Washington, DC, AMA Legislative Awareness internship: Sen. Durbin (IL), Sara Brenner, MD, Sen. Obama (IL)

All Alumni Since 1992

Susan Righi, College Health Physician, Ohio University
Elaine Schulte, Chair, Department of General Pediatrics, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland OH 
Mary Applegate, Residency Director, NYSPMR; Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, UAlbany SPH
David Hornick, Geriatric Home Care, Schenectady NY
Leon DeMasi, Chronic Disease Epidemiology, Pennsylvania DOH
Gene Laigon, Philadelphia Department of Social Services
Matt Mauer, Occupational Medicine Physician, NYSDOH
John Talarico, Director, Bioterrorism Preparedness, Los Angeles County Health Department
Jim Tacci, Residency Director, U of Rochester PMR; Occupational Medicine, Rochester NY
Bill Welder, Medical Scientific Director, Novo Nordisk 
Nancy Wade, Director, Division of Family Health, NYSDOH (retired)
Tom Morris, Public Health Physician, North Carolina DOH
Cort Lohff, Medical Director, Chicago Department of Public Health
Bob Westphal, Director, Center for Public Health Preparedness, SPH (retired)
Denise Benkel, City Medical Officer, New York City DOH
Marilyn Kacica, Med Dir, Division of Family Health, NYSDOH
Karin Wurapa, Med Consultant, Maternal & Child Health, Ohio Department of Health
Lou Smith, Director, Bureau of HIV/AIDS Epidemiology, NYSDOH
Barbara Oettgen, Community Pediatrics, Ann Arbor, MI
Bijoy Mathew, Community--Oriented Child Psychiatry, Rhode Island 
Chris Ashley, Chief, Division of Gastroenterology, Stratton VA Medical Center, Albany
Debra Blog, Director, Bureau of Immunizations, NYSDOH
Andrew Sebby, Medical Director, Occupational Medicine Center, Gothan, AL
Rachel De Long, Director, Bureau of Maternal & Child Health, NYSDOH
Seira Kurian, Public Health Physician, Duarte, CA
Renee Samelson, Medical Coordinator, Office of Professional Medical Conduct, NYSDOH
Joseph Nicholas, Clinical Instructor, Department of Medicine, University of Rochester School of Medicine
Carolyn Grosvenor, Staff Physician, Stratton VA Medical Center, Albany
Rebecca Finn, Director of HIV Services for the NYC jails, New York (retired)
Laura Kalorin Helton, Medical Director, Newborn Screening, NYSDOH, Albany
Heather Mann Dacus, Director, Bureau of Chronic Disease Control, NYSDOH, Albany
Sami Bég, Associate Medical Director, U.S. Preventive Medicine, Florida
Kimberley Noyes, Director, Bureau of Communicable Disease Control, NYSDOH
James McDonald, Director of Health Services, Naval Health Clinic New England
Sara Brenner, Asst Vice President for NanoHealth Initiatives, UAlbany College of Nanoscale Science & Engineering, Albany, NY
David Pratt, Commissioner, Schenectady County Health Services, Schenectady, NY
Christine Compton, Medical Consultant, Albany County Department of Health, Albany, NY
Priya Sharma, Medical Director, Bureau of Immunizations, NYSDOH
John Silvernail, Director, Emergency Epidemiology Program, NYSDOH
Jane Uva, Emergency Medicine Physician, Manchester, VT
Kyong Park, Physician Advisor, Executive Health Resources, Inc.
Lynn Berger, Physician Advisor, Executive Health Resources, Inc.
Richard Dal Col, VP of Medical Affairs, Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital (CVPH) Medical Center
Elizabeth Whalen, Medical Director, Capital District Physicians' Health Plan (CDPHP)
Alda Osinaga, Medical Director, Division of Program Development and Management, Office of Health Insurance Programs
Omotayo Majekodunmi, Deputy Director, Preventive Medicine Residency Program, UAlbany
Geniene Wilson, Faculty Member, Institute for Family Health
Michael Caldwell, Executive Health and Public Health Consultant
Michael Waxman, Faculty, Albany Medical College

