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Students for Medical Justice Conference

Earlier this month, students in the College of Medicine’s Health Equity Advocacy Leadership (HEAL) curriculum pathway staged SUNY Downstate’s first ever Community Violence and Transformative Justice conference in Alumni Auditorium on Saturday, January 11.

Nearly 100 students and faculty attended the event, which was keynoted by Rob Gore, M.D., Emergency Medicine Physician at Kings County and Downstate, and Assistant Director of the Emergency Medicine Residency Program. Dr. Gore is also the founder of the Kings Against Violence Initiative (KAVI).

In addition to Dr. Gore’s presentation, sessions also explored topics such as prisons and mental health services; health, housing and violence; complicity in medical racism, policing in hospitals, human health as a right, and other topics.

 “This is the first time we have done something like this, and we want to look at our results and see what more we can do going forward,” said second-year College of Medicine student Lisa Kim, one of the event’s organizers. “We would especially like to move beyond awareness activities to direct advocacy for specific changes and reforms that will address violence and medical racism in the healthcare system.”

Other students who served on the planning committee included second year College of Medicine students: Christine Ibrahim, Kelsey Sklar, and Julie Sokel, and third year College of Medicine Students Nicolle Siegart and Anjali Jaiman.

It is great to see our students take on these difficult topics and their commitment to eliminating violence and racism in healthcare,” said Carla Boutin-Foster, M.D., MS, Associate Dean of Diversity Education and Research, who leads the HEAL pathway with Christopher Roman, Ph.D.  “We hope this is a springboard for these students to careers as physicians dedicated to bringing about change and working for social justice for their patients.

Downstate faculty participating in the conference included Ramon Gist, M.D., Director of Pediatric Critical Care at University Hospital of Brooklyn, and Jeffrey Putman, Ed.D., Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs.

Sponsors of the conference included the John Conley Division of Medical Ethics and Humanities, Downstate’s COM Alumni Association, Downstate's Personal Rights In Defense and Education (PRIDE), SUNY Downstate Office of Diversity Education and Research, Downstate Students for Choice, Downstate Students for a National Health Program, Downstate White Coats for Black Lives, The Daniel-Hale Williams Society, Downstate SMSA, and Kings Against Violence Initiative.

Many thanks to our dedicated and passionate students for continuing to be being fearless advocates for equity and justice.

For more on our students' honorable activism, feel free to watch live footage from the conference.


Chancellor Johnson’s State of the University System Address 2020


Last Thursday, The State University of New York Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson delivered her third State of the University address at the Albany Capital Center, reporting on the four pillars of her vision for SUNY, as well as details on the launch and expansion of key initiatives in 2020.

These pillars include: Individualized Learning, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Sustainability, and Partnership.

Chancellor Johnson offered a forecast of New York State educational needs outlining a path to “absolute inclusivity” to make higher education universal in New York State. While recapping many achievements and a vision for the future, Chancellor Johnson made specific mention of two initiatives that are very important to us here at Downstate.

First, in outlining SUNY Achieve’s wrap-around services focused on supporting student well-being, Chancellor Johnson put special emphasis on SUNY’s newly created Student Health and Wellness Task Force, which I am privileged to co-lead with SUNY Oswego President Deborah Stanley.

Additionally, as an example of SUNY’s commitment and dedication to Innovation Entrepreneurship, Chancellor Johnson specifically mentioned Downstate’s founding and development of the Biotechnology Incubator and BioBAT - the New York Sciences and Technology Center at the Brooklyn Army Terminal.

Of the 40 companies hosted at the incubator and BioBat, 25 are part of the Governor’s START-UP NY programranking second in the state for the most New York-founded startup companies—and over the last five years have raised $315 million, created 372 new jobs, and resulted in Initial Public Offerings for two of the companies.

We are proud of these and many other achievements that are setting benchmarks for SUNY and for the state of New York. We look forward to working with Chancellor Johnson in advancing her vision for SUNY in 2020.


College of Medicine

Downstate’s Inaugural Asylum Clinic


Many healthcare practitioners have the requisite expertise and skills needed to conduct forensic asylum evaluations. However, despite growing interest in this area, the demand for medical and psychiatric forensic evaluations exceeds the number of clinicians who are prepared to conduct them. In an effort to increase the number of qualified clinicians interested and involved in medical and psychiatric evaluations of asylum seekers, students from Downstate’s Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) chapter organized our first-ever Asylum Medicine Clinic. The goal of the clinic was to provide participants with the qualifications and competencies relevant to forensic asylum evaluations, furnish education on effective approaches to the medical and psychiatric evaluation of asylum seekers, and share recommendations related to medicolegal documentation and testimony.

Hosted on January 12th, the event was supported by the John Conley Division of Medical Ethics and Humanities and by the Anne Kastor Brooklyn Free Clinic. Over 120 people attended the training, which included clinicians and students from SUNY Downstate as well as from surrounding institutions.

