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Dr. Martin Salwen – Obituary

“Dr. Martin Salwen, Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, died on December 12, 2017 at the age of 86.  He was buried with military honors in a private ceremony at Calverton National Cemetery in Long Island.  His family asked for privacy in the immediate weeks after his death.

Dr. Salwen was a graduate of City College of New York and of SUNY Downstate Medical Center (Class of 1957). After internship at the Yale-affiliated Hospital of St. Raphael, he was a resident and then fellow in Pathology at Yale – New Haven Hospital. He served as a Captain in the Medical Corps of the US Air Force from 1964-1966 in Asia during the years of escalation of the Vietnam War.  After his military service, Dr. Salwen returned to Yale as an Assistant Professor. From 1967-1978, Dr. Salwen was Director of Laboratories at Monmouth Medical Center in NJ.  Dr. Salwen returned to SUNY Downstate as Director of Pathology at Kings County Hospital from 1979-1997 and as Director of Laboratories at University Hospital of Brooklyn from 1986-1997 and remained on the medical school faculty until his retirement in December 2015. His teaching was notable for popular electives in “Laboratory Medicine” and “Interpretation of Laboratory Tests” and for the pathology museum specimens he saved and maintained for many generations of medical students to study (some are displayed on the 4th floor of the Basic Science Building).  His major research work was on graphic presentation of laboratory test results to improve the utility of the clinical interpretation of the results.

Dr. Salwen had leadership roles in many medical organizations including the Medical Society of the State of New York, the American Society of Clinical Pathologists, the New York State Society of Pathologists and the SUNY Downstate Medical Center Alumni Association – College of Medicine where he served as President and on the Board of Managers. He received the State University of New York Distinguished Service Professor Award in 1993 and in 2013 he was honored by the President of Downstate Medical Center with the Ailanthus Award.  Dr. Salwen received several awards from the Alumni Association including the Distinguished Service Award in 2002, the Dr. Frank L Babbott Memorial Award for distinguished service to the medical profession and community, and the Jean Redman Oliver Master Teacher Award in 1992. He was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society in 1995.  Among his many community activities, he served as trustee of the Prospect Park South Association and Director of the Brooklyn Friends of Chamber Music.

In 2010, Dr. Salwen edited the book, “Downstate at 150: A Celebration of Achievement” which profiled notable faculty and alumni for the College of Medicine’s sesquicentennial.  Dr. Salwen wrote in the preface to the book, “For many, the gift of Downstate has been the many wonderful teachers and classmates and the patients in need of care. We owe a debt for our outstanding education and for entry to the choice of a career. A world opened up for us, and we have been able to see farther; after all, we have stood on the shoulders of giants.”   It is, therefore, very fitting that donations in Dr. Salwen’s memory are being directed to the SUNY Downstate Medical Center Alumni Association – College of Medicine.

We send our sincere sympathy to his wife Jane Stafford Salwen, to his children and grandchildren, and to his many colleagues and friends in the Department of Pathology, at SUNY Downstate, and in the College of Medicine Alumni Association.”

For information on donating to the Alumni Association:

Obituary contributed by Jenny Libien, MD’01, Interim Chair of Pathology and Alumni Association Board Member

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