Staff

Pamela Flores, MBA
Administrator

FLORES, Pamela MBA

Pamela Flores is the Administrator at the Gerald J. Friedman Diabetes Institute and Sr. Administrative Manager for the 59th Street Northwell Health Physician Partners Medicine Practices. Pamela holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration & Healthcare from Monroe College in New York. In her role, Pamela oversees the operations of three medicine divisions including the Friedman diabetes and transgender programs. Under the direction of Dr. Leonid Poretsky, Division Chief of Endocrinology and Program Director of The Friedman Diabetes Institute, she has successfully established and continues to manage what is today one of the top multidisciplinary diabetes education and treatment programs in the country.

“It is a true honor to service alongside an amazing team of individuals whose main focus is to service the public with love and compassion”. “The Gerald J. Friedman Diabetes Institute is the heart of diabetes care and I am proud to be part of its leadership team”

Edward Merker, MD
Staff Endocrinologist

Luisa F. González Ballesteros, MD
Pediatric Endocrinologist

Agustin Busta, MD
Clinical Assistant Director

BUSTA, AGUSTIN MD

Dr. Agustin Busta received his medical doctor degree from the Federico Villareal National University in Lima, Peru. He completed internal medicine residency training at New York Medical College—Cabrini Medical Center, and a fellowship in endocrinology and metabolism at New York University Medical Center. He is board certified in internal medicine and in endocrinology and metabolism. He was a faculty member at Bellevue and NYU Langone Medical Center and also served at Beth Israel Medical Center as the director of diabetes section and clinical trials unit. At Beth Israel he was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor of Medicine. In 2017 he joined the Northwell Health Physician Partners – Endocrinology at Lenox Hill Hospital as the Assistant Director of the Gerald J. Friedman Diabetes Institute. Dr. Busta has been a practicing endocrinologist for over 25 years with focus on diabetes in pregnancy and type 1 and type 2 diabetes. He also has expertise in adrenal, pituitary, thyroid and parathyroid disorders. He is a dedicated clinician and educator, with published manuscripts and book chapters, and is well respected in the endocrine community.


PUBLICATIONS

Peer Reviewed Original Contributions

Yubero-Serrano EM, Woodward M, Poretsky L. Vlassara H, Striker GE, AGE-Less Study Group. Effects of sevelamer carbonate on advanced glycation endproducts and anti-oxidant/pro-oxidant status in patients with diabetes kidney disease. Clinical Journal Am Society Nephrology, 10(5): 59-66, 2015.

Pittas AG, Dawson-Hughes B, Sheehan P, Rosen C, Ware JH, Knowler WC, Staten M, The D2d Research Group. Rationale and design of the vitamin D and type 2 diabetes (D2d) Study: A diabetes prevention study. Diabetes Care. 37:3227-3234, 2014.

Ali M, Seth AK, Busta A. A needs to assay proinsulin in all suspected cases of insulinoma: A case report. IJSER, Vol.3, Issue 9, 2012.

Abelev Z, Seth A, Patel R, Goldstein S, Bogun M, Paliou M, Schlosser J, Homel P, Busta A, Seto-Young D, Tranbaugh R, Poretsky L. Continuous Insulin Infusion (CII) is associated with a reduced post-surgical length of stay (LOS), but not the complication rate, in patients with diabetes mellitus (DM) undergoing Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG). J Endocr Invest, 34:770-774, 2011.

Alfonso B, Liao EP, Busta A, Poretsky L. The role of vitamin D in diabetes mellitus—a new field of knowledge poised for D-velopment. Diabetes/Metabolism Research and Reviews 25:417-419, 2009.

Book Chapters

Busta A, Franco-Akel A. Diabetes in Pregnancy. In “Principles of Diabetes Mellitus,” pp 293-310 ,3rd Edition, L. Poretesky, Ed., Springer, New York, 2017.

Liao E, Busta A, Pareek A, Poretsky L. New approach to preventing and treating diabetes mellitus: Focus on advanced glycation end products (AGE). In: “Frontiers in clinical drug research-diabetes and obesity”, Atta-Ur-Rahman, FRS, Ed. Bentham Science, The Netherlands, 2014.

Alfonso B, Poretsky L, Busta A. Role of Vitamin D in the pathogenesis and therapy of type 1 diabetes mellitus. In: “Type 1 Diabetes/Book 3”, CP Liu, Ed., InTech Open Access Publisher, Rijeka, Croatia, 2011.

Schneider A, Rayfield E, Busta A, Gurevich Y. Diabetes in Pregnancy. In: Principles of Diabetes Mellitus Book. Poretsky L, Ed. Springer, New York, 2010.

