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SUNY Downstate Medical Center
Special Treatment and Research (STAR) Health Center
STAR Health Center (SHC)
About the STAR Health Center
The mission of the STAR Health Center (SHC) is to improve the lives of people in the Central Brooklyn community through the provision of high quality health care, integrated research and prevention education. We offer specialized care for HIV disease, hepatitis C and substance abuse by health care professionals who are experienced in meeting the medical, social and mental health needs of our community. Our health care team is committed to creating and maintaining unique partnerships with our patients to ensure optimal health care outcomes.
Jack A. DeHovitz, MD, MPH, founding director of the SHC, is board certified in infectious disease, and has has been involved in the treatment of people with HIV disease since 1983. He has been on the faculty of SUNY-DMC since 1987 and was promoted to full professor in 1999. Dr. DeHovitz has served as a member of the HIV Quality of Care Committee of the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute since 1996. Dr. DeHovitz was acknowledged in the NYSDOH AIDS Institute's 2000 edition of the publication, Promoting GYN CARE for HIV-Infected Women - Best Practices in New York State. In addition to providing leadership to HIV care activities, Dr. DeHovitz serves as the Director of SUNY-DMC's HIV Center for Women and Children. Dr. DeHovitz also serves as principal investigator (PI) or Co-PI on numerous clinical trials and epidemiology studies, and directs multiple training programs. He has served on multiple NIH study sections and is a board member of HealthRight International. In recognition of his HIV work, Dr. DeHovitz received the SUNY Chancellor’s Research Recognition Award in October 2003.
History and Background
SUNY Downstate Medical Center (SUNY-DMC) has a 25-year history of providing HIV counseling & testing, care, research and prevention services in Central Brooklyn. In 1985 SUNY-DMC began provision of HIV-related care and research. In 1989 an education and outreach program was developed and confidential HIV testing was offered at DMC. In 1991, UHB became a Designated AIDS Center (DAC) through the NYS DOH AIDS Institute, adhering to a stringent set of standards of primary care and case management for both inpatient and outpatient HIV programs. This designation ensures coordinated care and the availability of a broad range of services to HIV+ patients.
In October of 1991, Dr. DeHovitz received Ryan White funds from HRSA to develop the STAR Health Center with joint support from UHB. The SHC began providing primary care with specialized women's health services in SHC in January of 1992. The SHC experience in ensuring superb quality of care to women has been used as a model by the NYSDOH AIDS Institute. Through supplemental HRSA funding, the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute, the New York City Department of Health, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) as well as institutional funding, SHC has been able to expand its services - adding additional specialty staff and programs including medication adherence counseling; hepatitis C (HCV) screening and treatment; family centered case management services; outreach and education; and behavioral health services.
The STAR Health Center provided primary care and services to over 1,200 patients in 2009. The demographic profile of SHC clients indicates that the health center is reaching out to those most in need. Over 90% of SHC patients reside in Brooklyn. Over half of our patients are women. 80% of our clients identify as Black (African, African-American, or Afro-Caribbean) and 15% as Hispanic or Latino.
The SHC makes a concerted effort to ensure that staffing represents the community served. Over half of SHC staff are African, African-American, Afro-Caribbean or Latino. SHC staff members speak English, Spanish, French, Haitian Creole, Yoruba, Swahili, Tshiluba, Lingal and Chibemba. Educational materials are offered in English, Spanish and French and translation services are available for all languages through UHB's Patient Relations Office. To ensure that we meet the needs of our patient population, we rely on the input from members of the STAR Community Advisory Group (CAG).