Anatomical gift ceremony set for Saturday

A scene from the service in 2013.

A scene from the service in 2013. Photo by Susan Kahn.

Upstate presents its annual Anatomical Gift Program ceremony Saturday, April 26 in Syracuse University’s Hendricks Chapel. The event draws hundreds of family members and loved ones of people who donated their bodies to Upstate for medical research and education.

Each year at the completion of the anatomy course, Upstate students honor the donors and their families at a memorial service presented by students from the College of Medicine , the Physician Assistant master’s program and Doctor of Physical Therapy program.

Student hosts this year are Ramzi El Hassan and Kethia Eliezer from the College of Medicine Class of 2017, Megan Maloney from the PA program Class of 2015, and Matthew Harrison from the DPT program Class of 2016.

Upstate Interim President Gregory Eastwood, MD, will deliver the welcome, followed by an invocation from Robert Bundy, chaplain intern from Upstate University Hospital’s Center for Spiritual Care. Music and poetry selections, as well as a reflection by a relative of a donor, will follow.





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One pint of blood can help three people; donate Thursday or Friday downtown

Make a blood donation — Thursday or Friday at Upstate University Hospital — and you can potentially save the lives of three individuals.

That’s because four types of transfusable products can be derived from blood: red cells, platelets, plasma and cryoprecipitate. Two or three of these are typically produced from a pint of donated whole blood.

redcrosslogoAppointments are appreciated for the blood drive scheduled for 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, April 24 and 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, April 25 in Cafe 750 on the second floor of the hospital in downtown Syracuse. Contact Linda Underwood at or call 464-6755.

Donations can be made by staff, students or visitors. All help reduce the cost of blood purchased by the hospital for patient care. And, since patients continually require various blood products, donations are constantly needed.

Most donated red blood cells must be used within 42 days of collection.

Donated platelets must be used within five days of collection.

Plasma and cryoprecipitate are stored in frozen state and can be used for up to one year after collection.

Donors with healthy bone marrow make a constant supply of red cells, plasma and platelets. The body replenishes the elements given during a blood donation, some in a matter of hours and others in a matter of weeks.

If you can’t make this week’s blood drive, consider signing up for the one that will be held from noon to 6 p.m. Monday, May 5 and 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, May 6 in classroom A & B at Upstate University Hospital’s community campus. Schedule an appointment by contacting Jean Pirozzi at or 464-8668.

While walk-ins are welcome at both drives, it’s best to call ahead at the numbers above to make sure there’s no wait time.


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Time Warner Cable News broadcasts ‘Dying with Dignity’ series


Time Warner Cable News airs "Dying with Dignity" all week.

Time Warner Cable News airs “Dying with Dignity” all week.

Nurse practitioner Pat Knox, a clinical assistant professor at Upstate, was interviewed about Upstate’s No One Dies Alone program for a Time Warner Cable News series. “Dying with Dignity” airs this week of April 21. Knox specializes in palliative care.

Program volunteer Karl Schindler will also be a part of this series, talking about what it’s like to sit with people during this sacred time. He is the longest-serving volunteer in the program.

Watch Part One of the “Dying with Dignity” series.

Watch Part Two of the series.

Keep an eye out for additional Parts of the series.

Learn about No One Dies Alone.


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Upstate’s Zipcars are frequently zipping

ZipCarCloseupIf you want to see Upstate’s Zipcars, you’ll have to come to the Think Green Fair Thursday, May 22. The two Zipcars are often missing from their designated parking spaces at Geneva Tower because they’re being driven by Upstate students, medical residents and employees.

Zipcars are self service and can be reserved and accessed 24 hours a day. Zipcar members can download a Zipcar mobile application on their smartphones to make reservations, lock and unlock the vehicles and activate the horn to help locate the vehicle. Members pay a one-time fee of $25 to join Zipcar and then $50 per year. Vehicles can be rented for as little as an hour, or for multiple days, at a cost of $8.50 per hour Monday through Thursday or $9.50 per hour Friday through Sunday. 

The Think Green Fair is held in the Setnor Academic Building, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 22.


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‘Changing Sports Changing Lives’ symposium includes Upstate pediatrician

Participants in the unified wheelchair basketball event held at Nottingham High School.

Participants in the unified wheelchair basketball event held at Nottingham High School.

An adapted sports documentary that premieres at Syracuse University April 28 includes footage from a unified wheelchair basketball event involving Upstate caregivers.