Why I'm in Preventive Medicine -- what our alumni say:

Michael C. Caldwell (2015)
I completed an internal medicine residency and an MPH before being appointed as the Commissioner of Health for Dutchess County in 1994. I served for nineteen years and was very involved with the NY State (NYSACHO) and National Association of County & City Health Officials (NACCHO). I decided to enter the Preventive Medicine Residency at the Albany SPH since I wanted to achieve board certification in Preventive Medicine. The program provided me the opportunity to pursue a number of specific interests in public health. I worked with the CDC on the Guide to Community Preventive Services to assist them with focusing more on the corporate sector; I worked with the NYSDOH Cancer Bureau on a report describing HPV cancers in NY state; and I devoted time to the ABC national news medical unit in New York City as a resident physician. I continue to write a monthly health column for the Poughkeepsie Journal and I maintain strong ties with national public health issues and associations. After I completed my time at SUNY Albany in February 2015, I worked clinically for six months as an attending physician at the Bronx Lebanon Special Care Center Nursing Home caring for HIV patients and other disadvantaged populations in the South Bronx. In September 2015 I began work with MedImmune (part of AstraZeneca) as a Field Medical Director overseeing their FluMist and Synagis products.
Follow me on LinkedIn and on Twitter @healthchief

Michael Waxman (2015)
The University at Albany/New York State Department of Health Preventive Medicine Residency (PMR) was truly fantastic for me professionally. Prior to starting the residency, I was an academic emergency physician who dabbled in Public Health and research. Through the residency I have developed professional relationships and collaborations; gained valuable formal Public Health skills and competencies; and developed important perspectives from which to view population health. Upon graduating the PMR, I will continue working at Albany Medical College leading the Evidence-Based Health Care Theme (teaching medical students Public Health and evidence-based medicine); Preventive Medicine and Clinical research; and working as an emergency physician.

Geniene Wilson (2014)
The UAlbany Preventive Medicine Residency allowed me to learn the basics of public health. Today, I am a faculty member at a family medicine residency program and I care for underserved patients, including people living with HIV/AIDS, people struggling with opiate addiction and people affected by Hepatitis C. I see the effects of the social determinants of health on my patients every day and the preventive medicine residency gave me a platform to work on these big picture issues that are so important to health. In addition to being the HIV clinical leader, I am in charge of training family practice residents in the basics of research and scholarly activity. I run a monthly journal club, supervise CQI, population health and research projects.

Omotayo Majekodunmi (2014)
I could not be happier with the choice and opportunity to complete a Preventive Medicine Residency. The knowledge I have acquired in these past two years have really filled in the gaps in my experiences as a physician. This was the most appropriate time to get this training because our healthcare landscape has been changed with the Affordable Care Act and every provider (individual physician, hospitals, managed care organizations, etc.) now have to practice population health and population health management. I firmly believe that my PMR training at the NYSPMR program plus my Internal Medicine background has positioned me nicely to do population health and population health management. I am currently looking for positions that will allow me to use all my newly acquired skill sets.

Lynn Berger (2012)
I practiced general pediatrics for about 10 years prior to starting the residency program in 2010.  During my years in practice, I had a particular interest in childhood disease and injury prevention.  The Preventive Medicine Residency provided me a unique opportunity to obtain formal training in the public health field.  During my practicum year, I had the privilege of working at The New York State Department of Health-Bureau of Immunization.  After graduation I plan to continue working in the Bureau, as a part-time medical consultant.

Additionally, I have accepted a position as a physician advisor working in medical necessity reviews for hospitals.  By doing so, I hope to utilize the knowledge I obtained through the program regarding the ever-changing U.S. health-care system.  I hope to be able to utilize my prior clinical knowledge and experience in both the health administrative and policy fields.

