A Message from the Dean of the School of Medicine – Winter 2020


Kenneth Kaushansky, MD, MACP, Dean, School of Medicine

Leadership in academic medicine transcends the four walls of a hospital or medical school. It extends well beyond those boundaries into communities and addresses pressing societal health issues.
In this issue of Medicine Today, Sharon Nachman, MD, Professor and Chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases with Stony Brook Children’s Hospital, offers 10 truths about the flu that everyone should know in the midst of this year’s severe flu season. While the coronavirus has captured international public attention, influenza has already taken more than 10,000 lives across the United States.
Another significant health issue, racial disparities in healthcare, is being addressed by Jennie Williams, PhD, Associate Professor and Assistant Dean for Student Diversity at the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University.
The incidence of cancer among African-Americans is higher than that of any other racial or ethnic group in the U.S., and both socioeconomic and genetic factors may play a role. Dr. Williams is leading the INDUCER (Increasing Diversity in Undergraduate Cancer Research Education and Research) program, which aims to tackle the issue head on in both its social and genetic dimensions, while building a diverse population of faculty and clinical investigators with greater sensitivity to racial disparities in healthcare.
Adam Singer, MD, Professor and Vice Chair of Research in the Department of Emergency Medicine, is addressing another health issue: patient mortality rates in the Emergency Department due to high potassium levels. In his research, published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, he and his colleagues found that correcting these high levels reduces patient morality rates by half.
In the clinical realm, a new outpatient facility in Riverhead is addressing the opioid crisis and substance use disorders. Quannacut Outpatient Services, which opened in November in its expanded new location, addresses addiction as a treatable disease and increases access to services for at-risk populations across Eastern Long Island. Quannacut is the Indian word for “hope” or “rainbow.”
Other stories in this edition of Medicine Today focus on how magic therapy helps to reduce anxiety for pediatric patients, as well as the much-anticipated opening of our new Stony Brook Children’s Hospital. With 104 beds and more than 180 pediatric specialists, Stony Brook Children’s offers the most advanced pediatric specialty care in the region.
Finally, we focus on the future of healthcare in two important ways: Stony Brook University’s unveiling of its Reality Deck 2.0, for machine learning and visualization, and my own appointment to the Board of Directors of the New York Genome Center (NYGC), to help champion biomedical and translational sciences across Long Island, New York State and the region.
The enhanced Reality Deck will facilitate powerful AI-enhanced computational capabilities, high-end visual computing and analytics, and acceleration of data-intensive and compute-intensive processes. With such innovative, leading-edge facilities, Stony Brook University and Stony Brook Medicine faculty and researchers will continue to pioneer new scientific breakthroughs and discoveries for years to come.
Kenneth Kaushansky, MD, MACP

Senior Vice President, Health Sciences
Dean, Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University

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