Header Logo



Featured Story

STAR Program Awarded Opioid Addiction Training Federal Grant

New York State is witnessing an epidemic of opioid-related medical emergencies and deaths from opioid overdose, stemming from the use of both prescribed and illicit opioids and heroin. Although overdose deaths in New York City saw a slight downturn (2% decline in 2018), marking the first drop in fatalities in nearly a decade, data released by the Health Department show 1,444 people died in New York City from overdoses last year—with opioids accounting for 80% of those mortalities.

STAR Program

In an effort to drive down these numbers, SUNY Downstate has secured another significant source of federal funding—the Special Treatment and Research (STAR) Program has received a three-year, $450,000 grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to train and certify medical, nurse practitioner, and physician assistant students in the administration of Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) for opioid addiction once they enter practice. MAT is an effective treatment for opioid addiction and involves the use of methadone and buprenorphine in an office-based maintenance program.

Downstate’s Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Waiver Training Project through the STAR Program will ensure students fulfill requirements to obtain a Drug Addiction Treatment Act (DATA) waiver to prescribe MAT in office-based settings once they become licensed professionals. The training will be integrated into the curricula of medical students in SUNY Downstate’s College of Medicine, Physician Assistant students in the School of Health Professions, and nurse practitioner students in the College of Nursing.

Founded in 1991, the STAR Program was initially established with the overall goal of integrating HIV-related care, research and clinical education. Over the last 20-plus years, the program has evolved and expanded to include the STAR Health Center—offering a multitude of expanded services from primary care, to HIV and hepatitis C screenings and treatments, PrEP, PEP, behavioral health services, harm reduction, buprenorphine treatment, an LGBTQ Health Initiative, and re-entry services for newly released ex-offenders.

Congratulations to the STAR Program and many thanks to the faculty and staff who assisted in securing these critical funds.


27th Annual Arthur Ashe Memorial Lecture

On December 4th, The Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health (the Institute) at SUNY Downstate celebrated the 27th Annual Arthur Ashe Memorial Lecture— "The Legacy of Arthur Ashe in the 21st Century.” The event is held annually to honor the tennis legend’s exemplary leadership in fighting disparities in health care.

Arthur Ashe Photo 1

Marilyn Fraser, MD, Chief Executive Officer of the Institute, provided opening remarks followed by greetings from myself and Brett Wright, Board Chairperson of the Institute.

Arthur Ashe 2

Christina Greer, PhD, Associate Professor of Political Science and American Studies at Fordham University and 2018 Fellow for the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research at New York University’s Silver School of Social Work, presented the annual lecture and keynote. Dr. Greer is the recipient of the 2018 Fordham University Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. An outspoken advocate in the fight to end racial disparities in health care and in all public services, her lecture addressed how the ongoing work of medical professionals, educators, advocates, and public officials must shift to meet the unique needs of both patients and students in the modern healthcare ecosystem.

Arthur Ashe Photo 4

Keydron Guinn Photo

Following Dr. Greer’s lecture, Keydron K. Guinn, Ph.D., Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff, facilitated a discussion with attendees covering a range of topics that included a look at current and past politics and how they have impacted Arthur Ashe’s desire for health equity for all.

Many thanks to Dr. Fraser and her team in the Arthur Ashe Institute for putting together a lovely program, and to all the participating faculty, staff, and partners for making the event even more impactful.


College of Medicine

Downstate Hosts First-ever Asylum Clinic!

Asylum Clinic

New York City is home to thousands of refugees who arrive here seeking asylum from persecution, violence, torture, and war. They are among nearly 70 million displaced people worldwide and have unique social, psychological, and medical needs and risk factors. Although their care is complex and challenging for providers, it is also incredibly rewarding. The growing refugee crisis has grave public health implications requiring immediate attention and actionable response from healthcare practitioners across the country.

Arthur Ashe Photo 2

Physicians (including resident physicians), nurse practitioners, and licensed mental health professionals have the power to double the chances of asylum approval by conducting exams that document evidence of past psychiatric or physical trauma for use in asylum court. With these independent medical examinations, the clinic provides valuable evidence as part of an asylum applicant’s legal case. OB/GYN and psychiatry specialties are especially needed for cases involving FGM and PTSD.