Richard Dal Col (2012)
After completing 19 years in private practice in the Capitol District as a Cardiothoracic Surgeon, I had spent my entire professional career treating end stage cardiovascular disease and related conditions. I thoroughly enjoyed my career and derived great satisfaction from it. After retiring from a career I loved, I found myself in the unique situation of pursuing a second career in the field of my choice. After a period of personal introspection and exploration I came to the conclusion that after spending my entire career dealing with end stage disease and healthcare delivery in a fluid healthcare environment to limited numbers of patients, I concluded it would be a natural fit to expand my horizons to health care policy and delivery of healthcare to large populations of patients particularly with an eye toward prevention in our challenging health care environment.   I became intrigued during this period of exploration with the idea of pursuing a new career in Preventive Medicine. To my surprise I found a unique program existed in my own backyard involving an association between SUNY Albany and the New York State Department of Health. This program appears to be a perfect marriage of my past experiences and future goals.

The program was flexible to my individual desires and academically rewarding. The faculty was excellent and approachable. I was permitted to select courses that satisfied my interest in management, policy and finance. Additionally, I was given the opportunity to tailor practicum rotations to fit my future plans. Overall the program has met all of my expectations and then some.

I am currently the Vice President of Medical Affairs at CVPH Medical Center and serve on the board of The Adirondack Health Institute as well as function as a specialty consultant to The Hudson Headwaters Health Network.

Elizabeth Whalen (2012)

Kyong Park (2011)
After completing the preventive medicine residency program at the University at Albany School of Public Health, I took a position working in medical necessity reviews for hospitals. The work combined my prior clinical experience and knowledge with my new found knowledge in health system administration and health policy. The opportunity allowed me to start a pathway into bridging the gap between clinicians and health system administrators. This opportunity is one of the central balances that US health care system is being directed towards in trying to balance the individual healthcare needs against the systemic ability to provide care for a population.

After several months of working within medical necessity reviews and considering other opportunities in healthcare reimbursement management, I decided to pursue a unique opportunity in drug safety. I became the first Fellow through the American College of Preventive Medicine’s Clinical Risk Management Fellowship. This field was akin to much of the experiences and mission/goals that I experienced at the New York State Department of Health, and those experiences have served me well as I embark on a new and burgeoning career path.

Priya Sharma (2010)
It has been a long, yet rewarding road that I have chosen and I end my formal education here at the Albany School of Public Health’s Preventive Medicine Program. For the longest time, I did not even know of the existence of Preventive Medicine. I completed my undergraduate career with a BS in Rural Sociology from Cornell University and then went on to obtain my MPH from Boston University with a concentration in Maternal and Child Health. After obtaining my MPH, I completed my medical training at New York Medical College and then stayed on in the Westchester area at the Maria Fareri’s Children’s Hospital for my pediatric residency.

After completing my residency, I was left wondering how I could apply all that I had learned in my training and it is then that I discovered the field of Preventive Medicine. Albany’s Preventive Medicine Program encompassed everything I have ever loved about clinical medicine and public health into one program. Upon my completion of the Preventive Medicine program, I will remain in the Albany area as the Medical Director for the Bureau of Immunization.

John L. Silvernail
I enjoyed my two years in the PMR program immensely.  The core faculty are very dedicated to the program and provide an open and comfortable environment for learning.  The MPH curriculum is broad based and gave me the public health knowledge I needed to compliment my clinical training and experience.  I graduated from the program feeling well prepared to work in a public health position.  The program provided me with new perspectives on problems I had encountered as a primary care physician and taught me to see beyond the individual patient.  

My current position arose directly from my residency experience and I feel I was well prepared for it.  The flexibility of the program allowed me to start this position while still a resident and it served as my final practicum.  

I maintain close ties with the program by providing seminars on various preparedness topics and mentoring current residents.  A recent mentee developed a modeling program for an aerosolized attack with a biological weapon and wrote a paper on Crisis Standards of Care.  

I am very happy to have been a resident in this program and feel the training I received here will serve me well wherever I go in my public health career.    

