Alumnus saves lives on ABC medical reality show
By John BrhelA teenage boy has been shot multiple times. He's rushed to an inner-city hospital, where his family waits in anguish. Did the bullets hit his heart? Will he make it? The tension is nail-biting. But thanks to the work of Dr. Adam Fox '92 and his team, the boy leaves the hospital alive and well.
It's a happy ending fit for TV, and that's just what it is – a scene from a primetime TV show. But Fox isn't an actor, he's a real-life trauma surgeon and one of several medical professionals from University Hospital in Newark, N.J., featured on "NY Med," an eight-episode docu-drama airing on ABC. "NY Med," which debuted in July 2012, follows medical patients and staff at two hospitals in the New York metro area: the posh New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York City and the gritty University Hospital, newly added for this season.
"We're an inner-city hospital," said Fox, assistant professor of surgery at University Hospital. "We don't have all the bells and whistles of some of the more upscale hospitals. But we take care of everybody who walks in that door."
That "everybody" turns out to be a lot of people. The New Jersey Trauma Center at University Hospital is the sole Level I Trauma Center for the region of northern New Jersey. The hospital handles more than 3,000 trauma cases a year, about 28 percent of which are penetrating trauma (e.g., gunshot wounds, stab wounds). While others might pass out over the stress involved in handling these types of cases at such a high frequency, Fox finds it a rush. His job lets him be involved with the kind of trauma he's most interested in — a good mix of both blunt trauma and penetrating trauma.
"I find that, although it is emotionally exhausting sometimes and personally difficult to deal with and to understand why somebody would want to hurt someone, from an academic perspective I love it," Fox said.
Fox referred to himself as "the conductor of the trauma bay" on the June 26 premiere. It's his authority and quick thinking that led producers to ask him to be on the show.
"When we first saw Dr. Fox in action in the trauma bay, we found his take-charge attitude extremely compelling," said Erica Baumgart, supervising producer for "NY Med." "He instills confidence in his team and passionately commits himself to saving every patient that comes in the door."
Fox had the opportunity to opt out, and, considering his taste in TV, it's likely he could have. He can't stand medical television (barring "Scrubs," which he said is "spot-on" about the social interplay between physicians, nursing staff and hospital patients) and thinks that dramas like "ER" and "Grey's Anatomy" have erroneously blurred the lines between what a trauma surgeon is versus what an emergency medicine physician is. Happy to hear that "NY Med" would focus on trauma, he agreed to appear on the show.
"I thought that the show would give us a huge opportunity as a group to really highlight what it is trauma surgeons do versus emergency physicians," Fox said.
He also thought it'd be a good opportunity to show off the fine work on display at University Hospital, a hospital that may not be glamorous but certainly gets the job done.
"There is this island in the middle of the Wild West that should shine a bit," said Fox of his busy workplace. "I thought that getting us on TV and showing the good work that we do would...somehow show the country that there's a lot of good work that gets done and that it's not necessarily on the Upper East Side of Manhattan."
Filming at University Hospital took place from March to June 2013. Lucky for Fox and his team, the "NY Med" crew was respectful and never got in the way. There were only a few instances where Fox requested to have a conversation with a family member with the cameras off. His real worry stemmed from the fact that the hospital didn't have any say in the editing process.
"Because they're not medical people, I was a little concerned that they'd put little bits and pieces together to make a story work but not necessarily do it in a way that was medically correct," he said. "My biggest concern was that my mentors would be watching this on TV and say 'Oh look, there's Adam. Why would he do this this way? We didn't teach him that.'"
ABC invited Fox to a press preview of the show before its premiere, where he got to see himself on TV for the first time.
"The first time I saw myself on a huge screen, I was like 'Whoa. I'm not sure if I really want to see myself again,'" Fox said.
Despite his initial bashfulness, Fox is pleased with the show. He will appear in a second episode on July 31. If ABC asks him to come on the show for a third season, he said he'd definitely do it, and not just for more screen time. He hopes to parlay his newfound celebrity into a nationwide push to promote trauma prevention.
"The more exposure our trauma team has, the more respect that we have, the more we can maybe get people on board with trauma prevention," he said. "I think that this type of publicity is potentially good for the job that I do."