Downstate’s Asylum clinic has been made available by Downstate’s Physicians for Human Rights chapter and by the Anne Kastor Brooklyn Free Clinic. Our goal is to grow the number of volunteer physicians, clinicians, and mental health professionals that provide clinical evaluations for refugees seeking immigration relief in the United States. As part of this, Downstate’s Physicians for Human Rights is hosting its first Asylum Clinic Training.

Asylum Clinic Photo 3

This one day training will take place on Sunday, January 12th, 2020 from 9am-3pm at 395 Lenox Road (exact room location will be e-mailed closer to the date upon registering). CME credit is also pending.

The link to register can be found here: January 2020 SUNY Downstate Asylum Clinic Training 

If you are interested in supporting our clinic, e-mail phr.downstate@gmail.com.


College of Nursing

Downstate College of Nursing Among Top Schools in 2019 Nursing Almanac Rankings!

Each year, the Nursing School Almanac releases its rankings for undergraduate and graduate level nursing education. This past Thursday, the publication released its 2019 rankings of the best nursing schools from around the country. I'm very pleased to share that SUNY Downstate’s College of Nursing has been included, and after data from thousands of institutions were collected, only 20% made the list of the best nursing schools. 

Downstate’s programs rank among the top in the nation including #15 in New York and #45 in the Mid-Atlantic Region.

To provide a comprehensive and accurate review of each school’s performance and ranking, the Almanac collected a wealth of data on over 3,000 nursing schools and campuses—assessing each institution on three criteria points:

  1. the institution’s academic prestige and perceived value (50% of overall score)
  2. the breadth and depth of nursing programs offered (20% of overall score)
  3. and student success, particularly on the National Council Licensure Exam (30% of overall score).

And among the nation’s 552 nursing colleges with graduate programs, Downstate ranked in the 90th percentile overall for our Master of Science in Nursing programs.

Congratulations to Dean Lori Escallier, Ph.D., RN, CPNP-PC, FAAN of the College of Nursing, the College’s students, esteemed faculty, and staff on this great accomplishment—I have no doubt we’ll only continue to rise to the top!


School of Public Health

Spring 2020 Application Deadlines extended to December 20th

Dear Prospective Studentswithin the Downstate Community and beyond:

Are you committed to making a change in the world?

Then don’t wait to apply to one of Downstate’s School of Public Health (SPH) programs so you can do just that!



Advanced Certificate in Public Health
Master’s in Public Health—5 concentration areas
DrPH in Public Health—3 concentration areas


SPH focuses on urban and immigrant health in a global setting.

We welcome applicants who wish to strengthen their competitiveness for admission to medical school.

School of Public Health

All students engage in fieldwork, most commonly in a community or a clinical site.

Our FULL and PART-TIME programs at an affordable SUNY tuition provide excellent professional preparation, and our flexible program offers courses in the day and evening, including many fully or partially online.

Apply to the SPH program of your choice before the 12/20 deadline, NOW!

CLICK the SPH Application Links, below, to apply today:

Advanced Certificate in Public Health
Master of Public Health
MD / Master of Public Health
Doctor of Public Health
Non-Matriculated Application Procedures

School of Health Professions

2nd Annual COTAD Panel Discussion

On November 18th, The Coalition of Occupational Therapy Advocates for Diversity (COTAD) student organization hosted their 2nd Annual Interdisciplinary Panel Discussion on the topic of diversity and inclusion within healthcare and academia. The panel featured five healthcare experts of different backgrounds who discussed how practitioners and academics define, relate, and debate the concept of culture, (e.g., race, age, sexual orientation, cultural and racial identities, religious garments, socioeconomic status), how it impacts clinical practices, and manifests into principles of best practice.



As the only chapter of this national non-profit organization on the East Coast, the mission of this student-led organization is to advance the topic of diversity and to address the challenges of fostering a greater degree of cultural sensitivity within academia and healthcare practice across all disciplines of study.


