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[December 4, 2013]

Downstate Professor Dr. Jeffrey Birnbaum Recognized by NYC for Teen HIV Program
"One Stop" Full-Service Clinic Only One of its Kind in Brooklyn

Dr. Jeffrey Birnbaum (right) receives the award from Dr. Thomas Farley.

Brooklyn, NY – Jeffrey Birnbaum, MD, MPH, associate professor of pediatrics at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, has received an award from the City of New York for his efforts helping teenagers and young adults in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

The Certificate of Recognition, signed by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, was presented to Dr. Birnbaum by New York City Commissioner of Health and Mental Hygiene Thomas A. Farley, MD, MPH, at the health department's World AIDS Day observance on December 2, 2013. The event took place at the New York Academy of Medicine in Manhattan.

Dr. Birnbaum is executive director of Health & Education Alternatives for Teens (HEAT) at SUNY Downstate. HEAT operates as a “one-stop” full-service clinic, providing comprehensive care and support for HIV-positive and at-risk youth aged 13 to 24. It offers a complete range of medical, mental health, and support services attuned to the lifestyles and special healthcare needs of young people, especially teens from communities hit hardest by HIV.

Unlike other programs, where teens can’t access the highly sensitive social and psychological support needed or where issues such as pregnancy or homelessness cannot be addressed, Dr. Birnbaum’s program is able to provide for almost any contingency. HEAT is the only program of its kind in Brooklyn, and it has helped hundreds of teenagers and young adults since 1992.

The award notes Dr. Birnbaum’s “dedication to combating the spread of HIV” and his “tremendous leadership of the Health & Education Alternatives for Teens program.” He is also cited for his support of “Brooklyn Knows,” a large-scale public health initiative by the health department to increase voluntary HIV testing in the borough.
Dr. Birnbaum’s work with HEAT has been noted by several prominent health entities, including the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute, which recognized his contributions with the 2012 Linda Laubenstein Award for excellence in HIV care. HEAT has also been recognized for its work with HIV-positive youth by the Henry van Ameringen Foundation, the Elton John AIDS Foundation, and by the City of New York at a previous World AIDS Day event in 2009.
Earlier this year, Dr. Birnbaum received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service. Dr. Birnbaum is a 1986 graduate of Downstate’s College of Medicine. He is a resident of Carroll Gardens and a Brooklyn native, having grown up on Ocean Parkway. 

Dr. Birnbaum is the author of several sets of clinical guidelines for clinicians who treat HIV-positive teens, and he regularly mentors medical and public health students serving the HIV community across Brooklyn. Dr. Birnbaum has also represented Downstate with his HIV expertise internationally, providing training sessions and consultation in Nigeria, Malawi, the Czech Republic, Poland, and Russia.


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.