Find A PhysicianHome  |  Library  |  myDownstate  |  Newsroom  |  A-Z Guide  |  E-mail  |  Contact Us  |  Directions
curve gif

SUNY Downstate Medical Center

Department of Psychiatry

Photo of Stephen Goldfinger

Stephen Mark Goldfinger, MD

Distinguished Service Professor

Tel: (718) 270-2023


  • About
  • Select Publications

Stephen M. Goldfinger MD is a teacher, researcher and life-long community psychiatrist whose career has focused on the treatment and rehabilitation of the most seriously disabled psychiatric patients. He is currently Professor and Chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn.

Dr. Goldfinger is a Brooklyn native, whose interest in psychiatry actually began at SUNY Downstate as a 15 year-old volunteer. After graduating from public high school in Brooklyn he trained at Harvard College, and, after a year hitchhiking across Asia, attended Yale Medical School. Dr. Goldfinger did his psychiatric residency at the University of California, San Francisco/Mt. Zion Hospital. During his twelve years in San Francisco, served as the Director of the Emergency, Outpatient and Inpatient services at San Francisco General Hospital, designing an integrated mental health system for Central city San Francisco under UCSF leadership. He helped design, and then served as the Mental Health Director of S.F. Health Care for the Homeless and was a member of the American Psychiatric Associations task force on Homelessness, later serving as its Chair.

Dr. Goldfinger moved to Boston in 1988, working as an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and the Clinical Director of the Massachusetts Mental Health Center. He served as the Principal Investigator of a $13 million NIMH/HUD grant examining models of housing for homeless individuals with severe mental illness. He moved (back home) to New York City in 1997, to Downstate Medical Center, first as Vice-Chair, and as Chair since 2003.

Dr. Goldfinger is an expert on homelessness, schizophrenia, and treatment adherence in mental illness. A committed asia-phile, he has been a regular traveler to Southeast Asia, as well as a visiting professor in Bangkok and Singapore. He is the author or editor of over 100 books, monographs, journal articles and abstracts, and on the editorial boards of numerous publications. He is the co-editor of Psychiatric Services "Front Line Reports" column. He has been a member (and three time chair) of the Scientific Program Committee of the APA's Institute on Psychiatric Services, and currently is chair of the Public Psychiatry Fellowship.

Steve's entire career has focused on providing services to the most severely disenfranchised and disaffiliated populations. His most current area of study is the relationship between medication efficacy, therapeutic alliances, and the effectiveness of medication interventions. He is a tireless advocate for the most severely ill of our patients...serving as an active member of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (where he has been the clinician who has covered their annual meeting for the past 24 years) and was a co-writer of a full-length documentary "I'm Still Here: The Truth about Schizophrenia." Dr. Goldfinger's most recent publication is Homelessness, Housing and Mental Illness (Harvard University Press, 2011), which he co-authored with Russell Schutt.

  • Schutt RK, Goldfinger SM, Penk WE. Satisfaction with residence and with life: When homeless mentally ill persons are housed. Evaluation and Program Planning; 1997: 20:185-194
  • Shern DL, Felton CJ, Hough RL, Lehman RF, Goldfinger SM, Valencia E, Dennis D, Straw R, Wood PA. Housing outcomes for homeless adults with mental illness; results from the second-round McKinney program. Psychiatric Services; 1997, 48:239-241.
  • Ware N, Goldfinger SM. Poverty and Rehabilitation in severe psychiatric disorders; Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal 1997: 21(1), 3-9
  • Susser E, Betne P, Valencia E, Goldfinger SM, Lehman AF. Injection drug use among homeless men and women with mental illness in three cities American Journal of Public Health, 1997,87(5):854-856
  • Duckworth K, Nair V, Patel J, Goldfinger SM. Lost time, found hope and sorrow: The search for self, connection and purpose during "awakenings" on the new antipsychotics. Harvard Review of Psychiatry, 1997, 5(4):227-33
  • Segal S. Egley L, Wilson MA, Goldfinger SM. Quality of care in psychiatric emergency services. Breakthrough, 1997, Vol 1, No.3, pp.17-31
  • Seidman LJ, Schutt RK, Caplan B, Tolomiczenko GS, Turner W., Goldfinger SM, E Neuropsychological function in homeless mentally ill individuals, J Nerv Ment Dis 1997; 185(1):3-12
  • Goldfinger SM, Schutt RK, Tolomiczenko GS, Seidman LJ, Penk WE, Turner W. Housing placement and subsequent days homeless among formerly homeless adults with mental illness, Psychiatric Services 1999; 50(5): 674-9
  • Broner, N., Nguyen, H., Swern A., & Goldfinger, S. Adapting a substance abuse court diversion model for felony offenders with co-occurring disorders: Initial implementation. Psychiatric Quarterly, Winter 2003; 74(4): 361-385.
  • Caplan, B, Schutt, RK,Turner, WM, Goldfinger, SM, Seidman, LJ. Change in Neurocognition by Housing Type and Substance Abuse among Formerly Homeless Seriously Mentally Ill Persons, Schizophrenia Research, Volume 83, Issue 1 , March 2006, Pages 77-86
  • Schutt RK, Seidman LJ, Caplan B, Martsinkiv A, Goldfinger SM. The Role of Neurocognition and Social Context in Predicting Community Functioning among Formerly Homeless seriously Mentally Ill Persons. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 2007 33:1388-1396.
  • Schutt RK, Hough RL, Goldfinger SM, Lehman AF, Shern DL, Valencia E, Wood PA. Lessening homelessness among persons with mental illness: A comparison of five randomized treatment trials (In Press – Publication year 2009) Asian Journal of Psychiatry
Books and Monographs
  • Lipton F, Goldfinger SM, eds. Emergency psychiatry at the crossroads. New directions in mental health services, v. 28. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1985.
  • Tasman A, Goldfinger SM, Kaufman C, eds. Annual review of psychiatry, v.9. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press, Inc., 1990.
  • Goldfinger SM, ed. Psychiatric aspects of AIDS and HIV infection, New directions for mental health services, v.48. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1990.
  • Tasman A, Goldfinger SM, eds. Annual review of psychiatry, v.10. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press, 1991.
  • Feldman, JM & Goldfinger, SM HIV/AIDS Among the Homeless in Psychiatric Aspects of HIV/AIDS edited by Fernandez, F and Ruiz, P. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins 2006
  • Schutt, RK, Goldfinger, SM, Homelessness, Housing and Mental Illness. Harvard University Press (2011)
Film and Video
  • Videotape. AIDS and You: Facing the Challenge Together. joint project, American Psychiatric Association and National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, 1994.
  • Co-writer/Clinical Consultant, Documentary Film. I'm Still Here: The Truth about Schizophrenia. Bilheimer B (director), NARSAD, Worldwide Documentaries 1996