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SUNY Downstate PRIDE Summer Institute

Program to Increase Diversity Among Individuals Engaged in Health-Related Research (PRIDE)

Education and Training Opportunities at SUNY Downstate

Education and Training
The Summer Institute Program to Increase Diversity is a research career advancing opportunity sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) through SUNY Downstate Medical Center. This mentored research program will address the difficulties experienced by junior investigators in establishing independent research programs and negotiating through the academic ranks. The desired outcome is to improve the recruitment and retention of faculty from disabled and underrepresented minority groups in the study of heart, lung, blood, and sleep disorders.

SUNY Downstate Cardiovascular Medicine Fellowship Training Program
SUNY Downstate has been the leader in addressing cardiovascular care including health disparities, and providing cardiovascular clinicians for the boroughs of Brooklyn and Staten Island. Since 1994, the Cardiovascular Medicine Training Program has been directed by Dr. Luther Clark. Graduates who wish to specialize in cardiovascular medicine can obtain training within two programs; one Clinical and the other focused on Basic Cardiovascular Sciences.

The Cardiovascular Clinical Program: SUNY Downstate serves as the tertiary/quaternary referral center for the borough of Brooklyn and plays a unique role among New York's hospitals in making advanced medical services accessible to African-American and Hispanic Communities. It offers the most comprehensive array of coronary care services in Brooklyn, ranging from outreach, education, preventive, and interventional services to the most advanced heart surgery. The cardiac electrophysiology program at SUNY is one of the earliest such programs established in New York and performed one of the first defibrillator implants in the early 1980's. The Cardiovascular Clinical Fellowship was started in the early sixties and leads to certification in general cardiology and added qualifications in interventional cardiology and cardiac electrophysiology.

The Cardiovascular Basic Science Program: The academic four-year cardiology track is offered to selected applicants whose career goals are to join an academic cardiology program. It includes a two-year core curriculum in clinical cardiology that qualifies the candidate for the board examination in cardiovascular medicine and a two-year basic research rotation in one of the clinical or basic science laboratories in the Division of Cardiology. During this rotation, the candidate completes a formal didactic curriculum in techniques of clinical/basic research, including courses in ethical conduct of research, biostatistics and grant writing, in addition to basic specialized science courses.

The Empire Clinical Research Investigator Program
The Division of Cardiovascular Medicine in conjunction with the Masters of Public Health Program submitted was recently awarded an Empire Clinical Research Investigator Award from New York State. The grant supports a clinical/investigator who is fully dedicated to conducting research on health disparities in cardiovascular health. It consists of full support for the fellow's salary with fringe benefits and other costs supplied by Downstate. The goal of the Award is to train a physician in clinical research offering a series of studies focusing on one key aspect of health disparities within the Brooklyn Health Disparities Research Center (BHDRC) - coronary heart disease (CHD) and its risk factors and treatment among men and women of diverse racial and ethnic groups. The BHDRC provides infrastructure for supporting the fellow's research interests.

Brooklyn Health Disparities Research Center Training and Mentoring Core
The Division of Cardiovascular Medicine is the home of the Brooklyn Health Disparities Research Center (BHDRC) established in October of 2004 and directed by Dr. Luther Clark. Within the Center, the Training and Mentoring Core directed by Dr. Mohamed Boutjdir provides support for new researchers who are interested in health disparities. The aims of the Core are:

  • To provide one-on-one mentoring to junior investigators, new to health disparities research, in order to create a critical mass of investigators in the field at Downstate Medical Center.
  • To create a Curriculum for Training in cultural competency and health disparities for fellows in the Cardiology Fellowship Program

In addition to the mentoring of Downstate cardiology fellows, the Training and Mentoring Core has established a monthly seminar series and a one-day symposium for cardiology fellows and other interested health professionals with the main goal of increasing the level of awareness in cultural competency and health disparities. The seminars are offered by nationally and internationally established investigators in the fields of health disparities and cardiovascular health.

The BHDRC and its Training and Mentoring Core serves as an important resource to the proposed Institute. Some of the advantages of the interaction between the Training and Mentoring Institute and the BHDRC are:

  • The availability of a cohesive faculty that already collaborate in researching issues related to health disparities in cardiovascular disease,
  • Accessibility of a patient database that is being developed by the Research Core of the Center. This database will be available as a model to trainees at the Institute, especially trainees that would like to conduct studies on risks of acute myocardial infarction and related cardiovascular illnesses in a population of patients,
  • Opportunity to access different cohorts in the community through existing partnerships with community-based organizations, in particular, the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health which heads the Community Outreach and Information Dissemination Core within the Center. This partnership provides extensive expertise in conducting community-based participatory research which will be part of the skills to be developed in the trainees who participate in the Institute,
  • Access to an existing training curriculum that shows the experience of Institute faculty in teaching and mentoring in the area of health disparities.