Program for Jewish Genetic Health

About Us

Jews from all different backgrounds and beliefs are faced with specific genetic concerns that may successfully be addressed through the use of new knowledge and technology. Over the past few decades, the realm of Jewish genetic health has expanded beyond Tay-Sachs disease carrier testing. In addition to screening for many more conditions that can affect offspring, we now are expanding the focus towards diseases such as cancer and adult-onset disorders as well. Significant progress has been made in the realms of diagnosis, prevention, and management of these conditions, with the ultimate goal of identifying treatments and cures.

At every opportunity, the Jewish community has taken responsibility to support health and continuity. The Program for Jewish Genetic Health was established to meet the genetic health needs of the Jewish community, and to adapt and evolve as these needs grow and change.

Our “core” team is multidisciplinary and comprises physicians, scientists and genetic counselors, some of whom work on a volunteer basis. By partnering with local and distant Rabbis and Rebbetzins, physicians, bioethicists, Jewish organizations, philanthropists, and even past patients, we have established a network of connections with the Jewish community that expands out the Program’s core team and magnifies its reach well beyond the New York area.

 

Meet the Core Team:   

nicole schreiber agus-smNicole Schreiber-Agus, PhD
Program Director
Albert Einstein College of Medicine  

Nicole received her undergraduate degree in Art History in 1989 from Princeton University, where she also concentrated in pre-medical studies. She received her Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (Einstein), Sue Golding Graduate Division, in 1994. She then performed post-doctoral work at Einstein before becoming an Assistant Professor of Molecular Genetics in 1998. She was the Principal Investigator of a biomedical research laboratory there for eight years, focusing on transcriptional regulation in development and disease. She then served as the scientific director of the clinical genetic testing laboratory of Jacobi Medical Center from 2006-2012.  It was there that she got involved with pre-conception carrier screening in the Jewish community. Nicole currently is an Assistant Professor of Genetics and of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women's Health at Einstein. She has authored numerous scientific manuscripts and book chapters, gives lectures across the country on genetic testing-related topics -- including Jewish genetics, biomedical ethics, and clinical whole genome sequencing -- and has mentored dozens of students.  She also is the founder and co-developer of MyJewishGeneticHealth.com, a Jewish genetics online education series.

 
 

susan klugmanSusan Klugman, MD
Medical Director 
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Montefiore Medical Center 

Susan received her medical degree from New York University in 1988 after completing her undergraduate studies in Biometry and Statistics at Cornell University. She then completed a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the Montefiore Medical Center where she continues to practice. In 1993, she founded the Larchmont Women's Center, a faculty practice office. In 2004, she completed a second residency in medical genetics at the same institution and since 2008 has served as the Director of Reproductive Genetics at Montefiore Medical Center. She is a board–certified obstetrician gynecologist and a board certified geneticist. She is also an Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Women's Health at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and is a member of the Faculty Senate and the Admissions Committee. She has given lectures to many Jewish organizations over the past two decades on various topics pertaining to women's health.

 
 

chani wiesmanChani Wiesman, MS, CGC
Genetic Counselor
Montefiore Medical Center 

Chani received her BA degree in Biology from CUNY-Queens College in 2007 and her MS degree in Genetic Counseling from Northwestern University in 2009. Chani currently is a genetic counselor at Montefiore Medical Center where she specializes in reproductive and cancer genetics. Prior to joining Montefiore, Chani served as a genetic counselor at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, specializing in reproductive and pediatric genetics as well as working closely with Columbia's Cystic Fibrosis Center. Chani presents frequently in the Jewish community about Jewish genetic diseases, carrier testing and available family planning options for carrier couples.

 
 

Estie RoseEstie Rose, MS, CGC
Genetic Counselor
Montefiore Medical Center 

Estie received her undergraduate degree in Biology in 2007 from Stern College for Women of Yeshiva University. She was an active member of the Medical Ethics Society, focusing her interests in Jewish genetic screening programs for Yeshiva undergrad students. She received her MS in Genetic Counseling in 2009 from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Estie is currently a genetic counselor and Instructor for Montefiore Medical Center, where she specializes in reproductive and cancer genetics. She is also involved in community outreach and educational programs for people seeking Jewish genetic screening.

 
 
 

harry liemanHarry Lieman, MD
Liaison for Fertility and Reproductive Technologies
Montefiore Medical Center 

Harry received his medical degree in 1990 from SUNY- Downstate, Brooklyn. He completed a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center. He then pursued subspecialty training in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (REI) at UMDNJ- New Jersey Medical School. Once he completed his fellowship in 1996, he returned to Einstein and Montefiore Medical Center. Dr. Lieman is currently an Associate Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology and Women's Health at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and is the Interim Director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility.  His clinical interests cover the full gamut of the field with particular expertise in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) as well as in vitrofertilization (IVF). Dr. Lieman is currently the chairmen of the Reproductive Bioethics Committee that meets monthly at the medical school. He is also serves on the medical advisory board of the PUAH Institute in Jerusalem, Israel. With this background, he has had the opportunity to present at national and international meetings regarding the interface of fertility treatments, ethics and Jewish Law.  His practice is based in Hartsdale, NY. He is the medical director of Montefiore's Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Health which is also the location of the IVF center. 

