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[June 13, 2012]

SUNY Downstate’s President John C. LaRosa Steps Down:

Medical Center Leaders Step In During Search for Replacement for Longstanding Executive

John C. LaRosa, MD, FACP, President of SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, has announced that he is stepping down after 13 years in the position. In this role, Dr. LaRosa was responsible for the overall direction of Brooklyn’s only academic medical center, which comprises colleges of medicine, nursing, and health related professions, schools of graduate studies and public health, as well as University Hospital of Brooklyn (UHB), with sites in Central Brooklyn, Cobble Hill (Long Island College Hospital), and Bay Ridge. After a year’s leave granted to all SUNY presidents, Dr. LaRosa plans to return to his faculty duties and continue his scholastic career in medical education.


“On behalf of the SUNY System, I want to thank Dr. LaRosa for his many years of dedicated service in the role of Downstate President,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “His educational and clinical contributions provided great benefit to the students, employees and patients of Downstate Medical Center.”


Chancellor Zimpher confirmed that a search for an acting president is underway. Until a candidate is selected, Ian Taylor, MD, PhD, Dean of Downstate’s College of Medicine and Senior Vice President for Biomedical Education and Research, has been appointed to serve as Officer-in-Charge. Dean since 2006, Dr. Taylor is intimately familiar with the operations of Downstate’s educational and clinical services. With oversight from the Chancellor, Dr. Taylor will work alongside UHB CEO Debra Carey and CFOs Alan Dzija and David Ho to continue operations, as well as the recently announced organizational transformation. Dr. Taylor will continue to serve as Dean throughout this period.


During his tenure with the institution, educational programming was expanded to include Master and Doctoral degrees in a nationally accredited School of Public Health, an accelerated baccalaureate Nursing degree, and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering. Furthermore, he oversaw the creation of essential clinical services, including cardiovascular and cardiothoracic programs, a Clinical Neurosciences Center, and services for women and children, including a renovated labor and delivery suite and a new neonatal intensive care unit. Dr. LaRosa pushed boundaries with the development of the first Biotechnology Incubator built in New York City in over a decade, which provides an unprecedented opportunity to foster biotechnology development in Brooklyn.


“Throughout Dr. LaRosa’s presidency, his deep clinical experience, forward-looking approach to medicine and passion for his work were appreciated by students and staff alike,” said Dr. Taylor. “We wish Dr. LaRosa an enjoyable year of leave and look forward to his return to the medical community in an academic capacity.”

Dr. Taylor confirmed that Dr. LaRosa’s departure will not impact previously announced plans for a transformation of the clinical enterprise in order to gain financial stability, enhance the educational mission, and provide for future growth. Downstate has engaged a consulting firm to assist with its structural review and has begun the transformation process, examining all aspects of its operations in order to identify and implement steps that will enhance clinical revenue and achieve administrative efficiencies, without closing any facilities. Downstate’s early assessment indicates a reduction in force will be necessary, the extent of which is not yet known.

“Our employees remain a top priority and are the backbone of all our work and greatest accomplishments,” Dr. Taylor said. “Leadership at Downstate and SUNY System Administration are committed to making every effort to preserve the best interests of our staff.”

Dr. Taylor added, “I am humbled to have been named officer-in-charge of Downstate Medical Center during this critical time. I look forward to working with Chancellor Zimpher, the Board of Trustees, and my colleagues at Downstate over the next several months, as we work to ensure the continued delivery of high-quality medical care to our patients and top-notch educational services to our students.”

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 School of Public Health, University Hospital of Brooklyn, and an Advanced Biotechnology Park and Biotechnology Incubator.

SUNY Downstate ranks eighth 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.