Abstracts

Albu JB, Busta A, Dunn M, Green A, Gurunathan R; Johansson E, Jones J, Pal A, Privman V, Husk G. “Setting up a standardized program for the management of inpatient hyperglycemia, non-critical care”. Poster presented November 6, 2008 at GNYHA Quality Symposium entitled “Changing Behavior: Sustainable Delivery of Quality Care”.

Abelev Z, Seth A, Patel RR, Goldstein S, Bogun MM, Homel P, Busta A, Poretsky L. Intravenous insulin infusion (III), 24 hr postoperative capillary blood glucose (CBG) and patient age affect post-surgical length of stay (LOS) and complications in patients with diabetes mellitus (DM undergoing coronary artery bypass graft (CABG). 69th Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association, Abstract 692-P, New Orleans, LA, June 5-9, 2009.

Yen YH, Tsai TT, Busta A, Huarachi L. Thyrotoxic hypokalemic periodic paralysis in a young Asian-American presented with chronic lower leg ulcer. 91st Annual Meeting of the Endocrine Society, Abstract P1-532, Washington, DC, June 10-13, 2009.

Strizhevsky M, Parikh G, Soto-Barreto D, Wenig B, Busta A. Nesidioblastosis after gastric bypass surgery in a patients with panhypopituitarism. 91st Annual Meeting of the Endocrine Society, Abstract P1-140, Washington, DC, June 10-13, 2009.

Romero C, Busta A. Severe Vitamin D Deficiency in a patient with carcinoid syndrome. 91st Annual Meeting of the Endocrine Society, Abstract P1-142, Washington, DC, June 10-13, 2009.

Romero C, Busta A. Severe Vitamin Deficiency in a patient with carcinoid syndrome. New York Chapter ACP Scientific Meeting, New York, NY, May 30, 2009.

Kothari H, Jammula A, Huang A, Busta A. Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome (APS) presenting as bilateral adrenal hemorrhage. Poster presentation, New York American College of Physician NYACP, New York, NY, May 30, 2009.

Araki T, Alfonso B, Busta A. Non-Insulinoma Pancreatogenous Hypoglycemic Syndrome after Gastric Bypass Surgery (No.71146, P2-12-5), 14th International Congress of Endocrinology, Kyoto, Japan, March 2010.

Parikh G, Busta A. Interesting case of multiple endocrine neoplasia men (2A) with marfanoid habitus and multiple autoimmune disorders. 19th Annual Meeting and Clinical Congress of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, Abstract #708, Boston, MA, April 21-25, 2010.

Vaz CL, Marentis T, Moraitis A, Busta A. Subclinical Cushing’s Syndrome in adrenal incidentaloma. 2010 Clinical Vignette and Research Competition for Associate Abstracts, American College of Physicians, Toronto, Canada, April 22-24, 2010.

Alfonso B, Araki T, Needleman N, Busta A. Hypermagnesemia—induced hypocalcemia and the effects on parathyroid hormone: Case report and literature review. 93rd Annual Meeting of the Endocrine Society, Abstract P3-100 , Boston, MA, June 4-7, 2011.

Alfonso B, Bier R, Araki T, Busta A. A patient with Kallmann Syndrome and a rare craniofacial defect. 93rd Annual Meeting of the Endocrine Society, Abstract P3-225 , Boston, MA, June 4-7, 2011.

Seth A, Needleman N, Busta A. A rare case of rapid growth of a Rathke’s cleft cyst in an adult patient. 93rd Annual Meeting of the Endocrine Society, Abstract P1-441 , Boston, MA, June 4-7-2011.

Feng Y, Busta A. Autoimmune thyroiditis, autoimmune hepatitis, rheumatoid arthritis and foregut carcinoid—a case report. 93rd Annual Meeting of the Endocrine Society, Abstract P3-756, Boston, MA, June 4-7, 2011.

Romero CM, Needleman N, Busta A. Transient Recurrent Hemiparesis as a Presentation of hypoglycemia in a Patient with Insulinoma. – Poster presentation: Guided Audio Poster Tour, AACE 21st Annual Scientific and Clinical Congress, Philadelphia, PA, May 24-28, 2012.

Romero CM, Needleman N, Busta A. An Unusual Case of Autoimmune Polyglandular Syndrome (APS) II Presenting with Neurological Symptoms and Hypoglycemia due to Adrenal Insufficiency. Poster presentation, AACE 21st Annual Scientific and Clinical Congress, Philadelphia, PA, May 24-28, 2012.