Jane Uva (2010)
I am currently finishing the practicum portion of my Preventive Medicine Residency at the School of Public Health at the University at Albany and New York State Health Department.   Through my current practicum year, I have worked with the local and state health departments in New York State.  Through this experience, I have been intimately involved with public health on the front lines. The program gave me the flexibility to choose the rotations that fitted my specific interests and professional goals.  The program also gave me skills that I did not have from clinical medicine such as health services research and publishing.  I got to choose any area in the New York State Health Department to work.  During orientation we had a great overview of all the departments and the leaders within them.  It is great to be able to work directly with the public health leaders in the government.  I received lots of great feedback and advice during the rotations.  The required competencies were really easy to complete with all of the resources available through the program.  I have been involved in public health and preventive medicine since 1984. 

I obtained my Master’s in Public Health at Harvard University in 1994 in Health Care Management and Policy.  The focus of this concentration was to develop leaders in public health in diverse public health settings such as federal, state and local government.  My practicum year has crystallized these skills.  I am an emergency physician and I have been practicing for over 16 years.  I am board certified in Emergency Medicine and Pediatric Emergency Medicine.  I have been also practicing Occupational Health on the side.  I will be sitting for the General Preventive Medicine Boards in the fall.  In the future, I am interested in a leadership position in Preventive Medicine in the academic arena or government.  The world is wide open right now!   

Sara Brenner (2009)
After completing New York State Preventive Medicine Residency Program I took a position as preventive medicine and public health physician at the UAlbany College of Nanoscale Science & Engineering serving as the Assistant Vice President for NanoHealth Initiatives and an Assistant Professor of Nanobioscience.

My research and initiatives aim to develop novel nanotechnology applications in the life sciences, including medicine and public health. I am also leading health and safety research initiatives related to nanoparticle and nanomaterial exposures in the workplace, consumer marketplace, and environment, trying to address gaps in our understanding of the safety and risk associated with the unique characteristics of nanoscale materials by incorporating theory from many disciplines such as physics, engineering, biology, genetics, medicine, public health, epidemiology, and environmental science. As part of these efforts, I am advancing risk assessment and reduction strategies for occupational exposures, monitoring of materials that may impact population health and public safety, and the development of industrial practice standards for product safety. I am working proactively with collaborators and partners to develop monitoring and surveillance techniques to assess the environmental and ecological impact as well as the biopersistence of engineered nanomaterials in the Capital District. My team is building a framework to employ custom-tailored strategies to mitigate potential risks associated with nanotechnology-based products that are currently on the market as well as those under development. I remain an active member of the American College of Preventive Medicine and have served as president of the medical student section and resident physician section as well as on the code of ethics committee, the graduate medical education committee, and planning committees for several national meetings. I actively participate in the federal health policy scene and frequent D.C. Congressional offices to advance preventive medicine, public health, and biotechnology initiatives. I am committed both personally and professionally to prevention and practices what I preach by participating in the local fitness scene. In my spare time I race road, trail, and snowshoe distances ranging from 1 km sprints to 50 mile ultramarathons and teach swing and ballroom dance.

Christine Compton (2009)
A graduate of Albany Medical College, my clinical training is in Internal Medicine and I have over ten years of experience in an outpatient primary care setting, both in the United States Army and in the private sector. After an extended period of time away from clinical medicine, to care for an elderly parent, I developed a new perspective on medicine that sees prevention as an integral part of disease treatment and management. I was ecstatic to find a preventive medicine training program locally that embraces this perspective of health care.

I completed the Preventive Medicine Residency in June of 2009. The training I received, both during the academic year and the practicum experiences, has given me the fundamental tools necessary to understand the determinants of health on a population level and to effectively participate with the public health community to address significant issues that impact people’s health and wellbeing. Recently, I began a position as a medical consultant at the Albany County Department of Health. This provides an excellent opportunity to practice a myriad of essential public health services at the local level. In the short time I have been in this position I have been able to assist with the county H1N1 influenza vaccination program, provide care to patients in the STD clinic, and provide guidance and education to local health care providers on important preventive practices. I look forward to future opportunities to address other important public health issues at the county level, including chronic disease prevention, physical activity, nutrition, tobacco cessation and health disparities, to name just a few.

