Authors Posts by Phil Corso

Phil Corso

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Phil Corso is TBR’s managing editor. When he’s not plugging away at stories, he finds joy in the finer things in life, like playing drums, watching hockey and discussing the latest Taco Bell items.

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Business owners mingle at the incubator showcase last Thursday morning inside one of the research centers at Stony Brook University. Photo by Phil Corso

Stony Brook University graduate Frank Zinghini originally started his software vulnerability management company Code Dx out of Northport, but he has since setup shop in a more “incubated” environment, thanks to the university’s office of economic development.

Now, he and his team don’t even need to pick up a phone to chat with like-minded entrepreneurs — all they need to do is poke their heads next door.

“We need engineering help, and we’re looking to the university for that,” said Brianne O’Brien, director of sales and training at Code Dx. “It’s amazing the amount of attention we have here.”

Code Dx was one of nearly 40 booths cascaded throughout the second floor of the campus’s Center of Excellence in Wireless and Information Technology building on Thursday, as its office of economic development flexed its muscles at an incubator showcase. Businesses did a lot of sharing throughout the day — of their stories, but also of mentorship, advice, expertise and more.

Yacov Shamash, vice president for economic development at the university, said the goal was to link the academic and research resources of the campus with the greater economic needs of Long Island and New York State. Much like a mother bird sitting over her egg before it hatches, the university has been “incubating” businesses in various centers across the island with an eye on tomorrow.

Many of those businesses that blossom underneath the incubator umbrella explore various facets of science and technology and end up employing Stony Brook University grads and other North Shore natives before branching out, the vice president said.

“It is a wonderful opportunity for learning and hiring,” he said. “It’s a positive thing for Long Island — no question.”

Ann-Marie Scheidt, director of economic development at the university, said last Thursday was the university’s first incubator showcase, showing off just what kinds of innovation occurred on a daily basis there and just how diverse it could be. It is that diversity that she said was essential when confronting the region’s problems of tomorrow.

“As they grow up, we provide them with the help they need. But they also become connected with other local groups doing business around them,” Shamash said in an interview. “Our goal is to embed them in the Long Island community and to create great jobs.”

One of the incubated companies took the spotlight that afternoon as a “graduate” of the university’s business incubator program. Codagenix Inc. spent the past three years “incubating” at the campus and has grown to a point where they were able to move to a larger space in Melville, and North Shore lawmakers made sure they were there to send them off.

Yi-Xian Qin of QB Sonic Inc. smiled from ear-to-ear as he shared the medical advancements of his incubated business, which was working to develop a noninvasive ultrasound simulator to address common injuries like hip fractures. He said it was the incubation that actually helped his company thrive at such an early stage in its first year.

“The incubator is flexible,” he said. “You can be a huge company or occupy a small office. Either way, it lets you meet with other companies. It’s very good for the other start-ups.”

Olivia Santoro of the Long Island Progressive Coalition speaks beside Susan Lerner of Common Cause/NY outside state Sen. John Flanagan's office in Smithtown on Tuesday. The group advocated for the passage of legislation that would close a loophole allowing limited liability companies to funnel large sums of money to political campaigns. Photo by Phil Corso

Time is running out for the state Legislature to change the way it allows money to influence politics, and Long Island activists took to the Senate majority leader’s Smithtown office on Tuesday to make some noise.

A loophole in the state’s campaign finance laws has become a political talking point for the better part of the past year, allowing limited liability companies to contribute large sums of cash to political campaigns and committees in amounts far greater than the average corporation can. On Tuesday, groups including Common Cause/NY and Moveon.org took to state Sen. John Flanagan’s (R-East Northport) office to draw attention to legislation that was written to change that, with hopes of swaying a vote on the Senate floor before session ends June 16.

Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause/NY said her group, which investigates public officials and political contributions, found the state Senate Republican Campaign Committee was one of the largest benefactors of what has been dubbed the LLC loophole, bringing in about $5.6 million in campaign contributions from LLCs over the past 10 years — with 68 percent of which coming from the real estate industry. The Senate Housekeeping Committee also netted more than $11 million over the past 10 years in the same fashion.

Lerner argued that as long as elected leaders are receiving such lump sums of money from politically motivated groups, they will never allow for legislation to come to a full vote enacting any kind of change.

“It’s time for the Senate Republicans to stop blocking the necessary reforms,” she said. “The LLC loophole has a warping affect on public policy.”

