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NYMC Welcomes New Chairs and Honors Former Chairs and Retirees During Special Reception

NYMC formally welcomed several academic chairs appointed this year and honored former chairs and recent retirees in the SOM and GSBMS.

December 13, 2021
Photo from left: Brij Singh Ahluwalia, M.D., Tracey Milligan, M.D., Jerry L. Nadler, M.D., Mark Hurwitz, M.D., Chitti Moorthy, M.D., Mario Inchiosa, Ph.D., Humayun Islam, M.D., Ph.D., Raj Tiwari, Ph.D., Marina Holz, Ph.D., and Ernest Lee, Ph.D.

Dr. Nadler opened the hybrid event, which was held in person in Skyline Dining Room and also via Zoom, by welcoming new chairs Mark Hurwitz, M.D., Department of Radiation Medicine; Humayun Islam, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology; and Tracey Milligan, M.D., Department of Neurology, with each chair also offering some brief remarks.

“One of the greatest things about becoming a chair is the opportunity you have to make a difference in so many people's lives, whether it's through the teaching we do, the patient care, the research, the faculty. In this way, we make an impact on those well beyond our immediate sphere. But one can't do that in isolation. I'm blessed to be part of this NYMC community,” said Dr. Hurwitz, a widely recognized leader in the fields of thermal medicine and genitourinary oncology, who joined NYMC from the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.

Having served on the faculty at NYMC since 2002 and as interim chair of the Department of Pathology since 2019, Dr. Islam was named chair of the newly combined Departments of Pathology and of Microbiology and Immunology at NYMC earlier this year. “It has been a truly exciting journey up to this point and I look forward to moving to the next stage as chair of this newly integrated department which will provide new opportunities to leverage the combined educational, clinical and research expertise in these outstanding departments,” said Dr. Islam.

“I am so incredibly happy to be here at NYMC. It's a wonderful community, a welcoming community, full of brilliant people who are doing the work that I want to do to help improve patient care, to educate the next generation of scientists and clinicians and to be part of this research community with so many wonderful things happening in neuroscience and neurology that are exponentially increasing what we can do to help people with neurologic disease,” said Dr. Milligan, an expert in epilepsy treatment, who joined NYMC from Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

With the theme of the evening transitions, former chairs Brij Singh-Ahluwalia, M.D., Department of Neurology; Chitti Moorthy, M.D., Department of Radiation Medicine; Ernest Lee, Ph.D., Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; as well as former interim chair Raj Tiwari, Ph.D., Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and recent retiree, Mario Inchiosa, Jr., Ph.D., professor emeritus of pharmacology, were celebrated for their long and dedicated service to NYMC and its students.

During his remarks, Dr. Singh, who served as chair since 2002, reflected on his early years at NYMC after arriving as a neurology resident in the late 1960s and some of those he had worked with over the last several decades who had made a lasting impact, leading up to the appointment of his successor, Dr. Milligan. “I have been the luckiest person on this campus. I had a delightful faculty to work with and I couldn't be happier. I think Dean Nadler made a very good decision by selecting Tracy Milligan as the next chair. She brings new ideas, new vision, new energy, new vigor. And I think the Department of Neurology and the neurosciences are in good hands,” said Dr. Singh.

Dr. Moorthy shared how when he came to NYMC in 1982 form Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, he was questioned about why he wanted to come to a place with “practically no cancer program and not a single oncologist.” “At centers like Memorial Sloan Kettering, you are named because of the institution. We have to challenge ourselves. With no cancer program between Albany and NYC, why not start one from the beginning and then build it up. That is the reason why I joined this place,” said Dr. Moorthy, who also paid tribute to colleagues who joined him at NYMC from Sloan Kettering and that together they went on to start one of the first bone marrow transplant programs and one of the earliest residency programs in radiation oncology in the country.

Both Dr. Tiwari and Dr. Lee emphasized the importance of working as a team and the strong sense of community at NYMC. “When I joined NYMC, I was really struck by the commitment of the faculty to teaching and to research. Most importantly, I was impressed by the sense of community,” said Dr. Lee, who chaired the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology since 1997. “So now 25 years later, I can say that I owe a great deal to my faculty. They have been a group of like-minded individuals who over the years have shown a deep commitment to educating students.”

During his pre-recorded remarks, Edward C. Halperin, M.D., M.A., chancellor and chief executive officer, noted that he believed Dr. Inchiosa, who joined the NYMC faculty in 1966, had the distinction of being the longest serving faculty member in the history of NYMC.

“An exemplary faculty member, a dedicated educator and a very accomplished scientist, Mario Inchiosa’s contribution and service to the academic and scientific endeavor of our faculty and to the medical and graduate students are endless,” said Michal Laniado Schwartzman, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Pharmacology. “Faculty like Mario help all of us stay connected and remember the past, while also being open to changing winds of the future. He is a wonderful role model for faculty, both young and old, exemplifying how to continue flourishing and making a positive impact on others throughout his career.”

“NYMC has made such contributions to me and to my life and it’s been a privilege,” said Dr. Inchiosa, who remarked that the name of the College was still New York Medical College – Flower 5th Avenue Hospitals when he arrived in 1966.

Dr. Inchiosa went on to share that he actually met his wife at NYMC nearly 50 years ago while she was a graduate student studying microbiology. “So I really owe a lot to NYMC,” he said. “Of course, that's the most important part of my life that they gave me.” 

Photo from left: Brij Singh Ahluwalia, M.D., Tracey Milligan, M.D., Jerry L. Nadler, M.D., Mark Hurwitz, M.D., Chitti Moorthy, M.D., Mario Inchiosa, Ph.D., Humayun Islam, M.D., Ph.D., Raj Tiwari, Ph.D., Marina Holz, Ph.D., and Ernest Lee, Ph.D.