SPORTSBALL 2023 returns with a stellar night
SportsBall 2023, the 29th Annual Black Tie & Sneakers Gala of the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health (AAIUH), was held on Thursday, October 19th.
SportsBall 2023 is a celebration with a purpose. Each year, the Institute honors individuals and organizations that are making significant contributions to urban communities in the areas of health, education, medical research, community service, and philanthropy. The funds raised at SportsBall support the Institute’s innovative community health education programs and research initiatives. Arthur Ashe founded the Institute in 1992, just two months before his death from AIDS, in response to the disproportionate amount of illness and death in urban communities from preventable diseases. Arthur knew that many of these diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension, were the result of inadequate health care delivery, late detection, and insufficient health education.
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David Ushery and AAIUH CEO Dr. Marilyn Fraser and Chairman Brett Wright present the 2023 honorees Ernest Sgaglione, Pat Wang, JD, and Jenny Libien, MD, PhD.
The biggest Space Invaders game ever seen.
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Anchor, NBC 4 New York
One of the region’s most respected and accomplished television journalists, David Ushery is the anchor for NBC 4 New York’s 4 p.m, 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. weekday newscasts. He is a member of the New York State Broadcasters Hall of Fame and a member of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, New York Chapter’s Silver Circle, recognizing more than 25 years of journalistic excellence and service to the Tri-State. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and the periods of civil unrest following the murder of George Floyd, Ushery was a daily presence in WNBC’s 30 Rock studios, delivering the latest information to viewers while frequently transitioning to daily press conferences hosted by federal, state and local officials. He also took a closer look at the relationships between law enforcement and communities of color during this time, which included exclusive interviews with top NYPD brass. Following the recent death of Civil Rights icon John Lewis, Ushery secured an exclusive interview with long-time friend and former Congressional colleague Charles Rangel, who described marching alongside Lewis from Selma, AL to Montgomery, AL and offered personal insights on their shared work that spanned more than half a century. Ushery’s anchoring and reporting was a key component of NBC 4 New York’s award-winning COVID-19 coverage, honored in January, 2021 with the prestigious Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for “creat(ing) a 360 view in real time of the coronavirus pandemic, with courageous and thorough reporting on the virus’s explosion in New York City.” The duPont has long been recognized as the broadcast, documentary and on-line equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize, also awarded by Columbia University. Additionally, Ushery’s anchoring was an important contributor to a second prestigious station honor. His work during the deadly December 2019 Jersey City shootout was recognized by the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA), which awarded NBC 4 New York the 2020 National Edward R. Murrow Award for Top Television Newscast. For nearly two decades, Ushery has offered WNBC viewers a front row seat to the biggest news stories of the day. He has shared in two National Edward R. Murrow Awards presented to the station for coverage of Superstorm Sandy – as well as for the deadly 2019 police shootout in Jersey City. He has also travelled around the world to report live from site of terror attacks in Paris and Manchester, England, the front lines in Gaza and the West Bank and the opening of the United States Embassy in Jerusalem. Further, Ushery has made multiple visits to St. Peter’s Square in Rome where he covered the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, the 2013 papal conclave electing Pope Francis and the canonizations of Pope Saint John Paul II and Pope Saint John XXIII. Passionate about service and helping those in need, Ushery has brought attention to the sacrifice and unique challenges facing local first responders. He has investigated the high rates of suicide among firefighters and placed an important spotlight on the emotional struggles faced throughout their lifetimes. He won a New York Emmy® for his 2019 profile on 9/11 responder Michael Dorian, who was diagnosed with cancer following his service and later fought a challenging battle to secure the health benefits due to him under the law. Later that year, he conducted one of the last televised interviews with the late NYPD Detective Luis Alvarez, who helped lead the grassroots campaign which resulted in renewal of the federal Victim’s Compensation Fund. In recent years, Ushery also reported from Houston following the death of former President George H.W. Bush, from Orlando following the deadly Pulse nightclub shooting and the White House for the transition between the outgoing Obama and incoming Trump teams. He covered Pope Francis’ 2015 visit to Washington D.C. and New York City live from the parade routes. Ushery also delivered live coverage following the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school shooting and the miraculous 2009 landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River. He joined the station in 2003 following a decade at WABC-TV, where he rose from reporter to anchor. Ushery is the recipient of three honorary degrees, earning honors from St. John’s University (2014), St. Francis College (2018) and Fordham University (2019). He is actively involved with both the New York Urban League and the Archdiocese of New York, and received numerous awards for community service, including from the Nubian Cultural Center, Consulate of Israel and Public Relations Society of America. He has received the McDonald’s Black Media Legends: Faces of Black History Award and the National Association of Black Journalists Award for his series of reports on children and violence. Ushery has also been named “40 under 40” from Network Journal and Black Professionals Business Magazine. A Hartford-area native, Ushery graduated from the University of Connecticut and began his broadcast career at WFSB-TV, where he worked as the lead evening reporter. He also reported for the Hartford Courant and the Los Angeles Times. Ushery was 11 years old when he was selected from a search to host the Connecticut edition of “Kidsworld”, a nationally syndicated television show which he hosted until the age of 18. One of his first interviews was with news icon Walter Cronkite, who was considered one of the most trusted persons in America at the time. Ushery lives in New York with his wife and son.