Admission is free to the “Changing Sports Changing Lives” symposium at 4 p.m. April 28 at SU’s Watson Theater in Watson Hall. After the film, a panel will field questions. Upstate developmental pediatrician Nienke Dosa, MD, is part of the panel, along with Peyton Sefick, a graduate assistant at SU. Dosa and Sefick gave an interview about adaptive physical education recently on Upstate’s HealthLink on Air radio program.

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Three governors, one hospital, three cheers

Gov. Nelson Rockefeller and his wife, Happy, tour the new Upstate hospital in 1964. Behind them is are Drs. Carlyle and Cookie Jacobsen.

Governor Nelson Rockefeller and his wife, Happy, tour the new Upstate hospital in 1965. Behind them are Drs. Carlyle and Cookie Jacobsen. Collection of Upstate’s Health Sciences Library.

In our April 3 blog, we described the personal experiences that prepared Upstate President Carlyle “Jake” Jacobsen, PhD to oversee the building of our state-funded hospital at 750 East Adams Street in downtown Syracuse. His Minnesota childhood helped, and so did Jacobsen’s ability to work effectively with three New York State governors: Thomas E. Dewey (served 1943-1954), W. Averell Harriman (served 1955-1958) and Nelson A. Rockefeller (served 1959-1973).

In 1950, Jacobsen was executive dean for medical education at the State University of New York. He met with then-Governor Dewey to discuss the development of SUNY, in particular the development of its medical centers. In 1955, Jacobsen was a guest at the governor’s mansion, then occupied by Averell Harriman, at which time the important decision was made to proceed with construction of the medical center at Syracuse. By 1961, Nelson Rockefeller was in the governor’s office, and Jacobsen invited him to travel to Syracuse to inspect the site for the new state university hospital. Rockefeller returned in 1965 to tour the completed hospital and wrote the following note:

From Nelson Rockefeller: “It affords me the greatest pleasure to be able to congratulate you…on… the dedication of the Upstate Medical Center…the largest single construction enterprise of the State University of New York to be completed so far. You and your associates may well be proud of your leadership and your tenacity in consummating plans for this teaching center…you have rendered services beyond praise for the people of our state.”

And his predecessors sent their congratulations:

From Thomas E. Dewey: “In developing the concept and persuading others to join you in its achievement, you have earned the gratitude of all of us. I congratulate you and the Upstate Medical Center most warmly on this great occasion….I am so happy to know that your great hospital is now open for patients and congratulate you once again on this wonderful achievement and opportunity for service.  With warmest personal regards and every good wish.”

From Averell Harriman: “Your vision, your plans, and your leadership….I am happy to share with you, your faculty colleagues and the citizens of our state, the sense of accomplishment and pride which all of us have in the State Medical Center at Syracuse.”

Signatures of Govs. Dewey, Herriman and Rockefeller. From letters of congratulation written about the opening of Upstate University Hospital.

Signatures of Govs. Dewey, Herriman and Rockefeller. From letters of congratulation written about the opening of Upstate University Hospital.

Special thanks to Patricia Numann MD for providing access to the personal papers of Drs. Carlyle (Jake) and Ellen Cook (Cookie) Jacobsen.

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Chaplain interns graduate noon Thursday

Interns from Upstate’s Clinical Pastoral Education program will graduate at noon, Thursday, April 10 in the Interfaith Chapel of the downtown hospital. The ceremony is open to the public.

Upstate is one of 350 nationally accredited training centers by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education that offers experiential theological education for seminarians, clergy and qualified laypersons. This group of chaplain interns has been at Upstate since September, serving on inpatient oncology, neurology, orthopedics and pediatric surgery.


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50 years ago, air conditioning was a draw for new recruits

This newspaper advertisement is framed and hanging at the Upstate University Hospital at Community campus.

This newspaper advertisement is framed and hanging at the Upstate University Hospital at Community campus.

Spring Career Fair- College MailerThe “entirely new” 300-bed Community Hospital of Greater Syracuse is “completely air conditioned” and “designed for maximum satisfaction of patient and nurse,” says a recruiting advertisement from 1964. It offers nursing salaries ranging from $4,400 to $5,400.

Of course pay rates have risen in 50 years. And, instead of recruits sending in coupons to learn about job opportunities, people interested in working at Upstate are invited to career fairs, such as the one taking place from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 12. Jobs openings are available now for registered nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, surgical technicians, medical office assistants and physical, speech and occupational therapists, and there are positions open in clinical pathology, pharmacy, radiology, respiratory, utilization review, tele-health nursing and the transitional care unit.

Learn about the 50th anniversary of Upstate University Hospital

If you have memories or artifacts related to the construction of Upstate’s downtown and community campus hospitals, please contact the hospital anniversary committee through Susan Keeter at, 315-464-4834.









