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Recognizing NYITCOM Alumni and Friends

On May 1, NYITCOM celebrated several of its renowned graduates and a dedicated community partner at the medical school's annual Alumni Awards Dinner. May 7, 2024

Pictured from left: Christopher Kyriakides, Elizabeth Haines, Hank Chaudhry, Sonia Rivera-Martinez, Oskar Varshavski, Mike Varshavski, Patrick O’Shaughnessy, Dean Nicole Wadsworth

On May 1, the College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYITCOM) held its annual Alumni Awards Dinner at the Garden City Hotel in Garden City, N.Y. The event celebrated several of the school’s renowned graduates as well as a dedicated community partner for their service to medical education and the field of medicine.

When NYITCOM opened on the Long Island campus in 1977, it became the first osteopathic medical school in the state of New York, with just 38 students. Today, with locations in New York and Arkansas, NYITCOM is a force in medical education and innovation, with an alumni network of more than 9,000 osteopathic physicians (D.O.s).

Later this month, the medical school will graduate its 43rd class. As Dean Nicole Wadsworth, D.O., shared, this success would not be possible without the trailblazing osteopathic physicians who came before—particularly NYITCOM graduates.

“Since 1977, NYITCOM has worked hard to stay true to our mission to provide students with the foundation necessary to maintain competence and compassion, as well as the ability to better serve society through research, teaching, and leadership. Each of our honorees this evening is a true example and role model of these attributes,” said Wadsworth. “Individually, you have inspired, educated, and propelled our profession forward. Collectively, we owe much of our success as a college of osteopathic medicine to the work you do and continue to do each day.”

Honorees were also recognized and thanked by President Hank Foley, Ph.D., and Provost and Executive Vice President Jerry Balentine, D.O.

Learn more about this year’s impressive honorees:

Distinguished Alumnus: Humayun “Hank” J. Chaudhry (D.O. ’91)

Hank Chaudhry is president and chief executive officer of the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and clinical associate professor of medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C. The FSMB represents the nation’s state medical licensing boards and co-sponsors the United States Medical Licensing Examination. Among other prestigious roles, Chaudhry served as health commissioner for New York’s Suffolk County, where he oversaw 1,300 employees and a budget of $400 million. In 2017, he received an honorary degree at New York Tech’s 56th commencement ceremony.

Alumna of the Year: Elizabeth Haines (D.O. ’05)

Elizabeth Haines is the service chief of quality and patient safety officer at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone, as well as associate professor of pediatrics and emergency medicine. She researches the use of point-of-care ultrasound and recently began a national project examining neonatal infections in babies. Haines completed her primary residency training in emergency medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital and a fellowship in pediatric emergency medicine at Morristown Medical Center, part of the Atlantic Health system.

Alumnus of the Year: Christopher Kyriakides (D.O. ’89)

A proud NYITCOM graduate and distinguished adjunct clinical associate professor at the medical school, Christopher Kyriakides is the founder and medical director of New York Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation, a multi-specialty practice. He is also on staff at NYU Rusk Department of Rehabilitation Medicine and was the 2018 honoree at the NYU Langone Musculoskeletal Ball. He recently joined with former NYITCOM classmate Phil Spadafora (D.O. ’89) to help fund a collaborative scholarship that will directly benefit medical students. His son Chris and daughter Kalliope both graduated from NYITCOM in 2018.

Excellence in Medicine: Sonia Rivera-Martinez (D.O. ’02)

Sonia Rivera-Martinez serves as associate professor and director of NYITCOM’s Community Free Clinic. She completed her internship, family practice residency, and chief residency at the Long Beach Medical Center in Long Beach, N.Y., in 2006. She then worked as an attending physician at the Jamaica Hospital Medical Center in Jamaica, N.Y. In April 2010, she joined the Family Medicine Department at NYITCOM as a full-time clinical teaching faculty.

Community Partner: Catholic Health

Catholic Health is an integrated health system with approximately 17,000 employees, six acute care hospitals, three nursing homes, a home health service, a hospice, and a network of physician practices. Under the sponsorship of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, Catholic Health serves hundreds of thousands of Long Islanders each year, providing care that extends from the beginning of life to helping people live their final years in comfort, grace, and dignity.

The medical school maintains a strong relationship with Catholic Health, which operates a number of eminent facilities where NYITCOM students complete clinical rotations, assist in research, and pursue residencies and fellowships after graduation. Alumnus Patrick M. O’Shaughnessy (D.O. ’99), a member of New York Tech’s Board of Trustees, also serves as the healthcare system’s chief executive officer and president, and alumnus Jason M. Golbin (D.O. ’00) serves as chief medical officer. 

Legacy: Mikhail “Mike” Varshavski (D.O. ’14) and Oskar Varshavski (D.O. ’00)

Mike Varshavski is a board-certified family medicine physician and social media influencer with an audience of more than 25 million followers. After graduating from NYITCOM, he began his social media career on Instagram, sharing his experience as a young medical professional who was also trying to explore the world and live a fulfilling life outside the hospital. This ballooned into a massive following and eventually a highly popular YouTube channel, where he educates his audience about their health and bodies while debunking medical misinformation. In 2021, he was featured in NYITCOM’s Virtual Alumni Spotlight series, where he spoke to students about the role of social media in medicine.

His father, Oskar Varshavski, is a board-certified family medicine physician and proud graduate of NYITCOM’s Émigré Physician Program, which he completed after immigrating from Russia in the 1990s. Varshavski was a practicing physician in Russia but decided to move his family to the United States to escape economic and religious persecution. After arriving in the United States, he began the process of attending medical school and completing his residency, all for the second time in his life, in an entirely new language.

Event sponsors included Catholic Health, Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Ferrara (D.O. ’87), Amwell, Acadia, Greater New York Hospital Association, Mount Sinai South Nassau, Henry Schein, Andreas Geroulakis, Geroulakis Law PC., the Rynecki Family, and Advanced Orthopedics and Joint Preservation, PC.

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