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DR. MICHAEL POON INSTALLED AS AMBASSADOR GARGANO CHAIR IN ADVANCED CARDIOVASCULAR IMAGING AT STONY BROOK UNIVERSITY
Cardiovascular imaging professor helping to revolutionize cardiac care for Long Island residents
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Michael Poon, MD, second from right, was formally installed as the inaugural Ambassador Charles A. Gargano Chair in Advanced Cardiovascular Imaging during a Stony Brook University Investiture Ceremony. Pictured with Dr. Poon, are, from left: Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD; Charles A. Gargano; and Kenneth Kaushansky, MD, Senior Vice President for the Health Sciences and Dean of the School of Medicine.

Stony Brook, NY – December 3, 2014 – Michael Poon, MD, FACC, FSCCT, Professor of Radiology, Medicine, and Emergency Medicine at Stony Brook Medicine and a world-renowned cardiologist and imaging specialist, was formally installed as the inaugural Ambassador Charles A. Gargano Chair in Advanced Cardiovascular Imaging during a Stony Brook University Investiture Ceremony.

Building upon Stony Brook Medicine’s platform of expertise in advanced cardiovascular imaging, the Gargano Chair will serve as an institutional leader in the field and will be dedicated to developing new methods for the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. Due to Dr. Poon’s leadership and expertise, Stony Brook has the only emergency department in the metropolitan New York area providing coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA) assessments to patients with chest pain and a high index of suspicion of cardiac disease on a routine basis.

The Gargano Chair was established in July 2013 through the generosity of Charles A. Gargano, former U.S. Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago and long-time friend of Stony Brook. Many other donors, including Morton S. Bouchard; Milmar Food Group, LLC; The Judlau Companies; HJ Kalikow & Co. LLC; Frank Sciame; Marilyn M. Alfeld; the Andrew Sabin Family Foundation and Louis C. Grassi, helped Gargano reach his goal of raising $750,000. That amount was matched dollar for dollar by the Simons Foundation Challenge, creating a $1.5 million philanthropic impact. 

“Dr. Poon has revolutionized the way Stony Brook patients reporting chest pain are screened for suspected coronary artery disease,” Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD, said. “Thousands of patients have averted unnecessary invasive testing and long waits in the emergency department because of Dr. Poon’s expertise and the use of coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA) to assess disease.”

“Under Dr. Poon’s direction, more than 10,000 CCTA exams have been performed at Stony Brook,” said Kenneth Kaushansky, MD, MACP, Senior Vice President for the Health Sciences and Dean of the School of Medicine, who introduced Dr. Poon at the investiture ceremony. “Dr. Poon’s research in utilizing heart imaging technology to evaluate patients suffering from chest pain has ensured more accurate diagnoses and better outcomes for patients, and has created cost savings and better efficiency for our emergency department.”

Dr. Poon, who came to Stony Brook in 2009 and launched the Advanced Cardiovascular Imaging Program, said the establishment of the endowed chair sets the stage for even more innovative work to be carried out in the field of advanced cardiovascular imaging.

“I am honored to be the Ambassador Charles A. Gargano Chair in Advanced Cardiovascular Imaging,” Dr. Poon said. “My initial goal when I came to Stony Brook was to prove this technology to be very accurate, useful, and cost effective for the triaging of acute chest pain on a regular basis in an emergency room,” said Poon, who also heads Stony Brook’s Dalio Center for Cardiovascular Wellness and Preventive Research. “The CCTA assessments allow our patients to receive a fast diagnosis and avoid invasive procedures and long wait times in the emergency room. In turn, the emergency room isn’t tied up with cardiac patients hooked up to monitors.”

It was Dr. Poon’s groundbreaking work that inspired Gargano, a patient of Dr. Poon, to establish the Chair in Advanced Cardiovascular Imaging.

“In giving to Stony Brook and establishing this Chair, I am demonstrating support for a cause that matters to me,” Gargano said. “I hope Dr. Poon’s work will inspire others to give.”

Increasing the number of endowed chairs and professorships has been a hallmark of Dr. Stanley’s leadership at Stony Brook. In the last three years, Stony Brook has increased its number of endowed professorships and chairs – from eight to 41 - through private philanthropy.  

Endowed chairs are a time honored means of attracting eminent scholars and researchers and retaining outstanding faculty. Dr. Stanley has set a goal to create 100 endowed professorships and chairs by July 2020 across a wide range of disciplines. 

“Endowed faculty are an investment in the continued success of the outstanding scholarship and teaching of individual professors and in the students whose lives are touched by these invaluable professors,” Dr. Stanley said. “Ambassador Gargano has been a valued friend of Stony Brook for many years. His trust and confidence in our ability to advance the science of cardiovascular imaging is tremendously gratifying.”

About Dr. Michael Poon

Dr. Poon came to Stony Brook in 2009 and launched the Advanced Cardiovascular Imaging Program, where patients with chest pain or screened for suspected coronary artery disease are evaluated by way of coronary computed tomographic angiography (CCTA) to assess disease. 

Since 2009, thousands of patients at Stony Brook have benefited by Dr. Poon’s expertise and this emerging technology that reveals explicit and 3-D images of the heart and blood vessels. More than 10,000 CCTA exams have been performed at Stony Brook under Dr. Poon’s direction. In the majority of patient cases, coronary artery disease was ruled out quickly and patients averted unnecessary invasive testing and time in the hospital. In other cases, a coronary blockage was quickly identified, and each of these patients was rushed for cardiac catheterization or surgery before a threatening cardiac event took place. Dr. Poon quickly advanced this program to be the standard protocol in the Stony Brook’s Emergency Department.

Dr. Poon is the lead author in a paper published in the August 6, 2013 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Titled "Associations Between Routine Coronary Computed Tomographic Angiography and Reduced Unnecessary Hospital Admissions, Length of Stay, Recidivism Rates, and Invasive Coronary Angiography in the Emergency Department Triage of Chest Pain,” Dr. Poon and colleagues concluded that the use of CCTA led to fewer hospital admissions and shorter ED stays at Stony Brook

In fact, when compared to standard cardiac evaluations used at most hospitals, Dr. Poon and colleagues found that patients who had standard cardiac evaluation had a 5.5 times greater risk for hospital admission and an ED length of stay 1.6 times longer than those who had undergone CCTA. 

Dr. Poon has educated Stony Brook and other area hospital physicians on CCTA and its use assessing coronary artery disease.  He worked with Stony Brook and Mather Hospital physicians to launch a CCTA program at Mather Hospital run by Stony Brook Medicine. To date, over 1,000 CCTA exams have been performed at Mather.

Dr. Poon formed the new Dalio Center for Cardiovascular Wellness and Preventive Research at Stony Brook Medicine. The facility will conduct groundbreaking research into cardiovascular health and develop new options for the noninvasive treatment and prevention of coronary artery disease, heart failure and Alzheimer’s disease.

He has been recognized for his clinical and research work regionally and nationally. In each of the last 11 years, he has been named one of New York Magazine’s Best Doctors. He is a Past President of the Society of the Cardiovascular Computed Tomography (SCCT). Dr. Poon was also a past recipient of the American Heart Association’s Clinician-Scientist Award and Young Investigator Award.