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[July 1, 2009]

Precise Study of Central Brooklyn’s Healthcare Needs Funded by HEAL NY Grant to SUNY Downstate and Partners:

Broad Coalition of Healthcare Providers, Payers, and Community Groups Will Develop a Comprehensive Health Planning Process

The first block-by-block survey of healthcare needs and resources in New York City in a quarter century will be performed in Brooklyn thanks to a nearly one million-dollar grant from the Healthcare Efficiency and Affordability Law for New Yorkers (HEAL NY) program. A coalition of community partners, representing the public, private, and corporate sectors, will assess needs and identify resources currently available. Ultimately, the coalition will formulate policy recommendations to meet those healthcare needs.  

Focusing on the central area of the borough, the Brooklyn Healthcare Improvement Project survey team will collect data on healthcare provider sites, services offered, service utilization, languages spoken, hours of operation, insurance and charity care policies, educational and professional qualifications, linkages with other facilities, and related information. A key focus of the survey will be to study the overuse of emergency rooms and hospitalizations for conditions that could be prevented by good outpatient care, known as Ambulatory Care Sensitive Conditions (ACSC). The two-year grant from HEAL NY is for $926,530.

SUNY Downstate President John C. LaRosa, MD, said, “Downstate’s series of Brooklyn Health Reports have for several years documented that Brooklyn residents have higher levels of illness compared with other residents of the city and state. This grant represents the logical next step: documenting Brooklyn's health resources. We hope this new partnership will result in improved health outcomes.”

“This is the first time in at least 25 years that an effort is being made to accumulate a comprehensive list of healthcare services and utilization over a broad portion of one of New York City’s boroughs,” said Grace Wong, vice president of managed care and clinical business plan development at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, and the grant’s principal investigator.

“We are grateful to have the enthusiastic support of leading healthcare institutions, insurers, government agencies, planning boards, and other stakeholders in this important effort,” she added. Dorothy Fyfe, assistant vice president for planning at SUNY Downstate, and Jeanne Stellman, PhD, professor of environmental health sciences, are co-principal investigators. 

 “We intend to develop a dynamic information reservoir that can be refreshed continuously for future planning needs,” Ms. Wong said.

An innovative part of the survey will be the mapping of information into a Geographic Information System (GIS) that can be used by all stakeholders, done in conjunction with SUNY Downstate’s Graduate Program in Public Health. Another unique aspect is insurers’ participation in identifying issues contributing to emergency room overuse.

A block-by-block study of healthcare needs and resources over a wide area of New York City has not been performed since the early 1980s.



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.