UB Medicine Spring 2019

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Photo by Douglas Levere



Seventy medical students and faculty from the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences dined with dozens of community members recently to gain a better understanding of how Buffalo’s residents experience health care and what their concerns are. The idea for the dinner grew out of several initiatives. One of these initiatives was Health in the Neighborhood, a first-year elective where medical students learn about social determinants of health and health care disparities by spending time in an underdeveloped black neighborhood. The course, begun last year, is sponsored by the Jacobs School’s Center for Medical Humanities, which also sponsored the dinner. Directed by Linda F. Pessar, MD, professor of clinical psychiatry emerita, the center focuses on the psychological, social, cultural and economic forces that influence the practice of medicine, the social determinants of health, and health disparities. “The health outcomes between black and white Americans are shockingly disparate for many complex reasons,” says Pessar. “A component of this is distrust and misunderstanding between black Americans and their physicians. A proportion of black Americans don’t trust doctors; they don’t feel we work for their benefit. An example is the belief that doctors are paid by the prescription.” The Health in the Neighborhood course pairs students with families in the community so that students can better understand their lives, their community and, most especially, their experiences with the health care system. The course was developed by Henry L. Taylor Jr., PhD, professor of urban and regional planning in the UB School of Architecture and Planning; and David Milling, MD ’93, senior associate dean for student and academic affairs in the Jacobs School, in partnership with Pastor Dennis Lee of Hopewell Baptist Church and Pastor Kinzer Pointer of Agape Baptist Church. Because exchanges through the course are beginning to make a real difference in the perceptions of both students and community members, Pessar thought: “Why leave this at Hopewell? Let’s open it up and see if we can begin this dialogue in a larger group.” When she sent an invitation to students and faculty for the dinner, there was overwhelming interest, which Pessar attributes to a growing realization that the medical community needs to better understand those it serves. “The fact that we’ve had so much interest in this says that the time has come to expand the coming together of the medical school and the community,” she says. “It’s the beginning of a movement.” To learn more about the Health in the Neighborhood program, visit medicine.buffalo.edu and search “Neighborhood.”



UB MEDICINE MAGAZINE, Spring 2019, Vol. 7, No. 1

MICHAEL E. CAIN, MD Vice President for Health Sciences and Dean, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences


Eric C. Alcott Associate Vice President for Advancement, Health Sciences, Senior Associate Dean of Medical Advancement

VITAL LINES Progress notes

22 26


Editorial Director Christine Fontaneda Executive Director of Medical Advancement

Reflections on careers

Editor Stephanie A. Unger Contributing Writers Lori Ferguson, Ellen Goldbaum, Grove Potter, Mark Sommer


Copyeditor Tom Putnam

People in the news


Photography Sandra Kicman, Meredith Forrest Kulwicki, Douglas Levere


Art Direction & Design Karen Lichner

Conversations with experts

Editorial Adviser John J. Bodkin II, MD ’76 UB Medicine is published by the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB to inform alumni, friends and community about the school’s pivotal role in medical education, research and advanced patient care in Buffalo, Western New York and beyond.

Affiliated Teaching Hospitals Erie County Medical Center Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center Veterans Affairs Western New York Healthcare System

Ilana Selli, Class of 2021, examining a baby for malnutrition with the assistance of translator Loubert Saintilnor, Fontaine, Haiti, December 2018.

VISIT US: medicine.buffalo.edu/alumni

6 OPENING EYES AND HEARTS COVER IMAGE David Holmes, MD, clinical associate professor of family medicine and director of Global Health Education, examining a Haitian child for malnutrition. Last summer Connor Orrico, Class of 2021, started a malnutrition program in Fontaine, Haiti, and asked Holmes to follow up with some of the children he identified as being at risk. See related story on page 28.

Global health initiatives at UB are largely student led, gathering momentum and garnering attention.


Meet students, faculty and alumni who are providing care to some of our world’s most underserved.


Kaleida Health Buffalo General Medical Center DeGraff Memorial Hospital Gates Vascular Institute John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital Catholic Health Mercy Hospital of Buffalo Sisters of Charity Hospital Correspondence, including requests to be added to or removed from the mailing list, should be sent to: Editor, UB Medicine, 916 Kimball Tower, Buffalo, NY 14214; or email ubmedicine-news@buffalo.edu

Jericho Road Commuity Health Center, led by two alumni, brings a global health perspective to Buffalo and to clinics overseas.


A student-initiated effort is helping to increase diversity in admissions and bolstering care to underserved populations.





FACULTY RECOGNIZED FOR OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTIONS Congratulations to the following Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences faculty who were honored through the SUNY Distinguished Scholars program, and the UB Distinguished Scholars and UB Exceptional Scholars programs in 2018. Robert Zivadinov, MD, PhD, professor of neurology, UB Exceptional Scholars – Sustained Achievement Award

Laurie K. Read, PhD, professor of microbiology and immunology, SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities

Christopher S. Cohan, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of pathology and anatomical sciences Read


Steven J. Fliesler, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of ophthalmology


Zhen Yan, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of physiology and biophysics


Gil I. Wolfe, MD, professor and chair, Department of Neurology; SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities. Wolfe also has been Wolfe elected 2019 president of the New York State Neurological Society. Hui Meng, PhD, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and professor of neurosurgery, UB Distinguished Professor


Pinaki Sarder, PhD, assistant professor of pathology and anatomical sciences, UB Exceptional Scholar – Young Investigator Award Sarder

Z. Jack Tseng, PhD, assistant professor of pathology and anatomical sciences, UB Exceptional Scholar – Young Investigator Award Tseng


Photos by Joe Casio

CORRECTION: Pictured third from the left is Lornette Mills, MD ’93, not Rogena Miller, MD ’93, as incorrectly stated in the fall 2018 issue. Pictured with Dr. Mills are, from left, classmates Karen Dugid, Wallace Johnson and Julene Evans-Murage. The group was celebrating their class’s 25th reunion.




NEUROLOGY PROFESSOR WILLIAM R. KINKEL, MD ’54, RETIRES -Pioneered the field of neuroimaging

William Revere Kinkel, MD ’54, professor of neurology and a pioneer in the field of neuroimaging, retired from the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in 2018, at age 91. In 2017, UB honored Kinkel for his 57 years of service, and the American Society of Neuroimaging awarded him its Lifetime Achievement Award. Kinkel pioneered the field of neuroimaging, which has grown exponentially in the last decade due to its application to sports injuries and war wounds. In 1963, Kinkel founded the Dent Neurologic Institute in Buffalo—now one of the largest neurologic clinics in the world—and in 1976, he helped found the Society of Neuroimaging, also in Buffalo. A passionate teacher who brought the third ever CT scanner to America, Kinkel developed an independent neurology residency at Millard Fillmore Gates Hospital in 1977. The program merged with UB’s in 1986, at which time Kinkel was made a tenured professor of neurology in the Jacobs School. In 1980, Kinkel established the first neuroimaging fellowship in the world at the Dent Neurologic Institute. In 2004, he established a second fellowship program at Kaleida Health’s Buffalo General Medical Center, a UB teaching affiliate. Today, these programs are two of only six such programs in the United States.

Medical students, residents and fellows from across the globe have come to Buffalo to train with Kinkel. In 1986, UB medical students conferred upon him the Louis and Ruth Siegel Award for “the best teacher in clinical medicine,” and in 1987, he was runner-up for the award. Kinkel is a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology and a Fellow of the American Society of Neuroimaging. He was the first neurology resident Kinkel trained at UB by the Department of Neurology’s first chair, Bernard Smith, MD. Early in his career, Kinkel developed a team to evaluate and treat Parkinson’s disease stereotactically. In 1968, he became the only neurologist in upstate New York involved in a multi-hospital trial using L-dopa, now the cornerstone of Parkinson’s drug therapy. Kinkel’s professional accomplishments have left an indelible mark on neurology in Western New York and around the world. In 2018, he published a book titled “The Neurologist,” chronicling his career.

BIOGEN NAMES CONFERENCE ROOM Biogen has made a $150,000 gift to the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences to name a conference room in the school. The University at Buffalo and Biogen have collaborated successfully for over two decades. In the early 1990s, the company supported clinical trials led by Lawrence Jacobs, MD, a pioneering neurologist in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Building on Jacobs’ research, the trials proved genetically engineered interferon beta-1a an effective treatment for some forms of multiple sclerosis. Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1996, the breakthrough drug is marketed by the company under the brand name AVONEX®. Celebrating the naming of the conference room, from left, are Meg Bucello, Denise Campagnolo, MD, Brian Carroll, with Biogen; Bianca WeinstockGuttman, MD, professor of neurology in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences; Christophe Hotermans, MD, PhD, Biogen; Gil Wolfe, MD, professor and chair of neurology, Jacobs School; and David Hojnacki, MD, associate professor of neurology, Jacobs School.






