SUNY Announces a Leadership Transition at Upstate Medical University

September 27, 2018

Albany – The State University of New York announced today a leadership transition at Upstate Medical University. Dr. Danielle Laraque-Arena stated her intention to step down as president of the campus at the end of the Fall semester on December 22, 2018. She will continue to be employed by SUNY. During the Spring semester she will be on study leave, then return on June 7, 2019 to her position as a faculty member with a primary appointment within the Department of Pediatrics.

"Dr. Laraque-Arena came to SUNY as a world renowned pediatrician and researcher, and I am pleased that she will remain at Upstate Medical to inspire the next generation of doctors," said SUNY Chairman H. Carl McCall. "My thanks to Dr. Laraque-Arena for her service as president to Upstate Medical, and her commitment to a seamless transition for the campus."

"On behalf of SUNY, I wish Dr. Laraque-Arena well as she returns to pursue her passion in advancing global health and healthcare disparities research," said SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson. "She is known for her advocacy for children, and those from low income households deeply impacted by poverty. My best wishes to Dr. Laraque-Arena as she continues this important work."

President Laraque-Arena said, "Leading SUNY Upstate Medical University has been my distinct honor with the goal of achieving our mission as One University dedicated to the highest standard in academia and patient care, focused on improving health disparities, and placing the highest value on excellence and inclusion. I am most proud of the revival of the Heart & Vascular program, our progress and expansion of many services—especially our Cancer Center, our deep commitment to quality, our efforts in violence prevention, and the creation of a new academic department of Geriatrics. I have endeavored to lead this university with integrity, professionalism and innovation. I would like to thank all the staff and colleagues who have supported me during my tenure."

Among President Laraque-Arena’s achievements is having Upstate recognized for the first time as Business of the Year (2018) for Community Engagement, underscoring the university’s support for all communities and nations, embracing the concept of a socially accountable university that is financially stable.

SUNY System executives will play an active role during the leadership transition. Clinical and healthcare operations, including the interim CEO of Upstate University Hospital, will report to Dr. Ricardo Azziz, SUNY’s Chief Officer of Academic Health and Hospital Affairs. In addition, newly appointed SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry Chief Operating Officer, Joanie Mahoney, will assist SUNY system on an interim basis with management matters at Upstate Medical University. She will begin on November 1.

While on study leave, Dr. Laraque-Arena will perform research and analysis on the remediation of healthcare disparities, children in the midst of war, and gender in medicine and the health professions, and will provide recommendations to SUNY system concerning addressing the challenge of health disparities in the Upstate NY region. She will also continue to be available to SUNY to assist in the transition. She will receive her current salary during that time. After June 7, 2019, she will receive a salary consistent with her 2015 faculty appointment.

Interim leadership for the campus will be decided before December 22, 2018, when President Laraque-Arena steps down.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2022, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

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