People in the News

Monday, May 2, 2022

Martin Clearwater & Bell LLP is proud to announce the promotion of five attorneys to their team of partners in the medical malpractice area. The firm has developed its reputation as New York’s premier medical malpractice defense law firm by defending the interests of healthcare professionals in malpractice suits for 100 years. The firm also successfully defends malpractice claims for nursing homes, physician group practices, healthcare organizations and other healthcare providers, including psychiatrists and psychologists.

Kathryn R. Baxter began her legal career at Martin Clearwater & Bell LLP as a law clerk. As a partner, she focuses on the defense of physicians, hospitals, healthcare systems and academic medical centers in medical malpractice matters. Baxter received her master’s degree in healthcare ethics from Creighton University in 2011, and her JD from New York Law School in 2014. During law school she worked as a legal intern for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and South Brooklyn Legal Services.

Gregory A. Cascino is a partner in the firm’s Appellate Practice Group with over 12 years of experience in appellate practice. He has briefed and argued appeals in all departments of the New York State Appellate Division on cases involving various substantive areas of New York law, including medical malpractice, commercial litigation, architectural malpractice, and Labor Law §§200, 240, and 241(6).

Jason F. Kaufman focuses his practice on the defense of medical malpractice matters, representing doctors, teaching hospitals, research university medical centers and nursing rehabilitation centers. Kaufman received his BA from Syracuse University in 2011 and his JD from New York Law School in 2014. Prior to joining MCB, he managed all aspects of civil litigation at a mid-sized firm specializing in defense of corporations, hospitals and healthcare professionals.

Amy E. Korn focuses her practice on physicians, hospitals, healthcare delivery systems and premier academic medical centers in medical malpractice matters. Korn received her JD from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in 2013. Prior to joining MCB, she represented lenders and financial institutions in residential and commercial real estate disputes.

Michael B. Manning focuses his practice on physicians and hospitals, including specialized children’s care hospitals and regional trauma centers, in medical malpractice matters. Prior to joining MCB, Manning was an associate attorney in the affirmative litigation department and the motions department of a litigation defense firm in Brooklyn, where he handled all aspects of medical malpractice defense. Manning received his JD from Roger Williams University School of Law in 2013.

Laurie E. Cohen, MD

Laurie E. Cohen, MD, is the new Chief of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore (CHAM). Dr. Cohen specializes in endocrine issues experienced by childhood cancer survivors, such as growth hormone deficiency and infertility. She is also an expert in growth disorders and short stature in children.

Dr. Cohen moves to CHAM from Boston Children’s Hospital. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her medical degree from Weill Cornell Medicine. She did her internship and residency training in pediatrics at Yale-New Haven Hospital and her fellowship training in pediatric endocrinology at Boston Children’s Hospital. She has been in practice for more than 30 years.

Dr. Cohen will oversee a team of providers who care for children with a range of endocrinology needs, including diabetes, thyroid disorders, delayed puberty, and calcium and bone disorders.

Two Northwell Health hospitals with thoracic surgery programs focused on lung cancer procedures have earned a distinguished three-star rating from The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) for their patient care and lung cancer surgery outcomes. The three-star rating, which denotes the highest category of quality, places Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Medical Center in New Hyde Park and Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan among the most elite teams recognized for general thoracic surgery in the United States and Canada.

LIJ Medical Center and Lenox Hill received an overall three-star rating for Lobectomy for Lung Cancer and Pulmonary Resection for Lung Cancer categories, which is achieved by fewer than 10% of thoracic surgery programs in North America. Northwell’s thoracic surgery programs at Staten Island University Hospital and South Shore University Hospital in Bay Shore received two-star ratings from the STS, a reflection of their strong programs.

The latest reports included results from 214 general thoracic surgery programs, which submitted data to STS July 2018 through June 2021. One category analyzed outcomes for lobectomy procedures, a surgical procedure where an entire lobe of the lung is removed, which is most commonly performed to treat lung cancer. During the same reporting period, the STS issued its first-ever composite star rating for pulmonary resection for lung cancer that includes lobectomy, wedge resection and other types of lung resections.

“Congratulations to both Lenox Hill Hospital and LIJ Medical Center for achieving top recognition in their field demonstrating their leadership and superior outcomes in thoracic oncology surgery,” says Alan Hartman, MD, Senior Vice President and Executive Director, Cardiovascular and Thoracic surgery at Northwell Health.

Francisca Velcek, MD

Francisca Velcek, MD, pediatric surgeon at Lenox Hill Hospital, has been inducted into the American College of Surgeons’ Academy of Master Surgeon Educators, an elite group of master surgeons whose mission is to advance the science and practice of avant-garde surgical education and training. Dr. Velcek is now one of only 300 surgeons in the nation — and the only physician at Lenox Hill and Northwell Health — to be given this honor.

Dr. Velcek received her medical degree in the Philippines in 1966 before moving to the United States to launch her medical career. She practiced as a private citizen and also as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve Medical Corps from 1987 to 1998. She is a veteran of foreign wars of the U.S. Army. For her service during Operation Desert Storm, she received a Distinguished Service Medal from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. She joined Lenox Hill Hospital in 1991 and during the past few decades, she worked her way up the ranks to become an esteemed surgeon in the pediatrics department.

START Treatment & Recovery Centers’ CEO Lawrence S. Brown, Jr., MD, MPH, FACP, DFASAM, announced plans to retire after 40 years of service. The board of the behavioral health organization, which has treated more than 50,000 New Yorkers since it was founded in 1969, has retained Bridge Partners to manage the search for Dr. Brown’s successor.

The new CEO will be responsible for the direction, vision, leadership, management, and motivation of the organization, its staff and patients, leading an organization with a $30 million operating budget, over $60 million in total assets, and approximately 240 employees serving more than 3,000 patients on an annual basis.

Andrew Flescher, PhD

Andrew Flescher, PhD, Core Faculty member in the Program in Public Health, Professor in Family, Population and Preventive Medicine, and Professor of English at Stony Brook University, has been selected by the governor of New York to serve on the New York Transplant Council. Flescher will serve in this capacity through Dec. 31, 2023, at which time the appointment is renewable. The council consists of 21 members, seven of whom are directly appointed by the governor, including Flescher. He will serve as the expert in medical ethics on this statewide council.

The New York Transplant Council is a statutorily mandated group that serves in an advisory capacity to the Commissioner and Department of Health on matters related to donation, procurement, storage, allocation, distribution and transplantation of organs and tissues.

Flescher has had been centrally involved in transplant issues, particularly from ethical standpoints, within the state and nationally for five years. For the past 10 years, he has been a key member of Stony Brook’s Transplantation Program as its in-house ethicist and living donor advocate.

Currently, Flescher has a national role with the Organ Procurement and Transplant Network (OPTN) Ethics Committee for the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), serving as its vice chair. UNOS is the private, non-profit organization that manages the U.S. organ transplantation system under contract with the federal government. He will become the OPTN/UNOS Ethics Committee’s chair in July 2023.

Share your story in the next issue of MD News. For consideration, please email your press releases to