The day consisted of an introduction to working with asylum seekers and its legal aspects, led by Jerome L. Greene Clinical Professor of Law, Elora Mukherjee, JD, Director of Columbia Law School's Immigrants' Rights Clinic.  This was followed by trainings on performing mental and physical evaluations and affidavit writing led by SUNY Downstate’s Arthur Grant, M.D., Ph.D., and Noriyuki Murakami, M.D., A GYN-specific evaluation training was led by Deborah Ottenheimer, M.D., a Physicians for Humans Rights member, and the day concluded with an overview of Downstate’s Asylum Clinic by its student-run PHR members.

According to the most recent data, 90% of reported asylum cases with an accompanied medical interview are granted asylum, compared to a national average of around 30%.  Downstate’s student-run Asylum Clinic works with the broader national PHR organization to provide medical, psychological, and gynecological evaluations for refugees seeking asylum, in order to be used as part of their affidavit process in applying for asylum in the U.S.

Downstate’s PHR chapter was started this past year and is growing quickly, thanks to committed students and clinicians at SUNY Downstate dedicated to promoting human rights in medicine. The event was organized by PHR’s student members: Rohan Goyal, Aram Durgerian, Shannon Frank, Dominique Noriega, Pelin Celiker, and Yi Tong from the College of Medicine classes of 2022 and 2023.

Many thanks to our tireless and dedicated students who use their passion and education to advance and advocate for justice. Their humanity has helped to grow the number of volunteer physicians, clinicians, and mental health professionals here in NYC that can provide clinical evaluations for refugees seeking immigration relief in the United States, and I couldn’t be more proud.

College of Nursing

Year of the Nurse & the Midwife:           Top 5 with CON 2020 Jennifer Herrmann

Nursing and midwifery are often thankless professions—still, they remain an undeniably essential force of the patient’s experience, serving as the critical link or bridge to the health care they need. Underscoring their invaluable role within the world of health and medicine, the United Nation’s World Health Organization (WHO) announced 2020 as “The Year of the Nurse and the Midwife.”

The WHO’s recent announcement is part of a larger, international effort to elevate the nursing and midwifery workforce in the midst of growing global disparities and shortages in healthcare. The celebratory year highlights an important and determined objective on the part of the United Nations to identify pathways for universal health care by 2030.

Nurses and midwives currently comprise more than half of the global workforce in healthcare, yet data from the WHO show that growing shortages will rise to nearly ten million over the next decade.  With those staggering figures, experts around the world are looking to nurses and midwives as the most promising and strategically imperative solution for disease control and the ongoing global maternal and child healthcare crisis.

College of Nursing 2020

To illuminate WHO’s yearlong “Year of the Nurse and the Midwife” campaign and to highlight the ever-expanding presence and import nurses and midwives bring to the healthcare table, the College of Nursing and the School of Health Professions’ Midwifery Program are launching a series of events and communications throughout the year in celebration of both professions. Having an intimate understanding of the value they add across settings of care, I’d be remiss if I didn’t take this moment to thank the nurses and midwives who work tirelessly to advance Downstate’s quality of care and patient experience every day—not to mention our remarkable students matriculating through our competitive and growing array of nursing and midwifery programs here at Downstate.

To kick things off, I’d like to take a quick look at how an aspiring nurse practitioner might get started in the field via our Accelerated BS in Nursing Program.

The Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program is a rigorous 15-month curriculum that welcomes students from various backgrounds and experiences—allowing us to offer an accelerated path to a new career in nursing when they’ve previously earned a four-year degree in a different field. As the curriculum advances, our students are provided invaluable hands-on experiences via clinical rotations across our academic medical center and throughout our various healthcare centers. The design of the program allows for an in-depth exposure to various nursing specialties, including medical and surgical nursing, obstetrics, pediatrics, psychiatric nursing and community health.

The Accelerated BS in Nursing curriculum approaches the professional development of its nursing scholars from three essential fundamentals: first establishing a baseline understanding and theoretical basis for professional nursing practice, then acquiring the specialized knowledge for the practice of professional nursing, and, finally, applying that education and developed skills to the practice of nursing across our clinical settings.

Over the course of four academically-intense semesters, students will acquire leading-edge education in five foundational areas—health promotion and maintenance; clinical prevention and population health; organizational and systems leadership; safety and quality improvement approaches; and patient care related information technology—successfully preparing them for passage of the National Council Licensing Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).

As this is the Year of the Nurse, I’d like to shine a light on one of our exemplary students and future nurses, from the Accelerated BS in Nursing Program—CON Class of 2021 President, Jennifer Herrmann


Top 5|Q&A with Jennifer Herrmann

2020 Class President, Accelerated BS in Nursing Candidate

Jennifer Herrmann



1. Why did you choose to pursue a degree in Nursing?

I am currently working towards completing my BS in Nursing, which has been a goal of mine for quite some time. My interest in healthcare broadly dates back to high school, but I had no prior exposure to any healthcare professions.  It really wasn’t until my Junior year in undergrad that I discovered nursing, after being afforded the opportunity to experience an inpatient oncology unit.  I watched the nurses in this unit wear a number of invaluable hats beyond their clinical roles—they acted as counselors, friends, family, spiritual advisors—all in an effort to help, support, encourage, and heal their patients in the most altruistic ways; it was illuminating.  It only took me two weeks to realize I wanted to be a nurse, too, and join a professional culture that embodies healing from multiple lenses—physically, emotionally and mentally. It’s been one of the best, most gratifying experiences to date.


