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SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

College of Medicine

Dean's Message

photo of Michael Lucchesi

Michael Lucchesi, MD, MS
Interim Dean, College of Medicine

Medicine is a dynamic profession. Miraculous new technologies and scientific discoveries are constantly challenging physicians to remain at the forefront of their field. And yet, medicine has been, and will remain, an art as well as a science.

Here at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, we strive to prepare physicians who appreciate both the scientific challenges of medicine and its human dimensions. And we have done so for over 150 years.

We were the first medical college in the United States to be founded within a hospital, and we revolutionized medicine by bringing the teaching of medicine out of the lecture hall and to the patient's bedside. Many of our founding faculty members were world-renowned for their medical advancements.

In the twentieth century, our faculty continued to expand the horizons of science and health. One of our faculty members established the first federally funded dialysis clinic and another produced the first human images using magnetic resonance imaging. Our scientists were the first to prove that alcoholism has a genetic link and the first to identify the important role that nitric oxide plays in cardiovascular health. This last discovery led to the award of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Medicine to our own Dr. Robert F. Furchgott.

We are committed to remaining at the forefront of medical education. Downstate has joined the many schools nationwide who are adjusting their curriculum to take into account the new skills required of physicians today. Our competency-based curriculum, named the Integrated Pathways Curriculum, integrates basic sciences with clinical education across all four years of study and supports our students to become life long learners. Beginning in August of 2013, the pre-clerkship portion of the curriculum, Foundations in Medicine, will feature 6 integrated units in which students will learn and be assessed on our six competencies of a physician. These six competencies are briefly outlined below. Each unit is an interdisciplinary course in which both biomedical and clinical knowledge and skills are learned. Our clerkships are paired in order to take advantage of interdisciplinary teaching and our Advantage Clinical year will contain courses that assure that our students graduate with the advanced skills required for a successful physician. Students deepen their understanding of biomedical science throughout the clerkships and through translational science selectives during their last year. This new curriculum will spark our students' intellectual curiosity and give them a thorough grounding in the knowledge, attitudes and skills required of an excellent physician.

Now, as never before, we need physicians who can balance the art and science of medicine. And we welcome your interest in SUNY Downstate.

The Six Domains of Competence are:


Graduates must demonstrate an awareness of the relationship between themselves and the patient, community, and healthcare system as well as recognize the impact on optimizing patient care.


Graduates must demonstrate a commitment to carrying out professional responsibilities, adherence to ethical principles, and sensitivity to a diverse patient population. Graduates must also assess personal values and priorities in order to maintain an appropriate balance of personal and professional commitments.


Graduates must be able to demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that result in effective information exchange and teaming with patients, their patients families, and professional associates.


Graduates must be able to investigate and evaluate their patient care practices, appraise and assimilate scientific evidence, and improve their patient care practices.


Graduates must be able to provide patient care that is compassionate, appropriate, and effective for the treatment of health problems and the promotion of health.


Graduates must demonstrate knowledge about established and evolving biomedical, clinical, and cognate (e.g. epidemiological and social-behavioral) sciences and the application of this knowledge to patient care.