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Empire Clinical Research Investigator Program (ECRIP)

Through a partnership between the Office of Diversity Education and Research and the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health, SUNY Downstate has received an ECRIP grant from the NYS Department of Health for nearly $700,000 for a two-year period the theme of the grant is Reducing Obesity and Cancer Risks in a Diverse African American Population. The project is a novel behavioral weight loss intervention for obesity in a diverse African-American population. Meet our ECRIP team:

nicoleNicole Mastrogiovanni, MPH is the Empire Clinical Research Investigator Program (ECRIP) Clinical Research Coordinator for SUNY Downstate Medical Center. She has experience with writing grants, organizing and setting budgets, maintaining datasets, cataloging samples, performing statistical analysis, developing protocols, consent forms, questionnaires, and study surveys. ECRIP has also allowed Ms. Mastrogiovanni to guide fellows in clinical research and assist them with generating abstracts and publications. Her Master’s degree is in Epidemiology from SUNY Downstate and she is currently preparing to defend her dissertation for her Doctorate of Public Health.

solaOrlando Sola, MD, MPH is a faculty member in the SUNY-Downstate Family Medicine Department, where he works as core-faculty in the residency program and as the Associate Director of the Primary Care I rotation. He obtained his undergraduate degree at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. He then matriculated at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, taking a year off for a Master’s in Public Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health with a focus in health policy. After medical school Dr. Sola completed his residency training in Family Medicine. He is currently pursuing research on the patient perceptions and beliefs that contribute to metabolic disease, among other topics in primary care and medical education.

eginiOgechukwu Egini, MD is a Board-certified Internal Medicine Physician. He had his medical education at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nigeria and competed residency training at Interfaith Medical Center, Brooklyn, New York. He also holds a Master’s degree in Biomedicine with majors in Tumor Biology and Experimental Biomedicine from University of Skovde, Sweden. His research interests are in cellular markers of vasoocclusion in sickle cell disease and inflammation.

alvarez Milena Rodriguez Alvarez, MD received her medical degree and specialization in immunology from Havana University, Cuba. After moving to the United States she completed an internal medicine residency and a fellowship in rheumatology. She is currently a PhD candidate in neuroscience at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. In her clinical work she cares for patients who suffer from uncontrolled systemic inflammation. This exposure has led to her interest in exploring alternative treatments to the immunotherapy currently used. The goal of her research is to understand the interactions between the brain, stomach acidity and innate immunity. As an ECRIP fellow, she plans to measure the immune markers in a human model of systemic inflammation by evaluating the degree of activation of the anti-inflammatory response in obese human volunteers who consume proton pump inhibitors.