3rd Annual Team NYIT-COM Runs For The Warriors

By Brett Grobman, OMS III

Each morning we wake up, we are blessed to enjoy freedoms that we often take for granted. But freedom isn’t free. We owe a great debt of gratitude to the many fallen and wounded service men and women who have sacrificed the unimaginable so that we may have the freedoms we so greatly cherish.

For the past two years, Team NYIT-COM has participated in the Long Island Run for the Warrior® to honor our Heroes. Run For The Warriors® is a unique race dedicated to the men and women wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, their families, and families of the fallen. It is now becoming an honored tradition at NYIT-COM, where our student body and faculty can come together in solidarity, along with thousands of Long Islanders, to show our troops and veterans how grateful we are for the sacrifices they made and continue to make for us.

Last RFTW2 (1)year, there were 36 registered team members, including two faculty members, Dr. Patti Happel and Dr. Thomas Chan, along with several general team donors! All together TEAM NYIT-COM raised a total of $2,863, ranking them in the top 3 among team fundraising for the event. A special thank you to Dr. David Levine, the top general team donor, who was made an honorary team member and was presented with an official Team NYIT-COM team running shirt, and the top fundraising runner Andrew Bohlen, the 5th leading fundraiser overall out of over 3000 participants at the event! Additionally, seven of the team members placed in the top 100 runners for the 10k race!

The overall response of last year’s participants was an experience that was both positive and encouraging. John Sullivan (OMS-III), Ensign (ENS) US Navy and last year’s president of NYIT-COM’s military physician organization on campus, AMOPS, was delighted with the outcome of the event and the establishment of the AMOPS Fitness Club on campus which has served to integrate both military and non-military students on campus. “This event continues to highlight our commitment to supporting wounded warriors and our dedication to self-improvement. Since the beginning of (fall 2013), members of the Association of Medical Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons (AMOPS) have met twice a week, every week, for group physical fitness. Members of the 1st and 2nd year class have volunteered to lead sessions including 3-5 mile runs … It has been inspiring to see this team come together to promote health, fitness and community.”

Dr. Patti Happel ran with emotion and purpose and shared with me a brief glimpse into her motivation for participating in the event. “Although I am a novice to the running world for the past year, I wanted to participate in this run to honor and pay tribute to my father, Richard Happel. He was a Korean War Army Veteran, who passed away in March 2013. I love running … it allows me to have a healthy internal competition, challenging myself with each and every run. With my busy schedule, it allows me a healthy and positive outlet to free my body, mind and spirit from the everyday stressors. Running has been paramount in my transformation, conquering a lifelong battle of morbid obesity. I run because I can! When I get tired, I remember those that can’t run … what they would give to have this simple gift we take for granted, and I run harder for them.”

The current president of AMOPS, Matthew Stark (OMS-II), 2nd Lieutenant US Army was overwhelmed by those he saw running alongside him – young or old, “As a member of the military, it was very inspiring to see so many veterans and their families coming together for this event. For me, the best part of the race was watching a 93 year old military veteran pass the finish line. It just goes to show that the American values of toughness and perseverance are not lost with age.” Christian de Elia (OMS-II), secretary of AMOPS, had a similar experience and recounts that, “the best part was the feeling of camaraderie amongst all the runners. Honestly, I wouldn’t have finished as strong as I did had I not been urged on by a fellow runner. It was a pretty amazing way to finish off the race.” For Dr. Thomas Chan, this event was not only an opportunity to bring awareness to our heroes – “I participated because I felt it important to support the NYIT-COM team of students who take time out of their busy lives to organize and support great charitable causes such as helping the veterans in Run For The Warriors®. The best part of the experience was interacting with the students outside of the university setting in a relaxed and positive environment. The smiles, joking around, and team spirit was(sic) infectious before, during and after the run.”

Now for a 3rd straight year, AMOPS, NYIT-COM and its student body will again come together to form the Team NYIT-COM Warriors. But the true warriors are the one’s so often forgotten, the men and women who ran alongside them – those still in uniform, veterans who have returned home, some with prosthetics, others, now paraplegics on hand bicycles, and the families of those who have made the greatest sacrifice of all – life. In setting aside any societal divides – military and non-military, faculty and non-faculty, young and old, the Team NYIT-COM Warriors have come together as one unit to pay tribute to America’s greatest warriors in what hopes to continue as a proud tradition at NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Andrew Bohlen (OMS-II), ENS US Navy, treasurer of AMOPS, summed it up best in sharing his experience, “I participated in Run For The Warriors® because I wanted to give my support and donations to an amazing organization that is providing support for wounded US service members, their families, and families of the fallen. These days, it is easy for a lot of Americans to forget that we have been involved in a military conflict for over twelve years now and that it still continues to this day. However, for the men and women serving in the US armed forces and their families it is not. By participating in Run for the Warriors® I hoped I could raise awareness about the sacrifices still being made by the men and women in our Armed Forces and their families and the need for more support for the veterans of America.”

Come out and join AMOPS on November 9th! To sign up for the 3rd Annual NYIT-COM Runs for the Warriors follow this link:
Click “register” on the left side of the screen and follow the directions to join a team. Our team name is “NYITCOM”.

