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News

DR. JAMES A. VOSSWINKEL BECOMES LILLIAN AND LEONARD SCHNEIDER ENDOWED PROFESSOR IN TRAUMA SURGERY

First Endowed Professorship in the Department of Surgery


At the investiture ceremony, (l to r) Dr. Michael F. Paccione, trauma surgeon; Dr. Daniel N. Rutigliano, trauma surgeon; Lillian Schneider, benefactor; Dr. James A. Vosswinkel, trauma surgeon and chief; Dr. Stephen A. Kottmeier, orthopedic surgeon and orthopedic trauma liaison; and Dr. Jerry A. Rubano, trauma surgeon.

STONY BROOK, NY, September 7, 2017 — Today, James A. Vosswinkel, MD, assistant professor of surgery and chief of trauma, emergency surgery, and surgical critical care, who serves as medical director of the Stony Brook Trauma Center and also the surgical intensive care unit, became the Lillian and Leonard Schneider Endowed Professor in Trauma Surgery.

Dr. Vosswinkel was honored at the investiture ceremony that took place at the university's Sunwood Estate in Old Field.

The Lillian and Leonard Schneider Endowed Professorship is the first endowed professorship in the Department of Surgery. It was established by Lillian Schneider in grateful recognition of the care she received at Stony Brook Medicine and in memory of her late husband Leonard Schneider.

In July 2016, Ms. Schneider was involved in a serious car accident on the East End, and was airlifted to the Stony Brook Trauma Center, where Dr. Vosswinkel and his team saved her life.

"The creation of the Lillian and Leonard Schneider Endowed Professorship in Trauma Surgery will have a profound effect on advancing Stony Brook's mission of providing world-class care and service to the residents of our county."

In his speech at the investiture ceremony (see full speech below), Dr. Vosswinkel said:

"The creation of the Lillian and Leonard Schneider Endowed Professorship in Trauma Surgery will have a profound effect on advancing Stony Brook's mission of providing world-class care and service to the residents of our county.

"Education programs such as 'PHTLS,' where we provide state-of-the-art trauma training and education to our volunteer EMS agencies, and 'BCON,' the potentially lifesaving hemorrhage control course that we've provided to many public-school districts, will expand.

"Injury prevention efforts such as 'Staying Independent for Life,' aimed at helping seniors prevent falls and be safe or 'Impact Teen Drivers,' which encourages drivers to make the right decisions while avoiding the dangers of distracted or impaired driving, will advance.

"Research efforts which are designed to further advance the care that we provide will flourish. And now, due to this generous gift, these programs will continue in perpetuity."

Board certified in surgery and surgical critical care, Dr. Vosswinkel joined the faculty of Stony Brook’s Department of Surgery in 2002. He received his MD from the SUNY Upstate Medical University in 1995, and completed his residency training in general surgery at Stony Brook. Subsequently, he completed a fellowship in trauma/surgical critical care at Yale University.

Dr. Vosswinkel's clinical expertise includes traumatology, conventional and minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery, and the pre- and post-operative critical care of adult surgical patients. He also practices general surgery.

Among his previous honors are the Stony Brook University Physicians Award for Excellence in Clinical Practice (2011), Physician Hero Award of Long Island Business News (2014), and Physician of Excellence Award, Suffolk Regional Emergency Medical Services Council (2017).

As a resident here, Dr. Vosswinkel earned the first David J. Kreis Jr. Award for Excellence in Trauma Surgery, an annual award given to a senior (fourth-year) surgical resident by the Division of Trauma, Emergency Surgery, and Surgical Critical Care in honor of the late Dr. Kreis, the founding chief of our trauma and surgical critical care service.

In addition to his duties and responsibilities at Stony Brook, Dr. Vosswinkel is currently the chair of the Suffolk County Regional Trauma Advisory Committee and an active member of the New York State Trauma Advisory Committee.

Dr. Vosswinkel's Investiture Speech

Here is Dr. Vosswinkel's full speech delivered at the investiture ceremony, in which he spotlights the remarkable Lillian Schneider and her story, as well as the team of the Stony Brook Trauma Center, Suffolk County’s only verified Level 1 Trauma Center for adults and kids:

"Thank you, Drs. Stanley and Kaushansky, Lillian, colleagues, and invited guests.

"Tonight, we are here to honor Lillian and the team that is Stony Brook University, Stony Brook Medicine, and the Stony Brook Trauma Center.

"It was just last summer when a horrific car crash occurred in Montauk. A pick-up truck had crashed into the driver's side of Lillian's car. As the first responders arrived at the scene, they realized the gravity of the situation. The driver suffered extensive injury and was in shock. She required immediate lifesaving care. They summoned the SCPD air ambulance to transport Lillian to the Regional Level 1 Trauma Center, namely, Stony Brook.

"Upon arrival at Stony Brook, a trauma activation was called and the comprehensive group of staff and resources that make up our Trauma Center were mobilized and brought to Lillian's bedside.

"Without going into detail, Lillian had suffered trauma to multiple vital regions. When these injuries were summarized and graded, it was noted that the totality of this trauma put her in the most critically injured category. Survival and recovery for your average patient would be a very tall order.

"Well, as we all know, Lillian isn't your average person. Despite spending over 3 weeks in the ICU and over 1.5 months in the hospital, with additional time in rehab, Lillian returned back to her normal state of health.

"Lillian, you are truly one amazing person!

