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

Full Time Faculty

« Previous | Next »

Photo of Karen Benker

Karen Benker, MD, MPH

Associate Professor and Interim Chair

Department of Health Policy and Management

Associate Dean for Community Public Health Affairs

Tel: (718) 221-6194 • Fax: (718) 270-2533


  • About
Academic Qualifications:
  • MD: University of Southern California at Los Angeles
  • MPH: Columbia University School of Public Health
Background and Expertise:

Dr. Benker's work centers around improving the adaptation of health and social services to the public health needs of urban and immigrant populations. She completed her specialty boards in Family Practice and in Preventive Medicine. Before joining the School of Public Health, she was the medical director the UHB Family Health Services neighborhood health center in Crown Heights and the coordinator of geriatrics training for Family Medicine residents.

Her main educational focus is training competent public health practitioners.

In the Graduate Program, she teaches the courses Issues in Urban Health and Field Experience in Maternal and Child Health. She is also the co-coordinator of the Culminating Experience, the final project MPH students complete for graduation. As Associate Dean for Community Public Health Affairs she helps the program maintain active relationships with over thirty community-based organizations and agencies for collaborative work and student fieldwork.

Her previous research and advocacy focused on homeless families, foster children, and abused children. Her current areas of research are (1) prevention of infant mortality, (2) smoking cessation and cancer prevention. She has funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the evaluation of an innovative community coalition to lower infant mortality in Brownsville, Brooklyn by promoting pre-conceptual maternal health and lowering stress during pregnancy. She is site-principal investigator for a National Cancer Institute- funded Minority-Based Community Clinical Oncology Program study comparing the nicotine lozenge to the patch for smoking cessation. She is also principal investigator on a local study to clarify how local cancer patients would like to receive education about clinical trials.

Dr. Benker welcomes inquiries for prospective or current students interested in community-based collaborative research focusing on cancer or on maternal and child health.