—Holds joint appointments with UB and Kaleida Health Steven E. Lipshultz, MD, Carman and Ann Adams Endowed Chair of Pediatric Research at Wayne State University School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital of Michigan, has been appointed the A. Conger Goodyear Professor and Chair of the Department of Pediatrics in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. He also serves Lipshultz as the pediatric chief-of-service at Kaleida Health and the medical director, pediatrics services business development, for John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital. In addition, Lipshultz is to be president of UBMD Pediatrics. Lipshultz is the first chair of pediatrics to be located in the Jacobs School’s new downtown home on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, just steps from Oishei Children’s Hospital, further cementing collaborations between the two institutions. Lipshultz has been with the Children’s Research Center of Michigan since 2013 and was pediatrician-in-chief at Children’s Hospital of Michigan until 2017. He also was specialist-in-chief, pediatrics, at the Detroit Medical Center and president of University Pediatricians.

Previously, he was the inaugural holder of the George E. Batchelor Chair in Pediatrics and the Batchelor Family Pediatric Cardiology Endowed Chair at the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine. Lipshultz is credited with having helped establish the field of pediatric cardio-oncology and has been principal investigator of several landmark National Institutes of Health studies on the causes and treatment of cardiomyopathy in children. His clinical studies have established the efficacy of therapies that can prevent heart disease in children with HIV. He also uses comparative genomics and proteomics to study the development of pediatric cardiomyopathy. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Lipshultz received his MD from Dartmouth Medical School and completed a pediatrics residency at the Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, in the Department of Pediatrics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. At Children’s Hospital in Boston, he completed both a fellowship in clinical cardiology and a research cardiology fellowship at the American Heart AssociationBugher Foundation Centers for Molecular Biology in the Cardiovascular System. To read more, visit medicine.buffalo.edu and search “Lipshultz.”

BANGS NAMED A FELLOW OF THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF MICROBIOLOGY James (Jay) D. Bangs, PhD, Grant T. Fisher Professor and Chair of Microbiology and Immunology in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, has been named a fellow of the American Society of Microbiology. ASM fellows, recognized for their excellence, originality and leadership in the microbiological Bangs




sciences, are elected annually through a highly selective, peer-review process, based on their records of scientific achievement and original contributions that have advanced microbiology. Bangs will be officially inducted into the ASM fellowship at the organization’s annual meeting in San Francisco in June. For more than 35 years, Bangs has conducted research on African trypanosomes, single-celled parasites transmitted by the tsetse fly, which cause African sleeping sickness in


Western New York BloodCare, formerly known as the Hemophilia Center of Western New York, has awarded the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences two grants aimed at addressing a shortage of physicians in the region who specialize in treating nonmalignant blood disorders. The first grant for $890,000 establishes the Robert Long Career Development Award. It invests in a junior physician-scientist who is dedicated to conducting advanced research, facilitating training for medical professionals and providing expert care to local patients and families with these disorders. The inaugural recipient of the award is pediatric hematologistoncologist Beverly Schaefer, MD, clinical assistant professor of pediatrics in the Jacobs School and attending pediatric hematologistoncologist at the Roswell Park Oishei Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Program. She is also a physician with UBMD Pediatrics. The second grant for $675,000 establishes the Rosemary “Penny” Holmberg Hemostasis and Thrombosis Clinical Fellowship in nonmalignant hematology at UB and Roswell Park. It provides one to two years of training in advanced medical management of patients with complex bleeding and thrombotic disorders. “We are very grateful for these generous awards from Western New York BloodCare,” said Michael E. Cain, MD, vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School. “They are strategic investments that directly impact the quality of health care in our community by working to close a gap in specialty care. Not only will they help attract and retain top-level physician-scientists who specialize in non-malignant blood disorders, but they will help ensure that generations of specialists in this field are trained in Buffalo.” In Western New York, as in many parts of the country, there is an acute need for pediatric and adult hematologists who are trained

humans, a fatal, re-emerging disease throughout subSaharan Africa. His pioneering research specializes in the biochemistry and cell biology of African trypanosomes and their secretory processes; it has illuminated the biosynthesis and trafficking of key virulence factors in this important human and veterinary parasite. He organizes the premier annual international meeting in his discipline—the Molecular Parasitology Meeting at the

Photo by Sandra Kicman

—Generous support from Western New York BloodCare


and skilled in the management of complex bleeding and thrombotic disorders as well as in state-of-the-art clinical and translational investigation. “Multiple factors contribute to this shortage, including a scarcity of training programs, salary disparities and limited availability of experienced mentors, explains Laurie Reger, executive director of Western New York BloodCare. “Yet in the Greater Buffalo area, we are fortunate,” she says. “With full-service bleeding- and clotting-disorders care available through Western New York BloodCare, and an academic health center anchored by the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, our organizations are uniquely positioned to form a philanthropic partnership that can work together to build and retain a local workforce of highly trained physicians focused on providing the highest quality care to individuals with hemophilia and nonmalignant hematologic disorders.”

Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass. A faculty member at UB since 2013, Bangs was previously on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin. He received his PhD in biochemical, cellular and molecular biology from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and completed postdoctoral training in cell biology at Yale University School of Medicine and in microbiology at Stanford University School of Medicine.




Andrew Claffey, Class of 2021, holding infant during his trip to Malawi with classmates Jennifer George and Korinne Thorne in the summer of 2018.


and Hearts






uring his first-year of medical school, Aaron Van Dyne served as a team leader on a medical trip to Fontaine, Haiti, where he helped triage patients. The experience opened his eyes and inspired him to return with another team in December 2018. program in the Jacobs School and makes regular trips abroad with students. In 2017, he went to Ghana and Panama. Earlier his year he traveled to Haiti and in April he will go to Nepal with a team of UB medical students and members of the Jericho Road Community Health Center in Buffalo (see related story on page 18). UB medical students have an array of global health opportunities from which to choose. Fourth-year students can participate in an elective program where they join existing clinics or programs abroad run by other institutions. First- and second-year students can avail themselves of opportunities that are being developed by the students themselves with the assistance of UB faculty experienced in global health. “We really want to go where the students want to go,” Holmes says. “And we want to foster student leadership in this, so we try to be flexible.” That openness led to the creation of the school’s primary overseas medical destination: Fontaine,

Photo by Korinne Thorne

“It is really humbling,” Van Dyne says. “You come back with a new perspective and a new appreciation for what you have and what we can do in terms of practicing medicine.” That experience—and what it represents in today’s interconnected world—goes to the heart of global health, a fast-growing field that encompasses many disciplines, from medicine to engineering to public health, in an effort to understand and improve health worldwide. The opportunity for medical students, residents and faculty to travel and treat people in impoverished countries is emerging as a powerful movement nationwide, and the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences has a grassroots program garnering attention. David Holmes, MD, clinical associate professor of family medicine and director of Global Health Education leads this burgeoning global health

Trip leader Aaron Van Dyne, Class of 2021, draining a cyst in Fontaine, Haiti, under the supervision of Deborah Miller, MD.




UB health sciences team and translators, Fontaine, Haiti, December 2018.

Haiti. Five years ago, a first-year medical student named Vincenzo Polsinelli came to Holmes and said he had a friend opening a school in Haiti and he wanted to take a group of his fellow students there to help treat people. “I said OK, and he organized the trip himself,” Holmes recalls. “Fourteen people went that first year, and we have been going back twice a year since then, during winter and spring breaks.” (See related story on page 22.) Students in the Jacobs School have welcomed the opportunity to take the lead in planning other trips and expanding the offerings. They fundraise, gather medicines and organize the logistics. To date, the medical students—joined by other health sciences students and faculty at UB—have completed trips to the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Peru and Panama, where they worked with a group called Floating Doctors. The most recent trip to Haiti included five physicians, eight medical students, two pharmacists, two pharmacy students, a dental hygienist, a public health doctoral student, a premed college student and the 10th-grade daughter of one of the physicians.




Home visit for a child (left) suspected of malnutrition, Fontaine, Haiti.

Lisa Saffire, Class of 2020, taking a break to visit a sugar cane processor in Fontaine, Haiti, with other medical students and local children who have tagged along.

GAINING SKILLS AND CONFIDENCE The trips are challenging, and they can be life changing. Students learn about cultural differences and about the hardships endured by people needing health care in lowresource environments. “The students get a much broader understanding of what it means to be culturally sensitive,” Holmes says. “And they learn so much about medicine—from taking a patient’s history, to doing physical exams, diagnosing and making assessments. There are preceptors and upper-level students helping, but by the end, the younger students learn a lot about how to diagnose common illnesses. “It also helps them with confidence,” Holmes adds, “and reminds them about why they went to medical school in the first place.” For Lisa Saffire, now a third-year student, the trip to Haiti taught her several important medical lessons. When interviewing a 20-year-old patient with an enlarged abdomen, she thought that the woman might be pregnant, but the patient said she wasn’t. Tests confirmed this, so Saffire and the other students called a colleague studying cardiology who said that postpartum cardiomyopathy is not uncommon in Haiti. The woman was treated for the condition and the students arranged for her to meet a cardiologist scheduled to visit Fontaine a few months later. On a subsequent visit, Saffire saw the woman and she was completely recovered and caring for her family. “She taught me three really important things,” Saffire explained during a presentation at a Global Health dinner reception held last fall in the Jacobs School. “First we have to really listen to our patients. Second, we must work on our physical history and exam skills. And, finally, it’s OK to phone a friend—to ask questions and ask for help.”