He hopes that Binghamton University, which gave him "amazing opportunities," benefits from the exposure as well and that his appearance on the show can show current and prospective students what one can achieve as a Binghamton graduate.
"I'm incredibly proud of Binghamton," Fox said. "I thought this would just be a nice way of having people know that if you're in Binghamton you can do anything that you want and even end up on TV."
New graduate profile: Ruben Haggai
By Eric Coker
Ruben Haggai '14 recalled a time when his Binghamton University tennis coach said that the team would take a van to travel to North Carolina.
Haggai immediately thought of his home on Réunion Island, a French island in the Indian Ocean that has an area of only 970 square miles.
"To go from north to south doesn't even take two hours," he said. "My coach said we would be in the van for 10-plus hours. I thought: 'Wow! I could've done the run of my island five times.' It's not very big."
Though Réunion Island is not big, it sure is far away. To get to the island just east of Madagascar and Africa, a traveler would first have to arrive in Paris and then take a 12-hour, non-stop flight to Roland Garros Airport near the capital of Saint-Denis.
For Haggai, who graduated in May from the School of Management, the journey from Réunion Island to Binghamton has turned a freshman who consulted the dictionary for English tips into a senior who has served as a role model on the tennis court and in the classroom.
The 21-year-old was born in France, but moved to Réunion Island at age 5 after his father began a job there. Haggai grew up in Saint-Denis, the biggest city on the island. Located on the northern coast, the city offered Haggai the chance to spend days on the beach, while learning to play tennis with older brother Alexandre at a nearby club.
"It was a great atmosphere," Haggai said in his French-English accent. "Less than a million people total. People were open-minded and it was a great place to grow up."
The island's location, combined with Haggai's burgeoning tennis talent, gave him a chance to visit places such as India, Australia, South Africa and Madagascar.
As his French tennis ranking improved, Haggai began to hear from U.S. schools, including one that his brother was already attending: Binghamton University.
"Ever since I was a kid, I've wanted to study in the United States," Haggai said. "A few other schools contacted me (to play tennis), but Binghamton was always my first choice."
Haggai started at Binghamton as an economics major before transferring into the School of Management after a year to focus on finance and management.
"The School of Management is a great program," he said. "The faculty is broad and international. I could see myself in them."
As Haggai excelled in the classroom and wore a winter coat for the first time in his life, he found himself on a tennis team that was making a national name for itself. In the four years Haggai spent on the team, the Bearcats won four America East championships and went to the NCAA tournament three times.
One of Haggai's most memorable moments was when the Bearcats faced UCLA in the opening round of the 2011 NCAA tournament.
"It was a beautiful campus and we played in front of 1,000 people," he said about the Bearcats' loss. "Then you come back and you're studying on the plane because it's finals week. There's a lot going on, but it's worth it."
Studying was a constant for a team that placed multiple players on the America East All-Academic Team.
"Even if we're on a trip to North Carolina, you'll see us on our laptops writing papers," Haggai said. "It's hard to combine everything, but it's a great feeling when you win the conference and have a great team GPA. It was great to do that every year."
Traveling with the team was special for Haggai, as well, he said.
"I was not only traveling with my best friends, but I also had the opportunity to go to a different school and a different state each weekend," he said. "It was great to go to California or Nebraska because it made me understand the culture and country even more."
Haggai's greatest combination of academic and athletic success came in 2013, when he was named Most Outstanding Player at the America East Championship and was named America East Scholar Athlete of the Year in tennis.
Men's tennis coach Adam Cohen called Haggai "the definition of what a student-athlete ought to be."
"(Ruben) has successfully navigated through SOM and will graduate with a cumulative GPA of 3.7," Cohen said. "On the tennis court, Ruben has helped us win four conference championships since his arrival in January of 2011. This past season, Ruben's back limited his playing time but that didn't stop him from pushing the guys in practice and in their matches. Each time we asked Ruben to step onto the court representing Binghamton University he did with it pride, class and respect of his opponent. We are going to miss having Ruben's influence next season."
Haggai is considering pursuing a master's degree in management in either France or at Binghamton University. A degree from a French school could be beneficial if he seeks an international job, he said, but Binghamton has its advantages, too.
"The program is so attractive here," he said. "To be able to stay in SOM to get my degree would be great."
