The Messina Family established the Drs. Philip and Richard Messina Endowed Fund for Excellence in Global Initiatives Annual Award in 2014 to encourage participation in international medical and cataract surgical missions for Stony Brook medical students and Stony Brook ophthalmology residents with the nonprofit organization A Promise to Peru, Inc. as a way to commemorate the lives of these two physicians. This year’s recipients are Dr. Anjoulie Gang, a second year ophthalmology resident and Shuhan Wang, a fourth year medical student from Stony Brook. They gave an informative power point presentation describing their experiences on the Cataract Surgical Mission to Riobamba, Ecuador in September 2018 to the Associate Dean of Global Medicine Dr. Mark Sedler, Associate Dean of Student Affairs Dr. Andrew Wackett, Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology Dr. Robert Honkanen, Assistant Director of Alumni Relations Mary Hoffman and the members of the Messina family. A matching grant was awarded to the ophthalmology resident through the generosity of the Department of Ophthalmology.

Background on the lives of Drs. Philip and Richard Messina
Philip came to the U.S.A. through Ellis Island, N.Y. in 1911 at 6 years old from Sicily, Italy. He lived in the lower east side of Manhattan and somehow he made his way out to Indiana University for undergraduate school and medical school. He finished his studies in 1932 in the midst of the Depression, his older sister worked at Knickerbocker Toy Factory sewing stuffed animals to pay for his education. Residency training programs were not in existence at the time. Once a doctor graduated medical school, one would open an office and start your practice whether it was General Surgery or General Medicine. He chose the latter and his practice was in Brooklyn for over 50 years, he delivered 3,000 babies, performed tonsillectomies in the office and made house calls well past the time when other physicians has stopped. His compassion for his patients and his work ethic certainly inspired his son to become a physician and his daughter to become a nurse.

Richard attended Marquette University in Wisconsin and graduated medical school from University of Bologna in Italy in 1965. Prior to his ophthalmology residency, he enlisted in the Public Health Service as a commissioned officer for two years. Stationed in Albuquerque, New Mexico he worked as a General Practitioner on the surrounding Indian Reservations. He gained an appreciation for the Native American culture and the need for better health care in underserved areas. He established his ophthalmology practice in Brentwood and continued to be passionate about treating those that were underserved. He was a Clinical Instructor at Stony Brook School of Medicine until his untimely passing at the age of 48. His dedication to serve those in need, inspired the Messina family to establish a scholarship in his name that promotes global awareness of the need to provide health care to the underserved populations in the United States and worldwide. And he was the inspiration for Debra Messina, M.D. to co-found the nonprofit organizations A Promise to Peru.

Three generations of Messina physicians… it is something to be celebrated and this Endowed Fund for Excellence in Global Initiatives was specifically established for the Stony Brook family where Debra is a proud alumna. It is a fitting way to remember these two lives. The would be very proud to know that their family was assisting medical students and ophthalmology residents in the opportunity to gain
greater insight into the interpersonal relationships that are formed between physician and patient. Their legacy of service to those in need and their passion for medicine will live on and serve to provide an example to young physicians in training, now and for future generations.

November 26, 2018; Stony Brook School of Medicine, Stony Brook, NY