Jacobs School Distinguished Alumni Awards

Each year we present a Distinguished Medical and Biomedical Alumnus/a Award to an MD, PhD, Resident and Volunteer of our school who is recognized nationally or internationally for his or her outstanding contributions to medicine and the biomedical sciences, the arts or the humanities.  This event takes place annually during Reunion Weekend.

In 2024, the Distinguished Health Sciences Alumni Award is added to build upon collaborative efforts in health sciences and look for additional ways to honor our accomplished alumni who have a variety of experiences in medicine/health in general. Criteria for this award celebrates an esteemed alumnus from our five health sciences schools, renowned globally for their exceptional contributions to academic medicine, health care, and research. Their remarkable achievements bring distinction and pride to our health sciences community. 

We are proud to recognize our Distinguished Medical and Biomedical Alumnus/a for their outstanding accomplishments and the distinction they bring to our school!

2024 Recipients

Distinguished Medical Alumnus

Lillian Vitanza Ney, MD '64 portrait.

Lillian Vitanza Ney, MD '64

Dr. Lillian Vitanza Ney is a retired Cardiologist and former Medical Director and Vice-President of WCA Hospital. She also was the coordinator of Jamestown Area Medical Association, and was an interim acting Medical Director of Heritage Park Health Care Center. She also stepped in to serve a short term as Acting County Health Commissioner for the Chautauqua County Health Department in 1975.

Ney was appointed to the Board of Health in 2014 and served as President in 2022-2023. During her tenure, she enthusiastically supported the Board’s purpose to promulgate, adopt, and publish rules, regulations, orders and directives for the security of life and health in Chautauqua County. Notably on May 17, 2016, Chautauqua County became the first county in New York State (NYS) to increase the legal age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21, more than three years before NYS implemented the statewide Tobacco 21 Law.

In addition to serving on the Board of Health, Ney has been active on many boards and commissions within the community including the Chautauqua County Government’s County Charter and Administrative Code Review Commission, Jamestown Community College Board of Trustees, the Gebbie Foundation, Jamestown Renaissance Corporation, Jamestown City Center Development Corporation,  James Prendergast Library Association, Chautauqua Institution, American Heart Association, Family Services of Jamestown, Jamestown City Council serving a term as President, and Co-chair of Strategic Planning Commission,  City of Jamestown Health Care Action Team, Reg Lenna Civic Center, and Roger Tory Peterson Institute.  She continues to work with the Healthy Housing Coalition, Mental Health Association of Chautauqua County, Chautauqua Health Network’s Physician’s Leadership Group, and Strong Starts Chautauqua.

As a model physician, community activist, exemplary mentor for women, and great humanitarian. Her dedication to improving the quality of healthcare has had a profound impact on Jamestown, the surrounding community, and the entire Western New York region. As our 2024 Distinguished Medical Alumna, we recognize her career at the WCA Hospital and her many professional achievements, her long-standing dedication to community service, and her commitment to numerous community boards, committees, and organizations as well as to the Jacobs School.

Distinguished BIOMedical Alumnus

Andrew I. Soiefer, PhD ’84 portrait.

Andrew I. Soiefer, PhD ‘84

Dr. Soiefer was born in Brooklyn, NY and grew up in Great Neck, Long Island.  As a youth he developed an early interest in chemistry and went on to study it as an undergraduate.  In 1976 he received a B.S. in C with honors from Allegheny College.  In 1983 he earned a Ph.D. in pharmacology from the School of Medicine at the State University of New York at Buffalo.  His thesis research was conducted under the guidance of Dr. Paul J. Kostyniak and studied a novel hepatic enzyme that cleaved the carbon fluoride bond of fluoroacetate.  After Buffalo Andrew trained as an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow in Neuroscience at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York.  In 1985 Dr. Soiefer joined the Neuroscience faculty at Albert Einstein as a member of the Institute of Neurotoxicology.