The event was moderated by Jasmin Thomas, OTD, OTR/L, Assistant Professor in the Occupational Therapy Program in the School of Health Professions, and featured distinguished panelists that included: Carla Boutin-Foster, M.D., Associate Dean for Research & Diversity at the College of Medicine, Felix Nwamaghinna, MSB, PA-C, Chair and Assistant Professor in the Physician Assistant Program of the School of Health Professions, Raza Hamed, Ph.D., OTR/L, Columbia University, Zoila Rojas, OTR/L, Kings County Hospital, as well as Dean Allen Lewis, Ph.D., CRC, Dean and Professor in the School of Health Professions.

Topics and issues that remain Downstate priorities and core institutional value, such as access and resources within the community, health disparities, the LGBTQ population, as well as discussions centered around cultural sensitivity and ethics within curriculum design were thematic talking points that were discussed at great length. 

Many thanks to Downstate’s COTAD student organization and to all participating panelists, Downstate faculty, and staff for continuing to be agents of social change and active voices championing the importance of diversity within healthcare. 


University Hospital of Brooklyn

Dr. Elbashir Presents at 47th Annual National Sickle Cell Disease Association of America

The Adult Sickle Cell Program at NYC Health+ Hospitals and Kings County was established in 1946 and provides exceptional care for one of the most vulnerable and underserved patient populations in central Brooklyn. The program is active nationally as a member of the Northeast Regional Sickle Cell Collaborative (SiNERGe) and annually receives over 500 admissions, 550 outpatient visits in the sickle cell clinic, and provides 24/7 inpatient consultations across the hospital. It also houses a day hospital that treats moderate sickle cell crises and provides day treatment to complications related to sickle cell disease.

Dr. Elbashir

Dr. Elbashir Photo 2

In late October, Sickle Cell Fellow, Khalid Elbashir, M.D., MPH, represented SUNY Downstate, NYC Health+ Hospital, and Kings County Center at the 47th Annual National Convention of Sickle Cell Disease Association of America (SCDAA) in Baltimore, MD.

In an effort to advocate for improved quality of life for individuals and families affected with SCD and its associated morbidity and mortality, the conference fosters the exchange of the latest scientific and clinical information related to the disease. This is done through the offering of innovative symposia, training seminars, interactive panel discussions, and special events.

Dr. Elbashir

At the convention, Dr. Elbashir represented as the first-ever Downstate fellow to deliver an oral presentation on the ongoing clinical trial at SUNY Downstate and Kings County Hospital Center titled “SCD-101: Novel Anti-Sickling Agent Reduces Pain, Fatigue and Improves Vascular Flow in Patients with Sickle Cell Disease” that highlighted the lack of disease-modifying drugs that treat the sickle cell disease and prevent sickling.

Sickle Cell

SCD 101 is a botanical medication that carries the potential of being an affordable, tolerable acceptable treatment that can improve the clinical care of patients with sickle cell disease worldwide.

Dr. Elbashir’s presentation was rated “excellent” by the SCDAA and was published on their website—raising critical questions and sparking important dialogue from national and international participants at the convention in areas that require more research, funding, and expertise.

Many thanks to Dr. Elbashir for representing Downstate and expanding our presence in new professional venues and settings.


Annual Hospital Holiday Toy Drive!

Toy Drive

What began as a simple request for toys for the Child Center playroom eight years ago has turned into an annual holiday toy drive that does more than give toys to children for Christmas.

Medicine's participation in the Annual Toy Drive, started with an invitation to participate from James Doyle, IT Department's Network Group Staffer. 

Working with former IT CIO Roy Sookhoo, Mr. Doyle helped to coordinate and grow this annual toy drive--an event that serves as a gift that keeps on giving--providing gifts for the Christmas and Holiday Seasons, birthdays and special occasions to hundreds of children undergoing treatment at the University Hospital of Brooklyn.

Led by Santa’s Keeper Josheila Crandall, what was expected to be a one-time participation in the drive by the Medical Administrative Staff has now grown into an annual tradition where they collect funds to purchase toys to distribute to children during the holidays and throughout the year. Department of Medicine Chair Moro Salifu, M.D., adds to the drive with a matching donation to help increase the number of toys that will be available for the children.