David Pratt (2009)
I thought I would run my preventive medicine chronology backward as a change of pace. I completed the Preventive Medicine Residency in June 2009 and took the job as commissioner of Public Health Services in late August. During the interim I kayaked, hiked, biked and travelled. I also tried to shape up the gardens in my yard left neglected in my other activities. As commissioner I am focused on the H1N1 epidemic at this point but plan to broaden my exposure and role as soon as we have a decrease in flu activity. I like the work and have a wonderful team of bright, dedicated colleagues.

Because I had worked in public health in the past I chose to do three 4 month rotations in the PGY 2 year that were not “main line” public health. My choices were: newborn screening, immunology & vaccine theory, and genomics of motion disorders. All were in Albany and at the NYSDOH's Public Health Laboratory -- the Wadsworth Center. I gained a great deal from each rotation and had very helpful mentors across the board.

Prior to joining the residency I was employed in corporate medicine by GE. That experience largely focused on cardiovascular risk reduction involving fitness, Framingham risks scoring, education and health coaching. I liked the work and it was an interesting derivative of public health. The real pleasure was shifting back to traditional public health from the frenzied pace of corporate medicine.

I found the experience in the residency at the School of Public Health refreshing, challenging and enlightening. I would encourage any physician with an interest in the health of communities to apply to the program and dig right in.

Kimberly Noyes (2008)
While completing my family medicine residency at the University of Vermont, I experienced the true day-to-day grind of clinical medicine - a stark contrast to the bright idealism that brought me to medicine in the first place. One disheartening lesson I learned, in particular, is that the system of clinical medicine is often not amenable to social reform. Rather, it is sustained by continual reversions to the status quo, even in those instances when our better selves tell us that the most familiar approach is not always that which is most right, or just.

I knew that pursuing a preventive medicine residency would help me build the foundations necessary to effectively navigate larger institutional systems with the goal of creating equality for patients. Now that I am trained both in family medicine and preventive medicine, I am poised to serve as a liaison between public health and clinical medicine systems to help improve the well-being of my community.

As a graduate of Union College and Albany Medical College, I was happy to return to the Capital Region to begin the PMR program. As part of the PMR program, I obtained my MPH degree from the University at Albany School of Public Health and recently graduated as the class valedictorian. In October 2007, I assumed the position of Assistant Medical Director of the Immunization Program at the New York State Department of Health. The family medicine perspective works well with the Immunization Program’s mission to promote immunizations over the lifespan. I also have special interests in cancer-preventing vaccines and vaccines in pregnancy. I begin my public health career with great appreciation for the training I have received in the NYS PMR Program.

James V. McDonald (2007)
I am originally from the capitol district and took this year (2007-2008) to complete the Preventive Medicine Program at the University of Albany. After the residency I took a position as a civilian, with the US Navy as Director of Health Services for Naval Health Clinics New England. This position involves supervising over 140 providers over various sites from Rhode Island to Maine.

I attended Siena College, then went to Loyola University of Chicago for Medical School and completed my Pediatrics Residency in the Navy as well as serving on Active Duty 3 additional years. I received my MPH from UNC in Chapel Hill.

I have practiced Pediatrics in multiple settings including the military, private sector and Indian health Service. My areas of interest are many; some include accessible, quality affordable health care for all.

Heather Mann Dacus (2007) 
I completed my preventive medicine residency in June 2007. A graduate of T he College of New Jersey (B.S. 1996) and t he P hiladelp hia College of Osteopat hic Medicine (D.O. 2000), I earned my Masters in Public Healt h degree from t he State University of New York's Sc hool of Public Healt h as part of my residency. Wit h a passion for t he prevention of c hronic diseases, I began a medical director position wit h t he Bureau of C hronic Disease Services in t he New York State Department of Healt h in July 2007. My long term career goal is to incorporate and promote preventive healt h screenings as part of routine medical practice.