Pareek A, Chavez-Keatts M, Busta A, Severe Thyroid Associated Ophthalmopathy in an Euthyroid AIDS Patient. 94th Annual Meeting of the Endocrine Society, Abstract 851793, Houston, Texas, June 23-26, 2012.

Romero C, Sonmez H, Seth AK, Busta A. Successful pregnancy of a patient with Cushing’s syndrome after removal of an adrenal macroadenoma associated with an ACTH secreting pituitary adenoma. 95th Annual Meeting of the Endocrine Society, Abstract MON-14, San Francisco, CA, June 15-18, 2013.

Lin YK, Chen Z, Pareek A, Busta A. To describe a case of post-surgical bilateral adrenal hemorrhage (AH). 95th Annual Meeting of the Endocrine Society, Abstract SUN-12, San Francisco, CA, June 15-18, 2013.

Striker GE, Yubero-Serrano EM, Swamy S, Elliot SH, Cai W, Chen X, McKee E, Kalaj A, Kruckelman F, Tirri L, Mantha K, Rayfield EJ, Uribarri J, Harbord N, Tamler R, Parikh G, Busta A, Poretsky L, Woodward M, Vlassara H. Reversal of suppressed estrogen receptor  and anti-oxidant levels: Possible benefits for cardiovascular disease (CVD) in diabetic kidney disease (DKD). 73rd Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association, Abstract 80-LB, Chicago, IL, June 21-25, 2013.

Sonmez H, Ong E, Busta A. Graves’ disease following Hashimoto’s thyroiditis: A case report. Poster presentation, AACE 23rd Annual Scientific and Clinical Congress, Abstract FRI-1169, Las Vegas, NV, May 14-18, 2014.

Chen ZJ, Busta A. Malignant insulinoma presenting with neurological deficits and seizures. A case report. Poster presentation, AACE 23rd Annual Scientific and Clinical Congress, Abstract #810, Las Vegas, NV, May 14-18, 2014.

Busta A, Poretsky L, Yubero-Serrano E, Woodward M, Vlassara H, Striker GE. The effect of Sevelamer on oxidant stress and albuminuria in patients with type 2 diabetes and kidney disease: A randomized, controlled study. 7th Annual Friedman Fellows Symposium at the 74th Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association, San Francisco, CA, June 13-17, 2014.

Sanchez JG, Patel R, Busta A. The importance of localization: Persistent hyperparathyroidism from unsuspected ectopic parathyroid gland, 96th Annual Meeting of the Endocrine Society, Abstract SUN-0224, Chicago, IL, June 21-24, 2014.

Ong E, Sonmez H, Busta A. Synchronous occurrence of differentiated thyroid carcinoma and medullary thyroid carcinoma in a patient presenting with subacute thyroiditis. 96th Annual Meeting of the Endocrine Society, Abstract MON-0506, Chicago, IL, June 21-24, 2014.

Sinha N, Sonmez H, Ong E, Busta A. Severe hypertriglyceridemia (HTG) as proposed culprit for diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) in a patient with type 2 diabetes mellitus. 97th Annual Endocrine Society Meeting, Abstract 20722, San Diego, CA, March 5-8, 2015.

Sinha N, Sonmez H, Ong EC, Franco-Akel A, Busta A. Severe hypertriglyceridemia (HTG) as proposed culprit for diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) in a patient with type 2 diabetes mellitus. 97th Annual Endocrine Society Meeting, Abstract, San Diego, CA, March 4-8, 2015.

Ong EC, Sonmez H, Busta A, Gouller, A. Cushing’s syndrome initially presenting as pulmonary embolism. AACE 24th Annual Scientific and Clinical Congress, Abstract, Nashville, TN, May 13-17, 2015.

Yung L, Sinha N, Sanchez JG, Busta A. Hoffman’s Syndrome: A Rare Case of Hypothyroid Myopathy. Poster presented at: American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) Annual Meeting; Orlando, FL, May 25-29, 2016.

Sanchez J, Munshi LB, Busta A. New Onset Carcinoid Syndrome after initiation of a Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor in a Patient with Pellagra. Poster presented at American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) Annual Meeting, Austin, Texas, May 3-7, 2017.

Sun S, Munshi LB, Sanchez JG, Busta A. Disseminated Nocardia veterana in metastatic adrenocortical carcinoma. Poster presented at American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) Annual Meeting, Austin, Texas, May 3-7, 2017.

Newaz T, Lahoutiharahdashti A, Anderson T, Busta A. Thyroid Cancer and Lymphoma: From One to Three to Two. Poster presented at 101st Endocrine Society Meeting, New Orleans, LA, March 23-26, 2019.

