Brooklyn Health Disparities Center

Mohamed Boutjdir, PhD is a Professor at the Department of Medicine at NYU School of Medicine and a Professor and Associate Chair of Medicine for R&D at the Departments of Medicine, Cell Biology and Pharmacology & Physiology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, New York. He is also, the Director of the Cardiovascular Research Program at the VA New York Harbor healthcare system, New York. Dr. Boutjdir’s interest is in cardiovascular research both in health and diseased states. Specifically, Dr. Boutjdir’s research includes the mechanisms of autoimmune associated congenital heart block, atrial fibrillation and long QT syndrome.  Dr. Boutjdirserves in several review boards for cardiovascular study sections for many granting institutions such as the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association both local and National Centers, the Veterans Administration, March of Dimes and the French “Agence Nationale de la Recherche”. Dr. Boutjdir also serves as a reviewer for many National and European high impact journals and is an active member of several journal editorial boards. He has been invited throughout the world to lecture and present seminars in the area of cardiovascular research. To date, he has published over 85 peer-reviewed manuscripts and book chapters. Dr. Boutjdir, in addition to being an academic, has extensive leadership, management and administrative experiences in a range of organizational contexts. In most of these, he had the responsibility for strategic as well as operational planning, working with Senior Executive Management team such as the Deans of Medical Schools (NYU and SUNY Downstate @ New York), Hospital CEOs and Clinical Service Chiefs. He has lead and managed a group of more than 300 investigators/researchers, clinical, translational and basic scientist and managed a research budget of more than $15 Million. Dr. Boutjdir worked on providing support and promoted research and scholarly activity through building new directions in research, establishing centers of excellence, ensuring responsible research practices, and communicating the value of research within and beyond the institution. He provided expertise and support to faculty and staff in the commercialization of the intellectual property and help bring these new ideas to the marketplace.

Marilyn Fraser, MD is the Chief Executive Officer at the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health, and Research Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center and the co-Director of the Brooklyn Health Disparities Center, for which she also serves as the Director of the community engagement core. In her previous capacities as the Deputy Director and the Associate Director for Research & Training, she was primarily responsible for overseeing the Institute’s community outreach and research programs. Dr. Marilyn Fraser is a graduate of the Spartan Health Sciences University School of Medicine in St. Lucia, West Indies.

Dr. Fraser was also instrumental in developing the Institute’s award winning programs into behavioral health intervention models. She was a co-leader of an investigative team of researchers, supported by several NIH and CDC grants, that has developed training curricula for hair stylists and barbers to educate their clients about breast, prostate and colorectal cancer, as well as cardiovascular disease (CVD) and HIV/AIDS risk reduction. Dr. Fraser has served as part of the team of investigators responsible for conducting the Institute’s ACCESS project to increase access to health and social services for formerly incarcerated individuals in Brooklyn, New York.

Dr. Fraser has received various awards including the prestigious Fulbright Research Specialist award to develop and implement a climate change and public health internship program for secondary school students in Trinidad and Tobago, in collaboration with the University of the West Indies. She has presented her work at scientific meetings, nationally and internationally, and is co-author of several publications and a book chapter. 

W. Marcus Lambert, PhD, Dr. Marcus Lambert is an Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and Associate Vice President for Research Strategy & Operations for the SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University campus. In this role, Dr. Lambert focuses on initiatives to expand Downstate’s extramurally funded research portfolio, particularly focusing on health disparities and public health research and training. Trained in both biomedical and epidemiological research methodology, his research efforts focus on educational interventions that impact the scientific workforce, health inequities and individuals from historically excluded communities. Dr. Lambert seeks to understand disparities across the scientific and public health training pipeline as one approach to achieving health equity and improving population health.

 Prior to SUNY Downstate, Dr. Lambert was Assistant Dean of Diversity and Student Life and Assistant Professor of Education Research in Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine, where he led a $2.4 million NIH-funded Initiative to Maximize Student Development (IMSD) Program to increase the number and enhance the success of Ph.D. students from underrepresented backgrounds. Dr. Lambert is a member of such national boards as Cell Press’ Rising Black Scientists Award Academic Advisory Board and a member of NIH/NIGMS’ Training, Workforce Development, and Diversity Study Section. Dr. Lambert received his Ph.D. in biomedical science from NYU Grossman School of Medicine and his B.S. from Howard University. He also holds an M.S. in Clinical Epidemiology and Health Services Research from Weill Cornell Graduate School.

 Wayne J. Riley, M.D., MPH, MBA, MACP, President of The State University of New York (SUNY) Board of Trustees as the 17th president of SUNY Downstate Medical Center, was appointed in January of 2017. Downstate is the only academic medical center in Brooklyn and one of four academic health centers in SUNY's 64-campus system.

Before Dr. Riley’s appointment at Downstate, he served as clinical professor of Medicine and adjunct professor of Health Policy at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Prior to Vanderbilt, Dr. Riley served as the 10th president, chief executive officer, and professor of Medicine at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee.

Dr. Riley is an academic primary care general internist with more than 25 years of progressive senior executive level management, policy, and leadership experiences in academic medicine, patient care, research administration, academic health center administration, health care management, health policy, biotechnology, the corporate sector, government service, advocacy, and organized medicine.

Dr. Riley earned his Doctor of Medicine degree from the Morehouse School of Medicine, a Bachelor of Arts degree in anthropology with a concentration in Medical Anthropology from Yale University, and a Master of Public Health degree in health systems management from the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. He also earned a Master's in Business Administration from Rice University's Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business. Dr. Riley completed his residency training in internal medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas where he rose from instructor of medicine to vice president and vice dean for Health Affairs and Governmental Relations. He also held an associate professorship of Internal Medicine.

