Dr. Alvin Goodman, 88

Fri, 04/07/2017 - 7:00am

Nephrologist Alvin I. Goodman, MD, distinguished Professor of Medicine at New York Medical College, passed away on March 29, 2017. Dr. Goodman was a long-time summer resident of Block Island and a driving force in the establishment of The Block Island Medical Center. He served in a number of volunteer capacities at the Center, including as an advisor to the community on medical issues since 1966 and to the board of directors since 1984. He also served as chairman of the Block Island Health Services (BIHS) Physician Advisory Committee from 1991 to 2011.

He was honored in 2011 by the Center’s Board of Directors for “helping to make the Block Island Medical Center a reality, assisting with the evaluation of new physician candidates, being available for consultations on confidential medical matters and promoting expanded partnership with major medical centers.”

Nancy Greenaway, former director of the BIHS, worked closely with Dr. Goodman. “I remember him as the eminent physician who argued lucidly and passionately for the construction of a modern medical facility on Block Island. He and Mary Donnelly, RN, made the case, medically speaking, for the creation of the Block Island Medical Center, which opened in 1989,” she recalls.

Dr. Goodman is survived by his brother Dr. Warren Goodman; his wife of 64 years Suzanna Goodman; and their five children, Nadine Goodman, Derek Goodman, Danielle Sayet, Leslie Monieson, and Reva Cotter; as well as 14 grandchildren, Jacinta Gonzalez, Andres Gonzalez, Israel Gonzalez, Shayna Goodman, Hannah Goodman, Chaim Goodman, Baruch Goodman, Janelle Kelso, Stephanie Isaia, Alex Isaia, Aaron Monieson, Sarie Monieson, Liam Cotter, Brianne Cotter, and a great grandchild, Milo Gonzalez. 

Dr. Goodman was born on July 12, 1929 in Brooklyn, New York. He completed his undergraduate degree at New York University, and then studied medicine at the University of Geneva Medical School. He completed a medical internship at Brooklyn Jewish Hospital and subsequently completed his residency in internal medicine and nephrology training at the Yale School of Medicine. Before settling at Westchester Medical Center, Dr. Goodman, a captain in the U.S. Army, spent time at the Medical Research Division of the Army Chemical Center investigating neuropharmacology of chemical warfare agents. Dr. Goodman dedicated his life to patients with chronic kidney insufficiency. He started the first dialysis center at Westchester Medical Center in 1963 and fought for Congressional approval of Medicaid-funded dialysis treatment. Dr. Goodman was a tireless advocate for the establishment of kidney dialysis centers to treat patients who would otherwise succumb to their disease. His career was further distinguished by his achievement as the founding chief of the Division of Nephrology at New York Medical College, and later the founder of the College’s Renal Research Institute, both of which continue to prosper today.

A doting grandfather and master of dinner table humor, Dr. Goodman loved to entertain. When on Block Island, he was known for indulging his love of life with loud opera music and a side of diet Sprite. Although he had a biting sense of humor, he was always ready to offer sage advice to those seeking help. Dr. Goodman and his wife, Suzanna, shared a love of exploring and traveled the world together. He was known to bring back interesting art and artifacts from his travels, creating an eclectic collection in his home.

Suzanna had introduced Dr. Goodman to Block Island. She first came to the island with her family in 1945 when she was 14 years old. The Goodmans bought their first home on Spring Street and later moved to a home they built on Cooneymus Road. They continued to expand the home to accommodate their fourteen grandchildren and established a home base on the West Side to create endless memories. An avid lover of nature, Dr. Goodman spent his summers living on Block Island with his family and donated land to the Block Island Conservancy to preserve the island’s natural beauty.

His loving family, dear friends, and the medical community reflect on Dr. Goodman’s remarkable life and achievements. He will remain in the hearts and minds of those whose lives he touched. We all join his wife, children, and grandchildren in sorrow now as we honor this remarkable physician and human being. He will be profoundly missed. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to the Block Island Medical Center, P.O. Box 919, New Shoreham, R.I. 02807 and the Block Island Conservancy, P.O. Box 84, 234 Weldon's Way, Block Island, R.I. 02807.