Todd Olrich, CNS Clinical Nurse Specialist, Med-Surg, Crouse Hospital

October 2015--Upstate Medical University presented 16 awards at its fall convocation on September 16. The President’s Award for Outstanding Volunteer Faculty Service, College of Nursing, was given to Todd Olrich.

Todd Olrich is dedicated to Upstate Medical University as an alumnus and also as a member of the faculty. He is known for his engaging teaching methods as he presents to students every semester for the Clinical Nurse Specialist program. Students comment on his extensive knowledge and have given him excellent evaluations. When presenting clinical material, he gives examples of his experience to allow students to apply the material they have learned. Read more.


SYRACUSE, NY — The State University of New York Board of Trustees today (Sept. 10, 2015) appointed Danielle Laraque-Arena, M.D., FAAP, currently chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Maimonides Medical Center and vice president of Maimonides Infants and Children’s Hospital of Brooklyn, as president of SUNY Upstate Medical University. Laraque-Arena also currently is professor of pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University. Laraque-Arena will be the first woman to lead the university. Her appointment is effective January 14, 2016. Read more.

How career of Upstate Medical's new president was shaped by Haitian roots, poverty (

Linda Burnes Bolton, DrPH, RN, FAAN, to receive honorary degree at Upstate Medical University Commencement

Linda Burnes Bolton, DrPH, RN, FAAN, a leader in health care policy and nursing development, will receive an honorary doctor of science degree from the State University of New York at Upstate Medical University Commencement Sunday, May 17 at the John H. Mulroy Civic Center, Oncenter Complex, 800 S. State St., Syracuse.  Read more...


Alumni and Friends of the CON match with another $50,000
The Nursing Alumni Association would like to thank The Upstate Foundation and all those alumni and friends of the College of Nursing who contributed to match Dr. Whitney's gift to bring the endowment total to $100,000.

Fay Whitney, PhD, RN, FAAN, a national leader and advocate for advanced nursing practice, and her husband Roy, gave $50,000 – the largest contribution in the history of the Upstate Medical University College of Nursing – to establish The Whitney Lectureship Endowment for the College of Nursing at Upstate Medical University.



Alumni Association Loses a Friend

MimiPfeifferDecember 2014   The Alumni Association sends condolences to the family of Mimi Pfeiffer  upon her passing on December 6, 2014, at age 58 in Wilmington, NC. Mimi was the association’s first alumni director, leading it from a  fledgling group in 1991 to become a well-established organization. By the  time she retired in 2002, she had nurtured  the group into an active  association membership with a strong annual fund campaign supporting  24 annual student scholarships. She then worked part-time as a  communications design specialist for the Upstate Foundation. In 2005, Mimi moved with her husband, Rick, to North Carolina where she worked at the University of  North Carolina at Wilmington. Mimi is fondly remembered for being an alumni advocate and dedicated Upstate colleague, as well as for her personal kindness and  many talents. She will be missed!



Fay Whitney, PhD, RN, FAAN, a national leader and advocate for advanced nursing practice, and her husband Roy, have given $50,000 – the largest contribution in the history of the Upstate Medical University College of Nursing – to establish The Whitney Lectureship Endowment for the College of Nursing at Upstate Medical University.

“Dr. Whitney's generous gift enables the College to invite nationally recognized speakers to campus, which will expose our students to important national trends that are essential to health care,” Dean Joyce Griffin-Sobel commented. “The lectures will ensure our students at Upstate and the surrounding community will hear directly from the most innovative and influential thought leaders across the country, and thereby have similar student experiences to those at Penn, Vanderbilt or Harvard.”

Whitney describes the Lectureship as “an exciting adventure into the future” and invites alumni to join her. The Alumni Association has pledged to match her gift to bring the endowment total to $100,000. Working with the Upstate Foundation, the Nursing Alumni Office reports that about 60 percent of the goal has been secured.

Deep Ties with Upstate

After raising their three children, Fay restarted her nursing career in the 1970s, earning her master’s degree at Syracuse University (SU) and working as an NP at University Hospital. She was named director of Upstate’s four-track NP program where she developed a rich collaboration between the hospital and health sciences colleges, encouraging interprofessional education before it was even known by that name. She served until 1983 when the program closed due to loss of funding. The program graduated more than 300 NPs for primary and critical care practice.

