The Stony Brook University community is saddened by the death of Carlos Vidal, PhD, Interim Dean of the Stony Brook University School of Health Technology and Management. He was 72 years old.
Strongly Committed to Stony Brook
A two-time Stony Brook alumnus, Dr. Vidal was deeply committed to his alma mater. He earned his bachelor’s degree in social welfare in 1976 and his Master of Social Work from Stony Brook University. He received his Doctor of Social Work and PhD degrees from the Graduate School of Social Services at Fordham University, specializing in child welfare research.
Dr. Vidal first joined the Stony Brook University School of Social Welfare faculty in 1978, and rose through the academic ranks of the School, eventually entering the dean’s office as Associate Dean for External Affairs and Development. He then moved to the School of Health Technology and Management as Associate Dean for Community Engagement and Development, and then as Associate Dean of Operations.
Dr. Vidal also held a faculty appointment as Associate Professor in the Department of Africana Studies and was an Affiliate Associate Professor in the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Center at Stony Brook University.
In January 2018, Dr. Vidal stepped forward as Interim Dean of the School of Health Technology and Management following Craig Lehman.
“Losing Carlos is a truly significant loss to Stony Brook University,” said Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD, President, Stony Brook University. “He made extraordinary contributions through his work in the community, through his research that looked into today’s most significant social and cultural issues; and in his work with our students and alumni-turned-faculty, all of which will leave a lasting and indelible impact on the SBU campus community, the community at large and the region we serve. My thoughts are with his family; he will be missed.”
“Carlos Vidal was a truly generous, giving individual who was always looking to bring people together to move us forward. He thoroughly embraced the missions of the School, and very much wanted what was best for all its students, alumni, faculty and the myriad of patients who are and will be impacted by the School and its graduates,” said Kenneth Kaushansky, MD, Senior Vice President, Health Sciences, and Dean, Renaissance School of Medicine. “Clearly, Carlos left us before his time, although his influence will be felt for classes of School of Health Technology and Management students and alumni for years to come.”
Dr. Vidal’s Impact at Stony Brook
Throughout his career, Dr. Vidal was steadfastly committed to the importance of community engagement and involvement, leading to his founding of the Center of Community Engagement and Leadership Development five years ago, where he served as Associate Dean. He initiated groundbreaking community-based work, such as the multi-location academic readiness program and a distracted-driving awareness curriculum, which remains active, and he was instrumental in starting the Stony Brook University food pantry, which was one of the first in the country to provide food items for food-insecure students, staff and faculty on a University campus.
In 2009, Dr. Vidal launched the Health Careers Academic Readiness and Excellence (HCARE) Summer Program, to provide educational programs for high school students in preparation for college and healthcare careers. Since its beginning, HCARE has provided educational programs for 3,000 Suffolk County high school students, a very high percentage of whom matriculate into college.
Dr. Vidal was also dedicated to reducing healthcare disparities on Long Island, serving as Director of the Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP), a federally funded program aimed at creating a more diverse and competitive applicant pool of underrepresented students in grades 7 to 12, as well as adults wishing to pursue careers in the allied health professions.
This program ultimately led to the creation of the HCARE program, which maintained the momentum initiated under HCOP in the Amityville, Brentwood, William Floyd and Wyandanch school districts. It served as a role model and pipeline for the Long Island community to Stony Brook University’s health science schools: Dental Medicine, Health Technology and Management, Medicine, Nursing and Social Welfare.
Dr. Vidal was passionate about conducting community and community-based participatory research in the areas of child welfare; health and mental health issues among Hispanic children; violence in schools, sports and communities; cultural competency education and training; anger and conflict management; and the Hispanic family. He served as the first Chairperson of the Suffolk County Hispanic Advisory Board and as a cultural advisor on projects related to Latinos and Native Americans.
Dr. Vidal recently lost his wife to cancer and is survived by his son and two daughters.
Remembrances from Colleagues
“Dr. Vidal was generous in both his time and his mentoring. He kept an open door to all that needed his advice and never looked to take credit. He was a mentor in all senses of the word. Dr. Vidal was very engaged in community affairs and was always looking to find a way to offer programs that would provide a meaningful impact to all involved.”
Eric Lamberg, Interim Associate Dean, School of Health Technology and Management
“Dr. Vidal was a mentor, confidant and gentleman. He was an advocate for communities and he was a beacon of light. He stood strong and tall through many adversities, but he always seems to have a smile and good sense of humor. Carlos would often say, ‘Relationships are primary; everything else is derivative.’”
Lisa Johnson, Chair of Respiratory Care
“The Hispanic community has taken a tremendous loss of someone who always cared enough to try to make a difference. He truly was a great man in our eyes, who did all he could to make Stony Brook a shining example of what an Institution and School should be. Over my 35 years at Stony Brook, we worked on a multitude of projects, many of which I am sure his CV does not define, but these projects made tremendous impact. As Hispanic Heritage month is celebrating 30 years in 2019, we will make sure to honor his memory.”
Lynda Perdomo-Ayala, Administrative Head for the Department of Pharmacological Sciences, and a recipient of the Chancellor’s Awards for both Administrative Services and for Diversity and Affirmative Action
“Dean Vidal stepped in at a difficult time financially, both for the School and the University. In the short time that he led the School, he managed to implement new policies, make hard decisions, enhance the leadership team and began to bring the faculty and staff closer together, which allowed the School to turn the corner and get it ready for the next set of leaders.”
John Riley, Vice President for Health Sciences Administration and Finance