OUR HONOREES :
Jenny Libien, MD PhD, is Professor of Clinical Pathology and Neurology at Downstate Health Sciences University and Chair of the Department of Pathology at Downstate and at Maimonides Medical Center.
Dr. Libien is a 1991 graduate from the University of Pennsylvania and then earned master’s degree in Human Nutrition from Columbia University in 1992. During her MD PhD studies at SUNY Downstate, she worked with Dr. Todd Sacktor and Dr. Ira Kass to examine how the lack of oxygen to the brain during a stroke impaired the pathways important for making memories. After medical school graduation in 2001, Dr. Libien headed to New York Presbyterian Hospital - Columbia University Medical Center for Anatomic Pathology residency and Neuropathology fellowship. As an Instructor in the Department of Pathology at Columbia University Medical Center in 2005-2006, she studied the role of vitamin A in memory and neurogenesis in the laboratories of Dr. William S. Blaner and Dr. Ottavio Arancio. In 2006, Dr. Libien returned to Downstate as an Assistant Professor of Pathology. She was named the Interim Chair of Pathology in 2014 and then accepted the position of Chair of Pathology at Downstate and at Maimonides Medical Center in 2018. During the pandemic, Dr. Libien was a member of Downstate’s COVID-19 task force and COVID-19 Surveillance Testing Group. She oversaw the launching of COVID-19 testing methods on campus and focused her energies on the purchasing of new equipment, ensuring adequate supplies, and hiring and retaining staff to meet the needs of the Downstate community and the larger Brooklyn community. Dr. Libien continues to contribute to Brooklyn healthcare via service on the board of directors and executive committee of University Physicians of Brooklyn and on the medical executive councils of both University Hospital at Downstate and Maimonides. Dr. Libien is the only Brooklyn representative on the New York State Laboratory Leadership Consortium which formed during the pandemic and provides guidance to governmental agencies on laboratory issues. Dr. Libien is a principal investigator, along with Juan Marcos Alarcon, of a five-year grant from the NIH (NINDS R25NS120283), “REACH Pipeline Summer Research Experience for Minority and Underrepresented High School and Undergraduate Students”. REACH stands for "Research and Education in Autism for College and High School Students" and the program aims to increase access to education and careers in neuroscience and medicine. Students learn about the brain and autism, learn to generate hypotheses and then they design and execute their own experiments. The Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health is an important partner in the program and graduates of the Health Sciences Academy have been participants. Downstate and the College of Medicine Alumni Association have also been generous supporters of the REACH program. Dr. Libien has been the recipient of NIH funding as a co-investigator on projects evaluating new treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease. She is the author of 29 articles and the textbook, Introduction to Statistic Methods in Pathology. Dr. Libien uses her knowledge of the pathology of Alzheimer Disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, and other neurologic diseases in collaborative research with investigators at a number of universities. Dr. Libien is passionate about her work in medical education, mentoring and promoting diversity and holds national leadership roles in these areas. She is Co-Chair of the Association of Pathology Chair (APC) leadership fellow (APLF) program, Vice Chair of APC’s Leadership Development and Diversity Committee, and Co-founder and Chair of the APC Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Faculty Leaders Network. She has organized talks and discussion panels at national meetings on systemic racism and transgender health. Dr. Libien’s Department of Pathology at Downstate is the home to the largest pathology residency program in New York State with 24 residents who rotate through an impressive group of hospitals and training sites including University Hospital at Downstate, Kings County Hospital, the New York Harbor VA Health Care System (Brooklyn and Manhattan campuses), Maimonides Medical Center, Minkowitz Pathology, Columbia University, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. The medical students and residents she has educated are now faculty members at prestigious institutions throughout New York City and the United States and Canada. Dr. Libien lives in Dobbs Ferry, NY, with her husband Richard Goodwin, PhD, a computer scientist and artificial intelligence researcher for IBM, and their two children, Molly and Jason. She is a board member and choir member of Temple Beth Abraham in Tarrytown, New York and a fourth generation member of the Actors’ Temple in Hell’s Kitchen. She is also the secretary of the Board of Managers of the SUNY Downstate College of Medicine Alumni Association. Dr. Libien is an elected fellow of The New York Academy of Medicine and a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society. She has been the recipient of a number of awards including being named a 2020 AMA Inspiration Award honoree, a JetBlue Healthcare Hero, and Downstate Pathology Faculty of the Year. She is an avid theater and ballet goer. Dr. Libien was the lucky winner at the 2019 Sports Ball of courtside seats at the Hall of Fame Open when she thought she was bidding on US Open tickets. It was a great mistake and she highly recommends a visit to Newport’s Hall of Fame Open to all tennis fans.