Dr. Riley is immediate past president and president emeritus of the American College of Physicians (ACP). He has served as chair of the prestigious National Academy of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences as an elected member of the Administration of Health Services, Education, and Research, and is recognized as a master of ACP. Dr. Riley also served as a member and secretary treasurer of the Society of Medical Administrators, a member of the American Clinical and Climatological Association, and as a member of the Sullivan Alliance to Diversify the Health Professions.

Dr. Riley is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including election to Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, the Arnold P. Gold Medical Humanism Honor Society, and the Delta Omega Public Health Honor Society. He also received the SUNY Downstate Ailanthus Award for Outstanding Public Health Leadership, a Doctorate of Humane Letters (D.H.L.) honorary degree from SUNY Downstate Medical Center and a Doctorate of Science honorary degree from Tuskegee University.

A Brooklyn resident, Dr. Riley currently serves on the boards of the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, the YMCA of Greater New York, and the Arnold P. Gold Foundation.

Moro O. Salifu, MD, MBA, MPH, FACP is Chair of the Department of Medicine, Chief of the Division of Nephrology and Director of the Kidney Transplant Program at SUNY Downstate. Dr. Salifu came to SUNY Downstate after medical school in Turkey to pursue residency training in internal medicine. After internship, Dr. Salifu rapidly excelled as resident in medicine, subsequently meriting him fellowships in kidney diseases, kidney transplantation and interventional nephrology, for which he graduated as a stellar scholar in all three subspecialties. While in residency and Fellowship training, Dr. Salifu won annual awards in the basic science category in the Department of Medicine for six consecutive years as well as four consecutive awards from the American College of Physicians. After fellowship training, Dr. Salifu was retained by SUNY Downstate as Assistant Professor in 2001. He rapidly rose through the ranks to Associate Professor and Professor within 7 years, a milestone that is credited to his outstanding original research contributions, clinical acumen and medical education. In about the same time, Dr. Salifu, earned two masters degrees in public health and healthcare business administration respectively. He has directed the nephrology fellowship training program since 2001 and in 2008 assumed the roles of Chief of Nephrology and Director of the Transplant Program, roles that were crucial to the restructuring of the kidney dialysis and transplant programs at Downstate. He is a recipient of many grants and has published extensively. He is a member and journal reviewer for many nephrology and transplant societies and has served in many local and national professional committees. He is also a fellow of the American College of Physicians. Dr. Salifu's research interests are CKD disease progression, vascular biology and kidney transplant outcomes.

Translational Program of Health Disparities Research Training 

Tracey E. Wilson, PhD, is Distinguished Service Professor of the Department of Community Health Sciences. She has extensive experience in the design, management, and evaluation of applied interventions to promote public health and reduce health disparities, is an actively funded research investigator, and has been an author on over 125 peer-reviewed articles.The primary aims of Dr. Wilson’s research are to increase understanding of the social, structural, and psychological causes of racial/ethnic and gender-based health disparities, and to contribute to the development, testing, and dissemination of interventions that improve health outcomes and quality of life among men and women. By focusing both on reducing risk factors and supporting social and psychological strengths and resources such as resilience and positive affect, she hopes to help support communities in achieving greater health, particularly as it relates to reducing risks for infectious diseases, promoting timely detection and treatment for disease, and staying actively engaged in care and adherent to medication regimens.

Carla Boutin-Foster, MD, MSc is Associate Dean of the Office of Diversity Education and Research. In this capacity, Dr. Boutin-Foster oversees pipeline programs designed to increase the number of underrepresented minority students in biomedicine and biomedical research. She was PI and director of an NIMHD P60 Center of Excellence in Disparities Research and Community Engagement at Weill Cornell. She was an investigator on a program project grant funded by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) to identify attributes in the doctor-patient relationship that are most associated with health behavior modification in patients with coronary artery disease. She was the recipient of the Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to study the role of social support in outcomes of patients with coronary artery disease. She was the recipient of a KO1 from the NHLBI to evaluate the impact of depressive symptoms, social support, and stress on health behavior modification in Latino patients with coronary artery disease. She is also co-investigator on an NHLBI program project to test the impact of a culturally-tailored educational program on medication adherence in African-Americans with hypertension. Dr. Boutin- Foster has expertise in community-

based participatory research, qualitative research, randomized trial design, survey development, and culturally-tailoring interventions. She has published several peer-reviewed articles on her work. She has mentored junior faculty locally and internationally as part of the T32 Clinical Epidemiology Program at Weill Cornell. Her fellows have come from Nigeria, Tanzania, and Haiti.

Mark Stewart, MD, PhD is Interim Provost/SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Dean, School of Graduate Studies; Vice Dean for Research Dr. Stewart received his MD and PhD degrees in 1991 from Downstate.  He is the P His PhD and a postdoctoral fellowship were in neuroscience, and his current research is focused on the systemic consequences of epileptic seizure activity including sudden death. His lab has developed a unique animal model that has permitted arguably the most complete understanding of autonomic, cardiovascular, and respiratory pathophysiology during seizures and suggested the mechanism for sudden death in epilepsy. This work has led to the development of several technologies to prevent death or resuscitate patients, including a vagus nerve stimulation-based cardioverter/defibrillator that received funding from SUNY’s Technology Accelerator Fund.  Dr. Stewart joined the Physiology faculty in 1994 and was promoted through the ranks in Physiology and Physiology & Pharmacology to a tenured professor in 2008. He was appointed Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Vice Dean for Research in 2009. He has played major roles in establishing an MD/PhD Program in Nanomedicine with the SUNY Polytechnic Institute, a PhD Track in Developmental Neuroscience in partnership with the Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities in Staten Island, and numerous other research training and pipeline programs with area universities, including the first major research training grant for CUNY Medgar Evers College.