Haggai, who hopes to someday work on the marketing, innovation and design of products, said everything he has accomplished was made possible by Binghamton University.
"I can't believe I'm about to graduate already," he said. "It just flew by. Students welcomed me. The Athletics Department helped me so much and my coach, friends and SOM helped, too. Everything has happened too fast. I still remember moving into the dorms and going to my first lecture. It was too fast."
New graduate profile: Ohad BarSimanTov
By Eric Coker
Entrepreneurship is thriving at Binghamton University, thanks to people such as Ohad BarSimanTov '07, MS '09, PhD '14.
The 34-year-old from Tel Aviv, Israel, received his doctorate in bioengineering/electrical engineering in May after earning his undergraduate degree in 2007, and his master's degree in 2009. Both were in electrical engineering from Binghamton University.
"I never thought I would go for a PhD," BarSimanTov said. "But when I started working with Ken McLeod, we got good results and things came together quickly. It's been interesting."
"Interesting" is a modest word for BarSimanTov's doctoral project: Infrasonic, a non-invasive, portable cardiac output monitoring device that could appeal to the healthcare industry, sports teams and home-care facilities.
McLeod, professor of bioengineering and director of the Clinical Science and Engineering Research Center, called BarSimanTov "a remarkable student."
"Three years ago, I posed an almost philosophical question to him: 'Would it be possible to extract cardiac stroke volume estimates from chest wall motion measurements?'" McLeod recalled. "He took that thought and ran with it, undertaking clinical trials to obtain a proof of concept, developed the signal processing algorithms (that) would make a clinical application practical, and went so far as to construct a hardware prototype to demonstrate that the technology could be made portable, thereby permitting continuous cardiac output monitoring. I anticipate that his work will lead to significant improvements in quality of healthcare worldwide."
Many athletes are not even aware of the term "cardiac output," BarSimanTov said. It refers to the volume of blood pumped by the heart each minute – and it is a difficult measure to obtain. BarSimanTov's device could be attached as a sticker or strap around the chest and allow the subject to receive stroke volume, heart rate and cardiac output monitoring. The dimensions of the device have not been finalized, but are likely to be in the range of 2.5 inches in diameter and .75 inches in depth.
BarSimanTov presented his business plan for Infrasonic Monitoring at a regional competition held at the University's Innovative Technologies Complex. He finished second at the event and brought Infrasonic to a statewide competition. Although the plan did not place, BarSimanTov understood the complexity of the project.
"It's hard to talk to any kind of investor who doesn't have a medical background," he said. "Many people think you can get a heart rate and that's enough. Hospitals understand the need for this (device) right away."
BarSimanTov has already met with cardiologists at Guthrie Hospital in Sayre, Pa., to discuss potential collaborations. But first, he is working to develop clinical trials for the device. Those measurements will be used to adjust the device and possibly create a new version.
'Things are going little by little," he said. "It's just hard to say what direction we will go."
Infrasonic Monitoring will move into a new home: A Start-up Suite at the University's Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovative Partnerships.
BarSimanTov has come a long way from the Israeli boy who got into engineering by building remote-control airplanes. After graduating high school, he entered the Israeli Defense Forces and worked as an electronics technician, providing support for military jets.
"When I went into the Israeli army, everything disappeared in terms of hobbies," he said with a chuckle. "It was non-stop."
After three years in the military, BarSimanTov traveled to the United States to study at Staten Island College. He transferred to Binghamton two years later and got a position in the Computer Center while he studied electrical engineering.
BarSimanTov credited McLeod with helping him take the Infrasonic project to an advanced level.
"Ken's vision is very entrepreneurial," BarSimanTov said. "He's helpful. He took me under his wing. He will push you forward and make you a better person."
BarSimanTov gave a one-word answer about the lessons he learned from McLeod: "Everything!" But he also said he learned a great deal from Binghamton University.
"You have to be persistent," he said. "Your professors are your friends. This is a friendly environment that helps you move forward. I recommend Binghamton University all of the time because I had a great experience here."
New graduate profile: Jon-Paul DiMarco
By Katie Ellis
In May, Jon-Paul DiMarco '14 received his bachelor's degree in nursing with a minor in biology, and a certificate in forensic nursing. He was the student speaker at the school's Commencement ceremony. From New Hyde Park, N.Y., he has had extensive clinical experience in emergency, pediatric, community health, orthopedic, medical/surgical, psychiatric, geriatric and maternal/newborn care.