This year’s participants included the Department of Medicine's Divisions of Allergy, Infectious Diseases, Gastroenterology, Hematology, Internal Medicine/Geriatrics, Renal, Pulmonary, Rheumatology, Residency, PA/Hospitalist, and John Carter, Ph.D., and Dr. Salifu’s Leadership Team.


Research Roundup

The Division of Allergy & Immunology: Serving the Community Through Research on Childhood Asthma

Asthma is a serious health condition with a significant impact on our community. Flatbush and East Flatbush are on the list of top 10 New York City neighborhoods impacted by the disease. In fact, in Central Brooklyn, asthma prevalence is 14.1%, among the highest in the country. Research by Downstate’s highly respected Division of Allergy and Immunology continues to decipher the environmental and genetic bases of asthma with its most recent investigations focused on the link between childhood asthma and parental cancer.

In fact, an analysis presented by Allergy and Immunology Fellow, Sairaman Nagarajan, M.D., at the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology Annual Scientific Meeting held in November, received national and international press attention.

Dr. Nagarajan used information drawn from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) to document the link between family histories of cancer and childhood asthma. “Of the more than 57,000 children whose information we examined, more than 20 percent of those who had a family history of cancer had an asthma diagnosis” explained Dr. Nagarajan. Lori Hoepner, DrPH, MPH, Assistant Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, culled the national CDC data and merged the datasets, paving the way for the analysis--an invaluable contribution.

“The NHIS survey reflects the U.S. population, and because of the large number of those surveyed, the findings are significant for people across the country,” added Rauno Joks, M.D., Chief of the Division and co-author of the study. “If a parent knows there is a family history of cancer, they should be sure to tell their pediatrician and allergist, as an extra effort, as asthma screenings could be valuable in diagnosing and treating childhood asthma.”

The study is believed to be the first large scale examination of the association between a family history of cancer and childhood asthma in the United States. The research builds on two earlier pilot studies conducted by the Division focusing on Brooklyn populations. The first, with Lutheran Medical Center, looked at prevalence among Hispanic and Asian patients, while the second examined African-American and Afro-Caribbean patients.  All three studies found an increased risk of asthma development in those with a positive parental cancer history.

This isn't the first time that research from the Division of Allergy and Immunology has gained wide attention. A 2012 study by Dr. Joks published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, which found that living near a heavily congested highway (i.e., the BQE) correlates with a higher presence of asthma, has been widely cited in environmental and public studies and is frequently quoted by community activists.

I would like to thank Drs. Joks and Nagarajan and their team for diligently focusing on treating this horrible disease. Asthma is one of the illnesses with great disparities and your commitment to finding its causes not only supports our mission but makes an important difference.

The Division’s latest study, The Effect of Family Histories of Cancer on Childhood Asthma Diagnoses,  published in the November edition of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (Conference Supplement) can be found HERE.


Staff Spotlight

Vitasha Ali, School of Health Professions Program Administrator

Vitasha AliThis week, I’d like to take the time to applaud one of our exemplary staffers on campus— Vitasha Ali, Physical Therapy Program Administrator in the School of Health Professions (SOHP).

Vitasha has been part of the Downstate community for more than a decade, first joining as a grant-funded Research Support Specialist in 2009, later working within SOHP’s Physician Assistant program, and finally being brought on as the Administrator in the Physical Therapy (PT) Program during the Spring of 2012.

Her direction and precise organization have made her an invaluable asset to students, faculty and staff, alike—both within the PT program and across SOHP. Vitasha was also instrumental in facilitating the seamless operations of the PT Clinical Education program during a time when our former Director of Clinical Education was out on medical leave and soon after retired. A proactive and reliable contributor to SOHP’s and the institution’s mission and objectives, Vitasha is the type of employee who doesn't just do what is expected, instead she exceeds expectations—working tirelessly to elevate SOHP through her work, taking the initiative to learn and perfect the task at hand, and going the extra mile to make strategic and administrative suggestions on how to streamline and improve internal processes and departmental workflow. 

