Emeritus Faculty Association news February - March 2011
Friday March 4th, usual time and place 10.30am Javits Room, 2nd floor library.
Dean of Health Sciences, Dr. Kaushansky will speak on "The Health Sciences at Stony Brook University: The Path Forward".
Bio: Dr. Kaushansky earned his B.S. and M.D. degrees from the UCLA. After completing a residency and fellowship in hematology at the University of Washington, he joined the faculty there in 1987, becoming full Professor by 1995. Following service as hematology section chief at the University of Washington Medical Center, Dr. Kaushansky was named chair of the department of medicine at UC San Diego in February 2002. A leading hematologist, Dr. Kaushansky has conducted seminal research on the molecular biology of blood cell production. His team has cloned several of the genes important in the growth and differentiation of blood cells, including thrombopoietin, a key regulator of stem cell and platelet production. He is an accomplished clinician, and he has been a champion of the need to train more physician-scientists who can bridge the gap between the laboratory and the clinical arena, translating research discoveries into improved treatments and technologies for the prevention, diagnosis and management of disease. He joined Stony Brook in July to oversee the education, clinical and research components of the School of Medicine and the Health Sciences, which include the School of Dental Medicine, School of Health Technology and Management, School of Nursing and the School of Social Welfare.
For a bio of Dr. Benjamin Luft see the preceding newsletter. Up until now Dr. Luft had been principally involved in the treatment of Lyme disease and the identification of the variations of the bacterium that causes it, in collaboration with others at Stony Brook and elsewhere. But in 2002 a new interest was added when the World Trade Center Medical Monitoring Program (WTCMMTP) was established with an $11.4 million federal grant from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), part of the Centers for Disease Control (and refunded by similar amounts in years since). The program established a consortium of healthcare institutions in the tri-state area dedicated to screening eligibility of 9/11 first responders and providing medical monitoring and at least partial treatment for them, see: http://www.wtcexams.org/ . Stony Brook's WTCMMTP, of which Dr. Luft is director, is part of this and comprises 3 sites in Suffolk, plus others in E. Meadow and Hicksville. Of the total of 90,000 responders from all over the country, 6200 live on Long island, and about 5000 of these have been treated by the SB program.
After some experience with this program, Dr. Luft soon concluded that these individuals had suffered not only physical toxins but also psychological toxins during their horrific experiences. This is similar to the post-traumatic-stress-syndrome we have heard much about in connection with returning veterans. For example a patient could no longer coach his local soccer team because of emotional outbursts. Of course treatment by psychologists and therapists was included in the WTCMMTP program, but more than this, as patients talked out their problems, it seemed to Dr Luft that a recorded archive of these experiences could be valuable for posterity. Thus he created the oral history project, originally started as an out-of-pocket extracurricular effort, but for which he is now seeking donations, see http://www.911respondersremember.org/. He is hoping to have a representative selection of videos in place by the time of the 10th anniversary of 9-11, coming up this year. A further description of this can be seen in a Newsday article from this past October: http://http://www.newsday.com/news/new-york/september-11th/virtual-museum-aims-to-honor-li-first-responders-1.2274440.org/ . At this point in the talk Dr. Luft's assistant played two of these videos, complete with tears, for quite a poignant experience for all concerned.
Postscript: The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, recently passed by congress and signed by President Obama on January 2nd, builds upon the WTCMMTP program to provide full medical screening, treatment benefits, and compensation to eligible WTC responders and community members.
Governor Cuomo's proposed budget delivers an unprecedented cut to Stony Brook University, 30% of our State allocation, one that far exceeds that delivered to any other SUNY University center. See the statement by President Stanley to the university community: http://www.stonybrook.edu/sb/presbudget.html. As the largest employer in Suffolk county, partly a result of its ability to attract non-state funds, we hope that senators LaValle and Flanagan are paying attention.
In the newsletter issue of October-November 2009, in the summary of the talk by David Black, the following statement appeared: "And if all the ice on Greenland and Antarctica were to melt as in that time 120 million years ago, the sea level would rise by a total of 70 feet!" The correct amount is between 70 and 75 meters, (230 - 246 feet). We apologize for this error, now corrected in the archive. If you would like to see what would be left of Long island in such an eventuality, see the yellow areas of the map at: http://people.hofstra.edu/ J_B_Bennington/research/long_island/Long_Is_DEM_web.jpg (a mere line of tiny, tiny, islands along the present spine).