Flanagan, who the Long Island advocates singled out on Tuesday as one of the benefactors of LLC contributions to the tune of $159,000 over the past 10 years, referred to the legislation as a “red herring that fails to fundamentally address the root cause” of the campaign finance flaws. He said the state needed to be more aggressive in beefing up money laundering laws and targeting straw donors to keep groups from contributing in the shadows.

“If we are going to achieve real campaign finance reform and target corruption, you can’t close one loophole and declare the job done. In fact, one needs to look no further than New York City for evidence of multiple campaign finance transgressions that must be addressed,” Flanagan said. “We need to take additional steps to prevent the funneling of big money through county organizations and directing where that money will be spent, which is already illegal under state law.”

Senate bill S60B has been sitting in the Senate’s Codes Committee since May 9. The bill, which state Sen. Daniel Squadron (D- Brooklyn) introduced, saw success in the Democrat-controlled Assembly in the past before previous versions died in the Senate. In the legislation, Squadron argued that the Legislature must avoid such loopholes that allow “unlimited sums of anonymous dollars to undermine the entire political process.”

Lisa Oldendorp, of Moveon.org’s Long Island chapter, said the political loophole was a threat to democracy in the United States.

“We are sick and tired of the role that money plays in campaigns,” she said. “It’s way beyond time to pass this law. We want the voice of the people to be heard.”

Alejandra Sorta, organizer of the Long Island Civic Engagement Table, which works with working class communities of color to turn the tide of anti-immigrant and anti-worker politics, said the timing was right for such legislation to pass, citing various corruption scandals sprouting up across various local and state governments, which has taken down some major political players.

“In light of persistent corruption charges, indictments and/or convictions stemming from unethical and illegal activity at the hands of some of our most powerful and influential leaders in Albany, communities of color are raising their voices and speaking out against big money in politics,” she said. “We demand concrete electoral reforms that will assure transparency and accountability at every level of government.”

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Timothy Eagen, superintendent; Kameron Sedigh; Julian Ubriaco; and Lino Bracco, Kings Park High School Principal. Photo from Kings Park school district

They’re at the top of the class.

Kings Park High School officials congratulated the class of 2016 valedictorian Julian Ubriaco and salutatorian, Kameron Sedigh this week for their outstanding efforts.

Kameron Sedigh photo from Kings Park school district
Kameron Sedigh photo from Kings Park school district

Ubriaco will be graduating with a cumulative weighted average of 108.14. He serves as senior class president, Model United Nations president, and captain of the math and trivia teams, as well as vice president of National Honor Society.

Outside of the classroom, Ubriaco is captain of the boys’ tennis team and enjoys volunteering at events such as Relay for Life, the Veterans Day breakfast and the high school blood drive. Ubriaco has spent the last two summers volunteering at Cold Spring Harbor Labs, where he investigates new means of detecting and treating pancreatic cancer.

For his work in the classroom, community and laboratory, Ubriaco has been recognized as a Siemens regional finalist, Intel semifinalist, Junior Science and Humanities Symposium finalist, International Science and Engineering Fair finalist, Coca-Cola Scholar, National Merit scholar and U.S. Senate Youth Program alternate. He will attend Harvard University next year, where he plans to major in applied mathematics.

Sedigh will be graduating with a cumulative weighted average of 105.49. He serves as president of the Independent Science Research Program and Science Olympiad Club, as well as vice president of the senior class, the Quiz Bowl team, and Students Against Destructive Decisions club.

Julian Ubriaco photo from Kings Park school district
Julian Ubriaco photo from Kings Park school district

He is a three-season varsity athlete as a member of the varsity soccer, track and field, and tennis teams.

Additionally, Sedigh is heavily involved in the music department. He is the Tri-M Honor Society treasurer and plays trombone in the Symphonic Winds, and jazz and marching bands. For the past year, Sedigh has conducted research under Dr. Tonge at Stony Brook University, studying novel antibacterial targets of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus.

For his work in the classroom, in the community, in the laboratory, and on the playing field, Sedigh has been recognized as a Coca-Cola scholar, Simons fellow, Siemens regional finalist, Intel STS semifinalist, Maroon and White K recipient, Long Island Young scholar of mathematics, and second place winner in biochemistry at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. Sedigh will be attending Duke University as a Robertson scholar, majoring in biomedical engineering.