Bhalodkar A, Busta A. Unplanned Pregnancy Post Thyroid RAI ablation. Endo Society 2020 – Accepted Abstract. Supplemental April-May issue of the Journal of the Endocrine Society.

Murthi, S., Arena, J., Newman, E., Busta, A., “A Functional Adrenocortical Oncocytoma – A Case Report” – Presented at AACE, May 2020, Washington DC, USA.

Murthi, S., Busta, A., “ACTH Associated Hypercortisolism and Hypercoagulability – A Case Report” – Presented at AACE, May 2020, Washington DC, USA.

Bhalodkar A, Sajan A, Busta A. Unilateral Adrenal Adenoma with bilateral adrenal hyperplasia. AACE 2020 – Accepted Abstract. AACE’s Journal, Endocrine Practice.

Marina Krymskaya, NP
Assistant Director

KRYMSKAYA, Marina ANP, CDE

Marina Krymskaya is an Assistant Director of the Gerald J. Friedman Diabetes Institute in the Department of Medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital. She is a Board Certified Adult Nurse Practitioner, and Certified Diabetes Educator. Marina obtained her undergraduate degree from Molloy College, and her graduate degree from Hunter College in New York. At work, Marina progressed from Staff Nurse to Diabetes Educator, Research Coordinator, Assistant Director. Mrs. Krymskaya is an author of the chapter on the resources for people with diabetes in the “Principles of Diabetes Mellitus” textbook. She has been co-investigator and coordinator of various research studies, and provided multiple presentations, including ones for ADA, and New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Marina Krymskaya is a recipient of OTTY Award.

Natalie Morrow, LCSW
Social Worker

MORROW, Natalie LCSW

Natalie Morrow, LCSW is the practice social worker in the department of medicine for the Gerald J. Friedman Diabetes Institute, the Gerald J. Friedman Transgender Health and Wellness Program and the endocrinology division at Lenox Hill Hospital. She is a licensed clinical social worker who received her master’s degree in social work from New York University and continued her education with a two year training program at New York Psychoanalytic Institute in psychodynamic psychotherapy. Prior to getting her masters, Natalie attended a two year program at the East West Institute for Holistic Health studying alternative approaches for treating the mind, body and spirit. She has spent the bulk of her career as a medical social worker, beginning as a hospice social worker and moving on to work with those with chronic illnesses. Throughout her career Natalie has continued to study diverse philosophies and teachings and over the years has developed a deep understanding of what patients and their families go through. It is her goal to provide support and assistance with empathy and compassion so individuals may work towards living their best lives.

Dimiter Avtanski, PhD
Director,
Research Laboratory

Jessica Zinn, MS, RD, CDN
Practice Dietitian Nutritionist

ZINN, Jessica RD

Jessica Zinn is a board-certified Registered Dietitian. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition from Syracuse University then went on to get her Master’s Degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University. As a Registered Dietitian, Jessica has worked in a variety of inpatient and outpatient settings, as well as telemedicine, including Upper East Side Rehabilitation and Nursing Home and Nutrition Energy, a private practice based in NYC. Jessica’s mission is to provide individualized medical nutrition counseling to help each and every client realistically and tastefully reach their nutrition and health goals. Jessica is passionate about ensuring that each client is eating foods that they love while balancing nutrition and medical conditions so that they are truly able to enjoy life. Jessica lives in New York and loves to go for walks in central park, take fitness classes, and create new recipes for her friends and family.

Dorina Kordunova, MS, RD, CDN
Practice Dietitian Nutritionist

KORDUNOVA, Dorina

Dorina Kordunova is a registered dietitian with a Master’s degree in nutritional sciences,
as well as a certified diabetes care and education specialist. She first gained experience as
an inpatient dietitian providing nutrition care to patients with a variety of medical
conditions including disorders of immune, endocrine, renal, cardiac, and gastrointestinal
systems, as well as being involved in various projects such as developing the nutrition
component of a new multiple sclerosis wellness project. She then worked as an outpatient
dietitian treating adult and pediatric patients with cystic fibrosis, as well as adults with
endocrine and kidney disorders. She transitioned into her new role when the cystic
fibrosis team moved their clinic to Northwell Health, and now splits her time between
there and the Friedman Diabetes Institute. Prior to becoming a dietitian, she was involved
in research, mostly on obesity, which she still continues to enjoy doing. Dorina brings a
wealth of experience and knowledge about medical nutrition therapy and strategies to
improve and maintain overall nutritional health for various patient populations. She is
passionate about applying an integrative approach to health and nutrition, and optimizing
quality of life for all patients by providing individualized and compassionate care.