While a student, he was team conditioning captain for the Binghamton University Roller Hockey Team and qualified and played in the collegiate national championships for two consecutive years. He has worked with fellow students on projects to reduce hospital readmissions and to reduce teen pregnancies, and has conducted exercise-promotion activities with the local Boys and Girls Club. He also raised nearly $2,000 through the St. Baldrick's Foundation to help fund childhood cancer research. DiMarco will pursue as career as an emergency room nurse.
New graduate profile: Tanairy Carbo
By Katie Ellis
Tanairy Carbo '14, from The Bronx, received her bachelor's degree in human development. She was the student speaker at CCPA's May Commencement ceremony. Carbo has been a peer advisor for CCPA and peer counselor for the Educational Opportunity Program. She also volunteered as a mentor for the UTURN program for young women in juvenile detention, and as a counselor for High Hopes Crisis Intervention Hotline.
She is academic chair for Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc.; vice president of SHADES, a student organization supporting diversity; and an active member of Alpha Phi Omega co-ed community service fraternity. She completed a shadowing experience at Habilitat Alternative Drug and Alcoholic Rehabilitation Center in Hawaii. Solely financially responsible for her education, she worked on campus for Campus Recreation. She will continue at Binghamton University this fall in the Master in Social Work program.
Grant to step down as GSE dean, Burch named interim dean
From staff reports
Provost Donald Nieman has announced that S.G. Grant, dean of the Graduate School of Education (GSE) since 2008, will resign his position, effective Aug. 31, and return to the faculty. As a professor, Grant will serve as principal investigator for a multi-million dollar grant from the New York State Education Department to create units for the state's K-12 social studies curriculum.
"I appreciate the ideas, energy, judgment and scholarly acumen S.G. has brought to GSE," said Nieman. "While I will miss working with him as dean, I recognize that he has a once-in-a-career opportunity to use his scholarly expertise to redesign New York's social studies curriculum and, by extension, influence curriculum reform across the nation."
Grant came to Binghamton University from the University at Buffalo as founding dean of GSE. During his six years as dean, the school has recruited outstanding faculty, developed an undergraduate minor, created an innovative off-site master's program to serve teachers in New Orleans, strengthened relationships with alumni and area school leaders, and revamped the elementary education program.
"It has been my pleasure to serve as GSE dean," Grant said, "I have had the opportunity to work with and add to an outstanding faculty who care deeply about teaching, research and service. I am looking forward to this next chapter in my scholarly life, but I am pleased to be doing so as a member of the GSE faculty."
Grant earned bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Maine, was a history teacher for a decade and also worked for the Maine Department of Education before returning to school for his doctorate. He holds a PhD in disciplinary knowledge and policy from Michigan State University.
Nieman has appointed C. Beth Burch, professor of education, as interim dean of the Graduate School of Education (GSE), effective Sept. 1.
Burch joined the Binghamton University faculty in 1994, coming to Binghamton from faculty positions at the University of Alabama and before that, Purdue University. She earned her bachelor's degree in English education from Southwestern Oklahoma State University, her master's in English from Oklahoma State University and her PhD in English at Purdue University. Before her work in higher education, she was an award-winning high school English teacher.
An authority on Jewish-American writers, Holocaust literature, Faulkner and writing pedagogy, Burch is the author of more than two dozen scholarly articles and book chapters, and five books. Between 2004 and the present, she has served as co-principal investigator for four New York State Education Department (NYSED) Teacher Leader Quality Partnership Grants totaling over $5 million as well as co-principal investigator for a $1.2 million New York State Department of Education Enhancing Teaching through Technology Grant. She is also currently a member of a GSE research team investigating the statewide implementation of virtual Advanced Placement courses by the New York State Education Department.
An experienced administrator, Burch served as division director of Education in Binghamton University's School of Education and Human Development from 2002-2004, and as director of the Binghamton University Writing Initiative from 2009-11.
Burch will serve as interim dean through August 31, 2016. She succeeds S.G. Grant who, after serving six years as dean, is returning to the faculty to serve as principal investigator for a multi-million dollar grant from the New York State Education Department to create units for the state's K-12 social studies curriculum.Back to top
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