In addition to her superior work ethic and talent, Vitasha is a breath of fresh air among peers and leadership, alike—embodying all the attributes that make her a Grade-A colleague, including her ability to effectively and respectfully communicate work-product expectations and seamlessly collaborate with students, faculty, and staff in her department, across all SOHP programs, and in the Dean's office. She is the definition of a team player who has been a huge asset in advancing a multitude of SOHP objectives. Beyond the duties of her job, she continues to be a resource to SOHP, exhibiting her poised leadership as the sitting Secretary of the SOHP Faculty & Professional Staff Assembly.

If that wasn't enough to make you tip your hat to Ms. Ali, it should be noted that she is currently working diligently to earn her Ph.D. degree taking a minimum of six credits per semester (including summers) while working full-time in the PT program, all while being a devoted wife and proud mother to three children—two beautiful daughters and her newborn son. 

Congratulations, Vitasha! And thank you for all you continue to do at Downstate.


President's Seal

Nicole Sharpe, Domestic Violence Survivor and Advocate

Nicole Sharpe Program Administrator

Most people would agree, the best way to ensure a child grows into a strong, successful, and happy adult, is to provide that child a safe and secure home, free of violence, surrounded by parents and family who love and protect them. But for too many children, home is far from a safe haven. Every year, millions of children are exposed to domestic violence at home, which can have a devastating and profound impact on their lives and hopes for the future. For an exceptional few, however, like Downstate’s very own, Nicole Sharpe, that pain and suffering can serve as the catalyst for change and the power to rise above their past—catapulting them to their most elevated selves and enabling them to serve as a guiding example to everyone around them.


Many of you may know Ms. Sharpe from her role as ADA Ethics Analyst in Human Resources, but there is far more to her story than one would ever assume.

Growing up, Ms. Sharpe witnessed the unrelenting domestic abuse of her mother at the hands of her father. That abuse endured until it reached the tragic end—her father took the life of the woman that brought her into the world—leaving a young Ms. Sharpe anguished and orphaned. For the average person, this type of misfortune at such a young age often translates into a life layered with turmoil, complex inner struggles, and repeated patterns of abuse. In the case of Ms. Sharpe, that chapter of tragedy and toxicity ended with the loss of her mother as she realized she wasn't a victim, but rather a survivor of Domestic Violence.

End of NovemberOver the years, Ms. Sharpe turned her adversity into personal triumph and evolved into an advocate for Domestic Abuse Awareness and a resource for young men and women who have lived or are currently living through experiences similar to hers. Her advocacy work began to take shape after she authored the story of her life in her first-ever published book, The End of November-Growing up with Domestic Violence. Ms. Sharpe later partnered with the non-profit organization, The Purple Ribbon Council which, over time, developed into an educational initiative centered around teen dating violence prevention called, Bloom365.

After years of service with other domestic violence organizations, Ms. Sharpe made an even deeper commitment to the cause—founding the Heather Hurley Foundation for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, a non-profit organization in the name of and in tribute to her late mother. The Foundation’s mission is to implement the Bloom365 program into as many NYC schools as possible—providing support groups to teen and adult victims/survivors and to ultimately provide safe temporary housing to women with children who are escaping domestic abuse.

She continues to selflessly serve as a testament for surviving domestic violence—speaking at conferences like Intimate Partner Violence Colloquium at New York University, as well as the Domestic Violence Awareness Month event sponsored by the NYC Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) Office, and continues to host her annual Purple Power fundraiser, now in its eighth year.

Most notably, and perhaps the culmination of her life’s work, Ms. Sharpe was chosen by the Lonely Leap Production Company as the subject of their new documentary surrounding her life and dealing with the loss of both parents to Domestic Violence—the film is set to release in early 2020.

I’d like to take this moment to honor Ms. Sharpe with the President’s Seal for her bravery,  continued faith and strength, and for selflessly sharing her light with individuals struggling to find their own.