In 1988 Dr. Soiefer accepted a job as a staff toxicologist at the American Petroleum Institute in Washington, D.C.  In this role he managed a Multi-million dollar toxicology program on commercial hexane mandated by EPA under TSCA.  Then, in 1991 the Hoechst Celanese Corporation hired him as a Manager of Toxicology.  At Hoechst, Dr. Soiefer supported product development, product registration and occupational health for the Engineered resins, Fibers and Pharmaceutical businesses.  These businesses had combined sales of 3.5 billion dollars.  In 1999 he started North Jersey Toxicology Associates, LLC a consulting firm providing EH&S services to the pharmaceutical and chemical industries.  For the next 18 years until his retirement Dr. Soiefer was Chief Scientist at NJTA.

Dr. Soiefer was board certified in Toxicology in 1990 and maintained certification for thirty years.  He is a full member of the Society of Toxicology and the American Chemical Society.  He has held membership in the American Industrial Hygiene Association, the New York Academy of Science and Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Honor Society.  Andrew was an Alden Scholar at Allegheny College and a Belfer Research Fellow at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.  Dr. Soiefer was recognized at Hoechst for Excellence in Setting Workplace Exposure Levels and Teaching.  In 2002 Dr. Soiefer was the recipient of the Outstanding Chairman Award from the AIHA WEEL Committee.  Dr. Soiefer is the author of twelve original journal articles, a book chapter and twenty-nine research abstracts.

As an expert in chemical risk Dr. Soiefer is one of a small group of occupational toxicologists setting safe exposure levels for chemicals in the workplace.  His focus in this area began at Hoechst but has continued at a National level through 29 years of voluntary service on AIHA’s Workplace Environmental Exposure Level Committee (now a TERA Committee).  Dr. Soiefer is passionate about public health and has recently joined New Jersey’s Medical Reserve Corps and is currently assigned to a vaccination team giving the Covid-19 and Flu vaccines in Hoboken, NJ.

Distinguished Health Sciences Alumnus

Lawrence Tabak portrait.

Lawrence A. Tabak, D.D.S., Ph.D. is the Principal Deputy Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He served as Acting NIH Director from December 20, 2021, to November 8, 2023. Dr. Tabak was appointed as the NIH Principal Deputy Director and the Deputy Ethics Counselor in August 2010 following his tenure as Director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research from 2000-10.

Dr. Tabak continues to lead an active research laboratory within the NIH intramural program studying glycoprotein biosynthesis and function in addition to his administrative duties.

Prior to joining NIH, Dr. Tabak was the Senior Associate Dean for Research and Professor of Dentistry and Biochemistry & Biophysics in the School of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Rochester, New York.  

Dr. Tabak is an elected member the National Academy of Medicine of the National Academies. He received his undergraduate degree from City College of New York, his D.D.S. from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Buffalo.

Distinguished Volunteer of the Year

Dan Alexander, MD '99, BA ‘95 and Gail Alexander, BS '87.

Daniel Alexander, MD '99, BA ‘95

Dr. Daniel Alexander, along with his spouse, Gail Alexander, served as UB’s Boldly Buffalo campaign co-chairs, leading the way to helping the university surpass our billion dollar campaign goal – the largest in SUNY history.

As our campaign chairs, and proud and dedicated alumni, the Alexanders used their boundless energy, selfless drive and contagious enthusiasm to transform the student experience, empower our faculty, and promote the future of UB.

The Alexanders are the founders of Finger Lakes Bone and Joint Center. Dan worked as an orthopedic surgeon and Gail served as practice administrator until they sold the business to Rochester Regional Health in 2016. The couple, who met at UB, have four children and reside in Canandaigua.

The Medical Alumni Association is privileged to honor Dr. Daniel Alexander, a proud alumnus of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, as our 2024 Distinguished Volunteer of the Year. This award is presented in tribute to his role as chair of the Boldly Buffalo campaign and as a model physician, volunteer, and mentor whose actions serve as an inspiration for others. Because of his and Gail’s dedication, passion, and endless advocacy to others, we were able to surpass our billion-dollar goal one year ahead of schedule. Their enthusiasm and personal commitment to this campaign have ensured that the impacts of this effort will be felt by our community for years to come. Further, Dr. Alexander’s broad impacts as a surgeon, health care administrator, and volunteer have changed lives.