UB pharmacy student Hui “Hannah” Hong Lu, in maroon scrubs, dispensing albendazole to children at an orphanage to treat worms. Fontaine, Haiti in December 2018.

A PRIORITY FOR TODAY’S STUDENTS Given the strong interest students, residents and faculty are showing in global health, Jacobs School administrators are exploring ways to more formally incorporate the initiatives into the curriculum. “Our students are very intellectually involved in and concerned about care across the U.S. and the world,” says Alan Lesse, MD, senior associate dean for medical curriculum and an infectious disease specialist. “And they see these initiatives as a way to help repay all of the good things that have been given to them.” A vibrant global health program is an increasingly important factor for students weighing where to attend medical school, Lesse further explains. “Global health has become very popular. It’s one of the things that students look for when they apply to medical schools. Prospective students will make part of their decision based on what sort of opportunities they have available to them in this area.” UB’s large international student population and the exposure that these students afford to different cultures contributes to the Jacob School’s growing reputation in global health. Studying and socializing with friends from around the world gives students more realistic insights into health-care issues abroad, as well as within their own country, says Lesse. “And when students travel and return to UB, they have other students to talk to about their experiences.” SPRING 2019



Pediatric surgeon David Rothstein, MD, MS, left, associate professor of surgery at UB, has volunteered with Doctors Without Borders for a decade, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa.

FACULTY LEAD BY EXAMPLE David Rothstein, MD, MS, associate professor of surgery, has been involved in global health ever since he was a medical student. Each year for the past decade, he has spent a month with Doctors Without Borders, volunteering as a surgeon in resource-poor regions, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. “I’ve been lucky to have chiefs and colleagues who have supported that,” says Rothstein, a pediatric surgeon at Kaleida Health’s John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital, a UB teaching affiliate. Currently, Rothstein is organizing an effort to provide training to doctors in the Democratic Republic of Congo, with the goal of improving referral patterns and surgical care. There is a high demand for pediatric surgery in most of the African continent, where half the population is under age 16, he explains. Rothstein’s initiative is supported in part by a $50,000 grant he received from UB’s Community of Global Health Equity to help start a program in two hospitals in Goma in the Congo. “Our goal is not to come in with donated equipment and supplant care that is already being provided,” he says. “Our goal is to train local providers to extend their knowledge and skill sets, whether they are surgeons or medical doctors who, out of necessity, are doing a lot of surgical procedures.” For medical students interested in working in global health, Rothstein recommends they keep their training as broad as possible and learn languages other than English in order to better




Melany Garcia, PhD candidate in public health, seated, providing health education to a mother with the help of a translator, standing, in Fontaine, Haiti, December 2018.

communicate with patients and other professionals. He also tells them that the lessons and benefits of providing such care are profound. “It’s a reset—you regain thankfulness for being alive and well,” he says. “It’s a cliché, but you learn a lot that applies back here in the States.”

EMBRACING THE WORLD Global health trips at the Jacobs School began in earnest in the late 1980s, when the late Richard V. Lee, MD, professor of medicine, obstetrics-gynecology, pediatrics and social and preventive medicine, started taking groups of students to China for a month. They would watch and learn at the Capital Medical University in Beijing, but not perform clinical work themselves. That trip continues to this day. Kim Griswold, MD ’94, MPH, RN, professor of family medicine, psychiatry, and public health and health professions, went on one such trip while in medical school at UB in the 1990s. Today she is a leader in global health at the Jacobs School. Her strong interest in the field has taken her to Ethiopia, Kenya and, recently, Ghana. She is quick to point out, however, that there is a large international refugee population in Buffalo that is in need of medical care as well. “There are a lot of asylum seekers in Buffalo,” she explains, “and, subsequently, there are many global health opportunities available to address their needs.”

abroad. This support for the global health program at the Jacobs School is greatly appreciated, says Griswold, who reports that several students working with the Human Rights Initiative have received the scholarships to help the asylum seekers. Griswold sees a notable growth in interest in global health among students, many of whom are attracted by the local work with refugees. “These students are not tied down anymore,” she says. “They are ready to embrace the world.”

MEDICINE AND FOOD Third-year medical student Kyle Zittel traveled to the Republic of Malawi in southeast Africa with his cousin Kristina the summer before medical school to work in wound care clinics sponsored by Naturally Africa Volunteers. He returned for a second visit the summer after his first year. Zittel’s family owns a vegetable farm in Eden, N.Y., and during his first visit he was curious about why the villagers did not irrigate

Kim Griswold, MD ’94, MPH, RN, professor of family medicine, psychiatry and public health, right, examining a young patient in Accra, Ghana, in January 2019, assisted by a Ghanaian health worker.

One such opportunity is the Human Rights Initiative. Established and operated by UB medical students under the guidance of Griswold, the group helps to provide medical and psychiatric forensic evaluations for asylum-seekers. This involves scheduling and organizing interviews and serving as scribes for long and often emotionally draining sessions conducted by attending physicians. The training the students receive through Physicians for Human Rights includes cultural competency and how to work with interpreters. “They write down the story of someone who, for example, has been tortured and then prepare the legal affidavit and send it to me. After completing a review and clinical summary, I send it to the attorney,” Griswold explains. The students follow the Istanbul Protocol— international standards for the structure of a forensic exam and report—which makes the data they gather valuable to immigration courts. To date, some 70 medical students have been trained to prepare the affidavits. The Dr. Franz E. and Elizabeth Glasauer Externship Fund provides four $3,500 scholarships a year to UB medical students a year who treat refugees in the local community or who participate in a global health trip




the future, Zittel plans to research whether village health fields in the dry season, despite their village being located is improved by the increased growing capacity. close to Lake Malawi, a large freshwater lake. Because the impoverished region has limited sources of good nutrition, the lack of irrigation had health implications. ANTIDOTE TO BURNOUT “I returned from that trip thinking that fresh produce Following in Zittel’s footsteps, second-year students might be an attainable goal if the villagers were educated Korinne Thorne, Andrew Claffey and Jennifer George— about irrigation,” Zittel says, “so I reached out to the director of co-presidents of the Global Health Interest Group at the Naturally Africa Volunteers and asked if we could start an Jacobs School and agriculture program.” Glasauer Scholars— Zittel and Kristina traveled to Malawi (the daughter of Jacobs last summer to work School alumni Greg with Naturally Africa and Colleen Zittel) Volunteers. Their goal established a 501(c)(3) was to implement an called Harvest Malawi epidemiological study and raised about they had prepared $40,000 to establish —DAVID ROTHSTEIN, MD, MS, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR during their first year irrigation techniques OF SURGERY of medical school. The and help buy farmland trio taught home-based in the village. To date, care groups, assisted about two and a half in wound clinics and established height-weight clinics. acres are irrigated using solar-powered pumps, and a farm In these settings, they gathered data on nutrition and on manager is testing the techniques and helping villagers villagers’ comprehension of basic health tenets. Also, in grow vegetables and fruit trees during the dry season. In

“It’s a reset—you regain thankfulness for being alive and well. It’s a cliché, but you learn a lot that applies back here in the States.”

Kyle Zittel, Class of 2020, and his cousin, Kristina Zittel, pictured with villagers in Malawi after an educational session on nutrition and general health topics. The villagers are members of a Home Based Care group, a community health-based initiative.




Korrine Thorne, Class of 2021, enjoying time with village children after working in the clinic in Malawi, summer 2018.

conjunction with the Malawian government, they helped plan a survey to assess hygiene and seasonal nourishment, which was approved to begin in Nkope in January 2019. The trip profoundly influenced their views of medical care and may even impact their career choices. George recalls helping a girl whose growth had been stunted by malnutrition. The experience, she says, reinforced her commitment to medicine. “There are millions of kids like her out there. Just working with — KORINNE THORNE, CLASS OF 2021 her made me realize that this is what we are supposed to do. This is why we are in medical school. This is why we are health professionals.” For Claffey, the trip was humbling and challenged many of his assumptions. “I think we went in a little naïve, thinking we could change so much in such a little time.” In addition to learning that adjusting to local customs and government delays was part of his education, Claffey discovered that primary care appealed to him. “I had been thinking about surgery as a career. Now I’m considering

emergency medicine, which has a big overlap with global medicine.” For Thorne, the experience in Malawi confirmed what she hopes to accomplish as a physician. “Going abroad and working to support the health of underresourced communities is what I feel I was meant to do. The five weeks living in Malawi—getting to know the families, being invited to their homes and sharing meals—was such an eye opener, and it affirmed why I started medical school in the first place.” Reactions such as these are not a surprise to Holmes, who says the trips are rejuvenating and an antidote for physician burnout. “It really challenges us, but it helps us grow,” he says. “And we become more interested in helping others. When we see the need, it’s hard to walk away and remain calloused.”

