Sharon Brangman ’77 has a passion for the care of older members of our community. “I love patient care, that’s at the heart of everything I do,” she says. Local visioning organization Forging Our Community’s United Strength, or FOCUS Greater Syracuse, has taken note of Brangman’s commitment and is honoring her with a Wisdom Keeper Award this April.
“The award is an amazing recognition of my career and what I’ve worked so hard to do over the years, primarily to make sure our healthcare system is responsive to the needs of older adults,” Brangman says.
“The FOCUS Wisdom Keeper Award is presented to a citizen who has shown true leadership, continued caring and an understanding of the importance of the vision for future generations,” FOCUS Director of Communications Dee Klees says. She explains that the Wisdom Keeper Award is so named to reflect the teachings of the Onondaga Nation, namely their encouragement to protect and preserve communities for generations to come.
Brangman, a graduate of both Syracuse University’s biology department in 1977 and SUNY Upstate’s medical university in ’81, discovered her passion for geriatrics while in the Bronx with the National Health Service Corps. “I was working in a clinic and had a lot of older patients who were really focused on staying independent even though they had so many medical problems,” she says.
In the late 1980s, geriatrics was blossoming into a nationally recognized specialty and Brangman was on its leading edge. “It was all very new—that was part of the excitement because everyone was very enthusiastic and motivated to help make this new specialty effective,” Brangman says, referring to her fellowship in geriatrics with Montefiore Medical Center. Brangman was in the second class of fellows of that specialty.
After her training in New York City, Brangman moved back to central New York, with two small children in tow. “New York City wasn’t the best environment for little kids, and we knew Central New York was,” she explains. Since then, Brangman has been practicing medicine at her alma mater, SUNY Upstate. She is now a distinguished service professor and division chief of geriatric medicine. Additionally, Brangman directs the geriatric medicine fellowship program and the Central New York Alzheimer's Disease Assistance Center.
“Dr. Brangman is a shining star in our community who has helped so many people through her work and community involvement. She is known nationally for her expertise in geriatrics and is known locally as a warm-hearted educator and physician who has helped patients, their families and their caregivers lead fuller, healthier lives as they deal with the reality of aging,” Klees says.
FOCUS Greater Syracuse is a nonprofit visioning organization that works to implement citizen-identified goals to strengthen the Syracuse community. In 1998, the input of over 4,000 locals identified 87 main goals for the area. Goals range from topics of economic improvement, to health care, to arts and tourism.
The Wisdom Keeper Award ceremony will be held on April 6 at the OnCenter’s grand ballroom in downtown Syracuse. Tickets can be purchased here.