Class Notes: Summer/Fall 2020

Class Notes


Donald Kline, M.D. ’59, has released his 11th novel, The Fifth Season. This and his other novels are available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble online (under the name Don Kline). He is working on number 12; be sure to look for summaries on Facebook.


Jonathan Ostrow, M.D. ’62, retired from active practice several years ago and now volunteers as a physician at two clinics: Casa Latina, a University of Washington medical student-run clinic in Seattle, and Clinica Amistad, a free clinic in Tucson. He stays busy playing bridge and Scrabble and enjoys theater, hiking, music, and the outdoors. Unfortunately, he rarely sees other Einstein graduates anymore, but does keep in touch with Leon Redler, M.D. ’62.

Laurence Platt, M.D. ’68, received a Diversity and Inclusion Service Award from the United States Tennis Association, as well as the Local Hero Award from the City of Oakland for managing passage of an initiative to impose a sales tax on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in the city. In addition, this year is the 50th anniversary of legislation passed to establish the National Health Service Corps, which launched from a proposal he wrote and lobbied for while he was a young officer in the U.S. Public Health Service.


Norman Luban, M.D. ’71, retired in 2019 after 42 years of practicing neurology. Along with celebrating his 50th Einstein reunion next year, he and his wife will mark their 50th wedding anniversary. He plans on enjoying his retirement with his family, including their grandchildren, in the Washington, D.C., area and on Cape Cod, where they own a second home.

Robert Ritch, M.D. ’72, received the Bietti Medal from the International Council of Ophthalmology this year, which recognizes ophthalmologists who have contributed the most––through history, ethics, and education––to the advancement of ophthalmology. He also received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology and the Gold Medal of the Tunisian Ophthalmologic Society in 2019.

Roger Duvivier, M.D. ’74, continues to be honored by Einstein’s department of obstetrics & gynecology and women’s health and the office of diversity enhancement through the jointly sponsored annual Roger Duvivier, M.D., Lectureship. Dr. Jamila Perritt, an advocate for girls and women, delivered the fifth lecture in April 2019. Dr. Duvivier continues to volunteer with WINGS and with Rotary International in Guatemala. He would love to have his fellow alumni join him in Antigua.

Richard Frankenstein, M.D. ’74, received a mastership from the American College of Physicians, a national organization of internists. Dr. Frankenstein is a solo practitioner in pulmonary diseases in Orange County, California, and has held positions in internal medicine at Riverside Medical Clinic, Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, and Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital. He has also held several positions with the California Medical Association.

Steven Kussin, M.D. ’74, released his second book, The Slippery Slope of Healthcare: Why Bad Things Happen to Healthy Patients, in April 2020; it is dedicated to patient engagement, education, and empowerment. His first book, Doctor, Your Patient Will See You Now: Gaining the Upper Hand in Your Medical Care, was named a Top Ten Wellness title by Booklist and was reviewed by The New York Times.

Karen Lowenstein Kade, M.D. ’76, retired from practicing dermatology last year and moved with her husband, Paul Kade, to the west coast of Florida. She loves retirement and living in Sarasota County. They have two grandkids, with another on the way.

Howard Reinstein, M.D. ’78, was named “Physician of the Year” by the medical staff at Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center in Los Angeles. He also received a Heart of Gold award from the Child Development Institute. And “more importantly,” he says, his daughter, son-in-law, and two of his grandchildren have moved back to Los Angeles after many years of living in San Francisco.


Michael Crain, M.D. ’83, continues as chair of the department of radiology at Middlesex Hospital in Middletown, Connecticut (appointed in 2010), chief executive officer of Radiologic Associates of Middletown (2010), and executive director of the Patient Is U (TPIU) Foundation (2018). Dr. Crain developed and maintains several cancer-screening programs as well as TPIU to promote compassionate healthcare. He and his wife, Beth, have two sons—one in business, the other in healthcare—and care for an English bulldog, Turbo. His younger son, Jonathan, joined Einstein as a member of the Class of 2024 in August.