“Going abroad and working to support the health of under-resourced communities is what I feel I was meant to do.”

To support the global health initiative in the Jacobs School, visit medicine.buffalo.edu/alumni and click on “Get-Involved” and “Global Medicine Program”.





Brendan Raleigh, MD ’14, left, treating patients in Fontaine, Haiti, assisted by Peterson Audate, a medical student in Port-au-Prince and a translator. Observing, right, is Michael Campbell, Class of 2021.



Global health programs in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences opened doors that Brendan Raleigh, MD ’14, eagerly walked through, both as a student and a resident. In his fourth year of medical school, he completed a one-month rotation in Impfondo, Republic of Congo. As a resident, he trained in the Department of Family Medicine’s Global Health Scholars Track, which refines residents’ core primary care skills and enhances their cultural competency in meeting the needs of underserved populations, internationally and locally. In his first year of residency as a global health scholar, Raleigh practiced in Chiapas, Mexico. He was in Moyobamba, Peru, his second year and in Davao, Philippines, his third year. All these experiences proved eye-opening, Raleigh says, especially in regard to glaring disparities in health care. In the Philippines, he worked in an underfunded hospital, where he helped patients with hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes. In contrast, wealthier people in the country had access to first-rate private hospitals and clinics. This was also the case when he worked in the emergency room of a small tertiary hospital. “We did a lot of suturing of people who rode small motorcycles and came in with cuts and fractures,” Raleigh says. “The ambulance they arrived in lacked basic life-support systems. It was a big van, so more like a bus ride than an ambulance. Care was fee-for-service and because the patients had to pay for




the lidocaine and the suture, we tried not to use too much.” Raleigh’s one-month rotation in the Republic of Congo was in Impfondo, a remote area where malaria and fevers were endemic. When he arrived, the hospital was down to one physician. “People came from hundreds of miles away to get care—even from other countries. The saddest thing is that because people are so malnourished, they have little reserve to make it through infections or other things that people in the United States normally recover from.” The United States is not immune to disparities in health care, Raleigh notes, even if they’re not as severe as in the countries overseas where he has worked. It’s a big reason why he chose to practice family medicine at Jericho Road Community Health Center on Buffalo’s West Side (see related article on page 18). Jericho Road serves a large immigrant population as well as local residents, regardless of their ability to pay. Most are low-income. “We aim to raise the level of care for the most desperate and vulnerable people in our society,” explains Raleigh, who serves as medical director of Vive, a branch of Jericho Road that assists asylum seekers. In August 2017, Raleigh returned to the Republic of Congo, where he practiced in one of Jericho Road’s overseas clinics, located in Goma. In December 2018, he teamed up with the Jacobs School’s student-run Global Health Interest Group to work with mobile clinics in Fontaine, Haiti.


TO GHANA AND BACK A MEDICAL STUDENT’S LIFE-CHANGING EXPERIENCE Evelyn Quist, Class of 2019, was feeling pressure to decide about what field of medicine to pursue as the fourth-year residency application cycle loomed on the horizon. The answer came in January 2018 on a medical outreach trip she organized to Ghana’s capital, Accra, the city where she grew up. Quist partnered with Doctors in the Gap, an organization that provides limited medical care in remote regions. She and her team provided medical care at a Christian government hospital and at a makeshift clinic on remote Hope Island. Speaking to patients in Ewe, her native language, Quist checked vitals, took medical histories and decided on a course of action between medical treatment, counseling and education. “The experience was life-changing,” she says. “It cemented my decision to go into family medicine. I was seeing everyone, from small children to middle-aged and older people. I could see that family medicine would give me the training to cater to the full spectrum of patients and address each age group’s concerns.” Quist is also pursuing a master of business administration degree since she hopes to return to Ghana one day to build a network of community clinics that provide health care as well as health education and community events. “Our medical system in Ghana is subpar in certain regions of the country, and I believe the people of Ghana are capable of making it better,” she says. Quist has gone on other medical outreach trips “to give

Evelyn Quist, Class of 2019, left, examining a farmer on Hope Island, Ghana, who presented with general body aches and fatigue.


something back.” After her second year of medical school, she spent a week with a UB medical team in Fontaine, Haiti. As an undergraduate, she spent two weeks in a rural region of Honduras doing intake, checking vitals, assisting with physical exams and developing patients’ medical histories. Traveling as a medical student has fueled her interest in global health. “You hear about all these places with strife, but it’s not until you’re on the ground and see it with your own eyes that it has a significant impact on you,” Quist says. “It’s easy to just watch something on TV and think, ‘I feel bad about this situation.’ But experiencing it firsthand gives a different meaning and a different awareness. It stays with you and motivates you always.” In December 2018, working with Ghanaian native Dorothy Siaw-Asamoah, PhD, MBA, clinical assistant professor in the UB School of Management, Quist returned to Ghana with a team of faculty and students in medicine, nursing, pharmacy and public health, some of whom are also pursuing an MBA degree. In addition to providing medical care to inner-city elementary and middle school students, the team returned to Hope Island, where they slept in tents for four days and saw more than 1,000 patients. “The selflessness, bravery and kindness shown by members of the medical team I served alongside—and by the people we provided medical care for—continues to fuel me to do more and to do better,” says Quist. “I’m already looking forward to the next medical trip in 2019.”





Obstetrician-gynecologist Nina Seigelstein, MD ’92, founder of One World Women’s Helath (OWWH) with friend in Sierra Leone.

Nina Seigelstein, MD, performing surgery, assisted by Deborah Shuster, MD ’92, in the foreground. Shuster is a board member of OWWH.



Alphabetically-assigned seating brought Nina Seigelstein, MD ’92, and Deborah Shuster, MD ’92, together on their first day of class in medical school at UB. That chance encounter in September 1988 led to the opening of a maternity ward in Sierra Leone 30 years later. The late Richard V. Lee, MD, a UB professor dedicated to international health, provided each of the women their first foray into global health. In 1990, Shuster participated on a medical trek to India led by Lee. She learned the importance of cultural awareness when practicing health care in other parts of the world and to combine hands-on health care delivery with field research. “Dr. Lee was such an excellent mentor and role model,” Shuster recalls. “That trip demonstrated how one small medical team over a relatively short duration could make a huge impact on the health of a village.” In 1999, Seigelstein, working in private practice in New Jersey as an obstetrician-gynecologist, also accompanied Lee to India. In January 2006, the two women, accompanied by a third doctor, ventured forth on their own medical mission, this time to Sierra Leone, a country recovering from a brutal civil war. “It was shocking. It was eye opening. It was rewarding. It was heartbreaking. It was devastating,” Seigelstein says of the experience. At St. John of God Hospital, armed guards, barbed wire and bullet-riddled hospital walls were a constant reminder that they were working in a war zone. There was no electricity, running water or roads; prenatal care and maternity wards were nonexistent. Everywhere they went they were greeted




with welcome songs. “They made a radio announcement, and hundreds of people showed up to see us,” Seigelstein recalls. “The need was overwhelming.” Supplies were scarce. Only two pairs of gloves were available to examine patients, so Seigelstein washed her gloves and dipped them in baby powder between patients. “I asked for betadine to prep the patients before operating. At home, you slop it on. There, they gave us three drops.” The most harrowing experience came when they were summoned in the middle of the night to attend to a teenage girl who was hemorrhaging after delivering a premature baby. “She was lying naked and unconscious on a cement floor in the dark; our feet were sloshing through pools of blood,” Seigelstein recalls. Flashlights were their only light source. They manually extracted three more babies, none of whom lived, resuscitated the girl and saved her life. “It was a profound experience for all of us,” Seigelstein says. These experiences prompted Seigelstein to found One World Women’s Health with a focus on improving women’s health in Sierra Leone. Shuster, a retired neuropathologist in Oregon, became a board member. In 2016—after several more trips and much fundraising—their nonprofit organization proudly opened a 35-bed maternity ward at Holy Spirit Hospital in the northern region. Their next step is to hire a full-time obstetrician-gynecologist. They also hope to inspire future UB medical students to pursue global health. To learn more, visit www.oneworldwomenshealth.org.