In the next decade, Fay earned a Doctorate at SU and was named by the nation's largest health-related philanthropic organization to its first class of Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Nurse Scholars. She was awarded more than $3 million in grants to support the beginning of the Nurse Practitioner movement and worked to pass laws in New York so NP graduates could practice.

At the University of Pennsylvania, Whitney helped build Adult, Gerontology, Pediatric, Psychiatric, Occupational Health and Acute Care NP programs that graduated about 500 NPs.  She conducted gerontology and stroke research and helped start many NP managed clinics in the Philadelphia area. She has held the prestigious title of Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing (FAAN) for 26 years.

Relocating to Wyoming in 1992, Whitney distinguished herself as a clinical practitioner, nurse educator, researcher and leader. She founded the Whitney Health and Wellness Center for elderly patients in Laramie and is ProfessorEmeritus at the University of Wyoming’s Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing.

In 2011, Upstate’s College of Nursing awarded Whitney the Honorary Doctorate of Science in recognition of her work to lay the foundation for today’s Nurse Practitioner program.

“Upstate is, and always has been, part of my professional integrity,” Whitney commented. “I hold strong memories of that formative time which became the basic platform of my practice and my career. The Upstate nursing program helped shape the new movement in Advanced Nursing Care in the east,” she continued. “Upstate has been pivotal in bringing nurses and programs together to change the landscape of practice in rural, underserved areas across this city and state.”

Click here to give to The Whitney Lectureship for the College of Nursing or call 315-464-4416.  To designate your Community Giving donation, use fund number 613-74250.



Fall 2014  People can rest assured they are receiving the best health care possible when their nurse is an Upstate graduate. The College of Nursing’s bachelor’s and master’s degree programs have been reaccredited and the post-graduate certificate program accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education’s Board of Commissioners through 2024.


College of Nursing Announces Strategic Initiatives

February 2014Since her arrival last spring, College of Nursing Dean Joyce Griffin-Sobel, PhD, RN, FAAN, has led faculty, stakeholders from communities of interest and students in a strategic planning process that builds upon the findings of the Institute of Medicine’s landmark 2010 report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. Out of this process, three strategic priorities have emerged for the College:

  1. Be a national leader in interprofessional education;
  2. Be a national model of excellence for innovation in nursing; and,
  3. Partner with communities of interest to impact the health of Central New York and beyond. 


College of Nursing News Briefs

Ø The College has begun an online program for its clinical doctorate degree (DNP), and is expanding options for nurses to achieve their baccalaureate degrees, including online options and onsite classes at regional hospitals.

 Ø To encourage more interaction among students and with faculty, space in the College is being renovated to establish a comfortable student lounge with the financial support of the Nursing Alumni Association.


Educator Awarded Jonas Grant to Recognize Student Leader 


February 2014 Joyce Scarpinato, DNP, PNP, FNP ‘09, Upstate’s College of Nursing DNP Program Director, was awarded a $10,000 grant from the Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare to support a student as a DNP Jonas Nurse Leader Scholar. The Upstate student to be selected will join an elite group of 600 Jonas Nurse Leaders/Scholars across the country. The Jonas Center is dedicated to improving healthcare through nursing. The selection process for the CON student is occurring this spring.


Alums as Leaders in Fight for CNS Title Protection
January 2014 New York State joined 42 other states in enacting last fall a “title protection” law for clinical nurse specialists (CNS) with the lobbying help of alumni and College of Nursing educators Melanie Kalman, PhD, CNS and Carol Anne Kozik, MS, CAS, CNS, FNP. Joining with other nurse professionals and the regional chapter of the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists, they led a coordinated two-year effort to pass the legislation. The law authorizes the NYS Education Department to investigate claims of unlicensed practice, and imposes fines for unqualified individuals who present themselves as CNSs. Data supporting the effectiveness of CNSs was being negatively affected by unqualified personnel passing themselves off as having the CNS degree, said Kalman. With title protection, notes Kozik, “Now we have an identity, a legally recognized identity.”

 Carol Anne Kozik, MS ‘96, CAS, CNS, FNP, (left) and Melanie Kalman, PhD, CNS ’92, helped lead the effort to pass the New York CNS title protection law.


Omicron Alpha Chapter Inducts 75 and Awards Three Alumni

December 2013Seventeen undergraduate and 53 graduate students of the College of Nursing became inductees of Omicron Alpha Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society during a November 1, 2013 ceremony in Weiskotten Hall. Five transfers/dual members were also inducted. The list of inductees appears below. 

