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[August 6, 2013]

SUNY Downstate's Infant and Child Learning Center Celebrates Children's Graduation


Brooklyn – Every year in the spring at graduation ceremonies for its five colleges, SUNY Downstate Medical Center sends hundreds of dynamic new professionals into the fields of healthcare and science. But each summer, SUNY Downstate also sends some of Brooklyn’s most vulnerable children into the world newly equipped with important skills that they will need to grow into healthy and productive adults.

The occasion for the latter is the annual Graduation Celebration of Downstate’s Infant and Child Learning Center (ICLC), which helps children with special needs overcome obstacles related to developmental delays. ICLC offers programs for children from birth to five years old, both on site and in homes and daycare settings, and works in partnership with parents to achieve the best possible outcome for the child's continuing development.

At the recent ceremony, hosted by ICLC Co-Executive Director Kathy McCormick, MS, LMHC, 55 children graduated from the Center’s preschool program. In the fall many of them will enter kindergarten. In addition, approximately 200 younger children graduated from ICLC's early intervention program and most of them will go on to pre-kindergarten.

Students from all ICLC classes took part in special performances on the stage of Downstate’s Alumni Auditorium, after which they received their diplomas from ICLC Co-Executive Director Joan Hittelman, PhD.   

Pauline Foster, whose child graduated from the preschool program, spoke on behalf of the parents, expressing her appreciation for the ICLC personnel. “The staff is very friendly and works as a team.” She added, “They are welcoming and helpful. You can go at any time, and they welcome you with open arms.”  

Other speakers included Ian L. Taylor, MD, PhD, senior vice president for biomedical education and research and dean of the College of Medicine; Stanley Fisher, MD, professor and chair of pediatrics; Stephen Goldfinger, MD, professor and chair of psychiatry; and Jacqueline Simms, MS, director of ICLC’s Center Based Programs. Words of appreciation were offered by Ms. McCormick and Dr. Hittelman.  

The ICLC is located at 670 Parkside Avenue in Brooklyn.


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 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.