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[October 3, 2008]

SUNY Downstate Gains Increases in HIV/AIDS Funding:
Recent Grants Near $5 Million


SUNY Downstate Medical Center has received new grants for its HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention programs totaling almost $5 million. The grants represent more than a ten percent increase over last year’s HIV/AIDS funding and demonstrate recognition of SUNY Downstate’s longstanding commitment to HIV/AIDS treatment, prevention, research, and professional training.

These funding awards enable Downstate to focus on populations experiencing high rates of new infections as indicated in the recent estimates from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Downstate’s Special Treatment and Research (STAR) Program, under the direction of Jack A. DeHovitz, MD, MPH, professor of medicine, was awarded:

* $2,250,000 over five years from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to expand and enhance substance abuse treatment services in conjunction with HIV/AIDS services for high-risk substance abusing adults in Central Brooklyn.  A major focus of this proposal is to introduce the use of buprenorphine into HIV care. Buprenorphine is sometimes prescribed as an alternative to methadone;

* An award of $800,000 over four years from HRSA/Ryan White Part C to provide substance use treatment, promote retention in care, and enhance case management and nutritional counseling services;  

* $780,080 over five years from the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute to enable the STAR Health Center Treatment Adherence Program to increase HIV treatment knowledge and adherence among HIV seropositive patients, and reduce HIV-associated morbidity and mortality;

* $750,000 over five years from the NYS DOH AIDS Institute to provide mental health care for persons with HIV/AIDS; and 
* An award of $259,826 over two years from the Fogarty International Center of the National Institutes of Health to train researchers to address the problem of cervical cancer among HIV seropositive and seronegative women in Central and Eastern Europe. This project will build on the research training infrastructure provided by the New York State International Training and Research Program (NYS-ITRP), a cooperative program of SUNY Downstate, the SUNY Albany School of Public Health, and the New York State Department of Health.

According to the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, New York City remains the epicenter of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States. More than one hundred thousand New Yorkers are living with HIV, but thousands more do not know they are infected. New York City has the highest AIDS case rate in the country, and HIV is the third leading cause of death below age 65 in New York City.


SUNY Downstate Medical Center, founded in 1860, was the first medical school in the United States to bring teaching out of the lecture hall and to the patient’s bedside. A center of innovation and excellence in research and clinical service delivery, SUNY Downstate Medical Center comprises a College of Medicine, Colleges of Nursing and Health Related Professions, a School of Graduate Studies, a Graduate Public Health Program, University Hospital of Brooklyn, and an Advanced Biotechnology Park and Biotechnology Incubator.

SUNY Downstate ranks seventh nationally in the number of alumni who are on the faculty of American medical schools.  More physicians practicing in New York City have graduated from SUNY Downstate than from any other medical school.