Alumni

2014 Recipients

DOMINICK P. PURPURA DISTINGUISHED ALUMNUS AWARD

Phillip Frost, M.D. ’61
Dr. Phillip Frost is chair of the board of directors of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Ltd., the world’s largest manufacturer of generic drugs, and also serves as chair and chief executive officer of OPKO Health, Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical and diagnostics company. His work as a physician-entrepreneur dates to 1971, when he formed a partnership to license medical devices he had invented, and used the proceeds to acquire the nearly bankrupt Key Pharmaceuticals. As chair, Dr. Frost guided Key in developing innovative drug-delivery systems, and the company soon became profitable. Dr. Frost sold Key in 1986 and turned his attention in a new direction. He founded IVAX Corporation to create generic versions of approved drugs; it reached more than $2 billion in annual sales by 2006, when IVAX was acquired by Teva. Prior to his business career, Dr. Frost served with the U.S. Public Health Service at the National Cancer Institute and as assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Miami. He also founded the dermatology department at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Florida, and chaired the department for 18 years. Today he serves as a trustee of both the university and the medical center. He was appointed by Congress as a regent of the Smithsonian Institution, where he served from 2006 to 2010. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1957, and his medical degree from Einstein in 1961. 

DISTINGUISHED ALUMNUS/CLINICAL PRACTITIONER AWARD

Robert M. Lewis, M.D. ’60
Dr. Robert M. Lewis is clinical assistant professor of obstetrics & gynecology and women’s health at the College of Medicine, a position he has held since 1967. Over the course of his nearly 50-year career, which has included academic attending positions and private practice, he has delivered several thousand babies, many for Einstein faculty, staff, students and their families. In addition, Dr. Lewis has served as a knowledgeable advisor to the New York rabbinic community on the delicate interface between Orthodox Jewish law and gynecology. He is a longtime teacher, practitioner and advocate of obstetric techniques designed to avoid unnecessary Caesarean sections. Dr. Lewis served for approximately five years as an Einstein gynecological consultant for the Women’s Health Initiative, a large-scale, long-term study of postmenopausal women that was established by the National Institutes of Health in 1991. In 2009, he received the Excellence in Teaching Award from the Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics. In 2011, he was named Alumnus of the Year by the OB/GYN residency program at Jacobi Medical Center. Dr. Lewis earned his undergraduate degree from Union College in 1956 and his medical degree from Einstein in 1960. He was the second president of Einstein’s Alumni Association and is a member of the Einstein Circle Society of alumni donors. He is married to his classmate Dr. Ruth Freeman, professor of medicine and of obstetrics & gynecology and women’s health at Einstein. They have three daughters, one of whom graduated from Einstein in 2000, and eleven grandchildren. 


DISTINGUISHED PH.D. ALUMNUS AWARD

Danny F. Reinberg, Ph.D. ’82
Dr. Danny F. Reinberg is professor of biochemistry and of molecular pharmacology at New York University School of Medicine (NYU), where he has served since 2006. His lab investigates the molecular mechanisms of epigenetics—the extragenetic information that produces different patterns of gene expression and distinguishes cells within an organism, including those that are cancerous. He also is an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and is co-founder of Constellation Pharmaceuticals, a Boston-based developer of epigenetics-based drugs. Prior to NYU, Dr. Reinberg held positions with the Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, where he is currently an adjunct professor and previously was a distinguished university professor. He also has served on the faculty of the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Widely published in peer-reviewed publications, Dr. Reinberg has authored or co-authored nearly 200 scientific articles and contributed to more than a dozen books. His contributions to the field have resulted in numerous professional awards, including a 2004 Merit Award from the National Institutes of Health, as well as election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2012 and the Institute of Medicine in 2013. A native of Chile, Dr. Reinberg earned his undergraduate degree in 1976 from Catholic University in Valparaiso, Chile, and his doctorate from Einstein in 1982. 


LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Steven M. Safyer, M.D. ’82
Dr. Steven M. Safyer is president and chief executive officer of Montefiore Health System, the University Hospital and academic health system for Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He also serves as a professor of medicine and of epidemiology & population health at Einstein. Dr. Safyer began his career in 1982 as an intern and resident in social medicine at Montefiore, and since has served in numerous leadership roles, including senior vice president and chief medical officer. Throughout his career at Montefiore, Dr. Safyer has been a leader in advancing Montefiore as a preeminent, innovative and equitable healthcare system. He also has been a dedicated advocate for delivering a single standard of excellent care for all patients, regardless of their social or economic circumstances. As a young physician, he helped forge a city-wide effort to stem the epidemics of HIV and tuberculosis, which were taking the greatest toll on the economically disadvantaged and incarcerated communities. At Montefiore, Dr. Safyer’s achievements include helping the organization grow into a comprehensive, integrated regional health system; strengthening its relationship with Einstein, an initiative that resulted in the creation of Centers of Excellence for research and treatment in numerous specialties; leading the expansion of ambulatory services; championing the adoption of computerized physician order-entry systems; and creating nationally recognized quality and safety programs. Dr. Safyer earned his undergraduate degree from Cornell University in 1971, after which he served for a number of years as a community activist. He then entered Einstein, receiving his medical degree in 1982. He and his wife, fellow Einstein classmate Paula Marcus, M.D., have two children. 


LIFETIME SERVICE AWARD

Evelyn G. Lipper, M.D. ’71
Dr. Evelyn Gruss Lipper is associate professor of clinical pediatrics at Weill Cornell Medical College, where she has served since 1982. She is an honorary overseer at Einstein and also has served on the pediatric faculty of the College of Medicine. She maintains a private practice in developmental and behavioral pediatrics. As the trustee of her family philanthropic organizations, The Gruss Life Monument Funds and the EGL Charitable Foundation, she is well known for her work in advancing health and education. At Einstein, her generosity led to the establishment of two state-of-the-art medical imaging facilities, the Gruss Magnetic Resonance Research Center and the Gruss Lipper Biophotonics Center. Dr. Gruss Lipper is a long-standing member of the board of trustees of Rockefeller University. She received her undergraduate degree from Simmons College in 1967 and her medical degree from Einstein in 1971. She and her husband, Dr. William T. Speck, professor emeritus at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, have eight children.


EINSTEIN HONORARY ALUMNUS AWARD

Gerald A. Paccione, Jr., M.D.
Dr. Gerald A. Paccione is professor of clinical medicine at Einstein, educational advisor for its Global Health Center and former director of the residency program in primary care and social medicine at Montefiore Medical Center. In collaboration with Montefiore and the international advocacy group Doctors for Global Health (DGH), Dr. Paccione directs a program that provides medical staff for Kisoro District Hospital in Uganda. Since 2006, the program has treated tens of thousands of patients in an underserved rural area, and provided real-world training for more than 200 Einstein students and Einstein-Montefiore residents. Dr. Paccione’s dedication to global health has deep roots; in 1975, as a medical student, he lived for a year in a remote Guatemalan village, where he provided primary care out of a one-room adobe hut and implemented a nutrition program for residents of the region. He has cared for patients throughout the world, and has served on the boards of directors of DGH, Doctors of the World USA and the Global Health Education Consortium. He is a beloved mentor whose previous honors include the Samuel M. Rosen Award for Outstanding Teaching (Clinical) and the Harry H. Gordon Award for Outstanding Clinical Teaching from Einstein and two Teacher of the Year Awards from Montefiore house staff. He also was named the 1997 Mid-Atlantic Clinician-Educator of the Year by the Society of General Internal Medicine. Dr. Paccione received his undergraduate degree from Yale University in 1971 and his medical degree from Harvard University in 1977. 

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