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[October 24, 2007]


Legislators Look at Role Teaching Hospitals Play in Healthcare System


Wearing the physician’s traditional white coat, two Brooklyn lawmakers, Assemblyman Karim Camara and City Councilman Mathieu Eugene, got first hand experience of the rigors that medical residents face daily at a top medical center during a tour of the facilities at SUNY Downstate Medical Center on Thursday October 18, 2007.

The Brooklyn representatives were at SUNY Downstate, the borough’s only academic medical center, as part of “Resident for a Day,” a program of the Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA), which aims to educate lawmakers on the importance of teaching hospitals.

The "Resident for a Day" concept was developed by GNYHA on behalf of its members to provide New York State legislators with a better understanding of the role that teaching hospitals play in providing health care to their constituents, to offer legislators an opportunity to meet and spend time with the physician residents who provide this care, and to gain a better understanding of teaching hospital operations. Downstate’s residency program includes 900 residents working in 51 specialties at 20 affiliated hospitals.

The program aims to educate lawmakers through interactions with hospital management and clinical administrators, and to raise legislators' awareness of how graduate medical education (GME) is the first provider of quality health care in the communities they represent. 

At Downstate, Assemblyman Camara and Councilman Eugene were handed a white coat, handbooks and a certificate of completion as an honorary resident-for-a-day, imitating the "White Coat Ceremony" that is held for entering medical school students.

After addresses by Dr. Ian Taylor, Dean of College of Medicine, Debra Carey, Chief Executive Officer of University Hospital of Brooklyn, and other Downstate officials, the legislators were taken on a tour of University Hospital’s robotic surgery unit in the department of urology, the emergency room and the neonatal intensive care unit.

In all of the settings, Assemblyman Camara and Councilman Eugene observed the work of the highly skilled physicians and residents working at Downstate. It was pointed out to them that the patients here are for the most part, their constituents.

“The event presented Downstate Medical Center and University Hospital of Brooklyn an opportunity to highlight the fine work of our residents and our postgraduate training and supervision,” said Michael Harrell, assistant vice president for community and governmental relations at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. “It allowed our local legislators to observe and understand the benefit and impact residents have on the health of their constituencies, patients and the Brooklyn community at large.”

SUNY Downstate Medical Center is the only academic medical center in Brooklyn, Staten Island, or Queens, comprising a College of Medicine, School of Graduate Studies, Colleges of Nursing and Health Related Professions, a public health degree program, and the 376-bed University Hospital of Brooklyn. A major research center, it also is home to an Advanced Biotechnology Park and Biotechnology Incubator.