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A scene from this year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade in Kings Park. Photo by Mark D’Angio

The parade may be over, but the Kings Park St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee has been keeping busy, working on the preparations for its 2017 Grand Marshal Ball and 2017 St. Patrick’s Day parade.

Within three weeks of the 2016 parade, one of the largest on Long Island, committee members were reviewing various phases of the 2016 parade. The first order of business was to select a grand marshal. In an unprecedented move, the McWilliams Sisters — Cathy Donnelly, Barbara Griffin and Marge Stajk — were named to lead the 2017 St. Patrick’s Parade.

This honor is believed to be unique, as three siblings were named grand marshals, the organizers said.

The McWilliams sisters were selected based on their Irish heritage, community spirit, and personal demeanor. Their parents, Edward and Margaret McWilliams, moved from County Carlow, Ireland, settling in Kings Park, where the parents opened the Park Diner in 1944. The family consisted of three sisters, Catherine, Barbara, and Margaret, and three brothers, Edward, Joseph, and Ronald.

The sisters attended St. Joseph’s School until the 8th grade, graduated from Kings Park High School, and raised their families in Kings Park. The parade committee noted that each sister donated time and efforts toward various charitable endeavors, especially as members of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, Division 3.

The Grand Marshal Ball will be held at Flowerfields, on Friday, November 18. The event will consist of the presentation of the “McWilliams Sisters,” Irish music and dance, raffles, and live band. The Kings Park St. Patrick’s Day parade will be held on Saturday, March 4, 2017.

The committee thanked Kevin “The Professor” Denis for his extraordinary efforts as its chairman. As one of the Parade’s founders, he excelled at raising the necessary funding for the parade, which features more than 20 bagpipe bands, fire departments, floats, and organizations. During the past six years, the Kings Park St. Patrick’s Day Parade has become one of the largest parades on Long Island. Denis will continue to aid the committee. Kevin Johnston was named the committee’s new chairman.

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A scene from Friday’s Stony Brook University commencement ceremony at LaValle Stadium. Photo by Greg Catalano
Students graduating from Stony Brook University this year decorated their caps. Photo by Greg Catalano
Students graduating from Stony Brook University this year decorated their caps. Photo by Greg Catalano

Thousands of degrees were doled out on Friday as Stony Brook University said congratulations to the Seawolves’ class of 2016.

A total of 6,570 graduates made their final march into their futures at LaValle Stadium, marking the university’s 56th commencement ceremony, on May 20. University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. also conferred honorary degrees onto Eric H. Holder Jr., the 82nd attorney general of the United States, and Soledad O’Brien, an American broadcast journalist.

The university granted honorary degrees to Eric Holder and Soledad O’Brien (pictured with SBU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr.). Photo by Greg Catalano
The university granted honorary degrees to Eric Holder and Soledad O’Brien (pictured with SBU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr.). Photo by Greg Catalano

“This is a remarkable distinction for the class of 2016, to be joined by individuals who personify what Stony Brook embraces — the relentless pursuit of excellence and commitment to make a real difference,” Stanley said. “Eric Holder embodies the progress and values of our country through his strong leadership and legacy of justice and fortitude. Soledad O’Brien exemplifies the vision of our university as she is actively engaged in the critical issues of our time — initiating and exploring important national conversations.”

Graduates represented 41 states and 67 countries, and students ranged in age from 20 to 73 years old.

Students and their families packed out the stadium on Friday as the sun shone on them. Various elected officials and university administrators were also in attendance.

A scene from Friday’s Stony Brook University commencement ceremony at LaValle Stadium. Photo by Greg Catalano
A scene from Friday’s Stony Brook University commencement ceremony at LaValle Stadium. Photo by Greg Catalano

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Jon Stewart, Raymond Pfeifer and John Feal talk after the ceremony honoring those lost on and after Sept. 11, 2001. Photo from John Feal

To the wall, the names were new, but to those at 9/11 Responders Remembered Park, they brought with them years of courage and heroism. All eyes were on the park on Saturday as 61 more names were etched into its wall of heroes, honoring those who paid the ultimate price for their efforts in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The event was packed with first responders, their families, lawmakers and advocates, including advocate and first responder John Feal of Nesconset’s FealGood Foundation and comedian Jon Stewart.

“This park was built … to serve the 9/11 community with grace, dignity and humility,” Feal said to the crowd before the new names were read aloud. “I hope this park will help tell the stories of our nation’s greatest resources: its citizens, both uniformed and nonuniformed.”

