Upstate News

September 26, 2007
Doretta Royer 315 464-4833

Physician who founded Tibetan vision project to speak at medical reunion weekend Sept. 28

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Melvyn Bert, M.D., the physician who helped found a medical project to restore eyesight to hundreds of Tibetans—a project that was the subject of an award?winning documentary— will present SUNY Upstate Medical University’s Weiskotten Lecture Sept. 28, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in the Ninth Floor Auditorium of Weiskotten Hall, 766 Irving Ave., Syracuse. The lecture is free and open to the public. The lecture is a highlight of SUNY Upstate’s 132nd Reunion of the College of Medicine, to be held Sept. 28 and 29.

Bert, class of 1967, assisted in the earliest founding of the Tibet Vision Project whose members—American ophthalmologists—each year make a monthlong pilgrimage to Tibet to train teams of local doctors to perform cataract and lens implant surgery on hundreds of blind Tibetans. The project was the focus of an award-winning documentary, titled “Visioning Tibet,” by filmmaker Isaac Solotaroff. A discussion regarding the project will be led by Bert following a showing of the documentary.

Reunion Weekend also includes awards and scholarship presentations. SUNY Upstate’s Medical Alumni Foundation will this year award more than $200,000 in scholarships to students in the College of Medicine.

Jonas T. Johnson, M.D., class of 1972, will receive the 2007 College of Medicine Distinguished Alumnus award. Johnson is chair of the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, where he is the Dr. Eugene N. Myers Chair in Otolaryngology. He is also professor of radiation oncology and holds an appointment as professor in oral maxillofacial surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine. Johnson served in the U.S. Air Force as a member of the teaching staff at the Lackland USAF Medical Center in San Antonio, where he received a Letter of Commendation. A specialist in head and neck oncology, Johnson has published more than 350 manuscripts in peer-reviewed literature, co-edited 19 textbooks and is the author of more than 150 textbook chapters. He established the fellowship program in Advanced Oncologic Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh and serves as program director for residency training in otolaryngology.

Danielle Katz, M.D., class of 1997, will receive the 2007 College of Medicine Outstanding Young Alumna award. She is an assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at SUNY Upstate Medical University. After graduating from medical school, Katz remained at SUNY Upstate to complete a residency in orthopedic surgery in 2002. She completed fellowship training in pediatric orthopaedics at Children’s Hospital in Boston in 2003, and returned to SUNY Upstate to join the Department of Orthopedic Surgery. Katz’s clinical practice includes almost all areas of pediatric orthopedics, with a particular interest in spine and hip deformity. She has authored several journal articles and book chapters, and has received two pilot grants for her research investigating possible treatments for osteopenia in children with cerebral palsy.

In addition to the alumni awards, Reunion Weekend also includes a Medical Alumni Writing Awards workshop, which is free and open to the SUNY Upstate community; tours of the new Setnor Academic Building and the renovated Gross Anatomy Laboratory; a dean’s breakfast and annual meeting; class dinners; and a barbeque at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo at Burnet Park.

Reunion Weekend is sponsored by the Medical Alumni Foundation at Upstate Medical University and SUNY Upstate’s College of Medicine.

For more information, call 315-464-4361 or e-mail:

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