Sami Bég (2007)
I went to medical school not only because of my love for clinical medicine and the opportunity it provided to help people, but also because I believe that healthcare and access to it is a fundamental right. As the disparity between the haves and have-nots continues to increase, we find that the poor still struggle to get the very basics of care. I went to medical school at SUNY Upstate Medical University but while there I often times struggled much as to which specialty I saw myself content in. After completing my internship in Internal Medicine at Upstate, I went to visit family in Kashmir and during the six months there got the unique opportunity to not only see but get involved in healthcare to some extent. While there I was once again reminded of how the inequity I had seen within the U.S. itself is only ten times worse in developing areas where people continue to suffer and die from ailments that could be prevented or cured. During my stay there I was also reminded of my frustrations with medicine in general where I felt that we often times spend enormous amounts of resources without giving the same importance or thought to ways to prevent the conditions in the first place. It was like, as someone once put it -- as if we are trying to pull people out from a river so that they don’t drown, but for some reason higher upstream they keep on falling in. My general take on life made me realize that I would rather be upstream and prevent people from falling in for that was not only more logical to me but also something I felt would make more of a difference in the long run. Combined with my interest in social justice and improving societies as a whole, I also decided to pursue a Master's in Public Administration at Syracuse University's Maxwell school of Citizenship and Public Affairs. I completed my MPA in June 2005 and joined the Preventive Medicine program in July. I believe that the program's affiliation with the DOH offers a unique opportunity to learn about not only healthcare but much more. In the next couple of years I hope to take advantage of what the program has to offer and combine it with my overall interests as mentioned above, so that when I leave the program I am ready to change the world!

Laura Kalorin Helton (2006)
I have been interested in Public Health for many years - since my first 'medical mission' trip to Nicaragua with my father during medical school at Emory. After graduation, I put my public health interests on hold while I completed a residency in Internal Medicine/Pediatrics at Duke University. During the four years I was seeing children and young adults, I became increasingly concerned about childhood obesity and physical inactivity. I saw the long-term effects of these problems in my adult patients in the form of arthritis, heart disease, and cancer. I began to realize that disease prevention efforts need to start very early! This is when I decided to leave clinical medicine and pursue Public Health as a career.

I knew I was moving to Albany when my husband, a Navy Flight Surgeon, matched for a Urology residency at Albany Med. I was very excited to find (and be accepted into) this Preventive Medicine Residency program. Since starting the program, I have been impressed with the caliber of instructors, mentors, and other students at the SUNY School of Public Health and the limitless opportunities at the DOH. I am looking forward to putting my interests in childhood obesity, adolescent high-risk behaviors, and cancer prevention to work!

Rebecca Finn (2006)
Before I started the residency program in preventive medicine I had already completed my residency in internal medicine and my fellowship in infectious diseases, and I had been working in private practice as an infectious disease physician. Some of the aspects of infectious diseases I enjoyed most were learning about infection control practices, the effect of antimicrobial resistance on the care of both inpatients and outpatients, and the epidemiology of AIDS. I have recently developed an interest in health care of the jail population, and continue to work part-time taking care of the HIV population at the Albany County Jail. Currently I am taking classes at the school of public health, and thinking of potential rotations for my second year of the preventive medicine residency, and loving it!

Carolyn Grosvenor (2006)
After more than 20-years in the practice of Internal Medicine, I returned to school to pursue a MPH degree and a second specialty in Preventive Medicine. I was frustrated with how health care was being delivered and its apparent lack of effect on health outcomes in the inner-city community. I had many questions but lacked the knowledge or skills necessary to pursue alternative models of health care delivery.

I am currently employed by the VA Health Care system in Albany, NY. I am working in a clinical position while continuing my studies in public health and research methods. My goal is to transition out of clinical medicine and into research in the field of Health Literacy. I am particularly interested in developing alternative models of health care education and delivery to increase the health literacy, and thereby improve the health outcomes, of disadvantaged and other at-risk persons.

