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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    Newsday Misreported, Says Administration

    In response to recent reports in Newsday concerning the improper management of SBUMC, the university has offered its position.

    Media Relations Officer Patrick Calabria cites a variety of facts that show the positive side of President Shirley Strum Kenny’s tenure. These facts include general statistics about the rise in research funding money, total number of faculty, and student enrollment over the past several years. Calabria also cited the leaving of key administrators as upward, career-improving decisions.

    Richard Fine, dean of the medical school, commented, ‘With regard to the Medical Center, whether an administrator takes on another role at a different institution, if a nurse decides to accept a job in a different department or a different hospital, a volunteer decides to retire, or a faculty member accepts an appointment elsewhere, our mission, vision and values remain steadfast.’ The mission, vision, and values of SBUMC can be seen in the accompanying table.

    When asked about reasons why Newsday has been targeting SBUMC over the past several months when certain landmark cases in SBUMC have also been reported in the past, both Calabria and Fine did not have an answer. However, both Calabria and Fine did state, that of the three main deaths reported in Newsday over the past several months, none of them were attributed to the Pediatric Cardiology Program.

    Calabria stated emphatically, ‘The Pediatric Cardiology Program has no mortalities this year.’ He also went on to add, ‘Newsday [in its reporting] did not capture the subtleties of these cases. They’re not black and white.’

    Fine reported that one of the three cases oft cited in Newsday as the ‘infant that died while waiting for surgery’ was reviewed by JCAHO, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, as not a ‘sentinel’ event. A sentinel event is one that requires a hospital to submit a ‘root cause analysis,’ essentially an explanation of the cause of death.

    Concerning the comments made by the William Lennarz, chairman of the department of biochemistry and cell biology, which accused SBU of placing its faculty second to its buildings, Fine responded, ‘I can’t think of one faculty member in the medical school that I would call ‘second class.’ I have a lot of respect for Dr. Lennarz and if this is his opinion, I’d be happy to meet with him in person to hear what he has to say first hand.’

    Fine continued, ‘We have an excellent faculty retention rate according to national standards and have recently recruited some excellent doctors and researchers. Recruitment is an ongoing process, and it is an exciting challenge to pursue new faculty members that will help advance the role of the medical school in training our future physicians. But the fact that many outstanding researchers have remained at Stony Brook speaks to the confidence they have in the institution.’

    Calabria responded on more technical terms. He said, ‘Bonded construction money can only be used for construction. As an example, 35 million dollars of construction money built CMM [Center for Molecular Medicine]. Certainly, it serves for a variety of research and educational purposes.’ Calabria also corroborated Fine’s statement in saying that SBU does try hard to keep faculty even though it’s not uncommon for people to move around in the academic world. Also, Calabria cited from President Kenny’s university address earlier this semester, ’50 new faculty will be hired to support increased enrollment.’

    Currently out-of-state, Lennarz was unable to defend his position and provide a reason for his comments.

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