Journal Club – Success and Glory in Reviews

By Polina Pinkhasova, OMS II

Journal Club The journal club welcomed its first speaker on September 5th in the Rockefeller Auditorium. Jordan Fakhoury, OMS II opened the journal club with a study from Balogna, Italy. The article titled The NOTA Study (Non Operative Treatment for Acute Appendicitis) discusses a prospective study on the possible long-term efficacy of antibiotic treatment for patients with suspected appendicitis. The article was carefully dissected by the speaker and attendees, with a video demonstration of a laparoscopic appendectomy to accompany the served lunch. The possible risks and benefits of surgery versus antibiotic treatment were discussed.

The club plans to meet bi-weekly as voted on by the members, with food, guest faculty of related expertise on the chosen article topic, and engaged company. Student presenters will have a chance to take the floor either in pairs, groups of three, or individually. Their goal will be to lead the members into conversation about the chosen article. The atmosphere is relaxed; casual conversation over food becomes “doctor talk”. We are engaged, we are opinionated, we question, we get intellectual, we joke, and no question or comment is deemed unnecessary.

The success of the journal club’s first meeting can be attributed to the following features: the choice of an appropriate topic – one of clinical significance and attainability (no delving into molecular intricacies or mechanistic detail), the speaker’s clarity and ability to engage the audience, and most importantly the willingness of the members to participate – there would be no “club” without the discussion. Two full hours flew by with the same attendance from start to finish.

Moreover, the meeting was complimented by the presence of relevant faculty. Dr. Levine, a member of NYIT-COM faculty and a general surgeon was able to answer questions on the topic and offer first-hand experience on appendectomies. He also joked, “Why is there an appendix to begin with?” and while we offered reasons such as evolution and bacterial hosting, he concluded: “Because God loves surgeons”.

It is still not too late to join. Open to all NYIT-COM Students.

Contact amascia@nyit.edu for info.

Meet the Class Officers for the Class of 2017


Name: Angelo Mascia

Hometown: Westchester, NY

Why Medicine: I like the intellectual challenge and the ability to one day be able to directly affect the lives of those around me in a positive way.

Weird Fact: Had over half a dozen piercings at one point in my life.

Message to the Class: You guys are all awesome and I look forward to you all becoming my colleagues.





Name: Casey Tymko


Syracuse, NY

Why Medicine: Amidst growing up appreciating and enjoying my education, I have spent the majority of my life witnessing loved ones suffer from chronic, life threatening illness. This combination has led me to medicine.

Weird Fact: I have bowled three 300 games.

Message to the Class: Our next four years of medical school may be the most memorable and important years of our lives. Through hard work and collaboration, let’s make those years everything we expected them to be!




Name: Alex Li

Hometown: Bronx, NY

Undergraduate: New York University

Why Medicine: Of all the jobs I could have taken, medicine offers the greatest interpersonal reward–I get to make people’s life better.

Weird Fact: I replaced my water intake with diet coke.

Message to the Class: School is tough and challenging, but we are only defeated when we surrender. If we work hard, we will be successful. Email me at yli39@nyit.edu if you need help with anything.




Name: Jane Moon

Hometown: Brooklyn, New York

Why Medicine: I think I’ve always wanted to go into a profession dedicated to helping others. Medicine was perfect because it combined my love for science with helping those who are ill.

Weird Fact: I have really big feet.

Message to the Class: As secretary and a representative of the Class of 2017, I will work hard to express your concerns to faculty and administration as well as to try to have them actually resolved. I’m easily approachable so don’t hesitate to talk to me or ask me anything!

Superstorm Sandy – The 1 Year Anniversary and How I Lived at the Hospital

by Robin Petrizzo

1 year ago, something happened that changed my life. Superstorm Sandy was one of the worst storms our area has seen. The news had hyped so many storms before and nothing happened, so my family did not prepare. We live in zone B, so we were not evacuated and I was home that night. It was during my surgery rotation. I retweeted El Bloombito’s quip, “Por favor no que be macho hombre. Stay insidero like un pansy por que tu will be dead muerto!” and watched Phil Lipoff blow off the TV screen when I heard the explosions. A blue green glow streamed through the windows. Then,blackness.

I was mostly disappointed that Facebook chat was down and now I’d be bored out of my mind. At least I’d get a few days off. I guess I could read Surgical Recall… With the electricity out, people began to emerge from their houses and cars frantically drove down my usually silent block. The headlights of the cars revealed the water coming up from the sewers at each corner. This wasn’t surprising, as it often happened when there was heavy rain. My neighbors have a habit of throwing trash into the sewer, clogging it up. But then, we saw the wave.

It came from the direction of the main road, which was strange because there is a large body of water in the opposite direction of that. It blanketed the street in invisible shiny blackness. We had to wait until more cars came down the block to see the progression of the flood. When it rose to the level of SUV headlights, my mother and I ran downstairs to look out the front door only to discover the water creeping up our front path in the likes of the classic horror movie, The Blob.sandy

My mother futilely stuffed towels between the storm door and the front door as I sprung into action. The water was entering the garage with a roar. I threw on my crocs and managed to lift every item on our first floor onto a table or the stairs. The sound of water entering my house was deafening.