Stuart L. Marcus, M.D., Ph.D. ’83, founded a company, SonALAsense, to develop a noninvasive drug/device in combination with sonodynamic therapy for the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and other cancers. The Ivy Brain Tumor Center in Phoenix, Arizona, will carry out the Phase 0/2 study in patients with recurrent GBM. The Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation will fund the clinical-trial costs. The therapy is formed by the combination of two U.S. Food and Drug Administration–approved technologies: aminolevulinic acid GBM targeting and MRI-guided focused ultrasound.

Guiding Patient Care With the Help of a New App

Clinical guidelines, meant to guide evidence-based medicine, are often hundreds of pages long and aren’t easy to thumb through when physicians are seeing patients.

To help solve that problem, Yair Saperstein, M.D. ’16, M.P.H., co-founded a for-profit health technology company, avoMD. Its new mobile app allows physicians to sift through complicated guidelines and delivers up-to-date information at the point of care through a mobile phone or tablet.

Dr. Saperstein says the app “helps doctors effectively use the vast amount of available clinical knowledge to provide better care for their patients. It’s an interactive and efficient way of accessing the guidelines.”

A free version of the app can be found at, and is downloadable on both Android and iPhone mobile devices. Dr. Saperstein notes that the app delivers evidence-based medicine and offers sources and links to supporting materials so that physicians understand the “why” behind the recommendations. (While the app is free for individual clinicians to try, medical departments interested in customizing the protocols for their specialties may do so only on paid private channels.)

Dr. Saperstein graduated from Einstein with distinction in global health research. He recently completed a chief residency in internal medicine at SUNY Downstate, working at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn. AvoMD is his third startup; the first two are educational nonprofits that operate internationally: START Science and TEACH.

A member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, Dr. Saperstein is an acclaimed classical concert pianist and a recreational ukulele jammer. He has received numerous honors, including being named to Jewish Week’s list of “36 under 36” most influential Jewish Americans, and was a semifinalist in the Dell Social Innovation Challenge.

Kenneth Paul Rosenberg, M.D. ’83, released a book through Penguin Random House to accompany his new Sundance Film Festival and PBS film. Both are called Bedlam and detail the mental illness crisis in America. He is an addiction psychiatrist in Manhattan and lives with Lynn Novick on the West Side.

Lauren Plante, M.D. ’84, has released her third book, Respiratory Disease in Pregnancy, which she co-edited with Stephen Lapinsky. Cambridge University Press published the book.

Myra Skluth, M.D. ’86, received the Henry Gift Distinguished Internist Award from the Connecticut chapter of the American College of Physicians at its annual chapter meeting in October 2019. The award recognizes a lifetime of outstanding clinical service to patients and notable leadership within the local medical community.

Norman Saffra, M.D. ’88, has partnered with the American Friends of Jamaica (AFJ) and Orbis International to support an inaugural blindness-prevention program in Kingston, Jamaica, which seeks to reduce the backlog of patients requiring surgery and to build capacity for residents at the University Hospital of the West Indies and Kingston Public Hospital. He performed more than 20 procedures in six days there. Dr. Saffra says, “Jewish tradition dictates that we participate in tikun olam—making the world a better place. Partnering with the AFJ and Orbis was a natural fit and allows me to follow in this tradition.”


Panayiotis Ellinas, M.D. ’91, has worked as a physician for refugees, partnering with nongovernmental organizations as a medical director in Cambodia and Kosovo. He also has worked in a clinic close to the Mexican border. His international work began while he was at Einstein, when he volunteered with the Thai Centers for Disease Control. His son just started university as a double major in physics and aeronautical engineering and wants to travel to Mars. His daughter is 13 and is extremely left-handed: she draws, listens to music, and writes. He sends his regards from Southern Illinois.

Ira Richterman, M.D. ’91, recently received a promotion to president and chief executive officer of  OMNI Orthopaedics and president of OASIS Ambulatory Surgery Center, both in Canton, Ohio. He is also the president of Starkap Captive Insurance Company.

