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Dr. Peter Igarashi

127 RSOM graduates begin residencies in summer; one-quarter will stay at SB Medicine, others to practice in NY and all over the country

The Renaissance School of Medicine (RSOM) at Stony Brook University celebrated its 49th Convocation on May 17 by conferring MD degrees to 127 graduates who will begin their first assignments as resident physicians this coming summer. Collectively, they will practice in New York State and 19 other states. Approximately one-quarter of the class will be residents at Stony Brook Medicine locations.

Peter Igarashi, MD, presided over the convocation for the first time as Dean of the RSOM. He also led the graduates in reciting the Hippocratic or Physicians’ Oath for the first time as MDs. John M. Carethers, MD, Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences, University of California, San Diego, delivered the Convocation Address.

“All of you are beginning a career in medicine when the need for physicians has never been greater, and the skills you have learned while at Stony Brook have laid the foundation for your career,” said Hal Paz, MD, MS, Executive Vice President for Health Sciences, Stony Brook University, and Chief Executive Officer, Stony Brook University Medicine, who delivered the welcome remarks.

“Among you, we have future residents in internal and emergency medicine, anesthesiology, neurology, psychiatry, and pediatrics, to name just a few – all committed to providing compassionate, patient-centered care in a wide range of communities. I’m delighted to learn that a majority of you are staying in New York, with many beginning your careers right here at Stony Brook.”

One of the new graduates who will remain at Stony Brook Medicine as a resident in Emergency Medicine is Erin Lavin. Remarkably, she gave birth just a day before the Convocation and was on hand – with baby girl – at the ceremony.

“For most of you, almost your entire medical school education has taken place under the oppressive cloud of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is certainly not what you signed up for when you arrived in 2019,” said Dr. Igarashi. “When the pandemic struck New York, you rapidly pivoted to remote learning and social distancing. When in-person clerkships were again permitted but vaccines were not yet widely available, you bravely came into the hospital to learn how to take care of patients. Your resilience and dedication have brought you here today.”

The graduates join more than 5,800 Stony Brook alumni who earned their MD degrees from the RSOM. This latest group of newly minted physicians joins the healthcare workforce in a post-pandemic era that requires a continuing need for more physicians because of such trends as aging populations, the prevalence of chronic diseases, and new long-term illnesses emerging from the pandemic. The transformation of healthcare such as the growth of telemedicine and more specialty care services will also broaden these new physicians’ opportunities.

Primary Care services such as Medicine and Pediatrics will remain as needed and growing practices in our society. According to an Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) 2021 report, our country faces primary care shortages ranging from 21,000 to 55,000 practitioners over the next decade. A significant portion (21 percent) of the graduates will enter primary care fields starting with their upcoming residencies.

Some of the new graduates moved into the field of medicine more quickly than the traditional four years. The RSOM’s 3-year MD program continues to add students. This year, 11 students graduated from that track, the highest number in the school’s history.


Dr. Peter Igarashi is the incoming dean of the Renaissance School of Medicine. Photo from University of Minnesota

Stony Brook University’s Renaissance School of Medicine has named Dr. Peter Igarashi, a nephrologist and physician scientist, as its new dean, effective Sept. 12.

Igarashi comes to Stony Brook from the University of Minnesota Medical School, where he is the Nesbitt Chair, professor and head of the Department of Medicine.

At the University of Minnesota, the new dean oversaw 600 full-time and affiliate faculty, 100 adjunct faculty, and over 240 residents and fellows, all while increasing National Institutes of Health funding by 60%.

At UMN, he also helped to cut gender pay disparities, appointed women to leadership positions, developed new multidisciplinary programs, and created an Office of Faculty Affairs and Diversity.

“Dr. Igarashi is a superb, academically accomplished physician leader with a highly successful track record of clinical program growth and research advancement,” Dr. Hal Paz, executive vice president of Health Sciences at SBU and chief executive officer of Stony Brook University Medicine, said in a statement. 

Igarashi has received over $25 million in funding from the NIH during a career in which he has studied polycystic kidney disease, transcriptional regulation, epigenetics and kidney development.

Polycystic kidney disease, or PKD, is an inherited disorder that involves the development of clusters of cysts, primarily in the kidney. Symptoms of the disease can include high blood pressure, loss of kidney function, chronic pain and the growth of cysts in the liver, among others.

His lab developed unique lines of transgenic mice that he has used to study kidney-specific transgene expression and gene targeting.

In addition to writing nine chapters in textbooks, Dr. Igarashi has also authored more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles.

Before his seven-year stint at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Igarashi had been Chief of the Division of Nephrology and founding director of the O’Brien Kidney Research Core Center at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

At the University of Texas, Dr. Igarashi created services to provide regular kidney dialysis to undocumented and other often marginalized patients. He also led an effort to use artificial intelligence to identify and optimize co-management of patients with hypertension, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease in primary care practices.

A recipient of the NIH Merit Award, Dr. Igarashi also won the 2015 Lillian Jean Kaplan International Prize in polycystic kidney disease. The award honored his contribution to the goal of developing treatments and a cure for polycystic kidney disease.

Dr. Igarashi earned his medical degree from the UCLA School of Medicine and completed an internal medicine residency at the University of California Davis Medical Center. He did a nephrology fellowship at Yale University and also taught at the Yale University School of Medicine.

Dr. Igarashi is board-certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine. He is a member of the American Heart Association Kidney Council, the American Physiological Society, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the American Society of Nephrology and the Association of American Physicians.

Dr. William Wertheim had been the interim dean of the Renaissance School of Medicine since February 2021, following Dr. Kenneth Kaushansky’s retirement after serving as dean and senior vice president of health sciences for 11 years.

Dr. Wertheim will return to his role as vice dean for graduate medical education. He will also have a leadership role at the Stony Brook Medicine Community Medical Group, which is an arm of Stony Brook Medicine and includes over 35 community practices with over 50 locations across Long Island.