NYSSPA Annual Awards

2020 Membership Award Recipients: 

As nominated and voted on by NYSSPA members.

PA of the Year: Francine Osikowicz, PA-C
Francine Osikowitcz is a PA at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York City. She was voted as the inaugural Chair of the hospital’s Physician Assistant Council. Under her leadership, the institution restarted its APP Grand Rounds, began an APP Professional Development Council, developed an APP Preceptor Workshop, and earned the Center for Healthcare Leadership and Management (CHLM) Employer of Excellence Award. Osikowicz has completed internships at the World Health Organization in Switzerland as well as the New York Department of Public Health. She is a life-long advocate for PA practice and serves her local community as a member of the New York Medical Reserve Corp. Congratulations again to Francine Osikowicz on receiving the 2020 NYSSPA PA of the Year Award!


Paul Lombardo, MPS, PA-C Emeritus Educator of the Year: Susan Cappelmann, MS, PA-C
Susan Cappelmann is currently the Director of the Pace University-Lenox Hill Hospital Physician Assistant Program NYC and Chair of the Physician Assistant Studies Department in the College of Health Professions at Pace University. A persistent fixture in PA education in New York, Cappelmann has served several years as Chair of the NYSSPA Education Committee. Her responsibilities have ranged from helping to ensure compliance with and maintenance of accreditation standards, to developing and implementing program policies and procedures. She has worked in conjunction with PA program faculty to develop, revise and improve didactic curriculum, and implement innovative approaches to ensure quality instruction. Her commitment and volunteerism to the profession is exemplary. Congratulations again to Susan Cappelmann, the inaugural winner of the 2020 NYSSPA Paul Lombardo, MPS, PA-C, Emeritus Educator of the Year Award!


Physician Advocate of the Year: Mitchell Lebowitz, MD, FACE
Dr. Mitchell Lebowitz is an Internal Medicine Specialist in Syracuse, NY with more than 35 years of experience in the medical field and 20 years specializing in endocrinology. He also serves as program instructor and Medical Director for the LeMoyne PA Program. Dr. Lebowitz has been instrumental in the advancement of the profession and LeMoyne PA Program in the central New York region. Congratulations to Dr. Mitchell Lebowitz on receiving the 2020 NYSSPA Physician Advocate of the Year Award!

2020 Presidential Honoree Recipients: 

Each NYSSPA President has the opportunity to bring forth Presidential Honorees allowing a chance to recognize those who have made immeasurable contributions to the PA profession in NYS.

Assemblyman Richard Gottfried
Richard Gottfried has served as a NYS Assemblyman for nearly 50 years, first elected to the Assembly in 1970, at the age of 23, while a student at Columbia Law School. He is the longest standing member of the NYS Assembly and the Chair of its Health Committee. He is a leading state health policy maker not only in New York but nationally. Highlights of his legislative work include the passage of the Prenatal Care Assistance Program for low income patients. He has been the leading proponent of patient autonomy, especially in end-of-life care, and reproductive freedom. Each year, he fights to protect and increase funding for Medicaid, school health clinics, HIV/AIDS services, and other health concerns. He is also a strong proponent of PA practice having served as a co-sponsor of many PA bills including MOLST and the “Big Bill” passed in 2010.

Senator Gottfried also issued a clarification letter to the Big Bill in 2019 to ensure that the intent of its original language - "that wherever it says physician in NYS law and regulation,  it is meant to include PAs if it is within the education and training of a PA and the scope of practice of their supervising physician and not specifically precluded elsewhere in law.”


Richard Park, MD, MBA
Richard Park, MD, MBA is the founder and chief executive officer emeritus of CityMD, the leading urgent care provider in the New York Metro Area and Seattle, Washington. He completed his medical studies at Albert Einstein College of Medicine followed by an Emergency Medicine Residency at Long Island Jewish Medical Center where he served as chief resident, learning from Attendings, PAs and training alongside PA students. He then worked as the Associate Program Director of the residency program in NS-LIJ’s Emergency Department. He then went on to obtain his MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.

As the child of working class immigrants, Rich had a vision to make healthcare accessible and inclusive, a vision that led him to open his first CityMD Urgent Care which utilizes PAs in the frontline delivery of healthcare but also as quality reviewers and operations managers. This allows the organization to best serve their communities by providing quality medical care through convenient access and an exceptional experience.Founded in 2010, CityMD now represents over 120 urgent care facilities.


Niels Schmidt, MBA, PA-C Emeritus
Niels Schmidt, MBA, PA-C Emeritus is a graduate of LIU PA Program and received his MBA from St. John’s University. He was the inaugural and only Director of the Catholic Medical Center PA Department. Initiated in the 1980’s, CMC’s PA Department was an idea ahead of its time. It represented all full time, part time and per diem PAs employed by Catholic Medical Center encompassing many disciplines and clinical settings…. Internal Medicine, Critical Care, Surgery, Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Pediatrics, Ob/GYN, Orthopedics and more. The department served as the singular administrative interface for PAs and reported in a matrix management structure to the Chairs/Chiefs of each clinical department and the Board of the Medical Staff.

Niels was the catalyst behind the RFP Catholic Medical Center submitted to NYS to start the Catholic Medical Center PA Program, a program that has employed and/or graduated many leaders in PA clinical practice, leadership and academia. Sponsorship of CMC’s PA Program was eventually taken over by St. John’s University and Niels served as its Program Director for a number of years.



P: 917-679-4005
E: info@nysspa.org