Joseph Nicholas (2005)
I completed the Preventive Medicine Residency in July 2005, after finishing a combined clinical residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. I have just joined the faculty in the University of Rochester School of Medicine as a clinical instructor in the Department of Medicine, and anticipate an appointment in the Department of Community and Preventive Medicine sometime during this year. My interests are fairly diverse and include the education of health professionals, childhood and adolescent nutrition, and federal and state public health policy. The PMR program in Albany was really able to meet all of my interests and needs, and provided me with a wide variety of opportunities and professional relationships that I expect will positively influence my career in many ways. The program really opened my eyes to the many different determinants of health and disease, and the importance of collaboration between many professionals and community members to impact the public’s health.

Renee Samelson (2004)
My joining the preventive medicine residency was a change in lifestyle decision. Since graduating medical school in 1976, I have established a primary care clinic in Appalachia, completed an ob-gyn residency and maternal-fetal medicine fellowship, participated in national perinatal HIV research in the NIH, and taught medical students and residents at a major medical center. Having always been interested in social inequities and social justice issues particularly in women, I have been learning how these problems can be better addressed on a population level. This residency program has exposed me to the incredible resources in the New York State Department of Health including the broad range of superior individuals devoted to improving the public's health and the enormous data collection which is available for analysis. Although I am no longer doing emergency C/S's at 2 am, I am working incredibly hard and enjoying the experience.

Seira Kurian (2004)
Even prior to starting my residency in Pediatrics I had been alerted to the broader health aspects prevalent in the general population, but it wasn’t until the third year of my Pediatric Residency at Albany Med that I became aware of the unique opportunities available to physicians through the Preventive Medicine Residency program. I elected to do a one-month rotation that year through the state health department. A few of the projects I worked on included taking part in an E. coli outbreak at a correctional facility and also reviewing and compiling survey data related to hospital compliance rates with neonatal Hep B vaccine administration. The experiences I had that month motivated me to join the Preventive Medicine Residency Program, which I started in July of 2002. I am currently finishing my first year and will be starting my rotations through the state and county health departments in the summer.

Rachel De Long (2003)
I am finishing the residency in December 2003. Originally from the Midwest, I grew up in both Wisconsin and Massachusetts. I earned my undergraduate degree in Rural Sociology at Cornell University, and went on to receive my medical degree from University of Wisconsin. During this time I worked as a counselor at Planned Parenthood clinics in Ithaca, Chicago, and Madison. In Wisconsin my husband and I also ran a small organic vegetable farm. I completed a PGY-1 year in Family Practice at the Guthrie Clinic in Sayre, PA before joining the PMR program. Although I enjoy many aspects of clinical medicine, I feel that my interests, which include maternal & child health, mental health, and nutrition, are better addressed from a preventive medicine/community health perspective.

Andrew Sebby (2003)
I graduated from the residency program in June 2003. My particular preventive medicine interests are in occupational & environmental health. As such, my MPH concentration was in Environmental Health & Toxicology (EHT) and I tailored my practicum year experiences to fit my interests, doing rotations at the Eastern New York Occupational & Environmental Health Center and at the General Electric occupational medicine program, and focusing on environmental health issues during my county health department rotation. After graduation, I accepted a position as the medical director of an occupational medicine clinic in Dothan, Alabama. I'm excited about the challenges that lie ahead, and feel the residency has prepared me well to meet them head on.

Debra S. Blog (2002)
I am a pediatrician and had been out of residency for nine years before starting this program. I have always worked in public health settings in both Denver, Colorado and Chicago, Illinois. I have interests in special needs children, developmental delays, attention deficit disorder, HIV, and the effects of the environment on children's health. The Preventive Medicine Residency gave me skills to enable me to approach the health care system in new and creative ways and to analyze public health problems in depth. After graduation, I took a position with the NYSDOH as medical director of the immunization program.

