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[April 3, 2014]

SUNY Downstate Students Craig Ness and Jasmine Patel Receive Chancellor’s Award

Brooklyn – Two SUNY Downstate Medical Center students were among those honored by State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher at a ceremony in Albany at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center, April 2.

Craig Ness of Brooklyn, who will graduate in May from SUNY Downstate’s College of Medicine with a Doctor of Medicine degree and from Downstate’s School of Public Health with a Master of Public Health degree, received the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence. Also receiving the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence was Jasmine Patel of Staten Island, who will graduate with an MD degree from the College of Medicine, also this spring.  

Chancellor Zimpher said of the more than 300 SUNY and CUNY students receiving Chancellor’s Awards or awards from the national honor society, Phi Theta Kappa, “As proven leaders and role models, scholar athletes, creative artists, and civic volunteers, each student is recognized not just for academic achievement, but also for the profound impact they have on college campuses and local communities across New York State.” She added, “Congratulations to the SUNY Downstate Medical Center students being recognized today.”

In addition to working towards the completion of two degrees in four years, Craig Ness has delivered weekly lectures in physiology, pathology, and cardiology to local Brooklyn under-represented minority high-school students in order to increase their interest in the health sciences. Mr. Ness also serves as director of Mexican operations for One Small House, a non-profit organization assisting the poor in Northern Mexico. Founded in 2001 by Robert Katz, MD, a 2011 graduate of Downstate’s College of Medicine, the volunteer-led organization has built more than 45 homes for destitute families, a hospice facility, a school for students with special needs, and a community health center.

Jasmine Patel will receive her medical degree from SUNY Downstate as part of the joint BA-MD program that Downstate runs with Brooklyn College. She serves as chief medical officer for the student-run Brooklyn Free Clinic, after serving as chief financial officer and health educator. In addition, Ms. Patel served as a Sugar Scholar, volunteering with Medicine In Action, a nonprofit volunteer organization, to provide women’s health and primary care services to the underserved in Jamaica. Ms. Patel has also served in numerous campus service roles, including as a resident director, student center manager, anatomy tutor, and teacher of a non-credit first-year elective, Anatomy through Art and Sculpture.   


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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 seventh 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.

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