Skip to Content
Learn what the PACT Act means for your VA benefits

Syracuse VA Medical Center Honors SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry


September 13, 2022

Syracuse , NY — Ceremony was held on Tuesday, September 13, 2022 at the Medical Center

Syracuse VA Medical Center presented a Certificate of Appreciation to the President Joanie Mahoney and faculty of the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) on Tuesday September 13, 2022 at 9 a.m. in recognition of 10 years of outstanding support and partnership with the Syracuse VA Medical Center as part of the Veteran Therapeutic Horticulture Roof Garden program.


The Roof Garden transformed an outdoor space over the Medical Center’s Regional Spinal Cord Disorder Center into a welcoming gathering space for Veteran patients and family members.  For the past decade faculty, ESF faculty and students have donated their time and expertise to help patients grow and maintain their own, mainly vegetable, gardens.  The program began under the direction of ESF Associate Professor and Chair of Chemistry Dr. Lee Newman.


“The program provides a relaxing, natural space for our patients from the routine of their medical care and is particularly popular with patients in our Community Living Center who reside here in the hospital, and we are very appreciative of the ESF faculty. students and staff who have made this possible,” said Dr. Frank Pearson Syracuse VA Medical Center Director.


“The development of the program brought more benefits than we could have imagined. We have Veterans who are up here with us weekly, planting and caring for the plants, and others who come up just to enjoy being around the plants. We see hospital staff members coming up to have lunch or walk around, look at the plants, ask us questions, and become excited by learning about the plants. We also see how this benefits the students who have participated in the program, how they interact with the patients, and how it motivates them,” said Dr. Newman.


“We have had students who moved on to medical school, nursing programs, physician assistant programs benefit from the experience here, as well as students who are environment and plant focused, who were able to interact with the Veterans and teach them about the plants we are growing. Sometimes it as simple as a conversation over a planting bed, making the day a little better for both students and Veterans.”

See all news releases