Karin Small Wurapa (2001)
As far back as I can remember, women's health issues and concerns about national and international healthcare systems have been on the forefront of my mind. Perhaps my experiences overseas in Jamaica and Mexico, and even here in the US, highlighted how the status of a people depends on their physical, mental and spiritual well-being. A Master of Public Health program and residency training in Obstetrics/Gynecology and Family Medicine, confirmed for me the powerful role that physicians can and must play as facilitators of health, at both the individual and community levels. Flexibility, focus, and nurturing of personal excellence were the things that attracted me to the practicum year of the PMR program here at the NYSDOH. I strive for balance between my family life and my commitment to mentoring adolescents, teaching about health, and maintaining the zeal for medicine that clinical practice affords me. All of these interests give me a passion to solve problems and to understand how to use the principles of science and economics to create good health policy. It often seems that in this system problems are dismissed, saying "that's politics". I try to remember that my patient's life, my child's life, and even my own life are on the line, and I'm here to make it more than "just politics!"

Barbara A. Oettgen (2001)
I joined the practicum year of the Preventive Medicine Residency in July 2000. My interest in public health began during my training as a general pediatrician when I spent some time in Kenya. There I saw how much greater the impact of public health interventions (such as immunizations) were on the health of children than the limited treatment that was available to them once they were already sick. As a practicing pediatrician in the US, I continued to be impressed by the large role that public health plays in improving the health and lives of children. My experiences in a number of inner city community clinics demonstrated to me that children still face significant problems related to access to care, especially the indigent and those of different cultures. I obtained an MPH degree (at the University of Texas-Houston) in order to gain skills and knowledge to address the public health needs of children. In the practicum year of the Preventive Medicine Residency, I gained more experience researching health problems, establishing programs to address public health issues, and evaluating interventions. My particular interests include immunizations and communicable disease, access to health care, special needs of immigrant and refugee populations, as well as pediatric injury and child abuse. I had the opportunity to work on all of these issues during the residency, while also continuing with some clinical pediatric work in a community clinic in Albany.

Robert Westphal (2000)
A brief experience at the Hospital Albert Schweitzer in Deschappelles, Haiti, coupled with a very extended experience caring for people with hematologic problems, led me to wonder about better ways of looking at the health of the larger community. The opportunity to work on worldwide blood transfusion problems while based in Geneva, Switzerland, for 3 years, during which time major changes in health care delivery were occurring here at home, strengthened this interest. The academic portions of the Preventive Medicine Residency here in Albany were both interesting and challenging; the practical portions - seminars, practicum rotations - offer opportunities to meet, discuss and work with eminent and ordinary folks working in public health today. Want to know what it's like to try and get a poor immigrant kid into prenatal clinic? You can find out here. Interested in working on health care policy, zoonoses, genetic screening, foodborne diseases? Ditto. The flexibility of the program and the professionalism of the staff enable just about anyone to get a good education and a good start on a career in public health, preventive medicine. If you think your role in life is to make a difference for having been here, you should give this a try.

Denise Benkel (2000)
After attending the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and completing a PGY-1 in Internal Medicine at the Manhattan VA, I worked for four years as a physician-examiner on the Mobile Examination Centers of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) II. The work was important, and I was really able to explore the United States. My next job was back in Manhattan, working for the New York County Health Services Review Organization, evaluating the appropriateness of home care for Medicaid-eligible clients. From Manhattan I went on to Richmond, Virginia, as a CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) officer stationed at the Virginia Department of Health for two years. My work there included investigating outbreaks of communicable diseases, conducting influenza surveillance each winter, and working at the 1997 Boy Scout Jamboree-ensuring, with a fellow EIS officer, that the 35,000 Scouts, adult leaders, and staff stayed as healthy as possible. The PMR program honed skills acquired mainly during medical school and EIS, taught me new skills, and provided very important credentials to enable me to continue to pursue a career in public health. My interests are mainly in chronic disease, particularly tobacco control and environmental health, although after two years investigating communicable disease outbreaks in Virginia I am also very comfortable with this aspect of public health. After completing my residency in June 2000, I moved back to Manhattan to work for the New York City Health Department as a medical officer in their Child Health Initiative, an effort to improve rates of immunization, lead poisoning screening, and other preventive services for low income children. In the months following the attacks on the World Trade Center, I helped fit rescue workers with respirators at Ground Zero and assisted on the response to the anthrax attacks.


NOTE: This webpage is currently under construction; we are updating program details. Please contact Irina Khmelnitsky if you cannot find the information you are looking for.