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Medical alumni return for Reunion Weekend Sept. 15, 16

Three Upstate Medical University College of Medicine alumni—an internationally renowned neuro-oncologist, a specialist in urologic oncology and robotic and laparoscopic surgery, and a family practitioner who provides care to the underserved—will be recognized for their extraordinary achievements at the college’s Reunion Weekend 2017 Sept. 15 and 16. Reunion weekend also includes the Sept 15 Weiskotten Lecture, which is free and open to the public.

“The Medical Alumni Foundation is thrilled to welcome back the many alumni attending Reunion, as well as to recognize three such accomplished alumni,” said Paul Norcross, executive director of the Medical Alumni Foundation for Upstate Medical University.  “It is always moving to have our alumni back on campus celebrating traditions and reconnecting with old friends.”

Henry S. Friedman, MD, (1977), Oleg Shapiro, MD, (2002), and Mark Zilkoski, MD, (1977), will be recognized at the Reunion Awards and Scholarship Presentations program Friday Sept. 15 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Medical Alumni Auditorium, Weiskotten Hall.  The awards program is free and open to the Upstate community.

Award recipients

• Henry S. Friedman, MD, will receive the Distinguished Alumnus award. Friedman is an internationally renowned neuro-oncologist with a career-long interest in the treatment of children and adults with brain and spinal cord tumors. He is the James B. Powell Jr. Professor of Oncology and co-director for Clinical Neuro-Oncology Program of Brain Tumor Center at Duke University Medical Center, professor of pediatrics and associate professor of surgery and medicine. He also serves as assistant professor of pathology and deputy director of the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke University, and is the head of the Laboratory of Medical/Pediatric Neuro-Oncology and is an Associate Chief of the Preuss Laboratory for Brain Tumor Research. Friedman is the author of more than 500 peer reviewed articles, reviews, and book chapters and has presented extensively at both international and national meetings. He has reviewed grants for the National Institutes of Health for more than 15 years in a spectrum of different study sections. He is the senior editor of CNS Oncology, was the associate editor for the Neuro-Oncology Section of Cancer for 15 years and is a reviewer for more than 25 academic journals. He serves on the advisory board of a number of organizations and is on the Board of Directors of TEAM Doctors Preferred Access, the Michael Mosier Defeat DIPG Foundation and the Foundation for Biomedical Research.

• Oleg Shapiro, MD, associate professor of urology and radiation oncology and vice chair of urology at Upstate, will receive the Outstanding Young Alumnus award. Shapiro leads several hospital committees, including the Operating Room Committee and Cancer Center Operations Committee. Shapiro specializes in urologic oncology and robotic and laparoscopic surgery. In addition to his patient care responsibilities, Shapiro trains residents and students as director of the Urology Clerkship, where he not only teaches medical knowledge, but also models professionalism and life skills. He has been invited as a speaker and as a moderator to multiple national and international conferences and is the author of several peer-reviewed articles, abstracts, and book chapters as well as acting as a literature peer reviewer.

• Mark Zilkoski, MD, a family practitioner at The Listerud Rural Health Clinic in Wolf Point, Mont., will receive the Humanitarian Award. Wolf Point is the largest community on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, 320 miles from the nearest large city. At the clinic, Zilkoski provides health care to an underserved population along with two midwives, a nurse practitioner and a physician assistant. At the clinic, Zilkoski specializes in internal medicine, but also performs surgical procedures, including C-sections, appendectomies, colonoscopies, and breast biopsies. Zilkoski was named Montana Family Physician of the Year in 2005 and in 2006 he received the George Saari Humanitarian Award from the University of Washington Medical School, given annually to a physician who exemplifies the compassion and professionalism that characterized the late Dr. George Saari. Zilkoski also teaches medical students and residents and accepts medical students from around the country for clerkships. Physicians who work with Zilkoski describe him as possessing the most important traits in working with patients—compassion, work ethic, dedication, caring and dependability.

Weiskotten Lecture

Reuinion Weekend also includes the Weiskotten Lecture to be presented by Patrick L. Basile, MD, Class of 2003, Friday, Sept. 15 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in the Medical Alumni Auditorium, Weiskotten Hall.  Basile will discuss the history of military medicine at lessons from the global war on terrorism.

Basile is a plastic surgeon who is recognized as a leader in wounded warrior care, taking part in the first bilateral arm transplant at Johns Hopkins Medicine. He also served as the commanding officer for the Department of Defense’s yearly humanitarian cleft lip and palate mission, which has helped thousands of patients over the last several years. His work has been highlighted in numerous magazines, newspapers, television pieces and books. Basile was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Navy after being accepted into the Health Profession Scholarship Program offered by the Department of Defense. Basile earned his medical school at Upstate in 2003. He remained in Upstate New York to complete his combined residency in general surgery and plastic and reconstructive surgery at the University of Rochester.

Alumni Reunion 2017 is hosted by the Medical Alumni Foundation for Upstate Medical University and Upstate’s College of Medicine.

For more information about Alumni Reunion 2017, call 315-464-4361 or visit Reunion.

Caption: Recognized for their extraordinary achievements at Reunion Weekend are, from left, Henry S. Friedman, MD, Oleg Shapiro, MD, and Mark Zilkoski, MD.

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