 
 

harry ostrerHarry Ostrer, MD
Liaison for Research and Development in Genetics and Genomics
Montefiore Medical Center
Albert Einstein College of Medicine 

Harry is Professor of Pathology, Genetics and Pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Director of Genetic and Genomic Testing at Montefiore Medical Center. He is a long-time investigator of the genetics of the Jewish people. For over 30 years, he has studied the genetic basis of single-gene disorders in Jewish populations and implemented new genetic tests and screening programs to benefit Jewish people. In 2007, he organized the Jewish HapMap Project, an international effort to map and sequence the genomes of Jewish people. In a series of publications about Abraham's Children in the Genome Era, Dr. Ostrer and his team of investigators demonstrated that the history of the Jewish Diasporas could be seen in the genomes of contemporary Jewish people—an observation that gained worldwide recognition. In October, 2010, he was named to the Forward 50 list of "people who have made an imprint in the past year on the ways in which American Jews view the world and relate to each other."  

 
 

Adam ZimiloverAdam Zimilover
Study Coordinator
Albert Einstein College of Medicine  

Adam received his BA in Biology and Political Science from Yeshiva University in 2014. While in school, Adam worked as a research assistant at Columbia University Medical Center in the department of Medical Oncology, conducting research on genetic variations in malignant mesothelioma. One of his personal and professional hobbies is graphic design. He is currently serving as the study coordinator for the PJGH and is interested in pursuing a career in public health medicine.

 
 
 

bruce landerBruce Lander
Executive Director
Yeshiva University  

Bruce received a BA degree from the State University of New York College at Oswego, followed by an MA degree in Business Communications from Emerson College. Before joining Yeshiva, Bruce most recently spent ten years at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York, serving in both public relations and fundraising roles.

 
 
 

Susan GrossSusan Gross, MD
Founding Director
Albert Einstein College of Medicine  

Susan received her medical degree from University of Toronto in 1985. She then completed a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology followed by a Maternal Fetal Medicine fellowship at the same institution. Following this training, she completed a second residency in Medical Genetics at the University of Tennessee, Memphis. In 1994, she became a faculty member at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (Einstein), Bronx, NY and in 1998, became Director of the Division of Reproductive Genetics in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Women's Health. Susan currently is the Chief Medical Officer for prenatal testing company Natera, and is a Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology and Women's Health and Clinical Pediatrics at Einstein. Susan is a Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Medical Genetics and the Royal College of Surgeons (Canada). 

 
 

Contact Us

Clinical Concerns/Questions

Contact: Estie Rose or Chani Wiesman
Certified Genetic Counselors
 

Tel: 718.430.4156
Email: jewishgenetichealth@yu.edu
 

 

Programmatic Inquiries/Donor Opportunities

Contact: Bruce Lander
Executive Director
 

Tel: 212.960.5279
Email: blander@yu.edu
 

 

Medical/Scientific Advisory Committee

Edward R. Burns, MD
Executive Dean 
Professor of Medicine and Pathology
Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University
Montefiore Medical Center

Siobhan Dolan, MD, MPH
Professor of Clinical Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women's Health
Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University
Montefiore Medical Center

Mark H. Einstein, MD, MS, FACOG, FACS
Professor and Vice Chair for Research,
Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women’s Health
Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University
Albert Einstein Cancer Center
Montefiore Medical Center

Gary L. Goldberg, MD
Vice Chair, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women's Health
Director of Gynecologic Oncology
Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University
Montefiore Medical Center

Tamar Goldwaser, MD, FACMG, FACOG
Assistant Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women's Health
Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University
Montefiore Medical Center

Robert W. Marion, MD
Chief, Division of Genetics, Department of Pediatrics
Director, Rose F. Kennedy University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities
Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University
Children's Hospital at Montefiore

Nadine T. Katz, MD
Medical Director Einstein Campus
Vice President Montefiore Medical Center
Professor of Clinical Ob-Gyn and Women's Health
Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University
Montefiore Medical Center

Gila Leiter, MD, FACOG
Associate Clinical Professor, Icahn School of Medicine 
Attending Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences
Mount Sinai Hospital

Irwin R. Merkatz, MD
The Chella & Moise Safra Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women's Health
University Chair of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women's Health
Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University
Montefiore Medical Center

Bernice E. Morrow, PhD
Director of Translational Genetics
Professor of Genetics, of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women's Health and of Pediatrics
Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University

Rabbi Edward Reichman, MD
Professor of Clinical Emergency Medicine
Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University
Montefiore Medical Center

Rabbi David Shabtai, MD
Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought at Yeshiva University

Gay S. Sachs, MS
Senior Genetic counselor 
Montefiore Medical Center, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Women's Health (retired)

Myrna Ben-Yishay, MS
Senior Genetic Counselor
Montefiore Medical Center, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Women's Health (retired)

Jan Vijg, PhD
Professor and Chairman Department of Genetics
Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University

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