Jose Ortiz Jr., M.D. ’92, was named the 2020 Physician Citizen of the Year by the Wisconsin Medical Association, an honor given to physicians who have made significant contributions to their communities. Chief of staff at the Mayo Health Clinic in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, he is also on the hospital practice subcommittee and is part of the regional management team. Dedicated to public health initiatives and medical education, Dr. Ortiz works with the Chippewa Valley Free Clinic and Medical Experience Program, which introduces high school students to careers in medicine.

Peter J. Taub, M.D., M.S. ’93, is a professor of surgery, pediatrics, dentistry, neurosurgery, and medical education at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. He serves as the program director for the division of plastic and reconstructive surgery, directing the Cleft and Craniofacial Center and the Vascular Anomalies Program.

Steven Thau, M.D. ’94, was interviewed on CNN in May for his success in using an oxygen hood as an alternative form of oxygenation while decreasing the risk of contamination for critically ill COVID-19 patients, sparing more than 50 percent from having to be intubated. Dr. Thau is the chief of pulmonary and sleep medicine at Phelps Memorial Hospital Center in Sleepy Hollow, New York. He is also the father of Francesca Thau, a second-year medical student at Einstein.

Craig Zalvan, M.D., F.A.C.S. ’95, released a book in September 2020, Laryngopharyngeal and Gastroesophageal Reflux: A Comprehensive Guide to Diagnosis, Treatment, and Diet-Based Approaches, which also details the benefits of a mostly plant-based, Mediterranean-style diet in the treatment of reflux disease. Dr. Zalvan is chief of otolaryngology and medical director of the Institute for Voice and Swallowing Disorders at Phelps Hospital in Sleepy Hollow, New York. He also is a partner of ENT and Allergy Associates in the Voice and Swallowing Division.

Christa Hoiland, M.D. ’97, who is board certified in hospice and palliative medicine, started Optage Hospice in Roseville, Minnesota, in 2011 for Presbyterian Homes—the third-largest nonprofit senior housing organization in the country. In August 2019 she was named the hospice’s medical director. Dr. Hoiland is a mother of three—18-year-old twins and a 14-year-old boy. She loves Latin dancing, doing cross-fit exercise, cross-country skiing, and enjoying good food.

A Tribute to COVID-19 Frontline Workers

U.S. Air Force Major Michelle Cunningham, M.D. ’13, took part in a special military flyover of northern California medical facilities last May. She is a flight surgeon and family physician with the 99th Reconnaissance Squadron at Beale Air Force Base in California.

The flyover honored the contributions of healthcare workers, first responders, and others combating COVID-19. Dr. Cunningham accompanied a pilot in one of four two-seat supersonic jets, all Northrop T-38 Talons.

“Even though I fly with my unit frequently, this flyover was surreal,” she says. “We flew low over downtown Sacramento and the hospitals where I did most of my family medicine residency rotations. I could easily imagine the long hours, the constant worry, the change to family routines, and the life-changing challenges that COVID-19 was posing to my friends and colleagues at Einstein and New York City hospitals. Although my current work situation may be very different from theirs, I felt proud to be able to honor the work of all healthcare workers in the flyover. I hope they know just how much they are appreciated.”

Michelle Cunningham, M.D., looks out at the other supersonic jets flying in formation in honor of California healthcare workers battling COVID-19. (Photos courtesy of U.S. Air Force)


Alan Sheyman, M.D. ’10, recently returned to New York City and is a practicing medical and surgical ophthalmologist and retina specialist. He and his wife, Masha, have an adorable toddler who likes to create havoc every so often. Dr. Sheyman misses playing postexam basketball at the Einstein gym but does not miss the exams.

Jonathan Koenig, M.D. ’13, married Dani Haber on Nov. 16, 2019, in Palm Springs, California. He received his fellowship at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego. Since August 2019, he has been practicing pediatric orthopedic surgery in Brentwood, California.

