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SUNY Downstate Medical Center

Division of Infectious Diseases

About the Division

A message from our Division Chief, Dr. Michael Augenbraun

Among all the causes of suffering and death the infectious causes loom large in our collective imaginations and experiences. They vary widely in their origins, in their pathology and in their treatment. The physicians who focus their life's work on the study and care of those with infectious diseases must therefore be many things: chemists, microbiologists, public health authorities, historians, teachers, pharmacists, patient advocates etc. They are often recognized to have a depth and breadth of knowledge and practice unparalleled in most other medical fields.

It is an added bonus to the students of this field that it is ever changing. Every year seems to present new, exciting and frankly sometimes frightening health care challenges. The US surgeon general famously reported several decades ago that all infectious diseases would soon be conquered. It has since become clear he was terribly wrong. Infections like legionellosis, lyme, hantavirus, anaplasmosis, E coli O157 were unknown to medical science not that very long ago.

The Infectious Diseases Program faculty and trainees at SUNY Downstate College of Medicine are a reflection of the mind and spirit of this discipline. The group is by definition made up of excellently trained internists. Being concerned with the whole and not a single organ system it could be no other way. The clinical practice is busy. We are lucky to work through several large urban institutions rendering care to a diverse population from all corners of the globe. We foster and welcome those with a thirst for knowledge and boundless intellectual curiosity. Teaching is one of our primary responsibilities and we do it well. Scholarship is encouraged. Our current research areas of concentration include the mechanisms and epidemiology antimicrobial resistance, HIV infection in women, acute HCV infection and the diagnostic modalities treatment of sexually transmitted infections. We welcome all inquiries and interest in our work and our discipline.

Then and Now

photo of an old bottle on a book shelf

"I found this bottle of Dr. Hough's Anti-Scrofula Syrup at a flea market in Cape Cod. Of course amongst the items at the flea market, this had a special meaning to me and anyone with knowledge of infectious diseases. This concoction was made by a physician and sold to treat tuberculosis. At that time, there was so much that was unknown about this common and deadly infection, and this simple syrup which really did not treat tuberculosis was considered the treatment. It's amazing how much over the years we have learned about this common infection and how much more effectively we treat it now. That's what's so great about our field, new infections appear with also evolving treatments. I wonder what else someone might find years later at a flea market about how we treated infectious diseases now." – Dr. Michael Augenbraun