EBOLA FIRST RESPONDER UB PEDIATRICIAN WILL NEVER FORGET THE CHILDREN Pediatrician Vijay Aswani, MD, PhD, has participated in medical relief trips to Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe and the British West Indies. But the hardest trip for him was a six-week stint to Sierra Leone in 2015 with Partners in Health, a nongovernmental organization. Sierra Leone experienced the largest outbreak of Ebola during the West African epidemic of 2014-2015. Aswani volunteered, in part because he was born in West Africa and lived there until the age of 10, and because there was a critical need for healthcare workers to work in the epidemic. Aswani often could do little more than give his patients IV fluids to counter the dehydration the disease caused, though malnourished children had little strength with which to do this. “I took care of about Aswani 40 children with Ebola, and 29 died,” Aswani says. “That was the worst experience of my life. In 15 years as a pediatrician, I have never lost as many patients as I did there, but there was no cure to give.” Many of the children who came to the Ebola Treatment Unit were vomiting, bleeding and had diarrhea. Because of the contagious body fluids, working with them was high-risk even when wearing a protective body suit. The 115-degree temperature inside the suit also meant it could only be worn for an hour before putting the wearer at risk of heat exhaustion. Human touch wasn’t possible, and trying to put intravenous lines into dehydrated patients while wearing several pairs of gloves was a challenge. A flailing child once knocked off the face mask to Aswani’s Ebola suit. “I quickly put it on again and prayed that the exposure to his fluids wouldn’t give me Ebola,” he recalls. On his last day in Sierra Leone, Aswani visited the graveyard for Ebola victims, including some of the children he treated. The photo he took serves as a reminder to him of the toll the deadly disease took and the need for more research. “The sight of simple dirt mounds with signs— including those marking the graves of children I had cared for—will haunt me for a long time,” Aswani says. “I’m a doctor, and graves are not an outcome I ever want to have for my pediatric patients. That’s why I do research, and that’s why I do global health.” Aswani joined UB’s faculty in 2017 as an associate professor of internal medicine and pediatrics in the Department of Medicine and is pleased to have found such a high level of interest and enthusiasm for global health among UB faculty and students. “We live in the richest


Vijay Aswami, MD, PhD, associate professor of internal medicine and pediatrics, worked at the frontlines of the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone.

country in the world, and I feel that those of us who are privileged to have the resources and opportunities we have here need to give back to the rest of the world,” he says. In 2017, Aswani accompanied a team of medical students and faculty on a biannual medical relief trip to Fontaine, Haiti. He is currently involved in a research project there on malnutrition among Haitian children.




Photo by Douglas Levere

Ethan Gable, MD ’13, showing Roda Ndayikunda her baby’s heartbeat, both amused to see how much the baby is moving.









than Gable, MD ’13, never expected to work in global health two blocks from where he grew up on Buffalo’s West Side, but that is where his remarkable career path has taken him. At times, it seems like he’s a world away from where he started. Gable, an obstetrician-gynecologist, is chief medical officer for Jericho Road Community Health Center, where a significant number of Buffalo’s resettled refugees, asylum seekers and other members of the city’s international population receive health care, as does a large percentage of people who live in the surrounding community. Almost all are low income.

A WELCOME MESSAGE IN 16 LANGUAGES About 60 percent of the patients who walk through the clinic’s front door speak a language other than English. All are welcomed by a message, written in 16 languages, posted at the check-in area: “Jericho Road Community Health Center serves all patients regardless of ability to pay. Discounts for services are offered, depending on family size and income.” The languages—Burmese, Spanish, Arabic, Somali and Karen, to name a few—represent just a small sampling of the native tongues spoken by patients, many of whom have left behind brutal governments, chaotic living conditions and squalid refugee camps. The refugees, about 80 percent of whom are under age 12, are welcome in Buffalo, where they have helped stem a decades-long decline in population due to the loss of manufacturing jobs. In the past 10 years, about 12,571 have resettled in the City of Good Neighbors, an average of more than three people a day, according to the U.S. State Department. Today, this population composes about 60 percent of the patients at Jericho Road Community Health Center. —ETHAN GABLE, MD ’13 “I don’t doubt that Jericho Road is making a difference,” Gable says. Nor does he doubt that it has made a difference for him. “The sense of purpose I gain in working with patients here is more motivating than other things we think will make us happy, like money.”

school as a junior, using money he earned during the summer and school year to help pay for tuition. The change of scenery rekindled an interest he had long harbored to study medicine, but thought he had no chance of pursuing. “I had to get over a lot of doubt that comes with generational poverty,” Gable says. “I thought being a doctor was a pipe dream, because not many kids from the West Side think seriously of being a physician or a professional.”

HELP ALONG THE WAY It helped that Gable had a role model in the founder of Jericho Road Community Health Center, Myron Glick, MD, ’93, who grew up in a traditional Amish Mennonite community in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Glick had planned to be a medical missionary, but after finishing medical school at UB and seeing a need to help the local underserved population, he and his wife, Joyce, opened Jericho Road Family Practice in 1997. Glick was the lone physician, and the first week his practice was open, his only patients were a mother and her two children. Gable, age 14 at the time, and his family soon became patients of Glick. In the 2000s, refugees began streaming into Buffalo’s West Side, fleeing war-torn and poverty- stricken nations, from East and West Africa to Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Many if not most found their way to an expanding Jericho Road’s welcoming doorstep. Glick believes that health care should be a basic human right. “Our whole motivation for being here grows out of our faith and the belief that if Jesus were a doctor now, here, he would be upset by the injustice in the health system, and he would especially reach out to the poor and the most vulnerable,” Glick says. “That is at the heart of why we do what we do.” That philosophy, and how he saw it practiced at the clinic, resonated with Gable. “When I thought of what it meant to be a physician, I thought of Myron Glick,” he says. “Myron stands up for what’s right. You see his impact— the relationships, the babies named after him. He allows everyone with Medicaid in his private practice despite the lower reimbursement. Myron says ‘Whoever needs care, here I am.’ It is the whole picture of what he stands for that really said to me that this is the right thing to do and I want to learn how to do it.” Gable attended Buffalo State College and between his first and second years, he volunteered at Jericho Road’s Monday night clinic for new refugees. Initially he was assigned

“I thought being a doctor was a pipe dream, because not many kids from the West Side think seriously of being a physician or a professional.”

WANTED TO DO BETTER Gable is intimately familiar with the neighborhood where Jericho Road resides. He grew up there in a single-parent household, without a car and with his family on and off public assistance. The youngest of six children, and the only boy, he didn’t meet his father until the age of 10. While Gable was growing up, only one sister still lived at home. When he was in the eighth grade, she had a child whom Gable’s mother raised with Gable’s help. The added responsibility led him to think more seriously about his own future. “We had a lot of negative influences around us, including drug use, and my sister got caught up in them,” Gable recalls. “I wanted to do better and realized in high school that I had to get out of my own negative influences and redefine myself.” Gable was expected to stay out of trouble, but educational expectations at home were low. On his own initiative, he transferred to an affordable private high




to screen patients and process paperwork, but later was trained to take on more advanced tasks, such as checking vitals and drawing blood. Glick’s confidence in him meant a lot. “What Myron really did for me was he believed in me before I believed in myself,” Gable says. “It had the impact of, ‘Well, if he believes in me, I can probably do this.’” When Gable was still an undergraduate, his youngest sister was shot in a domestic incident. Watching surgeons tend to her at Erie County Medical Center reinforced his interest in being a physician. He transferred to UB, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. After taking time off, he took the MCAT exam, but did poorly on the physics portion. He succeeded the second time with the encouragement of Glick, who acknowledged his accomplishment by giving him a stethoscope and otoscope. Today, the instruments hang in Gable’s office as a reminder of what it took to become a doctor and the help he got along the way.

RETURNING TO GIVE BACK While a student in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Gable maintained his connection with Jericho Road, where he worked part-time. Following graduation, he completed his residency in obstetricsgynecology at the University of Rochester Medical Center, after which he received lucrative offers to work in private practice, but decided to return to Jericho Road. Faith is a guiding force in Gable’s life, and it factored into his decision. “As someone trying to strive for happiness and support my family, I also look for what God wants —ETHAN GABLE, MD ’13 of me and is asking of me,” he says. “I knew Jericho Road was where I wanted to go, and what I should be doing.” In July 2017 Gable entered practice at Jericho Road Community Health Center, serving as its first obstetriciangynecologist. Within months, he was asked to assume the role of director of operations, and in March 2018, Gable—then 34 years old and a father of three—was named chief medical officer for the center, succeeding Glick, who transitioned to chief executive officer. In addition to his new responsibilities, Gable continues to consult on complex ob-gyn cases and to perform surgery, explaining that seeing patients helps to keep him grounded. Glick, in turn, is impressed by how hard Gable has worked and how far he has come. “When I first met Ethan, he was a pretty tough West Side kid who had a lot of difficulties in his life. I think Jericho Road was an anchor for

him in a challenging childhood. It’s been a real privilege to mentor him and to see him grow, and now to see him in the leadership at Jericho Road as the chief medical officer. I’m really grateful.” Glick also feels that UB has much to take pride in regarding Gable’s accomplishments. “Ethan went to UB as an undergraduate, then to its medical school, and now he’s back with Jericho Road while being a mentor and teacher at Oishei Children’s Hospital. UB gave him a chance, and UB should be proud that someone from the neighborhood, the West Side, went to school there, went away for his residency, came back, and is now giving back. Ethan is a perfect example, I think, of what UB wants to be.”