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Centering on diabetes in pregnancy

Obstetrician Unzila Nayeri, MD of Upstate's Regional Perinatal Center (center) talks with patients at a recent Centering Pregnancy class.

Obstetrician Unzila Nayeri, MD of Upstate’s Regional Perinatal Center (center) talks with patients at a recent Centering Pregnancy class. Photo by Susan Kahn.

Pregnant women, some with their partners, gather in a circle with their obstetrician, midwife, a nurse and nutritionist. A chime sounds. The Centering Pregnancy group begins. 

Centering Pregnancy is a program offered in a variety of medical practices throughout the country, bringing together women with similar due dates for group visits. The Regional Perinatal Center at Upstate used grant money from the March of Dimes to launch Centering Pregnancy specifically for pregnant women with diabetes.

“This is a time for us to help women with diabetes meet the challenges of pregnancy and possibly  make some big changes in their lives,” certified nurse midwife Kathleen Dermady says, this includes mothers living with with diabetes and those diagnosed during pregnancy. Diabetes increases the risk in pregnancy, requiring frequent medical visits and close monitoring. Pregnancy hormones decrease the body’s sensitivity to insulin, the hormone  that helps the body process glucose, so that even women who have experience living with diabetes can become frustrated in pregnancy.  

Listen to interview

The moms-to-be who choose to participate attend 10 two-hour Centering sessions before their babies are born. Blood work, sonograms and other tests are scheduled before or after each session. “Moms tell us they learn so much more than they would in an office visit,” Dermady says. The support they feel from other women is important, too.

The sessions include bursts of laugher, some education and warm cups of tea.

Unzila Nayeri, MD talks about the A1C blood test. Because glucose leaves its mark on the red blood cells, this test reveals the average glucose in the last three months. She reminds the women, still in the early months of pregnancy, of the importance of stability. Dermady explains it this way: A car that drives down a bug-infested highway may arrive at its destination — but the imprint of all those bugs will remain on its windshield.

Women with diabetes are at high risk of having difficult labors and deliveries, partly because they are liable to have large babies. This may mean they require a Cesarean section or other interventions. “If we do a good job taking care of sugar levels, we can really reduce these risks,” Nayeri says.

Registered dietitian, Julie Mellen speaks about proper portion sizes and weight gain, saying that the desirable pregnancy weight gain is based on a woman’s pre-pregnancy weight. “What if you are gaining 1 to 2 pounds per week?” she asks before answering: “Your baby is getting too big, too fast.”

Centering leaves time for questions, too, an efficient way of addressing common issues, Dermady says. “Many of the questions they have are questions that all the moms have.” Learn more about Centering Pregnancy by contacting the Regional Perinatal Center Program Coordinator Karen Davis at 315-464-5702.

Listen to an interview with Kathleen Dermady on HealthLink on Air

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Listen to lectures on public health topics all week for National Public Health Week

Celebrate National Public Health Week this week by participating in these activities and events that are open to the public. The lectures on Tuesday through Thursday will be available on line.

* Monday, April 7  from noon to 12:30 p.m. walk a “Monday Mile,” starting in front of Hendricks Chapel on the Syracuse University Campus.

* Monday, April 7  from 12:30 to 1 p.m. registered dietitian Lisa Thomas speaks about Mindful Eating at SU’s Bird Library

* Tuesday, April 8 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Dr. Kaushal Nanavati speaks about “Wellness and Self Care” in room 2231 of Weiskotten Hall on the Upstate campus. (Webinar link: ) Nanavati is an assistant professor of family medicine and the director of integrative medicine at Upstate.

* Wednesday, April 9 from noon to 1 p.m. Dr. Donna Bacchi provides “Tips for Keeping Your Food Safe and Yourself Healthy.” She is an associate professor and chair of public health and preventive medicine and the director of the master’s in public health program. Her talk is in room 2510 of Setnor Academic Building on the Upstate campus. (Webinar link: : )

* Thursday, April 10 from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. Martha Wojtowycz, PhD speaks about “The Affordable Care Act: What Does the Evidence Say?” in room 2231 of Weiskotten Hall. She is an associate professor in obstetrics and gynecology and public health and preventive medicine. (Webinar link: )

* Friday, April 11 from noon to 1:15 p.m., try NIA, a mind, body and spirit exercise that incorporates yoga, dance, Tai Chi and martial arts. Instructor Elin Adams leads the class in rooms 3509 and 3510 of the Setnor Academic Building.

* Friday, April 11 from noon to 1 p.m., a panel of local public health leaders will have a discussion in the 9th floor auditorium of Weiskotten Hall.

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