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Class Notes: December 16, 2016

Glenn Lubash, MD ‘54 Dr. Lubash writes, “Enough is enough. I retired from medical work on Dec 31, 2016. I have had a rewarding career with faculty positions at Cornell, University of Maryland, and the University of New Mexico. My last position in NM was as Head of Renal and Hypertension Division and Professor of Medicine. I was fortunate to be part of the earlier days of dialysis and kidney transplantation and later was involved in basic research in hypertension. I left academic medicine in 1973 and thereafter was in the private practice of nephrology in Albuquerque for many years. In later years, I alternated between nephrology and primary care. My wife of 45 years, Jean, died in 1997, and I have been married to Geri for over 18 years. I have been extremely lucky with marriages to two wonderful women. I plan now to try to write something about medical experiences, but am not sure I have the talent for that.”



Donna Younger, MD ’55 Dr. Younger, an internal medicine physician and Harvard Medical School professor, retired in 2016.


Allen Silberstein, MD ’62 Dr. Silberstein writes that he has been retired for 10 years now, and spends his time sculpting, playing tennis and traveling with his wife, Irene.


Allan Naarden, MD ’64 Dr. Naarden’s son, Gregory, and daughter-in-law, Ann, had a child, Dr. Naarden’s fourth grandchild.


Andy Schwartz, MD ‘65 Dr. Schwartz writes, “We have evolved from Internal Medicine to professor (Infectious Diseases, Internal Medicine, Microbiology) to practicing IM and ID, and now primarily Geriatrics/senior care at institutions ALs, ILs, rehabs and long-term care facilities. Working for VIRTUA Medical Group in Camden and Burlington Counties in New Jersey.Three grown children with diverse professions — law, therapy, and options trading) and six grandchildren from ages 3 to 23. Of course, they’re all the greatest folks! One older one has migrated back to NYC, and is in graduate school at Columbia. Two are in New Orleans at Tulane. Where has the time gone? We only graduated a couple yesterdays ago.”



Ralph Snyderman, MD ’65 Argos Therapeutics Inc. (Nasdaq: ARGS) has announced the appointment of Ralph Snyderman, M.D., and Irackly Mtibelishvily, LL.M., to the company’s board of directors. “It is a privilege to welcome a pair of profoundly accomplished professionals to the Argos board of directors who offer renowned expertise in each of their respective fields,” said Jeff Abbey, president and CEO of Argos. Dr. Snyderman is chancellor emeritus at Duke University, James B. Duke professor of medicine, and director of the Center for Research on Personalized Health Care. He served as chancellor for health affairs and dean of the Duke University School of Medicine from 1989 to 2004. During this time, he oversaw the development of the Duke University Health System and served as its first president and chief executive officer. Dr. Snyderman has played a leading role in the conception and development of Personalized Health Care, an evolving model of national health care delivery. Previously, Dr. Snyderman served as senior vice president for medical research and development at Genentech, Inc., the pioneering biomedical technology firm. He has played a leadership role in important national organizations such as the Association of American Physicians, the National Academy of Medicine, and Association of American Medical Colleges. Dr. Snyderman earned a doctor of medicine degree from SUNY Downstate Medical Center. Read the full Argos press release, here.


Michael Stillman, MD ‘67 Dr. Stillman had a solo Dermatology practice in Westchester County for 30 years, and then joined a 500-doctor multi-specialty group where he worked until mandatory retirement at age 70, three years ago. “Since then, I babysit three grandchildren, play golf, and drive my wife crazy,” he writes. “She works in real estate and runs marathons. She says she will keep on working and running as long as I’m retired.” Dr. Stillman’s 36-year-old son Jeremy is an Orthopedic PA at George Washington University Hospital, and enjoys Ironmen Triathlons and helicopter skiing. His 40-year-old daughter Julie was an executive at Columbia/Sony Music and now is a stay at home mom who plays competitive tennis and runs. Her husband is a urologist in Connecticut. “I have been blessed with good health thanks to good genes and modern medicine,” Dr. Stillman writes, “and no thanks to poor eating habits.”


M. Monica Sweeney, MD ‘75 On World AIDS Day, December 2, 2016, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams presented an award to Dr. Monica Sweeney, vice dean for global engagement and chair of Health Policy & Management in the School of Public Health, for her years of dedication and accomplishments. The ceremony was held at Brooklyn Borough Hall.


Cynthia MacKay, MD ‘77 Dr. MacKay writes that she has “retired from the operating room and research. I am still in private practice in ophthalmology on the upper west side of New York City. I perform laser surgery for glaucoma and after-cataract, and for retinal diseases including diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, retinal tears and detachments, and sickle cell retinopathy. I hope to see many 1977 classmates at our 40th reunion in May 2017.”