FULL-SERVICE CARE FOR REFUGEES Jericho Road has changed dramatically since that first week 21 years ago when Glick was the sole doctor with few patients. The center now operates three low-income medical clinics. Its newest, on Buffalo’s East Side, will expand in 2019 to include a pharmacy, dental clinic and gym. In 2015, Jericho Road acquired Vive, a shelter, also on Buffalo’s East Side, that helps people seeking asylum in the United States and Canada. Altogether, Gable oversees 300 employees, 14 doctors and 15 mid-level providers, including nurse practitioners, physician assistants and 29 translators. Hope Refugee DropIn Services, another of Jericho Road’s programs, teaches immigrants practical skills, such as how to pay a bill, use a credit card, apply for a green card or make a medical appointment. There is an after-school program for middle school refugee children, another to help young parents access books and toys, and an at-home mentoring program for refugees and for women pregnant in the United States for the first time. The programs are meant to sustain refugees after their six-month relationship with a resettlement agency ends. Jericho Road does not limit the number of patients on Medicaid. In 2017, 79 percent of the patients were on the program, while only 12 percent had private insurance. The center’s expansion has occurred despite the challenges inherent in working with a refugee population such as language barriers, lack of basic health literacy and difficulty accessing specialists. “It’s not just that they are Medicaid patients,” Gable explains. “Our medical system isn’t conducive to addressing these barriers, and a lot of providers don’t know how to or maybe aren’t motivated to learn how to deal with these obstacles.”

“We know that the more exposure students, residents and other health-care providers have to this environment, the more likely they are to continue to practice in underserved populations.”




Photo by Douglas Levere

Myron Glick, MD ’93, left, founder and chief executive officer of Jericho Road Community Health Center, and Ethan Gable, MD ’13, right, obstetrician-gynecologists and chief medical officer for the center.

Social contributors of poverty, such as inequality, unstable housing, inadequate nutrition and addiction, also pose continual challenges for Jericho Road. “There is an extra brokenness that our community is facing through poverty,” Gable says. “It’s harder for us to try to achieve the same health outcomes, because we have to address each and every one of these barriers to make a difference.”

EXPANDING AROUND THE WORLD As the world comes to Jericho Road, the health center now ventures beyond the United States. Currently, Jericho Road has clinics in Sierra Leone and Congo, with a third overseas clinic under consideration in Nepal. “We saw 6,000-plus patients in October and 4,000 overseas,” Gable reports. “As a practice, we might eventually get to the point where we are seeing more patients overseas than we are seeing here.” Jericho Road rotates its doctors through its global sites. This has allowed Glick to fulfill his dream of being a medical missionary overseas, something Gable expects to do when his schedule allows. In summer 2019, Jericho Road will become a UB site for family medicine residents, who will also have a chance to work in the health center’s global clinics. “We know that the more exposure students, residents and other health care providers have to this environment,

“It’s been a real privilege to mentor Ethan and to see him grow, and now to see him in the leadership at Jericho Road as the chief medical officer. I’m really grateful.” —MYRON GLICK, MD ’93

the more likely they are to continue to practice in underserved populations,” Gable observes. “I might be an example of that,” he adds. “I once had this drive to be as rich as I could be—possibly because I grew up poor—but I’ve gotten to the point where I just can’t see myself doing anything else more satisfying than what I’m doing now.” Other Jacobs School alumni working at Jericho Road Community Health Center include Allana Krolikowski, MD ’11, and Brendan Raleigh, MD ’14 (see story on page 14).





Photosby bySandra SandraKicman Kicman Photos

“I wanted to tackle the issue of preventing infections in children in marginalized communities.”

PEDIATRIC INFECTIOUS DISEASES WORLDWIDE Oscar Gómez, MD, PhD, a leader in mitigation

While a medical student in his native country of Colombia, Oscar Gómez saw a disproportionately high number of children L or i Ferg uson with preventable infections compared to adults, and the phenomenon spurred him to action. “In the late 1980s, there were many problems with sanitation in Colombia, and the connection to infectious diseases was not well understood by the public health authorities,” he explains. “When I witnessed the number of children being adversely affected by these conditions, I was convinced there should be more preventative measures in place.” In the ensuing three decades, that goal motivated Gómez to pursue a rigorous education. He earned an MD in Colombia, completed a PhD in microbiology and a postdoctoral fellowship in vaccinology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, a postdoctoral fellowship in infection biology at Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, a residency in pediatrics at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, and a fellowship in pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Washington. After serving on the faculties at the University of Iowa and at Vanderbilt University, he joined the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, where he is an associate professor and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Pediatrics. Today, Gómez is a leader in the study and treatment of childhood infectious gastrointestinal diseases and a physician-scientist dedicated to research in the molecular epidemiology, bacterial St ories by




pathogenesis and vaccine development of enteric infections in children around the world. His most widespread initiative is the International Enteric Vaccines Research Program (IEVRP). “I wanted to tackle the issue of preventing infections in children in marginalized communities, particularly in low-income countries,” he says. “In some Latin American, African and Southeast Asian countries, information on gastrointestinal infections is either non-existent or scarce, especially for certain pathogens.” IEVRP takes a three-pronged approach to rectifying that shortfall. The program explores the epidemiology of infectious diseases in children from low-income countries; seeks to increase understanding on the mechanisms by which enteric pathogens cause disease; and works to develop ways to prevent infections, either by developing vaccines or by implementing prevention strategies. To that end, Gómez has collaborated with physicians in Colombia, Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the U.S. to conduct research, teach, obtain research funding and publish findings. Gómez has been equally dedicated to cultivating relationships within the UB community. “Faculty from the Office of Global Health Initiatives at the School of Public Health and Health Professions, the UB Center for Integrated Global Biomedical Sciences, and the Global Medicine program, have been very open to collaboration,” he says. “Interest in global health at UB is amazing. In fact, I’ve found Buffalo to be a very welcoming community, both personally and professionally. My goal is to further develop my enteric research program, to contribute to the health of children and, along the way, to provide education to national and international trainees in infectious diseases and global health.”

“There is a large gap in this care globally.”


Sara Berkelhamer, MD, provides much-needed training Timely intervention makes all the difference when providing urgent care. This is especially true for newborns, explains Sara Berkelhamer, MD, clinical associate professor of pediatrics in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and a specialist in neonatalperinatal medicine. “The greatest risk of non-survival is the first day of life,” she says. “There’s a tremendous opportunity to save lives in the first few moments after delivery, and the simplest of interventions can result in a dramatic difference in outcomes.” This fact is especially poignant in the world health community, where Berkelhamer invests much of her time and where, in many places, one out of ten babies needs some sort of assistance at birth. “Knowledge of basic resuscitation measures is commonplace among health care providers here in the States, but there’s a large gap in this care globally,” she says. Berkelhamer is committed to changing that through her work with the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Helping Babies Survive (HBS) initiative, which was developed in collaboration with the World Health Organization and other partners to reduce neonatal mortality in resource-limited environments. In the past decade, Berkelhamer has traveled to Burma, India, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nepal and the Philippines, training health care providers through HBS’s simplified resuscitation program: Helping Babies Breathe (HBB). She has also trained facilitators in North America. “All levels of providers can be taught to administer basic, life-saving care such as stimulating the baby, clearing the airway and providing bag-mask ventilation,”

Berkelhamer notes. In eight years, more than 800,000 providers have been trained in HBB in some 30 different languages, and the program has been shown to reduce neonatal mortality by up to 47 percent. “HBB’s vision is to have someone present at every delivery who has been trained in basic resuscitation,” Berkelhamer says. For Berkelhamer, involvement in the Helping Babies Survive initiative is a labor of love. “I’ve always resonated with the care of children, and when I started my pediatrics training, I was drawn to the field of neonatology for the tremendous impact that can be made on the outcomes of vulnerable infants.” A native of Chicago, Berkelhamer earned her medical degree at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. She completed a residency in pediatrics at Seattle Children’s Hospital and obtained fellowship training in neonatal-perinatal medicine at Harvard University. While in Boston, she met her future husband, David Rothstein, MD, a pediatric surgeon who is now on faculty at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and who also is dedicated to global health (see coverage on page 10) . The couple worked together at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine before moving to Buffalo in 2014. “We were ready for a change and wanted to live in a place that was not only family friendly but also offered new academic opportunities for the two of us, and Buffalo was a wonderful fit,” Berkelhamer says. “The UB community is very supportive of global health initiatives and with the new children’s hospital, medical school and other initiatives, it’s a very exciting time to be in this city.” SPRING 2019



Photo by Sandra Kicman

From left, Karole Collier, who initiated the Second Look Weekend event, Danielle Dunn, Micha Gooden, Gabriel Gomez-Chaves, Jalisa Kelly and Nazeela Tanweer, all medical students in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Second-Look Weekend

Student-initiated effort helps increase diversity in admissions



Nearly twice as many students from underrepresented groups enrolled in the Class of 2022 at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences than in the previous year. Thirty-three students out of 180 students in the class are from underrepresented groups, according to data from the Office of Medical Admissions at the Jacobs School. “In 2017 we had a total of 18 underrepresented students, so we almost doubled the number in 2018,” says Dori Marshall, MD ’97, associate dean of admissions at the Jacobs School and clinical assistant professor of psychiatry. Among the 33 students are 20 African-Americans, up from eight in 2017. That’s important, Marshall explains, because the number of African-American physicians nationally has remained low. Studies show that a more diverse physician workforce improves the care of the nation’s increasingly diverse patient population and helps mitigate health care disparities. Even in a diverse state like New York, where AfricanAmericans and Hispanics/Latinos comprise more than



30 percent of the population, they make up just 12 percent of the state’s physician workforce, according to data from the SUNY Albany Center for Health Workforce Studies.