Feal and several members of what they called the 9/11 community have descended upon the Nesconset park every year since it was established in 2009 to add names to the wall of heroes, paying tribute to those who have died on or after that horrific day. Martin Aponte, president of the North Shore park, reminded the crowd that they were not there to mourn, but to reflect, remember and recognize the stories behind the names on the wall behind him.

Jon Stewart and John Feal observe the wall of heroes at the 9/11 Responders Remembered Park. Photo from John Feal
Jon Stewart and John Feal observe the wall of heroes at the 9/11 Responders Remembered Park. Photo from John Feal

“To maintain this park is the least we can do for those who have served our nation with distinguished honor, courage and sacrifice,” he said. “We are here only to serve a fragile fraternity of heroes who come here to rest and join their brothers and sisters. Their story is told through this park.”

Feal, along with Stewart and New York City firefighter Raymond Pfeifer, used the ceremony as a means to celebrate a recent legislative victory they helped accomplish nationwide after years of pushing Congress to renew the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act, which supports first responders whose illnesses are linked to their efforts on 9/11. For his tireless advocacy on the subject, Pfeifer was awarded an American flag that had flown over the U.S. Capitol along with a golden firefighter’s axe on a plaque.

Pfeifer, who spent eight months on top of the debris pile of the World Trade Center in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, has stage-four cancer and spoke from a wheelchair about the collaborative efforts it took to overcome that day.

“Today is a good day. It’s sad, but nobody gets out alive. Anytime you can tell a story about [first responders] that’s a good thing,” he said.

With a heavy-hearted expression on his face, Stewart read each of the names that were added to the wall that day in somber tone. The tolling of a bell followed each name. After his remarks, the comedian and former host of “The Daily Show” remarked on his time on the front lines of advocating for first responders’ benefits. He spoke to inspire those in attendance against the fear of terrorism, saying “we win” because of America’s unending resource of courage.

“I’m always humbled when I’m in the company of Ray and John, and all the other responders,” he said. “I can never in my life repay the debt that you all gave to not just me, but to the city and to the country. We owe you, and we will continue to owe you forever.”

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Brittany Braun, 14, with her godfather, Brian Kane, at her first communion in the winter of 2007-08. File photo

The Breathe for Britt Foundation Ltd. presents the second annual Breathe for Britt 5K Run/Walk on Sunday, June 5.

The Breathe for Britt 5K will bring together athletes of all abilities as well as community organizations and local businesses to support those with cystic fibrosis. All proceeds from the event go to the Breathe for Britt Foundation Ltd., a registered nonprofit organization. The Breathe for Britt Foundation was created in memory of a young cystic fibrosis patient and benefits Long Island families affected by this genetic, life-threatening disease.

The race will start and finish at the Gazebo across from Nesconset Plaza, 127 Smithtown Blvd., Nesconset.

Registration starts at 7 a.m. and the race will begin at 8:30 a.m., rain or shine. The event is a USATF Certified and sanctioned 5K — 3.1 miles. Timing is provided by Just Finish Inc. The race is a beautiful, paved course through residential streets of Nesconset.

Participants are encouraged to register in advance online at www.justregister.net for reduced registration fees.

Registration fees are as follows: adult, $25, day of race, $30; 17 and under, $20, day of race, $25.

Preregistration must be postmarked by May 29. The event is family friendly and open to both runners and walkers of all ages and abilities. Awards will be presented to the overall top three male and female finishers and top three males and females in each age group.

Business sponsorships are still currently available. Companies with four or more participating employees are also eligible to be acknowledged as a race sponsor. Visit www.breatheforbritt.org or call Laura at 631-413-0605 to take advantage of this team building opportunity.

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The Rev. Mary Speers says the Setauket Presbyterian Church is in a “listening phase” when it comes to mapping out a future with its share of a $100 million trust from the Gillespie family. Photo by Phil Corso

A $100 million trust has the Setauket Presbyterian Church community’s collective ear.

Along with five other philanthropic entities, the church was named a beneficiary of a $100 million charitable trust from the estates of Kingsley Gillespie and his son, Kenyon Gillespie, earlier this spring. The Rev. Mary Speers described the big news as if she were expecting a newborn baby, referring to the trust as “an incredible gift” that will change the church in more ways than they can even anticipate.

“Think about what happens when you’re expecting a baby — especially the first one,” she said. “You’re excited — you don’t want to get too excited too fast — but you can’t help yourself … it’s exciting.”

