Stony Brook Medicine is set to receive a total of $1.5 million in donations for Advanced Cardiovascular Imaging.

The funds will be used to attract an accomplished, research-orientated scientist and clinician who is dedicated to finding new methods of diagnosis and treatment. After this person is chosen, he or she will serve as a leader in advanced cardiovascular imaging.

The money will also allow scientists to work with the clinical population as well as conduct research using imaging tools.

Charles A. Gargano, the former U.S. Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago and committed Stony Brook University donor, has spearheaded this philanthropic project by offering a Chair in his name.  Although Gargano did not graduate from Stony Brook, he has supported the university for many years. More than 25 years ago , he founded a Chair and a Center for Italian Studies .

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“I lived on Long Island for many years, and my professional career was on Long Island before I went into the world of politics,” Gargano explained. “I have always thought of Stony Brook as an important institution.  Recently, I have been impressed with the work of Stony Brook’s Dr. Michael Poon, who inspired me to make my latest gift.”

The Simons Foundation Challenge and Jim and Marilyn Simons followed suit by matching Gargano’s donation of $750,000.

Dr. Michael Poon became the Director of Advanced Cardiovascular Imaging at Stony Brook University in 2009. He is also a professor of Radiology and Medicine at Stony Brook University School of Medicine.

Poon is also responsible for developing CT imaging technologies to “photograph” the heart in motion. Due to his developments, Emergency Room doctors are now able to accurately diagnose the causes of chest pain much quicker and as a result, ER protocol was shifted towards advanced cardiac imaging.

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“I saw that Dr. Poon’s work related not only to better outcomes for people who present in Emergency Rooms with chest pain but also to cost savings and better efficiency for hospitals and congested Emergency Rooms,” Gargano said.

Gargano added that Stony Brook University Hospital is making tremendous strides not only in imaging and cardiology, but also in cancer research and more.

“The hospital is growing and is becoming increasingly more important to the people of Long Island,” Gargano said.

“Dr. Poon’s research is truly transformative, and his work in cardiac imaging is leading to important advances in human health,” Kenneth Kaushansky, M.D., Senior Vice President of Health Sciences and Dean of the Stony Brook University School of Medicine, said. “At Stony Brook Medicine we are proud to make major contributions to basic research in biomedical imaging, and to shepherding those discoveries into novel clinical applications.”

“Federal funding for research is dwindling,” Vice President for University Advancement Dexter Bailey said. “We very much rely on the generosity of people like Ambassador Gargano—people who want to help society by supporting new ideas, new research, new technology, and the innovators who will provide solutions to great health challenges.”

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Gargano hopes that his philanthropic actions attract other donors to join him in reaching the $750,000 endowment goal.

“Prospective donors who participate in this great opportunity will be helping advance cardiac imaging, which is such an important part of understanding and diagnosing individuals’ problems,” Gargano explained. “Today it might be someone else, but tomorrow it might be ourselves.

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