Long Island researchers awarded for combatting lupus, improving telehealth

MANHASSET, NY  –  Feinstein Institute for Medical Research scientists Betty Diamond, MD, and Renee Pekmezaris, PhD, have earned Innovator of the Year awards for their respective medical innovations in the fields of lupus research and telehealth options geared towards the Spanish-speaking patient population.

Presented by Innovate Long Island, a news organization covering the regional established and emerging technology markets, The Innovator of the Year Awards look to recognize a cross-section of aspiring young inventors, successful startups and big thinkers. This year’s awards are presented to innovators in several categories – technology, clean energy, health science/medical devices, invention and craft food and beverage. The award ceremony also recognized anesthesiology resident Jonathan Preminger, MD, who as a third-year student at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, invented the ultraviolet-powered SteriLocker, a patented garment sterilizer for hospitals using UV technology.

Drs. Diamond, Pekmezaris and Preminger were acknowledged alongside 25 awardees at a ceremony on March 26 at the Crest Hollow Country Club.

Dr. Diamond was recognized in the health science/medical devices category for her research on the long-term autoimmune disease lupus, a condition in which the immune system attacks healthy tissue. In 2018, Dr. Diamond authored a number of studies and has relentlessly pursued breakthroughs to combat this condition throughout her longtime career as a physician-researcher and renowned expert on autoimmune diseases.

In recognition of her efforts to improve telehealth for Spanish-speaking patients, which allows for patient care to take place remotely, Dr. Pekmezaris was awarded for her research that seeks to improve chronic disease management by leveraging the use of technology. Since 2005, when Dr. Pekmezaris joined Northwell Health as vice president for community health and health services research, she has partnered with community organizations to gain a better understanding of how healthcare affects Long Island’s diverse communities.

“Dr. Diamond is a recognized world leader in lupus research, and Dr. Pekmezaris continues to break new ground in telehealth medicine for Spanish speaking patients. Both are outstanding representatives of the Feinstein Institute’s mission of pursuing knowledge to cure disease,” said Kevin J. Tracey, MD, president and CEO of the Feinstein Institute. “We are honored to have their work recognized by Innovate Long Island.”

About the Feinstein Institute

The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research is the research arm of Northwell Health, the largest healthcare provider in New York. Home to 50 research laboratories and to clinical research throughout dozens of hospitals and outpatient facilities, the Feinstein Institute includes 4,000 researchers and staff who are making breakthroughs in molecular medicine, genetics, oncology, brain research, mental health, autoimmunity, and bioelectronic medicine – a new field of science that has the potential to revolutionize medicine. For more information about how we empower imagination and pioneer discovery, visit FeinsteinInstitute.org.

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David Robbins