Meeting of 10/6/16: ‘Health Sciences Campus’

Screen shot 2016-07-22 at 3.33.12 PMMeeting at Quigley’s Restaurant
593 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush, NY
October 6, 2016

Members Attending (13): Debbie Rodriguez, Roberto Martinez, Murray Forth, Pat Bailey, Jim Leyhane, John Sawchuk, Terry Brewer, Dick Drumm, Phil Kellerman, Julius Frankel, Carole Spencer, Becky Raymond, Charlie Foote.

Guests (8): Joan Maddocks, Laura Schweitzer, Taylor and Merissa from Columbia High School, Carol Whitaker, Phil and Bonnie Nasca,  John Justino.


PROGRAM: “Health Sciences Campus”

Speaker Laura Schweitzer

Roberto Martinez introduced Dr. Laura Schweitzer, Ph.D, vice president of Health Sciences Biomedical Initiatives. She also is president emeritus of Union Graduate College and has served at SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse University, Bassett Healthcare and the University of Louisville.

Schweitzer explained that the UAlbany East Campus in Rensselaer, just off Columbia Turnpike, last month was renamed and now is the Health Sciences Campus (UAlbany), more representative of what it contains. The change is intended to solidify the intersection of academia, government and the private sector collaborating in mutually beneficial ways to further the understanding of health and disease.

Among the venues are 22 research centers and 75 research labs, with the largest concentration in individual health-science related programs. The campus is anchored by the university’s School of Public Health and Cancer Research Center with its Center for Functional Genomics. Other campus residents include organizations such as Regeneron, Albany Molecular Research (AMRI), Taconic, and select research divisions of Albany Medical College and Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, as well as a dozen other area start-up and biomedical organizations. It also is home to the collaborative, 30-year partnership between the School of Public Health and the State Department of Health.

She spoke about new companies moving in during the past year and how more are expected next year.

Dr. Phil Nasca was introduced to speak about a new School of Public Health and the changes since the 1980s and plans for future changes. He also explained the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH), and the online training programs that have reached 151,000 people. He also explained that about the faculty and their qualifications. In addition, the School of Public Health’s Global Institute for Health and Human Rights is training students from Turkey, China, Kuwait, Sweden, the Netherlands and elsewhere.


OPENING — President Debbie Rodriguez welcomed all guests, including Phil and Bonnie Nasca who are planning to become Rotarians with our club.

Columbia High students explain school’s efforts to aid Ronald McDonald House.

STUDENT ACTIVITY — Club member John Sawchuk, principal at Columbia High School,  introduced two of his senior students, Taylor and Merissa (above), and spoke about the “book bag” project. The senior class members described student involvement with Ronald McDonald House. Students are collecting supplies for the Albany family facility. They will be asking for donations as an entrance fee for the Homecoming Dance, as well as at the dance itself, and at the end of the month for Halloween.

FUNDRAISERS — Terry Brewer reported on several projected efforts, including those to support scholarships and RYLA tuitions. A paper-shredding event will be among the efforts. Also, the annual “Bowling for Vets” day will be held on either the 6th or 13th of November in East Greenbush.

DISTRICT EVENT PARTICIPATION — Bill Dowd will be a presenter, speaking on public relations and the media, at the October 29 “Next Gen Summit” workshop being held by the District on Saturday, October 29, in Clifton Park in an effort to increase and retain members. … Five club members so far have registered for the Rotary Leadership Institute scheduled for Saturday, October 22, at Siena College. Registration still is open, and the club will reimburse the tuition fee.

food-pantry-drive-logoHOLIDAY PROJECTS — Our annual holiday-period food pantry drives will be coming up soon. Members are asked to begin purchasing nonperishable items to contribute when a date is decided. … We also will again consider sponsoring several needy families for the December holidays through Circles of Mercy and other agencies.

SHELTERBOX — Disaster aid teams already have been dispatched to hurricane-ravaged Haiti. Bill Dowd, our ShelterBox Liaison Officer, asked via Debbie for members to consider making contributions to ShelterBox. Treasurer Murray Forth can explain the process for doing so.

gol-logoGIFT OF LIFE — Jim Leyhane reported on the first team of doctors and nurses going to Romania on a medical mission. It will be one of several over the next several weeks. Also, GOL will be helping two children in Portland, ME, and two at Boston Children’s Hospital in the coming months.

HOSPITAL BROCHURE PROJECT — Roberto Martinez provided an update on participation in our Hospital Stay Brochure project. Two hospitals are expected to sign on as users of the guide.

NEXT MEETING: 6:15 p.m. Thursday, October 14, at Quigley’s. In addition to an official visit by District Governor John Mucha, our Rotary Youth Exchange student from Brazil will be joining us for dinner. We’re hoping for a strong turnout in honor of both of them.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s