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Upstate People

Jan. 29,

Claire Aloan, RT, MS, RRT-NPS, FAARC, director of the SUNY Upstate Respiratory Therapy program, has been named to the Board of Directors of the Lambda Beta Honor Society. In addition to her board post, she serves as co-chair for Public Relations for the organization. The Lambda Beta Society is a national honor society sponsored and maintained by the National Board for Respiratory Care. It is an honor society specifically recognizing undergraduate, graduate, alumni and faculty achievement in Respiratory Care programs in colleges and universities throughout the United States.

Mary DiMura has been named as director of operations for the College of Health Professions. She brings an abundance of experience in higher education from her years in the Office of the Registrar at Syracuse University, and has substantial business experience in the private sector as well. DiMura earned all of her degrees, including an MBA, in the SUNY system at Empire State College. For the next few weeks she will be learning the Upstate and CHP system with outgoing director of operations Deb Stehle.







Jan. 15, 2021

Nina Popow, MBA, has been appointed director of leased properties  In this new role, Popow will oversee all of Upstate’s leased properties relative to lease negotiations, ensuring code requirements are met as mandated by the state Health Department, DNV and local building/fire safety codes. She will also manage all construction improvement projects to ensure leased properties are up to quality standards. In addition to her strong leadership skills and determination, Popow brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the position. She has been in the healthcare field for more than 25 years, in both operational and construction management roles. Popow has been with Upstate since 2004 as senior planner in the Hospital Planning Department. Popow is very knowledgeable in the NY State Department of Health Certificate of Need (CON) process. Prior to coming to Upstate, Popow served as director of financial services for Oswego Hospital. Popow holds a master’s in business administration from SUNY Oswego.  

Dec. 25, 2020

Trinisa Pitts, CPC, CPMA has been promoted to assistant manager of Ambulatory Billing. Pitts has been with Upstate’s Patient Financial Service (PFS) Department since 2019 as the coding and auditing supervisor in Ambulatory Billing. Prior to joining PFS, Pitts worked at Med Best for 10 as a coder for General Surgery before being promoted to compliance.  Pitts will continue to supervise the Ambulatory Billing team and will be the primary contact for any ambulatory billing concerns. tion since Maureen’s retirement.

Christine Jonkoski, CPC, has been promoted to financial improvement manager and will now oversee Ambulatory Billing, in addition to her current responsibilities. Jonkoski has been with Upstate’s Patient Financial Service (PFS) Department since 2017 as the financial improvement coordinator. Prior to joining PFS, she worked in compliance at Med Best and as a billing analyst at Meridian Health System. Jonkoski has played a critical role in financial improvement and integrity for the hospital.  

Dec. 11, 2020

Caley Michalski has been named nurse manager for 10G and 10H at Upstate University Hospital. Michalski has been a registered nurse since 2009; she holds a bachelor’s degree from Utica College.  She has experience including med/surg nursing with acute care surgical, burns and transplant patients and is a certified clinical transplant coordinator. She is certified through the state health department as an assault forensic examiner and is a sexual assault nurse examiner through Vera House. Michalski will start her new role Jan. 4.

Dec. 3, 2020

Sarah Vienne, LMSW, has been named assistant director of social work, effective Jan. 7, 2021. Vienne is a graduate of SUNY Binghamton School of Social Work and has been working as an administrator for the past 15 years, most recently as a director at Helio Health. She brings experience managing operations, strategic planning, quality improvement and promoting interdisciplinary collaborative team work.

Nov. 25, 2020

Juliann Axton has been appointed director of strategic initiatives in the Hospital Strategy Office. The appointment was effective Nov. 19. Axton will work closely with leadership across the hospital, colleges and faculty practice on business development and regional strategy initiatives to advance and grow Upstate’s clinical enterprise. Axton brings more than 20 years of healthcare experience, including 18 years at Upstate in both clinical and leadership positions. She most recently served as the interim associate administrator for ambulatory services. Axton holds a master’s degree in nursing leadership and administration and a bachelor’s degree in nursing.  She also earned certification from the Cornell-HANYS Academy for Healthcare Leadership Advancement program. 

Nov. 6, 2020

Chantana Taranto, BSN, RN, CMSRN has been appointed to 6B assistant nurse manager. Taranto has been a registered nurse since 2001 and joined 6B in 2014. She started the clinical leader role in 2016 and obtained her CAP certification this year. She is currently in the process of applying to graduate school for her MSN in transformational leadership.