SUNY Downstate Alumni In Memoriam

Charles M. Plotz, MD ’44 Dr. Plotz died peacefully at home November 20, 2016, surrounded by his family. He was born December 6, 1921 in New York, son of Dr. Isaac Israel and Rose Celia (Bluestone) Plotz. He graduated from Columbia College at 19, and received his M.D. degree from Long Island College of Medicine (now SUNY Downstate Medical Center) at 22. After his internship at New Haven (now Yale New Haven) Hospital, he married Lucille Weckstein, who survives him and with whom he shared 71 years of a wonderful marriage. After serving as a Captain in the Army Medical Corps and completing his residency, Charles entered the new field of rheumatology, becoming the first rheumatology fellow at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. He participated in much of the seminal research in the field, and in the 1950s, together with Dr. Jacques Singer, developed the latex fixation test, which quickly became and has remained the standard test for rheumatoid arthritis. Charles’s academic achievements made him a much sought-after participant in conferences around the world, allowing him to indulge his love of travel and leading to friendships with colleagues all over the world. In 1965 he was invited to spend a month heading the American medical outreach effort in Kabul, Afghanistan, where he gained firsthand knowledge of that then peaceful part of the world. Charles was for many years a professor at Downstate and was the founding chair of the family practice department there, a position he held until his retirement. He also maintained an active private practice and was beloved by his patients. Above all, Charles lived life to its fullest. Charles was a connoisseur of fine food and wine, and the parties he and Lucille gave at their homes in Brooklyn and Menemsha on Martha’s Vineyard were legendary among their friends and colleagues. He was a vibrant, active, fun- filled person, whether playing tennis, traveling the world with Lucille, telling a seemingly limitless supply of jokes (always delivering the right one at the right time) or shopping for food, which he continued to do to the end. As part of his lifelong commitment to improving the lives of others, Charles took the older two of his three sons to join the 1965 Selma to Montgomery civil rights march with Dr. King.


Martin I. Gold, MD ’54 Dr. Gold, ’54 died on Dec 12, 2016, of Alzheimer’s. His post graduate training was at the Graduate Hospital in Philadelphia. He was an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland and subsequently worked at the VA Hospital in Miami, Florida, as a Full Professor. He was Board Certified in Anesthesiology, and contributed 33 medical journal articles and abstracts. He is survived by his wife, Betty, and 3 children, Barbara, Cindy and Michael.


Frank DiPillo, MD ’56 Dr. DiPillo, age 87, a dedicated physician, beloved mentor to medical students and residents, died on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016, surrounded by his family. He was born and raised in the Bronx and moved to Brooklyn before living in Warren, New Jersey, since 1987.  He graduated summa cum laude from St. John’s University and received his medical degree from SUNY Downstate Medical School. Dr. DiPillo served his residency and fellowship at Long Island College Hospital. He then became an attending physician and later served as chief of special hematology/ oncology from 1970 to 1998 before being promoted to chairman of medicine from 1998 to 2012. All the while, he trained and mentored thousands of medical students, residents and fellows. He was beloved by his patients, colleagues, and staff. He loved spending time with his family, reading, watching old movies, and Frank Sinatra. Dr. DiPillo served in the U.S. Navy. Published in Star-Ledger on Dec. 2, 2016.


Catherine Kane, MD ’59 Kane, Catherine S. MD of Stony Brook, NY on December 20, 2015 in her 82nd year. Dr. Kane spent most of her life in Brooklyn, where she was Medical Director of the Angel Guardian Home, providing services to young people in need, including children in need of adoption, foster kids, unwed teen mothers and babies born addicted to drugs.


John A Crocco, MD ’61 John A. Crocco, MD Prominent member of the academic medical community who left an indelible mark John A. Crocco, M.D., died Sunday Dec. 4, 2016, after a long illness. Dr. Crocco was a prominent member, both regionally and nationally, of the academic medical community where he left an indelible mark. A Memorial Mass will be held on Friday, Dec. 9 at 11:30 a.m. at St. Bartholomew’s Church, 470 Ryders Lane, East Brunswick, N.J. 08816. Internment will take place at 2:30 p.m. on Friday at Moravian Cemetery, 2205 Richmond Rd., Staten Island, N.Y. 10306. Dr. Crocco earned his bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and his MD from the State University of New York-Downstate Medical Center. He went on to complete his residency in internal medicine at St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York, and pulmonary diseases at Kings County Hospital, SUNY-Downstate Medical Center. His education propelled him into a distinguished medical career. Dr. Crocco rose through the academic ranks, first at SUNY-Downstate and then at New York Medical College. A stint with the military, where he achieved the rank of major in the U.S. Army Reserves, punctuated his career, and he served as chief of professional services for the 1208th U.S. Army Hospital for four years. Throughout his career, he published numerous articles on pulmonary diseases, including the landmark studies on massive hemoptysis in 1968 and on tuberculous pericarditis in 1970. He held extensive leadership positions in the New York Trudeau Society, the President’s Commission on Smoking and Health, the New York Lung Association, and the American College of Physicians. In 1977, he was invited to write the introduction for the classic collector’s edition of the iconic medical text, Gray’s Anatomy. He served as editor for several prestigious journals and was elected to the American College of Physicians, the American College of Chest Physicians, and the New York Academy of Medicine. In 1983, Cardinal Terrence Cooke installed him as a Knight of the Sovereign & Military Order of Malta of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as chief of the Pulmonary Division and associate director of Medicine at St. Vincent’s Hospital for 15 years. He then served as the chairman of the Department of Medicine at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, N.J. During his tenure and under his leadership, the department made tremendous strides in resident education as well as medical student development, and fostered a superior academic environment. He laid the foundation for the transition to University Hospital status in affiliation with Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. After his retirement in 2000 until shortly before his death, he remained exceedingly active as a clinical professor of medicine at Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, where he earned a Certificate of Excellence in teaching every year since 2003. In 2005, he received The Gold Humanism Honor Society Award in recognition of his exemplary service to others, his integrity, clinical excellence, and compassionate and respectful relationships with patients, families, and colleagues. Jersey Shore Medical Center presented him with the Department of Medicine 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award. In early 2016, he received the Alumni Achievement Award in Pulmonology from SUNY-Downstate Medical Center in recognition of significant contributions to the welfare of mankind. Dr. Crocco is survived by his wife, Mary Arlene; five children and their spouses: Robert and Cyndie, Mary Grace, Elizabeth and Stephen, Kathleen and Derrick, and John and Maria, and seven grandchildren, Aidan, Colette, Barry, Collin, Shaun, Dorian, and Kieran. Published in Star-Ledger on Dec. 6, 2016.


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