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[June 1, 2009]

What Becomes a Graduate Most--A Multiplicity of Degrees:

Jonathan Silverberg, First in Downstate History to Earn Three at Once


When commencement ceremonies took place at Carnegie Hall on May 26 for graduates of SUNY Downstate Medical Center’s College of Medicine, School of Graduate Studies, and Graduate Program in Public Health, 228 students received their well-earned diplomas. Some received combined MD/PhD or MD/MPH degrees, but only one earned a medical diploma and a doctorate plus a master’s degree in public health.

These three degrees of separation distinguish Jonathan Ian Silverberg from the rest. He was the first student in the long history of Downstate—which celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2010—to be a triple-degree earner.

A prime example of how far you can go with a Brooklyn public education, Dr. Silverberg graduated from Brooklyn College before enrolling in SUNY Downstate’s College of Medicine and in the Neural and Behavioral Science Program of the School of Graduate Studies. His decision to enter the Graduate Program in Public Health came later. The program is open to students from many disciplines, including nursing and allied health, who wish to earn a combined degree, and also to those seeking a freestanding degree.

Earlier this year, Dr. Silverberg received the 2009 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence, the highest student honor awarded by the State University of New York. It is reserved for students who have “integrated academic excellence with other aspects of their lives.”  In addition to his outstanding research and scholarly achievements—Dr. Silverberg has published 24 papers and abstracts, with an additional ten submitted or in preparation—he also found time to mentor students in the Brooklyn College/Downstate BA/MD Program. In 2008, he received an award from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism Honor Society as well as SUNY Downsate’s Alan S. Josephson Award for Excellence in Immunology.

Dr. Silverberg will do his medical residency training in dermatology at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center.


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 ninth 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.