SUNY Distinguished Service Professor David F. Lehmann, MD, PharmD, received the 2019 A. John Merola Lifetime Achievement Award. Lehmann is being honored for a lifetime of service to the medical field and having an impact in the health care community. He has dedicated extensive time to academic leadership as chair of the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee, chief of the Clinical Pharmacology Inpatient Consult Service, and chief of the Section of Clinical Pharmacology in the Departments of Medicine and Pharmacology. He previously served as vice chair of the Department of Medicine and chief of the Division of General Medicine. Lehmann is a member of the Board of Regents for the American College of Clinical Pharmacology. He has practiced in Saipan, hospital pharmacy director in Kenya, and educator and consultant in the development of pharmacology curricula in Nepal and India. He also has provided service through medical relief missions to Haiti, Ecuador, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas.

Most recently, Lehmann has worked to create “Housecalls for the Homeless,” a program that provides free medical care to homeless men and women directly on the street, at area shelters and at the Rahma Clinic. Since starting in the summer of 2018, Housecalls for the Homeless has helped 280 people. The program treats 20 people per month, on average.

Derek Cooney, MD, FF/NRP, LEO, FACEP, FAAEM, received the Excellence in Medicine award. Cooney has served on the board of the National Association of ­Physicians and the American College of Emergency Physicians’ EMS Committee. He is the editor and creator of the McGraw-Hill physician textbook: EMS Medicine. In addition to actively practicing as a triple board-certified physician, Cooney has served as a firefighter, police officer, tactical physician, and has additional certifications as a paramedic and hazmat technician. He provides medical direction to numerous fire and police agencies in Central New York. He also has taught medical students, physician assistants, residents and fellows at Upstate. Cooney sees patients at the Upstate Trauma Center, Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital and at Upstate Community Campus. He also serves as associate professor of emergency medicine.

Scott Jessie, RN, MS, CCRN, received the Excellence in Nursing award.
Jessie joined Upstate in 1999 as a registered nurse in the medical/surgical ICU. Since then, he has held leadership positions, including patient service leader, nurse manager, associate director of nursing for emergency services, deputy director of nursing for emergency services, and currently as the executive director of nursing. In his current role, he has cross-campus responsibility, and oversees Emergency Services, the Upstate Triage and Transfer Center, the Transitions of Care Department and other programs.

Lisa Lai, MD, received the Excellence in Surgery award. Lai came to Syracuse for her general surgery residency. There were many options for specialization after general surgery, but she chose breast surgery based on the close bond that forms between patient and surgeon. She briefly left Syracuse for a breast surgery fellowship in order to obtain the most comprehensive and modern training. Lai has practiced at Upstate since 2016 and recently added a practice at Oswego Health, where she was the only breast surgeon on Oswego County. Lai is a member of the Upstate faculty and serves as medical director of surgical oncology/breast cancer surgery; and as medical director, Numann Center for Breast Endocrine and Plastic Surgery.

Robert J. Corona, DO, MBA, FCAP, FASCP, received the Outstanding Hospital Executive award. Corona serves as chief executive officer of Upstate University Hospital and is a professor of pathology. A few of the words his team used to describe him were “selfless, collaborative, high integrity, honorable, enduring goodness, ability to connect with people, approachable, passionate, consensus builder, humble, visionary, inspirational and cool.” During his time at Upstate, Corona has led the development and implementation of the Upstate MIND (Medical Innovation and Novel Discovery) initiative at the CNY Biotech Accelerator. He has served as a professor and chair of the department of pathology and laboratory medicine; medical director of neuropathology; and vice president for innovation and business development. Corona also founded Upstate’s telemedicine program. He previously served as chief medical officer and vice president of medical and scientific affairs at Welch Allyn Inc. in Skaneateles.

Colleen Penta received the Impact Player award. Penta is a certified ophthalmic assistant at the Upstate Vision Center and Department of Ophthalmology. In 2018 Penta was named lead technician after winning the Clinical Employee of the Year at Upstate University Hospital. When Penta is not acting as lead technician, she is the safety officer for Ophthalmology, the chair for the quality improvement committee, and a core team member of the OPTICAL (Ophthalmology Process Team Innovating Clinic Achievement through Lean) project.

Caption: Clockwise, from left: David Lehmann, Derek Cooney, Robert Corona, Colleen Penta, Lisa Lai and Scott Jessie are honored for excellence in healthcare. Lehmann was honored with a lifetime acheivement award for his service to the medical community and to those in need.