"Now if the story ended here, a critically injured patient making an against-all-odds full recovery, that would have been more than enough for any of us here at Stony Brook. It is this type of remarkable story that makes all of us eager to get up every morning, as well as in the middle of the night, to come to work and do our jobs.

"However, as we all know, the story doesn't end here and that is why we are all gathered tonight. We are here to celebrate and recognize your incredible generosity and the gift you have given. To quote your very humble words: 'I just wanted to give something back.' Well, I see it a bit differently. You are paying for something tremendous to move forward.

"The creation of the Lillian and Leonard Schneider Endowed Professorship in Trauma Surgery will have a profound effect on advancing Stony Brook's mission of providing world-class care and service to the residents of our county. Education programs such as 'PHTLS,' where we provide state-of-the-art trauma training and education to our volunteer EMS agencies, and 'BCON,' the potentially lifesaving hemorrhage control course that we've provided to many public-school districts, will expand.

"Injury prevention efforts such as 'Staying Independent for Life,' aimed at helping seniors prevent falls and be safe or 'Impact Teen Drivers,' which encourages drivers to make the right decisions while avoiding the dangers of distracted or impaired driving, will advance. Research efforts which are designed to further advance the care that we provide will flourish. And now, due to this generous gift, these programs will continue in perpetuity.

"Lillian, thank you. Words cannot truly express my gratitude.

"Many have heard the famous proverb that it takes a village to raise a child, which implies that a child has the best ability to become a healthy adult if the entire community takes an active role in contributing to the rearing of the child.

"Well, here at Stony Brook, we see trauma care in a similar light. It truly takes a 'center' to care for an injured patient. Even though I may now be the most visible member of the Trauma Center, none of this is really about me. It is about the team that is Stony Brook.

"Briefly before I end my remarks, I would like to recognize some of those in attendance tonight. These team members play crucial roles in a center that is truly made up of hundreds of faculty and staff. Disciplines and departments, from nursing to physical therapy to social work and beyond, integrate at Stony Brook to provide the highest quality of care to all of those who are in need.

"Dr. Stephen Kottmeier, the vice chairman of the Department of Orthopedics and the orthopedic trauma liaison. Thank you for your surgical skills, tireless work ethic, and academic acumen. More than half of all hospitalized trauma patients have one or more musculoskeletal injuries. A high level of commitment to providing state-of-the-art care is necessary to avoid these injuries from being limb-threatening or resulting in significant functional impairment.

"Dr. Mark Schweitzer, the chairman of radiology and the radiology liaison to the trauma center. Thank you for your commitment to the 24/7 immediate needs of our patients and the advancement of trauma imaging. Radiological services are critical in the management of severely injured patients. Conventional radiography, complex imaging studies, and interventional procedures are vital to providing the highest quality of care.

"Dr. Mark Henry, the chairman of emergency medicine. Thank you for your long-standing commitment to the development of our trauma program and the NYS trauma system. Emergency medicine and emergency physicians are important components of the trauma system and trauma team. They work hand in hand with trauma surgeons. Proficiency in the performance of both diagnostic and resuscitative procedures is required for optimal patient care.

"Dr. Daryn Moller, the anesthesia liaison to the Trauma Center. Thank you for your clinical expertise, team work and steadfast contributions. Anesthesiology services are critical in the management of severely injured patients. Establishing airway control, assisting with resuscitation, providing preoperative and postoperative cardiorespiratory support and assisting with pain control are essential components of patient care.

"Dr. Mark Talamini, the chairman of surgery, and Ms. Carol Gomes, the COO of Stony Brook University Hospital. Thank you for your mentorship and invaluable daily attention to the support and operation of the trauma program. In addition to your many other responsibilities, your dedication to ensuring that the trauma program has all the necessary resources continues to reaffirm Stony Brook's promise to provide the highest quality of care to our patients.

"Ms. Jane McCormack, the trauma program manager. Thank you for your 23 years of commitment to the development and maturation of our trauma program and the county and state trauma system. The trauma program manager is fundamental and the cornerstone to the development, implementation, and integration of the trauma program. Essentially, from the inception of our trauma program, you have been the constant beacon and guiding light.

"Drs. Randeep Jawa, Michael Paccione, Steven Sandoval, Marc Shapiro, Jerry Rubano, and Dan Rutigliano, my colleagues and partners in the Division of Trauma, Emergency Surgery, and Surgical Critical Care. Thank you for your devotion and undying conviction to providing the highest level of care to all our injured and critical ill patients. The critical care surgeon is the foundation of a trauma hospital's trauma program. They lead the trauma team and are responsible for the overall care of trauma patients, including coordinating care with other specialties and maintaining the continuity of care.

"Additionally, I would like to thank Dr. Stanley and Dr. Kaushansky, for your leadership, guidance, support and commitment to excellence. Injury is a public health problem of enormous magnitude, whether measured by years of productive lives lost, prolonged or permanent disability, or financial cost. A Level 1 Regional Trauma Center is the tertiary care facility central to the trauma care system. In Suffolk County, that is a system that comprises 106 volunteer ambulance agencies which provide care for 1.5 million people. It requires large personnel and facility resources for optimal patient care, education, and research.

"And lastly, I need to thank my wife of 15 years, Regina. Thank you for our gorgeous three daughters. Thank you for the innumerous sacrifices that you have made. Thank you for your undying patience and understanding with the unpredictability of my duties. And most importantly, thank you for always being there — for me and our family."

Learn more about the Stony Brook Trauma Center and its many programs dedicated to saving lives and preventing injuries.