Pat Wang, JD, has dedicated her career to improving healthcare coverage, access and quality for New Yorkers.
In 1993, while working at the Greater New York Hospital Association, Ms. Wang led the effort to create Healthfirst based on a pioneering value-based model that aligns care delivery with quality outcomes through partnership and collaboration with healthcare providers and others. Ms. Wang joined Healthfirst as President and CEO in 2008. Today, Healthfirst is one of the largest not-for-profit health insurers in the United States and consistently one of the best in quality, all while maintaining a regional focus on serving New Yorkers. Healthfirst serves members in New York City and on Long Island, as well as in Westchester, Rockland, Sullivan, and Orange counties. Ms. Wang leads more than 5,000 employees who focus on providing comprehensive health insurance to more than 1.8 million New Yorkers—including one-third of New York City’s Medicaid population and more than 200,000 Medicare Advantage beneficiaries —in close collaboration with the company’s valued health system sponsors, independent physicians and providers, and community organizations. Healthfirst strives to improve the health of the many vulnerable communities it serves through approaches that emphasize local insights, culturally competent care, and health equity. The company is amplifying the impact of its genuine hyper-local presence through innovative digital solutions and analytic insights in service of its local mission. Healthfirst also actively works to ensure that its own workforce, at all levels, reflects the diversity of the communities it serves. Pat served as a Commissioner on the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) from 2016-2022, has served on several New York gubernatorial commissions including those focused on COVID vaccine equity and Medicaid redesign, and is a Director of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Pat graduated from Princeton University and New York University School of Law, cum laude. She has lived in Yugoslavia, Taiwan, and China and is a longtime resident of New York City.
Ernest Sgaglione is a native of Brooklyn, who has worked in the food service industry for his entire adult life. Mr. Sgaglione is the owner of Cafe 101.
Ernie, as he is affectionately known, started his food service career at age 15, as a “pot washer,” in a restaurant. His boss recognized Ernie’s interest in catering and invited him to work with the chefs and assist in catering. Ernie had aspired to become a teacher but his interest in culinary arts was greater. Therefore, Ernie pursued becoming a chef. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, he started his practical experience as a chef trainee in the food service department of the Tarrytown Hilton. The hotel business was not interesting to him, and after several years, he shifted to the catering/service area at Columbia Pictures. The film business was more vibrant and diverse, and he provided meals to executives in New York headquarters, as well as on-location service to casts and crews of television and film projects. Lured away from Columbia Pictures to run the executive dining rooms at companies such as IBM and Phillip Morris, Ernie was able to fine-tune his culinary skills while managing larger staffs. It was during this period that he started his own business as owner/operator of La Mirage Catering. Ernie is now the owner of Café 101 at SUNY Downstate, where he is known for his elegant and high-quality catering. He takes much finesse and pride in his work, as he creates events and transforms rooms in a dramatic manner that results in the “wow” factor that is experienced by his clients. Ernie enjoys working with people, and continues to work diligently in creating culinary masterpieces for various individuals, including those served by the Arthur Ashe Institute. He is the go-to chef for the Institute’s Downstate-based events, especially those for the Institute’s Health Science Academy; and he expresses his pride in the young people that, as he puts it, “are getting an education, going places and having an introduction into the real world.” Ernie’s catering is often welcomed by community members, who feel special just by the ambiance of elegance that he creates with his presentations. In his spare time, which is infrequent, Ernie enjoys spending time at the beach or strolling through gourmet markets. He has developed a recent interest in Russian and Turkish foods. Ernie also loves animals and rescues stray cats. In everything that Ernest Sgaglione does, he exudes great love and care for others, which ensures that his service his reminiscent of the high culinary standards he upholds.