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Stony Brook Council Honors University Pandemic Leadership

Stony Brook Council Honors University Pandemic Leadership

Carol A. Gomes, Dr. Margaret M. McGovern and Lawrence M. Zacarese Lauded

Carol A. Gomes, MS, FACHE, CPHQ, Chief Executive Officer, Stony Brook University Hospital

Stony Brook, NY, February 23, 2021 — In the face of an unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, the Stony Brook Council has honored and bestowed University Medals for Exemplary Leadership and Service to three members of its Stony Brook University leadership. The Stony Brook Council serves as an oversight and advisory body to the campus and to Stony Brook’s president and senior officers.

These individuals were recognized for their extraordinary service in their areas of oversight, expertise and responsibility in protecting and caring for the Stony Brook community in the hospital system and on the Stony Brook University campuses. Their innovations, contributions and immediate responses to the pandemic were celebrated at a recent Stony Brook Council meeting. The individuals include: 

Margaret mcgovern
Margaret M. McGovern, MD, PhD, Knapp Professor and Knapp Chair, Department of Pediatrics; Dean for Clinical Affairs, Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University; and Vice President, Health System Clinical Programs and Strategy for Stony Brook Medicine

“Our University community has benefited greatly from these individuals who inspire greatness in others, motivate teams to tackle the almost impossible and always place the greater good in front of mind,” said Kevin Law, President of the Stony Brook Council and President and CEO of the Long Island Association.  “We are grateful for their outstanding leadership and public service and recognize their exceptional achievements on behalf of Stony Brook University; Stony Brook Medicine; and our patients, students, faculty and staff.”

Carol A. Gomes was recognized for her administrative leadership for the following Stony Brook University Hospital achievements: 

  • Development of surge plans to increase hospital capacity;
  • Helped establish a fully staffed field Emergency Room to manage surge in patient volume;
  • Creation of Oxygen Tank Farms prior to height of pandemic;
  • Creative solutions for the provision of Personal Protective Equipment to ensure staff safety;
  • Reprocessing of N95 respirators with Battelle Laboratories;
  • Successful collaboration with Stony Brook University for the manufacture of hand sanitizer, ventilators and 3-D face shields;
  •  Implementation of the “My Story” information boards about patients who were often unable to communicate because of their illness;
  •  Creation of a Respite Lounge to address the mental health needs of staff members and help deal with stress;
  •  Collaboration with SUNY Upstate Medical University to provide additional nursing staff during the height of the pandemic; and
  • Recognizing her steady, can-do spirit that helped the hospital serve as the backbone of the overall response to COVID-19 across Suffolk County.
Lawrence zacarese lr
Lawrence M. Zacarese, JD, MPA, Interim Chief of Police, Assistant Vice President for Campus Safety and Senior Operations Director for Institutional Resiliency and Business Continuity

Dr. Margaret M. McGovern was recognized for her administrative leadership for the following Stony Brook Medicine achievements: 

  • Oversight, focused dedication and expert leadership of Stony Brook Medicine’s staff and faculty during the COVID-19 pandemic that demonstrated incredible heroism, innovation, creativity and teamwork;
  • Stony Brook Medicine healthcare system collaborated successfully to manage patients at its four hospitals and across the entire continuum of ambulatory care settings, to make sure COVID-19 patients received the appropriate level of care;
  •  Expansion of telehealth services for outpatients, offered innovative technological solutions at patients’ bedsides to connect inpatients with loved ones during restricted visitation periods;
  • The establishment of a drive-through coronavirus testing site on Stony Brook University’s campus in conjunction with the New York State Department of Health to test thousands of Long Island residents for coronavirus;
  • The development of creative and innovative approaches to solve problems and support its staff, including new training programs and buddy programs, creation of the Respite Room, Team Lavender and the Hope Report;
  • Use of multi-disciplinary teams who were inspired to clear every obstacle to solve the problems that were presented each day allowed Stony Brook Medicine to form the backbone of the overall response to COVID-19 across Suffolk County; and
  • Leading the efforts to immunize staff and faculty and assist in vaccinating Long Island residents through public COVID-19 vaccinations sites.

Lawrence M. Zacarese was recognized for his administrative leadership for the following Stony Brook University achievements: 

  • Demonstrating compassion, dedication and extraordinary leadership that has been vital to Stony Brook University’s successful response to the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • Using his extensive experience and expert training in emergency management, he helped the campus community to face each challenge during this complex time with grace and keen determination;
  • Developing a comprehensive campus plan, creating a foundation of resiliency and commitment. As a result, Stony Brook was one of the few institutions in New York — and the only SUNY University Center — to remain open as planned in the fall semester;
  •  Instituting the University’s Return to Research Plan that enabled Stony Brook to fast-track its researchers getting back in their labs, ensuring that the University’s mission to push the boundaries of science;
  •  Oversight of Stony Brook’s Return to Work and Return to Campus plans that provided a foundation for our work and our support for faculty, staff, students and the broader community, which was modeled by others in the SUNY System; and
  • Motivating teams to stay focused while tackling obstacles presented by the pandemic and being good regional partners through the management of COVID-19 public and university testing and vaccination sites.


About Stony Brook University

Stony Brook University, widely regarded as a SUNY flagship, is going far beyond the expectations of today’s public universities. With more than 26,000 students, 2,700 faculty members, nearly 200,000 alumni, an academic medical center and 18 NCAA Division I athletic programs, it is one of only four University Center campuses in the State University of New York (SUNY) system. The University embraces its mission to provide comprehensive undergraduate, graduate, and professional education of the highest quality, and has been ranked among the top 35 public universities in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Fostering a commitment to academic research and intellectual endeavors, Stony Brook’s membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU) places it among the top 65 research institutions in North America. The University’s distinguished faculty have earned esteemed awards such as the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, Indianapolis Prize for animal conservation, Abel Prize and the inaugural Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics. Part of the management team of Brookhaven National Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy, Stony Brook is one of only eight universities that has a role in running a national laboratory. Providing economic growth for neighboring communities and the wider geographic region, the University totals an impressive $7.23 billion in increased economic output on Long Island. Follow us on Facebook ( and Twitter(@stonybrooku). 

About Stony Brook Medicine

Stony Brook Medicine integrates and elevates all of Stony Brook University’s health-related initiatives: education, research and patient care. It includes five Health Sciences schools — Dental Medicine, Health Technology and Management, Medicine, Nursing and Social Welfare — as well as Stony Brook University Hospital, Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, Stony Brook Eastern Long Island Hospital, Stony Brook Children’s Hospital and more than 200 community-based healthcare settings throughout Suffolk County. To learn more, visit 

About Stony Brook University Hospital

Stony Brook University Hospital (SBUH) is Long Island’s premier academic medical center. With 624 beds, SBUH serves as the region’s only tertiary care center and Regional Trauma Center, and is home to the Stony Brook University Heart Institute, Stony Brook University Cancer Center, Stony Brook Children’s Hospital and Stony Brook University Neurosciences Institute. SBUH also encompasses Suffolk County’s only Level 4 Regional Perinatal Center, state-designated AIDS Center, state-designated Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program, state-designated Burn Center, the Christopher Pendergast ALS Center of Excellence, and Kidney Transplant Center. It is home of the nation’s first Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Center. To learn more, visit


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