The gift carried on the philanthropic contributions that both the Kingsley and Kenyon Gillespie families have made, keeping the arts, community service and faith strong.

The charitable trust came as a result of Kenyon Gillespie’s death in March 2015, which built upon the success of his father Kingsley Gillespie and mother Doris Kenyon, who both died in the 1980s.

The Gillespie family's connection to the Setauket church is on display on a baptismal font. Photo by Phil Corso
The Gillespie family’s connection to the Setauket church is on display on a baptismal font. Photo by Phil Corso

The church and the nearby Long Island Museum were named beneficiaries along with MIT, Stamford Hospital, The Rotary Club of Stamford and The First Presbyterian Church of Stamford and will be receiving income earned by the $100 million trust. Stamford Hospital will be getting the biggest share of 50 percent, while the five others will receive 10 percent of the annual 5 percent distribution required by law of such trusts every year.

“It was a total surprise,” Speers said of the Setauket church learning of its role in the trust. “It took a long time for us to wrap our heads around it. We’re still trying to wrap our heads around it.”

In an interview, Speers said one of the biggest challenges facing the church would be making sure the money is used to enhance the community’s culture of participation. She said the entire congregation was in a “listening phase” since learning of the trust, soaking up as much information as possible before making any big decisions.

“We want to think of this as seed money and incentive money, rather than turning ourselves into a grant foundation,” she said. “The Gillespie family singled out the church as something distinct, and we’re trying to be faithful to that — to be part of the fabric of a healthy society.”

The Rev. Mary Speers says the Setauket Presbyterian Church is in a “listening phase” when it comes to mapping out a future with its share of a $100 million trust from the Gillespie family. Photo by Phil Corso
The Rev. Mary Speers says the Setauket Presbyterian Church is in a “listening phase” when it comes to mapping out a future with its share of a $100 million trust from the Gillespie family. Photo by Phil Corso

Speers said she hoped the influx of money would help strengthen integral pieces of the church’s mission that are already in place, like its open door exchange, which provides furniture to those in need. Doris Kenyon was born in 1900 in Brooklyn, but spent summers as a child in Old Field before moving there in the 1930s. She had a lifelong affection for the Three Village community, the Long Island Museum said in a press release. She was married to Kingsley Gillespie, a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the two built their family in the Three Village area before retiring to Florida.

Speers said she was initially unsure of exactly how connected the Gillespie family was to the church so many decades ago, but that confusion was quickly squashed when she realized the name of Joan Kenyon Gillespie — Kingsley’s daughter — on a baptismal font that was gifted in her honor after her 1959 death.

“They were clearly a big part of this community — they loved this community,” she said.

The Setauket Presbyterian Church, founded in 1660, will benefit considerably through the charitable trust. The institution, located on the village green at Caroline Avenue in Setauket, has been a longtime home for more than 500 people of faith.

Stony Brook University has changed its class policy during the coronavirus outbreak. File photo

Stony Brook University is steps ahead of the nation on its public restroom policies.

Last week, U.S. President Barack Obama required all public schools to provide restroom facilities for all students, including those who identify as transgender. But at Stony Brook, plans are already in place to accommodate students of any identification, making it the first school in the SUNY system to offer up all-gender restrooms and changing rooms.

Timothy Ecklund, dean of students at SBU, said the university introduced a draft diversity plan in December in an attempt to attack persistent issues of inequality affecting society as a whole. In an interview, he said the university’s plan to address gender and inequality, specifically pertaining to the transgender community, included requiring all new and renovated buildings on campus to have all-gender restrooms included in construction plans and installing at least one all-gender restroom in each existing campus building.

“As long as we have transgender people at our university, our perspective is they’re a member of our community and we need to support them,” he said.

Ecklund said Stony Brook University has a total of 24 all-gender restrooms, including three recently reassigned restrooms in its Student Activities Center building, which have multi-stall facilities.

“When we changed our restrooms to all-gender in the Student Activities Center, the feedback from our students was overwhelmingly supportive and positive,” he said. “I spend a lot of time on campus and I see students in and out of the restrooms there without any hesitation. It’s not an issue, for our students, at least.”

As for the students’ perspective, sophomore Sydney Gaglio, president of the campus’ Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Alliance, said the all-gender restroom discussion was long overdue, as it has always been a primary concern of her group.