SECOND-LOOK WEEKEND While numerous factors can contribute to higher numbers of underrepresented students, a critical ingredient in 2018’s increase was an event held last May called Second-Look Weekend, which gave accepted students an opportunity to take a closer look at the Jacobs School during a weekend of events designed for them. The idea for it began with Karole Collier, then a firstyear student at the Jacobs School, who had read an article published by the Student National Medical Association, an organization committed to supporting underrepresented minority medical students. “It said that medical school administrations are underutilizing their underrepresented students on campus,” recalls Collier, who approached the Office of Admissions and proposed that it sponsor a ‘second-look’

day for underrepresented students. Marshall and her colleagues in admissions were immediately supportive. Collier took her idea to physicians and businesses on Buffalo’s East Side, a neighborhood immediately surrounding the Jacobs School. She reached out to alumnus Raul Vasquez, MD ’89, founder and president of a large, urban practice called the Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network. “Dr. Vasquez was willing not only to sponsor some meals for the weekend, but he also said if I collected sponsorships, he would galvanize mentors in the community to welcome these students,” Collier explains. More area physicians agreed to participate, including Emmekunla K. Nylander, MD ’96, an obstetrician-gynecologist; and Willie Underwood, MD, a urologist at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. Jacobs School officials who participated included Jonathan D. Daniels, MD ’98, a pediatrician and associate director of admissions; David Milling, MD ’93, senior associate dean for student and academic affairs; Luther K. Robinson, MD, professor emeritus of pediatrics; Charles Severin, PhD, MD ’97, associate dean for student and academic affairs; Jaafar Angevin, post-baccalaureate program coordinator; and Dori Marshall, MD ’97. “We had an incredible turnout,” says Collier, who explains that 28 students attended, some with their parents. “We just need to make sure that the students are galvanized in the same way this coming year, so that we can begin establishing and strengthening long-term relationships and the pipeline.”

PIPELINE PROGRAMS Taking care of that pipeline has long been a focus of the Jacobs School and its Office of Medical Admissions and Office of Inclusion and Cultural Enhancement. Each year, Marshall, Milling, Daniels and Angevin make recruiting trips to local, regional and national meetings to educate prospective medical students from underrepresented groups about the Jacobs School. They work with pipeline programs at UB, such as the Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP) for high school students and the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) for college students, both funded by New York State. Efforts also occur through the Early Opportunity Program in Medicine affiliations with local colleges, as well as with two historically black colleges in Mississippi. The Jacobs School is home to one of New York State’s largest post-baccalaureate programs designed to increase the number of underrepresented students in medical school. Through a partnership with the Associated Medical Schools of New York, the Jacobs School and other participating New York State schools refer underrepresented students who possess the intellectual ability to succeed in medical school but don’t meet certain academic criteria to participate in the academically intense, year-long program. Students receive provisional acceptance from a referring medical school in the state and they matriculate at that school upon successfully completing the post-baccalaureate program. The Diversity in Medicine scholarship, funded by the New York State Legislature, also plays a role (see article, opposite). It provides medical school tuition for a year to several underrepresented students throughout the state. In return, students must commit to work in a New York Statedesignated medically underserved community. Currently, three Jacobs School students are recipients of Diversity in Medicine scholarships: Karole Collier, Class of 2021; Natasha Borrero, Class of 2020; and Bradley Frate, Class of 2019.

ABLE TO FOCUS ON SERVING THE UNDERSERVED Medical school is a daunting financial proposition for anyone, but for those from underrepresented groups it can be a deal-breaker.

KAROLE COLLIER, Class of 2021, is part of a

statewide effort to change that. She and Bradley Frate, Class of 2019, both graduates of UB’s postbaccalaureate program (see article, opposite) are among 10 statewide recipients of the new Diversity in Medicine scholarship first funded by the New York State Legislature in 2017 and renewed in the 2018 state budget. The renewal means that they will have most of their medical school tuition covered for 2018-19. In return, the students must commit to work in a New York State-designated medically underserved community. Collier, whose family lives in Philadelphia, says that receiving the scholarship was important to her on many levels, including the fact that it provides her with the freedom to focus on the underserved. Her commitment to the underserved began in her teens, when her father spent a year in the hospital after a routine hernia operation, which should have taken just a few days. While her father did eventually recover, the experience opened Collier’s eyes to how health disparities can affect individuals on a deeply personal level. “Like many others, my father, a fairly healthy and compliant 50-year-old, was subjected to limited access, scarce resources and numerous socioeconomic and historical inequities,” she says. While her father was hospitalized, Collier, then an undergraduate, began to conduct research on surgical disparities. She later volunteered at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx, where she was exposed to some of the challenges of working with underserved populations. During a summer study abroad program, she traveled to Swaziland, where she studied barriers to treatment for AIDS patients. Collier participates in many activities that provide outreach to Buffalo’s underserved populations. She is president of the UB chapter of the Student National Medical Association, the nation’s oldest and largest organization focused on the needs of medical students of color. She also is a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee and the Task Force for Student Academic Environment.





EUGENE R. MINDELL, MD —First chair of orthopaedics at UB and pioneering bone cancer surgeon Eugene R. Mindell, MD, the first chair of the Department of Orthopaedics at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and a pioneer in limb-sparing surgery for bone cancer patients, died Feb. 15 at his home in Canterbury Woods, Amherst, NY. He was 96. Born in Chicago, Mindell attended the University of Chicago, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1943 and a medical degree in 1945, the same year he married a student from Buffalo, June Abrams. He joined the Navy while in medical school and served as a Veterans Administration physician in Columbia, S.C., from 1945-1946. He then interned at Cincinnati General Hospital before returning to the University of Chicago for his residency. During that time he began focusing on bone cancer with some of the era’s leading osteosarcoma researchers. In 1953 Mindell came to Buffalo, set up a private practice and became affiliated with Millard Fillmore Hospital and Buffalo General Hospital. In Buffalo he employed the bone resection and bone reconstruction procedures he learned from the pioneering researchers in Chicago. “The survival rate changed from less than 20 percent to around 70 percent,” he told Orthopedics Today in 2005. “Instead of amputation, patients could now receive a limb-sparing operation. It became possible to save lives as well as limbs. That was the big turnaround.” In 1964, Mindell was asked to become UB’s first orthopedist and to establish a new department in the medical school. He served as chair until 1988, establishing the area’s first bone bank for bone grafts, setting up a residency program and a bone research laboratory, and building the department into a nationally ranked program for training orthopedic surgeons. A leading researcher who published more than 100 scientific papers and a pioneer in limb-sparing surgery, Mindell was also among the first to adopt chemotherapy in the treatment of bone cancer patients in the 1970s. He was a founder of the Musculoskeletal Tumor Society and president of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, where he set up the board’s certifying process for orthopedic surgeons. In 1991, he was elected to the board of directors of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and served as chair of the academy’s Council of Musculoskeletal Specialty Societies. Mindell received the Jacobs School’s Dean’s Award in 1986, the University of Chicago Distinguished Service Award in 1990, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from UB Orthopaedics in 2002. He and his wife endowed the June A. and Eugene R. Mindell Chair of Orthopaedics in the Jacobs School. He also established the annual Eugene R. Mindell and Harold Brody Clinical Translational Research Award for junior research scientists in the school. Survivors include two sons, David P. and Douglas G.; a sister, Audrey Rubin; three grandchildren and a great-granddaughter. Memorial gifts can be made in honor of Dr. Mindell to the June A. and Eugene R. Mindell, MD Fund in the UB Department of Orthopaedics. Contributions can be directed to this fund online at medicine.buffalo.edu/departments/ortho; or mailed to UB Foundation, P.O. Box 730, Buffalo, NY 14226-0730. To make a gift by phone, call (716) 645-3011.




