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Top honors for photograph


Upstate photographer Deborah Rexine was honored for this photo she took of Prateek Harne, MD, titled “Soldier in the Fight Against COVID-19.”

Upstate photographer Deborah Rexine was honored for this photo she took of Prateek Harne, MD, putting on protective gear in March 2020. She titled it, “Soldier in the Fight Against COVID-19," reflecting an essay Harne wrote about confronting the pandemic.


SUNY professional group honors Upstate photographer

This photo won the 2021 Award for Excellence in the individual photograph category from the SUNY Council for University Advancement. 

SUNYCUAD is an organization involving all SUNY campuses that promotes professional excellence and annually honors its members’ best work in several categories.

Early in the coronavirus pandemic, Upstate photographer Deborah Rexine took the photo of Prateek Harne, MD, who was in his final year of training as a resident physician in internal medicine at Upstate. 

Harne drew national attention in March 2020 when he wrote an essay that appeared on CNN.com about his fears and hopes as he treated patients with the strange, newly discovered disease of COVID-19. He wrote that he was “a soldier in this battle” and was also interviewed by CNN’s Anderson Cooper. A version of his essay also ran in a 2020 issue of Upstate Health magazine devoted to the pandemic.

Asked to reflect on his past year of dealing with the pandemic at Upstate, he said, “It was not an easy time by any means, but it only reinforced repeatedly that all of us are in this together. I relied heavily on my support structure, which I often found in my colleagues, who I consider family after having shared what we shared. We were there for each other and lifted each other up when the going got tough.

“Something else that stood as a guiding light during this time was remembering the reason I decided to become a physician. I couldn't have been more grateful to have gotten the chance to care for other people. My patients, who I owe the most to, have taught me all I know today.”

Harne, who attended medical school in his native New Delhi, India, will be undergoing training in a gastroenterology fellowship at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. He added he was “really excited to embark on that journey as I say goodbye to my Upstate family.”