“When will it stop?” I asked my parents. For the first time in my life, they replied, “I don’t know”. Images of people stranded on their roofs after Hurricane Katrina came to mind.

Meanwhile, at JFK airport, the workers were ordered to open up their dams. As soon as they did this, the water receded from my neighborhood.

I was stranded in my freezing house with no access to communications, heat, or hot water for several days. After this, I never complained about the OR being cold again. Determined to give my niece and nephew a normal Halloween, I dressed up and went trick or treating with them. We were the only ones celebrating (if you can call it that).

Living in a disaster zone takes its toll. When everything you know is reduced to piles of rubble with cars randomly placed on lawns, the only solution is to go mad. Or get out. So, I did both. I got into my Dodge Stratus, stinking of swamp with wet interior coated in golden orange mud dressed as catwoman. I used a trash bag as a seat cover. With a prayer, I turned the key and pumped the gas. Shockingly, my car started right up. Sloshing around trees and debris, I took refuge at a fellow NYCOMer’s apartment, where I quickly wore out my welcome.

I moved into an on call room at North Shore LIJ. Luckily, their on call rooms are quite nice and since it was my surgery rotation, fresh scrubs were always available. I became the student on call for a while, foolishly leaving my pager number on the white board for residents to call me at any time (and they did). Days later, it snowed and the hospital was full of people who were stranded. My call room was a single. A PA on call in a room with bunk beds turned away an Einstein student who had no place to sleep. I helped carry the extra mattress into my room so she could sleep there with me because I understood how it feels to be homeless.

It took almost a year to renovate my house after Sandy visited. My father and I ended up drilling into the gas tank of my car for fuel (with a fire extinguisher on standby). I ended up getting great evaluations for my surgery clerkship and having the best clerkship experience of my 3rd year by far. As Cheryl Corn always says, “A setback is just a set up for a comeback!” She is right.



Personal Salvation One Person at a Time

Heather Stampfl

By Heather Stampfl

Wow, who would really ever think that one could encounter a means to their very own personal salvation in a remote corner of Heather Stampflnortheastern El Salvador?! As odd as this monumental feat sounds, one of the grandest epiphanies that I had in the past few weeks was the following:  In helping ‘one’, this potentially translates to helping ‘all’. . . and in helping ‘all’, we are ‘saving’ them in a sense, however transient this action may prove to be. Through our authentic and genuine care demonstrated for our sisters and brothers that we were introduced to in the country, we touched many lives and left our imprint upon numerous souls. Seeds were planted for methods in which continuing care could be implemented, and throughout our extensive dialogues, both with and without interpreters, we were constantly reassured how much of an impression we had made in the country.  I ended my time in El Salvador with a new understanding that gaps in my life that I consistently look to be filled solely through help from Above can as well, or perhaps in conjunction, be satisfied by means of a completeness that comes from reaching out to another. The action expressed is not only sufficient, yet it is absolutely necessary in my quest to be the best person that I can be in my finite time here on earth.

One of my most unforgettable days was the first Friday we were in Perquin. Our group was split in half, and then halved again. For whatever reason that I was fortunate enough to land in the group that I did, I will forever be grateful to the universe! Senor Flomeño – the local health promotòr, three local lab technicians, myself, and two other medical students crossed streams, hiked inclines, and trekked through thick terrain to get to ONE house at a time. Drenched in sweat and hearts pumping, we forged on and on. With each warm greeting bestowed upon us, our energy was perpetually recycled. The promotòr would make the initial introductions, followed by blood draws by the lab techs from countless willing arms in an effort to focus in on local populations suffering from Chagas disease. We students did our part as well, doing our best to engage in Spanish conversation with the young mothers at home and let them know how much we cared for their health and the health of their beautiful children. Their faces are now a permanent imprint in my memory bank, and I certainly hope that the sentiment was reciprocated and shared by them as well.

So now I appreciate more clearly that ‘helping mankind’ does not have to be some metaphorical polly-anna-ish preconceived notion that many people, no doubt with good intentions, try to implement in their lives. I feel blessed that I was actually able to make a difference in a tiny microcosm of our world, which in turn readily connects from local to regional, national to international.

Chagas Disease is not isolated to El Salvador, as the incidence of  this disease has been documented in both North and South America as well. Strides in globalization and international travel diffuse borders and boundaries that have in the past served as more of a containment for disease. We are much more connected to each other than is obviously apparent, and not only through the ease in traveling country to country, but moreover in the common link that we share in being human. Helping my sister who lives in a mud floor hut, encased by cracked wood beams prime for chinche survival, is helping to save not only the world, but myself as well, by means of loving and caring for those that walk this earth with me. Even if I had to trek a mile and a half and climb through barbed wire to find her, it was well worth it, and I would do it again tomorrow if necessary. Because in reaching out to her the reward has been mine, and what greater gift could I have been given?