In addition to the induction ceremony, awards were presented to active Omicron Alpha members who are also Upstate alumni.  Those alumni award recipients are:

Debra Johnson, PhD, RN (RN-MS ‘93), who demonstrated commitment to the advancement of the profession as well as to STTI through active professional membership, was presented the Virginia B. Byers Professional Organization Commitment Award.  Debbie is the Operating Room and Sterile Processing Department Manager at St. Joseph’s/Candler Health Care System in Savannah, GA.

Rochele (Shelly) Clark, BS, RN (BS ‘05), who has served as a leader and mentor in the profession and in OA, was presented the Community Mentor Award. Shelly is the Stroke Center Coordinator at Upstate University Hospital.

Theresa Morse, MS, RN (MS ‘12/BS ‘10), was presented the Excellence in Nursing Research Award.  Terri is a Family Nurse Practitioner in the Pediatric and Adolescent Center at Upstate’s Golisano Children’s Hospital.


New Scholarship Fund honors Founding Editor of the Healing Muse


Barbara Kane, NP, and Deirdre Neilen, PhD, teamed up to establish a scholarship fund to honor the legacy of Dr. Bonnie St. Andrews.

Distinguished Teaching Professor of Bioethics and Humanities, Bonnie A. St. Andrews, PhD, left an indelible mark on this medical university. A brilliant scholar, incisive poet and founding editor of The Healing Muse, she helped give voice to the bonds that link the arts with the medical sciences for the betterment of both patient and practitioner.  Bonnie died as a result of a brain tumor in 2003.

Nursing Alumni Association President Barbara Kane approached Deirdre Neilen, PhD, associate professor of Bioethics and Humanities and current Muse editor, about forming a scholarship fund that would honor Bonnie and her influence on nursing students. Deirdre responded: “I’d be very happy to join you! Bonnie admired her nursing students for their intelligence, their curiosity and their empathy. She encouraged them to pursue their education, telling them the world needed to hear their stories and learn from their research.”

Barbara, a nurse practitioner at the Syracuse VA Hospital and 1998 BS/1999 MS alumna, commented: “Bonnie was a creative inspiration to me and many of us, both in the classroom and through her poetry.” Writing about her own practice experiences, Barbara had two of her poems published in The Healing Muse.

Together, Barbara and Deirdre gave $5,000, which was matched by the Foundation for Upstate Medical University, to form a nursing scholarship endowment. The new scholarship, noted Deirdre, “will honor both Bonnie St. Andrews’ legacy and Barb Kane’s commitment to nursing by ensuring that more nurses will have the opportunity to further their education and contribute to their profession.” The fund is named the Bonnie A. St. Andrews and Barbara Maloy Kane Nursing Scholarship Endowment.

Please support this scholarship endowment for nursing students by visiting the giving link on this website, or by calling 315-464-4416.


August 2013 -- The Upstate College of Nursing welcomed new students in a Convocation Ceremony -- a premier event in the college’s orientation activities -- and also launched its new Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program.The incoming class of 142 was welcomed by Dean Joyce P. Griffin-Sobel, PhD, RN, University President David R. Smith, MD, Vice President of Public Sector Banking for Keybank Gerhard Vogel, as well as SACON leaders, Caroline Berrios and Kaitlin Corona, Omicron Alpha Chapter President Donna Parks, BS/MS ’93, and program faculty.

In her address, the dean emphasized the importance and necessity of applying advanced technology and informatics -- including the essential smart phone in every nurse’s pocket – in order to succeed in studies and in evidenced-based practice today. “We don’t work in the health care system of yesterday,” Griffin-Sobel said. The College’s priorities will include more interprofessional education with diversified clinical sites and simulation opportunities. In addition, Griffin-Sobel plans to establish a student lounge area where students can socialize and collaborate: “You owe it to yourself to enjoy your education, while knowing your priority is to obtaina degree to provide better care for your patients.

During the ceremony, each new student received a bookstore gift certificate and Upstate alumni association patch.


Joyce Griffin-Sobel, PhD, RN, named dean of the College of Nursing at Upstate

April 2013 -- Joyce P. Griffin-Sobel, PhD, RN, CNE, ANEF, who has more than 30 years of experience in academic nursing, has been named dean of the College of Nursing at Upstate Medical University.

Griffin-Sobel, who is known for her leadership and innovation in teaching with technology and interprofessional education, is a professor in the Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing at Hunter College, City University of  New York, where she has served as acting dean, assistant dean of curriculum & technology (2008-2011), and director of undergraduate programs (2004-2011).