Esther Mizrachi, M.D. ’15, is an emergency medicine physician with Mount Sinai. She and her husband, Jacques, welcomed their first baby in April. One of Dr. Mizrachi’s greatest memories is of her cloaking her sister, Sarah Mizrachi, M.D. ’19, at graduation.

Ashley Eckel, M.D., Ph.D. ’16, joined the University of Washington, Seattle, department of laboratory medicine, division of hematopathology, in July 2020 as an assistant professor.

In Memoriam

Montefiore Doctor Who Separated Conjoined Twins

James T. Goodrich, M.D., Ph.D., age 73, a renowned pediatric neurosurgeon who served Einstein and Montefiore for more than 30 years, died March 30, 2020, from complications associated with COVID-19, in the Bronx, New York.

Director of pediatric neurosurgery at Montefiore and professor in the Leo M. Davidoff Department of Neurological Surgery, of pediatrics, and of plastic and reconstructive surgery at Einstein, Dr. Goodrich dedicated his life to saving children with complex neurological conditions. He developed a multistage approach for separating craniopagus twins (those fused at the brain and skull).

In 2004 he gained worldwide recognition when he led a team of surgeons at Children’s Hospital at Montefiore (CHAM) during a series of four operations over the course of nearly a year to separate 2-year-old boys Carl and Clarence Aguirre, who were joined at the top of their heads. In 2016 he led a team of 40 doctors in a 27-hour procedure at CHAM to successfully separate 13-month-old twins, Jadon and Anias McDonald. He was consulted on hundreds of cases, and he traveled the globe sharing his expertise.

Described as a humble and caring man by his colleagues, every year he baked holiday cookies and delivered them to the nurses at CHAM. Outside of work, he was known for his passion for historical artifacts, travel, and surfing.

“Jim was in many ways the heart and soul of our department—a master surgeon, a world-class educator, and a beloved colleague for all,” says Emad Eskandar, M.D., professor and chair of the Leo M. Davidoff Department of Neurological Surgery, the David B. Keidan Chair of Neurological Surgery at Montefiore and Einstein, and the Jeffrey P. Bergstein Chair in Neurological Surgery at Einstein.

Born in Portland, Oregon, Dr. Goodrich served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. He received his bachelor of science degree from the University of California–Irvine and his M.D./Ph.D. from Columbia University. His intern and residency training was completed at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and the New York Neurological Institute.

A fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine in London, Dr. Goodrich served as a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Association for Neurological Surgeons.

In addition to his wife, Judy Laudin, he is survived by three sisters.


Shalom Buchbinder, M.D. ’81, age 66, chair of radiology at the Brooklyn Hospital Center and a clinical professor of radiology and of obstetrics & gynecology and women’s health at Einstein as well as a Talmudic scholar, May 2, 2020, Teaneck, New Jersey.

Michael Goldstein, M.D. ’63, age 86, pulmonary medicine, Feb. 20, 2020, Delray Beach, Florida.

Stephan Kamholz, M.D., age 72, longtime member of the Einstein and Montefiore community, involved in early solitary lung transplants, chair of the department of medicine at Maimonides Medical Center, Brooklyn, June 11, 2020, Thornwood, New York.

Seligman Rosenberg, M.D. ’59, age 85, retired ophthalmologist, member of Einstein’s first graduating class, clinical assistant professor emeritus of ophthalmology and visual sciences at Einstein, and leader of the Dean’s Club, June 28, 2020, Tenafly, New Jersey.

Herbert G. Vaughan Jr., M.D., Ph.D., age 90, director of Einstein’s Rose F. Kennedy Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center from 1982 to 1993, first resident in neurology at Einstein, professor emeritus in the Dominick P. Purpura Department of Neuroscience, and professor emeritus in the Saul R. Korey Department of Neurology, May 28, 2020, Stamford, Connecticut.

Grisel Vazquez, age 67, senior administrator to the chair of the Einstein and Montefiore department of medicine, who retired in 2017 after 30 years of service, March 27, 2020, Bronx, New York.

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