IN MEMORIAM THOMAS J. GUTTUSO SR., MD ’60 —Prominent ophthalmologist, dedicated alumnus Thomas J. Guttuso Sr., MD ’60, died on January 14, 2019, at age 83. A 1960 graduate of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Guttuso was dedicated to his alma mater, serving it in numerous capacities over a span of decades. A respected ophthalmologist and school administrator, Guttuso was chair of ophthalmology at Erie County Medical Center (ECMC) in the late 1970s and early ’80s and led a successful effort to form a single, unified UB-sponsored ophthalmology program. This was accomplished by incorporating what were then three strong clinical sites—at Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, the Buffalo VA Medical Center and ECMC. Guttuso then served as program director for the new Department of Ophthalmology from 1985 to 1988. Guttuso also served the Jacobs School as director of medical student admissions for 20 years as assistant dean for admissions. In 2014, he served as president of the Medical Alumni Association (MAA). In this capacity, he worked to further strengthen the relationship that the MAA has with the Jacobs School administration and with the Office of Medical Advancement and Alumni Engagement. During his tenure, the MAA saw a significant increase in the Alumni Scholarship Fund as well as enhanced relationships with alumni and students. Guttuso received numerous honors for his contributions to the medical school, including the Distinguished Medical Alumnus Award in 1995 and the Dean’s Award in 2001. He is survived by his wife, Barbara; daughters Lisa Guttuso Klenk, MD ’88, and Lori (Dr. Frank) Luzi, MD ’88; son, Thomas J. (Christie) Guttuso Jr., MD ’96; and seven grandchildren. Memorials can be made to the Dr. Thomas and Barbara Guttuso Scholarship and Award Endowment Fund, c/o UB Foundation Inc., P.O. Box 730, Buffalo, NY 14226.

KAREN D. SCHUPAK, MD ’84, died on January 16, 2019. She will be deeply missed by her family, medical school classmates, friends, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center colleagues. A fund has been established at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences to honor her memory. Those who are interested in contributing to Karen’s legacy can contact Jennifer Seth-Cimini, Senior Director of Advancement, at (716) 829-3732, or jns2@buffalo.edu. KENNETH E. BELL, MD ’61, died on July 14, 2018, at age 82. An obstetrician and gynecologist, Bell held clinical faculty positions at both UCLA and USC medical schools. He brought the concept of family centered obstetrical care to Kaiser Permanente, which became a model for hospitals worldwide. He also served as medical director of Orange County, California.

For full obituary, visit medicine.buffalo.edu/alumni, click on Get Connected and go to Classnotes by Decade.


CELEBRATING THE CLASSES OF: 1949, 1954, 1959, 1964, 1969, 1974, 1979, 1984, 1989, 1994, 1999, 2004, 2009, 2014 EVENTS INCLUDE: Distinguished Alumni Awards, all-alumni welcome back reception, Spring Clinical Day at the Jacobs School and class dinners. SATURDAY, MAY 4, SPRING CLINICAL DAY FEATURES ROBERT J. GORE, MD ’02 A youth anti-violence advocate, CNN Hero of 2018 and alumnus, Gore is an emergency department physician at SUNY Downstate Medical Center and NYC+ Health + Hospitals/Kings County, Brooklyn, New York. For more information and to register, visit medicine.buffalo.edu/alumni/reunion. For questions, contact Jennifer Turkovich at (716) 829-2773.




TA B L E O F Q&A STUDENT-LED PEDIATRIC MALNUTRITION PROGRAM IN HAITI —A conversation with second-year medical student Connor Orrico

Connor Orrico, Class of 2021, is partnering with Vincenzo (Vinny) Polsinelli, MD ’18; Jon Zelasko, Class of 2020; and Vijay Aswani, MD, PhD, associate professor of internal medicine and pediatrics (see story on page 17), to develop a pediatric malnutrition program in Fontaine, Haiti. A native of Buffalo, New York, Orrico, earned a B.S degree in biology with minors in global health and nutrition at Cornell University before entering the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Recently, UB Medicine talked with him about his interest in global health and his motives for starting the malnutrition program.


What prompted you to start the malnutrition program in Haiti?

Q: A:

What is the scope of the program, and what do you hope to accomplish?

A: The Jacobs School’s involvement in Haiti was the main reason I came to UB. I contacted *Vinny Polsinelli (MD ’18)—who began the school’s partnership in Haiti—to learn about the country’s health needs. Vinny talked with community leaders on the ground and they identified childhood malnutrition as a foremost need. As a result, our team—Vinny, Jon Zelasko, Dr. Aswani and I—got to work.

We want to better understand childhood malnutrition in Fontaine, the rural, agricultural Haitian town in which we work: who becomes malnourished and who does not; where do they live; what is the overall prevalence; how often are they able to access medical care, etc. We plan to use these data to inform the development of a childhood malnutrition treatment program that we hope will work well given the sociocultural and politico-economic context of this particular town. We did some field research in the summer months of 2018 and are wrapping up the analysis of those data so we can begin to focus more on the program development.

“We plan to use these data to inform the development of a childhood malnutrition treatment program.”

Q: A:

How have your global health experiences changed you?


Do you feel the Jacobs School provides a supportive environment for students interested in global health?

—Connor Orrico

The most valuable part of my education has been in global health. It has taught me how to think critically and define problems, how to appreciate and embrace complexity, and how to value cultural humility and empathy. Without my global health experiences I would largely lack these skills and values and their deep influence on my character and goals.

A: Yes, the environment is very supportive. Before matriculating, in addition to talking with Vinny, I connected with Dr. [David] Holmes, clinical associate professor of family medicine and director of global health education, whom I continue to work with today. In December, he was in Haiti evaluating children we identified in our summer research as acutely malnourished [see cover photo]. In recent years, many students in the Jacobs School have received funding to attend the Unite for Sight Global Health and Innovation Conference.

Photo by Maya Reagan

On a related note, physician and anthropologist Paul Farmer (Kolokotrones University Professor and chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School) said, “The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world.” So, I’d like to thank all the students and faculty who labor on behalf of vulnerable and marginalized people, both in Buffalo and beyond, for the just and important work that they do. * Vincenzo Polsinelli, MD ’18, is an internal medicine/global health resident at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Orrico with child in Haiti







Cassandra Hamsher, left, a student in School of Management, enjoying a cultural exchange as part of the Buffalo Tanzania Education Project in 2017.

UB identified global health as a university-wide area of focus in 2015. The Provost’s Office issued a challenge for “audacious proposals” to tackle, and the Community for Global Health Equity (CGHE) was one of three selected, along with Sustainable Manufacturing and Advanced Robotic Technologies (SMART) and the Genome, Environment and Microbiome (GEM). Since that time, global health equity at UB has gained tremendous momentum, drawing talent from across schools and disciplines to tackle macro-level challenges facing human health. Projects, to date, include creating policy initiatives for governments to pursue, developing sanitation systems and studying microbiological threats. “Global health, for the most part, has been driven by medical schools, in particular infectious disease specialists,” says Korydon Smith, M.Arch, EdD, professor and chair of the Department of Architecture, and co-director of the CGHE. “Today, however, there is a growing number of fields interested in the social determinants of health and environmental impacts of health.” The UB initiative includes more than 60 departments and 200 affiliated faculty members and has attracted inquiries from 960 students, with 691 engaged. The community complements the disciplinary departmental system, reporting directly to the Provost’s Office and the Vice President for Research and Economic Development.

Photo by Korinne Thorne

The effort is focused on four areas of influence: • Informing public policy by disseminating research to governments • Teaching practitioners, including those in health sciences, architecture and planning, engineering and social sciences • Interfacing with non-governmental organizations, such as UNICEF, which can extend the reach of initiatives • Impacting decisions about which research is funded The community often takes a broad lens to specific problems, and this strategy has struck a chord with students, who bring practical approaches to many of the complex issues being tackled. Students learn about the initiative from their professors, each other and the web. If a biology student who is interested in child and maternal health wants to get involved, for example, the CGHE helps identify projects he or she can join. “Many students hunger for a deeper understanding of global issues, and they especially feel drawn to the sense of purpose and mission that global health problems present for them,” explains Katarzyna Kordas, PhD, associate professor of epidemiology and environmental health in the School of Public Health and Health Professions, who co-directs the Community for Global Health Equity with Smith. “An introduction to the issues leads some to decide to be part of the solution, which often determines the course of their careers.” A big recruitment tool for the community is the annual Global Innovation Challenge, a week-long intensive workshop. During the challenge, students—from freshmen to doctoral candidates—join faculty in developing innovative strategies to solve grand global health challenges, culminating in a winning project being selected for piloting. “One professor calls it the most diverse classroom on campus,” says Smith. To learn more about the Community for Global Health Equity, visit buffalo.edu/globalhealthequity.

Photo by Douglas Levere


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My Bold Moment

My Bold Moment

“Someone I didn’t know gave me this scholarship money and it taught me to pay it forward. In the grand scheme of things, that’s what I’m here for. That’s why I chose medicine—to help others.”

“Someone I didn’t know gave me this scholarship money and it taught me to pay it forward. In the grand scheme of things, that’s what I’m here for. That’s why I chose medicine—to help others.”

Amandip Cheema, third-year Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences student

Amandip Cheema, third-year Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences student

Bold moments are what make us great. Moments when we stand up for what we believe in. When we step up to the challenge. And when we work together toward the greater good. The Boldly Buffalo campaign provides countless opportunities for students to discover their passions and achieve their dreams. To learn how you can help create a better world, visit buffalo.edu/campaign.

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