For those interested in supporting the Heather Hurley Foundation, the Downstate community can donate via SEFA, or through the Foundation’s website. For those seeking volunteer opportunities, please reach Ms. Sharpe at nicole@heatherhurleyfoundation.org.


In the Community

Family Health Services Celebrates 25 Years of Serving the Residents of Brooklyn

Lefferts 25 Years Group Photo

Last Friday, the Family Health Services staff celebrated its 25th year of serving residents of Brooklyn during their annual holiday party filled with laughter, cheer, and great food!

When the doors opened the Center in 1994, its mission was to serve as a neighborhood center for primary medical care to the residents of Flatbush and Crown Heights. Now, 25 years later, the Lefferts Clinic proudly serves more than 10,000 residents from all over Brooklyn each year, providing important and critical support in Family and Internal Medicine. More recently, with so many in our communities facing mental health challenges, an important focus for the Lefferts Clinic is care in the area of mental health. I am proud and humbled by the staff’s dedication to excellence and compassionate care for these most vulnerable residents.

Lefferts Group Photo 2

Family health staff dressed in holiday finery, many wearing the vibrant blue the Lefferts Clinic has adopted as its official color. A short speaking program was led by Family Medicine Department Assistant Professor Marcia Edmond Bucknor, M.D., who has served as the Lefferts Clinic Medical Director for the past five years, and Jose Temitope, M.D., delivered the Opening Prayer. In addition to the 34 staff and visitors at Friday’s event, program participants included Assistant Vice President for OPD, Care Coordination, DSRIP Suzanne Fraser-McCleary, RN, Steven Liverpool, M.D., Ms. Sonia Reyes, Gaylene Tannis, PA, and Austine Osadiaye, RN. Ms. Daria Primus brought holiday cheer to the party, singing “Winter Wonderland,” and Miriam Vincent M.D., J.D., Ph.D. delivered closing remarks.

Congratulations, Family Health Clinic, on your silver anniversary, and we’re looking forward to the golden anniversary celebration in 2044!


Sunset Park Flu Vaccine Fair

Sunset Park

The Flu season is in full effect and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this year it has arrived early due to a strain of the virus not typically seen during this time of year. The CDC reports there have already been an estimated 1.7 million flu-related illnesses, 16,000 hospitalizations, and 910 flu-related deaths this year across the United States, which are conservative estimates. With these starting figures bound to increase as the season progresses, health experts in the city are urging all New Yorkers to get their flu shot.

In an effort to improve flu vaccination rates in and around our local Brooklyn community, Downstate partnered with Mon Yuck Yu, Executive Vice President & Chief of Staff of the Academy of Medical and Public Health Services, to organize a free flu vaccine fair for Sunset Park residents at Councilman Carlos Menchaca’s District Office. The event, held on December 7, 2019, was located in one of the most susceptible communities in Brooklyn with the 2018 NYC Community Health Profile reporting that only 40% of Sunset Park’s community residents receive the influenza vaccination. 


With additional support from the Office of New York State Senator Zellnor Y. Myrie, Councilmember Menchaca’s team helped Downstate spread news of the fair—encouraging everyone to take the opportunity to receive the free flu vaccine via social media outlets, constituent outreach, and email blasts. They also underscored the importance of getting the flu shot, not only as a way to protect themselves, but as an act of public service to the community by helping to limit the virus’ ability to spread. 

Betty Jung, RN, Center for Community Health Promotion and Wellness, was on hand to administer free flu vaccines as a community service learning activity, along with Jessie Cai, Wenyu Deng, Ryan (Yang) Fei, Samuel Hernandez, and O’Brian Mbakwe—2nd year medical students from the Chinese American Medical Society and Students for Social Responsibility clubs.

In recognition of Downstate’s commitment to outstanding service to the community, SUNY Downstate was presented a City Council Citation by Councilman Carlos Menchaca.

I’d like to extend my sincere appreciation to all the participating students, Ms. Jung, Ernest Garnier, M.D., Faculty Advisor, and I. Ian Richards, PharmD, Department of Pharmacy, for their continuing support of community service learning activities. A very special thank you to Kathya Rojas, DNP, College of Nursing alumna, for coming back home to Downstate and taking the time to help transport the supplies, bringing along medical students, and serving as a Spanish translator at the event. There truly is no place or community more giving than Downstate.