Oct. 23, 2020

Tanya George, MD, has been named medical director of utilization management. George completed her medical education at Maulana Azad Medical College, University of Delhi, India, in 2005. She did her Internal Medicine Residency at the Brooklyn Hospital Center, Cornell University, New York, in 2009. George joined Upstate University Hospital in July 2009 as an assistant professor of medicine. George has worked closely with the Utilization Management Department over the last year as the associate medical director for Utilization Management, Over the last year, she has worked on Utilization Management projects to help improve CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) compliance and improve the revenue cycle. She holds her Certification in Health Care Quality and Management (CHCQM) and is a Certified Clinical Documentation Specialist (CCDS). George is also a Fellow of the American College of Physicians (FACP). George also serves on several committees. She is vice chair for both the Hospital Medicine Education Committee and the Patient Experience Committee. She has worked on several invaluable projects, order sets and pathways to help improve resident education, patient care and patient experience.

Oct. 16, 2020

Darcy DiBiase, MBA , has been appointed primary care liaison. Primary Care is one of Upstate's strategic focus areas and serves as the foundation to the three other pillars of Heart, Brain and Cancer Care. In this role, Dibiase will develop and initiate Primary Care faculty engagement strategies to enhance communication and relationships between faculty/alumni, local and regional physicians as well as Upstate Medical University and Upstate University Hospital. Dibiase joined Upstate in 2011 as assistant director of Marketing and University Communications. She holds a bachelor's degree in communications and a master of business administration degree in health services administration from SUNY Oswego.

Oct. 9, 2020

William (Bill) Shepard has been named ambulatory services contract administrator. This new position is designed to provide leadership and expertise to hospital contracts systems and processes. Shepard has held numerous positions at Upstate since joining the university in 2007, including been a medical records analyst in Health Information Management, office administrator for the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, and contracts administrator in Contracts and Campus Purchasing. Shepard brings a wealth of knowledge on SUNY and Upstate contracting systems. He earned a bachelor's degree from the University at Albany and a juris doctorate from Albany Law School of Union University.

Sept. 18, 2020

Armando Martinez has been named assistant director of the Center for Civic Engagement (CCE). For the past two years, Martinez served as the coordinator of multicultural affairs and CSTEP advisor within the Division of Student Affairs. As assistant director, Martinez will combine his formal training in Public and Community Service and Cultural Foundations of Education coupled with his experience in partnership building and community conversations to advance the mission of the Center for Civic Engagement, which is to promote and support an institutional commitment to active citizenship and social responsibility. Within his role, Martinez will seek to develop sustainable, mutually-beneficial community-based learning experiences that will allow students, faculty and staff to participate in a more engaged university to improve the health of the communities served by Upstate.

Aug. 21, 2020

Stephanie Shattuck has been named associate administrator of support services. Shattuck brings with her to Upstate extensive experience in logistics, supply chain and contract management and strategic planning through multiple roles in the federal government, including the intelligence community. Shattuck’s work as a senior leader with oversight of daily operations in facilities, information technology, project management and finance provide a strong background for her new role at Upstate. Shattuck holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from LeMoyne College and a master's degree of international management from the American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird), which is now part of Arizona State University.

Aug. 14, 2020

Raisa Zhovklaya, BSN, RN, has been named as stroke program outreach coordinator. Zhovklaya brings to the team the Upstate Stroke Team a strong background in stroke and neurosciences. She has worked throughout the country as a travel nurse before her most recent employment in the neurointerventional radiology suite at Crouse Hospital.

Sharon Brangman, MD, chair of Geriatrics, participated in a national forum on the Impact of COVID-19 on the Elderly Aug. 12, sponsored by the Physicians for Human Rights. 

Aug. 7, 2020

Kathryn Anderson, PHD, MD, assistant professor of medicine and microbiology and immunology, participated in a telephone town hall for constituents of U.S. Rep Brindisi Aug. 3. Anderson answered questions from callers about the pandemic

Debra Gamble has joined Advocates for Upstate as administrative coordinator. In this position, she reports to the Advocates’ Board of Directors and plays a critical role in the organization’s successful operation. She succeeds Jonathan Adler who retired in May. Gamble has experience in operations and programmatic financial management, research and contract funding oversight, program start-up, management and event coordination and marketing and public relations. She is experienced in database development, management and reporting and software systems. Gamble comes to Upstate most recently from Syracuse University after 10 years of service, she has held healthcare administrative positions in Houston, working at Vanguard Urologic Institute, Baylor College of Medicine, the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and Rice University. Gamble holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from SUNY Oswego and an associate degree in medical office science from Jefferson Community College.