The appointment, effective April 1, was announced  by Upstate President David R. Smith, MD. Griffin-Sobel succeeds Elvira Szigeti, PhD, who served as dean of Upstate’s College of Nursing since 1998.

“The outstanding growth of our College of Nursing under Elvira Szigeti, I believe has enabled us to attract a visionary leader like Joyce Griffin-Sobel,” Smith said. “We are excited about her plans for the college and the breadth of experience she brings in the areas of teaching, administration and research that will benefit all of us throughout the university.”

Griffin-Sobel already has met with faculty, alumni and students to discuss her plans for the college. “My goals are to develop interprofessional education experiences, broaden the college’s online course offerings, build strong relationships with our stakeholders such as health care and community agencies, corporations and alumni, and to deepen the research mission of the college.”

Upstate’s College of Nursing, enrolls more than 400 students in a variety of programs, offering bachelor’s, master’s, post-master’s certificate. It will begin offering the doctor of nursing practice degree this fall. The college is accredited by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

At Hunter, Griffin-Sobel is principal investigator for New York City Nursing Education Consortium in Technology (NYCNECT) which is a HRSA-funded faculty development grant in teaching with technology.  She is co-principal investigator, with Carol Storey-Johnson, MD, senior associate dean for education at Weill Cornell Medical College, for ITEACH—Integrating Transdisciplinary Education Across Cornell-Hunter.

As acting dean, and assistant dean of curriculum and technology, Griffin-Sobel oversaw curricular activities and academic quality in this school of 800 students, and led the incorporation of technology into curriculum, with special attention to the use of simulation and informatics. During this time, she created a CUNY-wide consortia of faculty development in teaching with technology. While director of undergraduate programs, Griffin-Sobel oversaw curriculum, academic advising and student activities. During her career at Hunter, she was instrumental in the nursing school’s successful application to the National League for Nursing to be named a Center of Excellence in 2010. She also aided in the creation of partnerships for academic progression of students from junior to senior colleges within the CUNY system, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Partners in Nursing Program.

A member of the U.S. Naval Reserve from 1988-1995, Griffin-Sobel served as director of clinical nursing research for the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps, where she developed the first program of clinical nursing research.  She held the rank of lieutenant commander. Her other academic appointments include the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey School of Nursing, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Nursing, University of Hawaii at Manoa School of Nursing and the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.

Griffin-Sobel’s impact has been felt as an author, editor and contributor to numerous scholarly works, and books including, Gastrointestinal Cancers (Oncology Nursing Society, 2007), and Hematology & Immunology: Concepts for Nursing (Appleton Century Crofts, 1986) which won an AJN Book of the Year Award. Griffin-Sobel has numerous scholarly articles published on cancer care, faculty development, teaching with technology and interprofessional education. She also served as editor of the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing (2004-2006) and as associate editor of Oncology Nursing Forum (2002-2004).

Griffin-Sobel is a much sought-after speaker, having lectured across the globe on issues related to technology in health care and cancer care.  She has received numerous honors for her teaching and research including the 2012 Excellence award in Academic Mentoring from the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation, and was named a Fellow of the Academy of Nursing Education in 2008.

She has been active in professional organizations such as the National League for Nursing, both on the Academy of Nursing Education Review Panel, and a Center of Excellence consultant; American Association of Colleges of Nursing, where she serves as a CCNE on-site evaluator, and Sigma Theta Tau International.

Her clinical career has been in oncology, particularly care of those with gastrointestinal malignancies.  She earned her PhD at New York University in nursing (1987), her MS in nursing as a clinical nurse specialist at Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing (1981) and her BS in nursing at Herbert H. Lehman College (1975).



Star Bumbanac RN BS is a patient service manager in the Emergency Department at Upstate University Hospital as well as a student in the Nurse Practitioner master's degree program in our College of Nursing. (Photos by Richard Whelsky.)

The pace of an emergency room is a good match for Star Bumbanac’s energy level. Star  is one of two patient service managers in the Emergency Department at Upstate University Hospital.

“Everything comes to our door,” she said. Star’s office is responsible for the management, leadership and oversight of the Emergency Department’s pediatric, adult and minor treatment areas.

Along with her fast-paced, full-time job, Star (RN, BS) is a student in the Upstate College of Nursing Nurse Practitioner master’s degree program and a mother of three

Star came to nursing indirectly. She earned a bachelor’s degree in human services from Cazenovia College, and was deciding among social work, law school or nursing.