“We are of course super excited about the all-gender restrooms on campus and it is definitely a point of pride on our campus,” she said in an interview. “As students, there has been some concern mentioned in that when it comes to social media sites like Yik Yak, where things are anonymous, commentary on the all-gender restroom policy on campus can get extremely transphobic, hurtful and invalidating. So there is concern for student health because of social stigma but, all in all, the conversation from members of LGBTA centers on excitement and validation.”

The issue has become a hot topic across the North Shore and greater United States. Last month, Port Jefferson school board members approved a policy for how district officials should interact with and accommodate transgender students, including on the way those students are referenced in school records and what bathroom and locker room facilities they can use. Other school districts on the North Shore have also tried to make rules for transgender students in recent years, but faced backlash from the community.

“Gender-specific restrooms still exist and if you feel more comfortable in those spaces, then that is okay,” Gaglio said. “But things like going to the restroom are personal things; let people do their business in peace and you do yours in peace and everyone will be happy. Allow people to occupy the space in which they feel comfortable in.”

But the university’s support for all of its students does not stop at the label on a bathroom door, the dean said.

Ecklund said the university is home to a number of transgender students, and the school is taking strides to accommodate them and be sensitive to their preferences.

“We are working now as a university at providing the opportunity for our transgender students to change their names,” he said. “We’re trying to make sure the places at which their names are present — especially on a daily basis — they’re able to use the name they prefer or the name that they have taken.”

Dr. Shetal Shah gives Assemblyman Steve Englebright a shot at the press conference announcing that the Neonatal Infant Pertussis Act was signed into law in 2012. Photo from Maria Hoffman

A young state law is already breathing new life into the number of newborns burdened with whooping cough.

It has been three years since state Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) saw his Neonatal Infant Pertussis Act signed into law, and last week, members of the Pediatric Academic Societies said it’s already paying off, by reducing infections 50 percent. Both Englebright and Dr. Shetal Shah, who worked alongside the lawmaker in 2012 as a member of the neonatal intensive care unit at Stony Brook University, heralded the legislation as an effective measure to keep newborns healthy across New York State.

Englebright wrote the NPPA with Shah’s help, requiring Tdap, a vaccine against whooping cough, be offered to parents and caregivers in contact with a newborn during birth hospitalization as a way to promote “cocoon” immunity for the infant, according to Shah. Five months later the legislation was signed into law by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), codifying Shah’s common sense idea into law.

“That year, the New York Department of Health had already reported a three-fold increase in whooping cough since the previous year,” Englebright said. “It is gratifying to learn that this law is working and that children are being protected from whooping cough.”

Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, starts with “cold-like” symptoms such as fever, sneezing or a runny nose.  It may then morph into a mild cough, which becomes more severe in the first or second week.

The NPPA fight started in 2012 when Shah reached out to Englebright’s office with an idea that he said could prevent whooping cough in newborns. In a statement, Shah said newborns are typically the most at risk of serious illness or death if infected. But with help from Englebright’s legislation, vaccinations have been effective in combatting the infection for newborns.

Using the New York Communicable Disease Electronic Surveillance System, Heather L. Brumberg from Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital and her colleagues obtained data from 2010 to 2015 on pertussis cases and hospitalizations for 57 New York counties outside of the city. In addition, they used state population rates in 2011 and 2013 to determine the incidence per 100,000.

During the study period, 6,086 cases of pertussis were detected, 68.8 percent of which occurred before the law passed and 31.2 percent of which occurred after. Overall, the pertussis incidence rate decreased from 37.3 per 100,000 children before the law to 16.9 per 100,000 after.

For children aged younger than 1 year old, pertussis incidence decreased from 304 per 100,000 children to 165 per 100,000 and pertussis hospitalization decreased from 104 per 100,000 children to 63 per 100,000 children. The NPPA was associated with these reductions, especially for those at high-risk, the researchers wrote.

“The data shows that passage of the Neonatal Infant Pertussis Act [NPPA] was associated with a reduced incidence of disease in children in each age group studied,” said Shah, who now works at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network. “This is associative, as we were unable to track actual parental and caregiver Tdap immunization rates.”

Whooping cough vaccine is a five-shot series that is recommended for children at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15 to 18 months, and again at 4 to 6 years of age.

The pertussis vaccine is short-lived and can wear off within a decade, so some people who were immunized as children are no longer protected in adolescence or adulthood unless they get another booster shot.

“This should provide some degree of scientific impetus to other states and counties to consider this measure as part of a comprehensive strategy to reduce whooping cough,” Shah said.