Conrad Sanchez
Exercise Consultant

SANCHEZ, Conrad Exercise Consultant

After a few years of working in finance, I switched careers because I have experienced first-hand, and through others, the multitude of physical, mental, and spiritual benefits that a progressive, well-designed training program can offer. I collaborate with individuals looking to make healthy lifestyle changes, and provide them with the necessary tools and guidance to obtain their fitness goals. In my childhood, I enjoyed playing sports, especially basketball, inspired by my father who was a professional basketball player. I knew then that sports would always be part of my life, and as I grew older I became drawn to the union of athleticism and health. This, in combination with my penchant for helping others led me to my career path in personal training. After graduating in the top 5% of my class at the American Academy of Personal Training in New York City, I took my first job at a high-end gym. I then had the opportunity to work with top industry leaders and gained a wealth of knowledge and expertise. Today, in stark contrast to my days in finance, every morning I wake up excited to work with a broad spectrum of enthusiastic and motivated individuals seeking fitness training in a number of different areas. My personal philosophy is to do what you love and to always be learning. I continue to learn by attending as many seminars, conferences and fitness workshops as possible. Furthermore, I have a Master’s degree in Kinesiology from the A. T. Still University. I am fluent in Spanish, French, English, and German, as well as a little Basque.

Marilyn Jefferson, MBA
Fellowship Program Coordinator

JEFFERSON, Marilyn Yadira MBA

Marilyn Yadira Jefferson is the Friedman Fellowship Coordinator at Lenox Hill Hospital. In this role she provides administrative and logistical support for all aspects of the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman foundation. In preparation for the annual symposium, Marilyn is tasked with drafting and completing the event brochure; maintaining fellows and faculty rosters; collecting poster presentations to be featured on the website; updating the eLibrary. She works closely with other institutions which participate in the Friedman Fellows program.

Sandra Miranda
Billing Practice Associate

MIRANDA, Sandra

Sandra Miranda is the Billing Practice Associate for the Gerald J. Friedman Diabetes Institute. She joined the Northwell Health Physician Partners’ team at Lenox Hill Hospital in July 2015. Under her role she is responsible for the daily overall billing duties at the Endocrinology division, including correction/adjustments of patient billing at the Friedman Diabetes Institute. Sandra is a loving and kind associate who prides herself in helping others.

Karina Ziskovich, BBA, CCRC
Senior Clinical Research Coordinator

ZISKOVICH, Karina

Since July of 2016, I have been working as a Clinical Research Coordinator for the division of endocrinology at Northwell Health Physician Partners at 59th Street. My current projects include an NIH trial and several pharmaceutical trials. Prior to joining Northwell Health, I had been working in the administrative sector at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center for about 8 years. I was excited to switch gears and embark on a different role as a Clinical Research Coordinator for the D2d study at Lenox Hill Hospital. The D2d study investigates whether Vitamin D slows the progression to diabetes for patients who have prediabetes. Every day has been a learning experience for me and I enjoy advancing my skills in clinical research and am grateful for the opportunity to work with the Friedman Diabetes Institute staff. I regard the Friedman Diabetes Institute team as a wonderful team of healthcare professionals and am truly happy to work and learn from them on a daily basis. I genuinely enjoy interacting with patients and in my experience found that exhibiting enthusiasm and concern for each patient is the key to succeeding in the challenging tasks of clinical research recruitment and retention. I consider myself a dependable individual who is respectful and caring towards others. I hold a BBA degree from Pace University in Management Information Systems.

Radoslav Stojchevski, MSc
Research Associate

STOJCHEVSKI, Radoslav MSc

Radoslav Stojchevski is a Research Associate at the Endocrine Research Laboratory at Gerald J. Friedman Diabetes Institute of Lenox Hill Hospital. He is also an Assistant Investigator in the Institute of Molecular Medicine at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell. His formal education was completed in the Republic of Macedonia, where he obtained a BSc degree in Biology at the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and a MSc degree in Biochemistry and Physiology at the University of Skopje, Macedonia, in collaboration with the Friedman Diabetes Institute.

Mr. Stojchevski’s primary area of research revolves around the interactions among obesity, diabetes, cancer, and reproduction. Currently, his research is also focused on the role of various polyphenols, with a particular emphasis on monocarbonyl curcumin analogs, in diabetes and cancer. Additionally, his research extends to examining the effects of irisin, a recently discovered hormone, within the reproductive system. He is also exploring the effects of gender-affirming hormone therapy on energy metabolism in transgender individuals. Mr. Stojchevski serves as a research mentor for rotating students and fellows from Lenox Hill Hospital, Hofstra University, and the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research.