Nursing won out. After earning her RN from Crouse Hospital College of Nursing — “I’m a proud Crouse graduate,” she said — Star worked for a year as an ICU nurse at Crouse Hospital, then was a traveling nurse for a year before becoming a clinical educator at Faxton St. Luke’s Health Care in Utica.

While commuting from Syracuse, she took more nursing courses at Utica College and was a nursing instructor at Mohawk Valley Community College. She started her Upstate job in August, when she began her first semester in Upstate’s FNP program.

With that kind of energy, Star thrives in a busy Level-1 trauma center that’s part of an academic medical university.

“There are so many (academic and clinical) opportunities here,” she said. “You’re surrounded by medical residents and students in a learning environment. As a student, you want to be where there’s innovation and specialization. The opportunities at Upstate are endless.”

Posted on With Distinction by Jim McKeever




Nursing wasn’t always at the top of Stephanie Jarvis’ list of career options.  After graduating from Cicero-North Syracuse High School, Stephanie enrolled at Onondaga Community College to study criminal justice.  From there she went to LeMoyne College for a sociology degree, then back to OCC to study business.  None of those felt right.

Then one of her friends – a nurse – suggested nursing as a possibility. Stephanie decided to give it a shot at OCC.  “I remember how frightened I was the first day of class,” she said.  The two-year nursing program at Onondaga was challenging, Stephanie said, but she soon overcame any doubts. She graduated from the program and enrolled in Upstate’s College of Nursing as an RN.

While earning her bachelor’s degree at Upstate, Stephanie worked in the hospital’s Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation unit, then switched to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit in the Golisano Children’s Hospital.

She’s now in the master’s program at Upstate to become a Nurse Practitioner.  “I love it,” Stephanie said. “It’s not a profession where you can just slide by. You have to love it.”

Her advice to students considering nursing?

“Follow your heart,” she said. “Try it, no matter how hard it is, and keep going. There are so many people you can help.”

Eventually, Stephanie wants to combine patient care with teaching. She’s accustomed to being in the classroom while working full-time as a nurse – she enjoys the critical thinking involved in trying to improve patient care — but has her sights set on transitioning from student to teacher.

In addition to working 80 hours every two weeks in the PICU, Stephanie’s taking two or three graduate-level classes each semester. 

“Going into nursing is the best decision I’ve ever made,” she said. “I like change, and keeping busy is important to me. Nursing is the only profession that offers change on a daily basis.”

Posted on With Distinction by Jim McKeever


Geneva Tower will be the new address to have if you’re a student or medical resident at Upstate Medical University this fall.  Formerly known as Townsend Tower, the downtown Syracuse high-rise is getting a complete makeover and will be ready for occupancy in the beginning of August.

The new residence hall for Upstate will boast 139 spacious apartments, including one-bedroom, two-bedroom and four-bedroom units, and amenities of every kind: wireless internet access, air conditioning, laundry facilities, fitness room, free cable television and utilities, and dishwasher.  The building will also feature several conference rooms for group study.

The one- and two-bedroom units have a single private bath room, the four bedroom suite has two private baths and two walk-in storage closets. All units come fully furnished.

A floor plan of a 2-bedroom unit offered at Geneva Tower. The one- and two-bedroom units at Geneva Towers have a single private bath room, the four bedroom suite has two private baths and two walk-in storage closets. All units come fully furnished.

“From the moment this project started, we involved the students by holding focus groups to see what kind of room configurations they preferred and to get their suggestions for furnishings and colors,” said Lindsay Lebowitz, Upstate’s residence director.  “Each unit is decorated with soft muted colors providing students with every opportunity to decorate each unit to represent their own personality.”

Lebowitz said the interest in the new complex among students is very high.  “We’re beginning to book rooms now for students for next fall, and I’m certain interest will only grow once the building nears completion,” she said.

The mild winter has allowed work to continue at a fast pace on the Harrison Street complex.

Lebowitz said students who reserve rooms through Feb. 15 will get six months of free on-site parking.  The parking lot, located on the Adams Street side of the building, will be fenced with access only to residents.

“In real estate, the buzz word is location, location,” said Lebowitz.  “This is a perfect address for students and medical residents.  Everything is just a short walk from your doorstep.”

For more information on Geneva Tower, call Lebowitz at 464-5106, or email

(Story from Upstate OnLine - 2/10/12)