Alpha Omega Alpha senior inductees for 2021 announced
The College of Medicine is pleased to announce the results of the Alpha Omega Alpha (AΩA) senior year elections for the Class of 2021. They are:

Nathan Arboleda

Christopher Bartlow

Thomas Bedard

Justin Durland

Benjamin Fuller

Muhammad Jalal

Nina Juszczak

Dominic LaBella

Divakar Lal

Lisbeth Reyes-Fondeur

David Riccardi

Josh Sen

Rosalie Siciliano

Megan Taggart

Ryan Thibodeau

Erin Tonzi

AOA is the national medical student honor society, and election is based on scholarly achievement, leadership, professionalism, and service. The newly elected members have committed to contributing a significant amount of their time as academic tutors for first and second-year students, and to upholding academic integrity and professional behavior.  The chapter sponsors a student clerkship liaison program, service/leadership programs, a visiting professorship, and participates in Student Research Day planning, among other activities and events.


July 31, 2020

Jill Hayward has been named manager of the pediatric trauma program. The appointment was effective July 15. Hayward holds a master's degree in public health from Upstate and a bachelor's degree in nursing from Niagara University. Her nursing experience includes adult and pediatric acute and ambulatory care and has held leadership roles in the U.S. Army, school nursing and most recently as a pediatric ambulatory float pool registered nurse. Hayward is an avid volunteer in her community and annually participates in mission trips to El Salvador. Her office is located in CWB 218-T.

Robert Corona, DO, MBA, chief executive officer of Upstate University Hospital, was one of five featured speakers at the conference Building Guest Confidence: Making Hospitality Safe, held  July 20. The conference was sponsored by the Hotel School at Cornell University.

Shelly White, MS, CHAM, FACHE, associate administrator for patient access services, will be a featured speaker at the 2020 Contact Experience Conference Aug. 27 and 28. White will discuss how Upstate quickly adapted its new staff on-boarding process during the pandemic, among other issues. The conference, sponsored by Greystone.Net and Healthcare Call Center Times, is attended by leaders of call and contact centers, and customer service management.

July 3, 2020

Adrienne Hickey, who has served as day shift supervisor for the Upstate's Respiratory Therapy Department for the past five years, has been named associate director of the Upstate University Hospital Respiratory Therapy Department. Hickey earn a bachelor’s degree in respiratory therapy from Upstate’s College of Health Professions in 2005. After graduating, Hickey spent ten years working at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Hickey is an experienced therapist who has worked with all patient populations and respiratory treatment modalities.

June 19, 2020

Kyle Choquette, MSN, RN, CNRN, SCRN, NE-BC has been named associate director of nursing of the Throughput Operations Center (TOC), effective June 25. In response to Upstate's capacity and throughput challenges, the TOC will centralize and manage patient flow operations, maximize bed resources, efficiently load balance between hospitals and focus on maintaining capacity for patients needing care from across the region. In this role, Choquette will report to the executive director of Nursing, and supervise the Throughput Operations Center, the throughput team and the bed managers. 

Most recently, as a patient flow administrator, Choquette improved Discharge Hospitality Center operations, leading to increased use and improved patient throughput. During the COVID-19 crisis, Choquette led the implementation of the temporary unified bed control to ready Upstate for any potential patient surge.

Choquette also has served as a nurse manager on 9E and 9G. He also is the current clinical chair for Upstate's Organ Donor Council. Choquette led the development of the Honor Walk process to pay tribute to the donor patient and families during the donation process.

Choquette started his professional nursing career at Upstate 10 years ago and earned his MSN in nursing administration from SUNY Empire State College in 2019.




June 12, 2020

Michele Petticone

Michele Petticone, MS, RT, RRT-NPS, assistant professor of respiratory therapy in the College of Health Professions has been named 2020 Distinguished Alumna by Highline College, recognizing "her commitment to educating future respiratory care professionals during a time when the need is at an all-time high because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  She was also recognized for her willingness to return to the frontlines of care, serving as a respiratory therapist in the hospital.







New Employees

Visit Welcome to Upstate for a list of new employees who joined Upstate Medical University in October.

In Memoriam

In Memoriam: A tribute to current Upstate employees, current volunteers, current students, and official retirees who have passed away.