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Downstate Times

The Newsletter for SUNY Downstate
University Hospital of Brooklyn

Spotlight On: Dr. Kaiser Islam

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Dr. Kaiser Islam

When Downstate moved the Family Health Service Clinic from Throop Avenue to onsite at the UHB main campus, the clinic acquired a new name: The Annex. Located adjacent to the handicapped ramp at 470 Clarkson Avenue, The Annex is part of the division of Internal Medicine and was built with funding from a HEAL grant that Downstate received to enhance primary care.

Dr. Kaiser Islam, who has been with Downstate since 1994 when he started his residency here, is medical director of The Annex, and also of the Brooklyn Free Clinic, which has now moved to the Family Health Services site at Lefferts Avenue.

Downstate Times recently sat down with Dr. Islam:

Why did you decide to practice at Downstate?
"I heard a lot of good things about Downstate and knew this was absolutely the right place for me. When I finished my residency, this was where I wanted to practice."

What's your field of specialty?
"I'm board certified in internal medicine and pediatrics, as is my colleague, Dr. Ernest Garnier, who also did his residency at Downstate and stayed here to practice. That means we can treat patients across a broad spectrum of life issues. We also know Downstate and our community extremely well, and that's also a benefit for patients."

What types of cases do you treat at The Annex?
"We see a broad variety of conditions here. Mostly primary care cases, but we can take care of lacerations and other semi-urgent conditions."

So you work hand-in-glove with the ER?
"We do see patients who come to us with emergent conditions. We will see them if it's appropriate, but we can send patients directly to the ER depending on their complaint. Our mission is the same as Downstate's: We will welcome and see anyone who comes to us, regardless of their ability to pay."

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Did moving here from Throop benefit the practice?
"Our patients are very attached to us, and roughly 90 percent of them followed us here. We have a good reputation in the community. For our patients, there is a big benefit to the clinic being on the main campus. When patients need services such as X-rays or lab tests, we can get them taken right away and at one location. Or if patients need to be seen by an expert, say in ophthalmology or dermatology, those experts are right here. So it's closer to the "one-stop shopping" concept that patients find attractive. And we have the residents here, who also see patients."

What's the difference between The Annex and Suite J?
"We're very similar. We are both part of Internal Medicine Associates. Here at The Annex, we do have a regular residents' clinic, which Suite J doesn't have. And they have specialists in gerontology, which we don't. But, again, we work collaboratively with each other."

Is there a difference between who The Annex sees and Family Medicine?
"We both provide primary care services in an academic setting. Because Dr. Garnier and myself are board certified in pediatrics, we provide primary care to both adults and children. Internal Medicine tends to be heavily involved with chronic disease management, though these services are also provided by Family Medicine. Family Medicine also provides screening and treatment for all patients over the age of 18 for depression, psychological counseling, couples counseling, obstetric care, women's health and home visits on our chronically ill patients. At The Annex, a good 15 percent of our patients get referred to us for follow-up after they have been an inpatient at UHB."

Because Downstate is an academic medical center, do you get involved in teaching and research?
"We have Resident Clinic on Wednesdays and Thursdays , and we also have third-year medical students who do rotations with us. We've been too busy to conduct our own research studies, but we do refer patients to ongoing clinical trials here at Downstate."

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Will The Annex be part of the medical home concept and other changes Downstate will be adapting under the Affordable Care Act?
"We already have in place a lot of elements that are critical to the medical home concept. We offer same-day appointments to patients who need them, and this is now factored into to a formal system of appointment setting. Patients don't even have to call The Annex, they can just contact the Call Center for an appointment. We're also on-call 24/7 – either through our answering service or the page operator. Patients can always reach us, even if it's 4:00 am in the morning."

Would you say that The Annex and Internal Medicine play a role in helping to bring down the number of patients inappropriately visiting the ER for primary care?
"I think we do. Our patients know that they can see us whenever they feel sick and we have broad expertise. We always fit them in. Patients should know that they don't always have to be seen in the ER. I would like to get the word out that The Annex can be a good alternative to the ER."

What should the staff know about The Annex?
"That we are here and open every day, except for weekends, and that we are open on Tuesday and Thursday evenings in a small intimate facility that is conveniently located. That we have excellent physicians who are board certified in several disciplines, and we go out of our way to be available to patients. And that we work closely with other Downstate resources, such as the Preventive Cardiology Clinic, to make sure that all of our patients get the best care.

"If you are looking for a new healthcare resource, please check us out!"


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