Bahamian Relief Roundup

Bahamian Relief Photo 1

Widespread humanitarian relief efforts have continued to ensue in the weeks and months since Hurricane Dorian wreaked havoc on the Bahamas—and since Dorian’s arrival, Downstate remained steadfast in its support of the island’s rehabilitation and of its people.

Since Day 1, Downstate devoted its time and resources to ongoing relief efforts on the Island, working hard to amass a litany of critically essential first-aid, health, hygiene, safety, and feminine care supplies for the hundreds of thousands of Bahamians devastated by Hurricane Dorian’s landfall.

On Friday, December 6, 2019, the Office of Government and Constituent Relations, the College of Medicine Dean’s office, students from the Daniel Hale Williams Society, and the Downstate Student Center shipped two barrels with hundreds of pounds of hurricane relief items to the Bahamas on behalf of SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University.

The Hurricane Relief items were picked up and sent directly to the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) in the Bahamas— Stephen Russell, NEMA Director, was instrumental in getting the items directly to hurricane victims.

This project began in early October, and has been a labor of love for so many here at Downstate, as well as a heartfelt global concern for those impacted by this life-changing natural disaster, as evidenced by the members of the Daniel Hale Williams Society who dedicated countless hours of their time and energy to serve the Caribbean Community locally and at-large.

I’d like to offer my sincere gratitude to the team that made this happen: Temitope Jadesola Olayinka, Class of 2021 MD Candidate; Jasmine Walker, Class of 2021 MD Candidate; esteemed faculty and staff in the College of Medicine; Amy L. Urquhart, Director of the Student Center; Michael Harrell, MPA, AVP, Constituent Relations; and Joubert Milord, FM&D Administration. Thank you for your time, energy, and your invaluable contributions to helping heal the island and its people.


Bulletin Bonus

YOU’RE INVITED— Exclusive Code Blue Film Screening!

TOMORROW, Tuesday, December 17th, Downstate's Committee on Plant-Based Health and Nutrition invites you to the exclusive screening of Marcia Machado’s new film “code blue”— a documentary that underscores the common-sense practice of lifestyle medicine.


You won’t want to miss this—see full event ad film details below:


DATE| 12.17.19

TIME| 2:30pm

LOCATION| Basic Science Building, Lecture Hall 1


code blue| short synopsis

Code BlueThrough the lens of filmmaker Marcia Machado, code blue reveals lapses in the current state of medicine and provides a common sense solution by featuring the practice of lifestyle medicine to prevent, manage and reverse chronic diseases. The film presents the hurdles to the proposed shift: antiquated curricula in medical schools, confusion in the media, inadequate government policies, and the underlying influences of the pharmaceutical and food industries.

code blue follows a passionate physician, Dr. Saray Stancic, as she reflects upon her journey from a multiple sclerosis diagnosis to wellness through her own adoption of lifestyle medicine. Dr. Stancic introduces us to expert physicians and scientists who are paving the way to make meaningful and necessary change in our healthcare environment, and in turn, empowering audiences to stand up and reclaim control of their health. READ MORE 

This event has been sponsored by the SUNY Downstate Committee on Plant-Based Health and Nutrition 

For more information: please contact Elizabeth Helzner, Ph.D at 718.270.6732.

Holiday Farewell

As we conclude another successful calendar year here at SUNY Downstate, I would like to take a moment to thank you—our outstanding students, faculty, and staff—for all that we have achieved in 2019. You help to keep this campus and this institution thriving.

Seasons Greetings

No matter how you say it, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Season's Greetings, Happy Kwanzaa, Feliz Navidad, or any other expression of goodwill for the season, I want to wish you a peaceful holiday and a beautiful (and safe) New Year.

Looking forward to seeing each of you back here on 1/13/2020 when the Bulletin returns from the holiday hiatus.




President's Bulletin
SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University
450 Clarkson Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11203