2. What does the Nursing profession represent to you?

Prior to enrolling in the Accelerated BS in Nursing, I viewed Nursing as a layer in the healthcare system that serves as a source of calm and comfort amidst the difficult and chaotic times that patients may experience at the point of care. 

While I still think that, I have also learned that the Nursing profession is so much more.  Nursing represents kindness and compassion in the healthcare industry. It emphasizes patient-centered care and unity amongst providers.  Nurses are communicators, leaders, healers, confidants, advocates; they are the grounding members of the healthcare team who prioritize and honor their responsibility to their patients in all aspects of health and well-being. The Nursing profession bridges the gap between patient and provider, always acknowledging the humanity that is required to provide the best care possible.


3. What compelled you to earn your Nursing degree at SUNY Downstate?

Downstate serves a community of people that come from some of the most vibrant cultures and backgrounds, while also representing communities that have historically been afforded less than equal or optimal care resulting in grave health disparities for these populations.

As a future healthcare practitioner, I knew learning at Downstate would be a rare and invaluable opportunity to expand my knowledge and understanding of these communities so that I may be a well-informed advocate for equitable care for every community.  Choosing SUNY Downstate meant being a part of the effort to make care more accessible for communities in need, and that choice was very easy.  I have been lucky enough to experience how effective good healthcare can be and I have dedicated my degree and my clinical experiences to bringing that quality of care here to residents across Central Brooklyn.


4. Tell us about your experience in the program thus far?

It has been a whirlwind!  The Accelerated BS in Nursing program is rigorous, and very quick.  I have learned a lot about being an agent of my own education, as well as how to be an advocate for movements greater than my own individual pursuits.  All incredible lessons for a nurse-in-training! 

This program has also given me the opportunity to delve into the topic of diversity, not only as it pertains to different cultures but also as it pertains to different racial identities, gender identities, sexual identities, and more. We have been taught how to be better communicators and better listeners—an enriching benefit not only to our professional careers, but also to our personal lives.  The opportunity to change and grow has been endless.  I am so beyond thankful to our campus leadership, to devoted faculty, and to my awesome peers for every moment… it has been an incredible ride.

The opportunity to serve as Class President has also been an inspiring, humbling experience. The Nursing Student Council is composed of seven other incredible women who make everything we do possible through their creativity, passion, and spirit.  We, as a Council, work on providing educational opportunities, service opportunities, and social opportunities for the students in the College of Nursing.  But in addition to that, as President, I have made my personal mission increasing and improving the role of the Council and the nursing students at SUNY Downstate. We comprise only a small piece of the student body, but we have a lot to offer so I actively seek out and embrace opportunities to represent the Council and the college so that the nursing perspective can be heard and appreciated.


 5. What do you plan to do/pursue after you complete your program?

First on the list is to take and pass the NCLEX, of course, but after that I would love to travel a bit before settling into my first nursing job.  I am very excited to be an RN, but I also want to see the world so I’m hoping to make both of those things happen.  After that I will be ready to take everything SUNY Downstate has taught me and turn it into the rest of my life!


I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Ms. Herrmann for giving us an inside-look into her experience as a student in the Accelerated BS in Nursing program. I’d also like to express my gratitude to all of our students across our various nursing and midwifery programs for joining a profession steeped in selfless humanity. Your sacrifice as students today is a promise of continued healing for the world around us, and I thank you for that.

School of Public Health

Maternal Health Legislative Brief

Statistics show that black women in New York City are 12 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women. Nationally, their risk remains alarming—about four times that of white women—but New York’s steep disparity stands out as an immediate public health epidemic requiring focused attention of public executives and health care experts.

School of Public Health Legislature

The black maternal-mortality rate in New York City represents a widening of the pregnancy-related mortality gap, with Central Brooklyn serving as the epicenter of the maternal health crisis in the City. The Brownsville, East Flatbush, and East New York neighborhoods of Central Brooklyn have the highest rates of severe maternal morbidity across the city—reaching approximately 500 complications out of every 10,000 deliveries.

Understanding the influence and opportunity our institution has in mitigating Central Brooklyn’s maternal mortality and morbidity crisis, Downstate representatives from the School of Public Health attended a legislative briefing—co-sponsored by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and New York State Senators Zellnor Myrie, Gustavo Rivera, Velmanette Montgomery, and Julia Salazar—on the city’s Maternal Health Crisis.

During the legislative briefing, held January 10th, Aimee Afable, Ph.D., MPH, Associate Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences in the School of Public Health and community partner for the Brooklyn Perinatal Network, presented a solution to the local maternal health crisis: an evidence-based model called the “Pathways HUB Model” which has been implemented in other states.

School of Public Health

The model is a transformative yet common-sense solution that relies on the intelligence of community-based organizations (CBOs) with deep roots in the community. The Pathways HUB model provides the infrastructure and the organizing principals to empower CBO-based HUBs to leverage a network of CBOs and optimize social service and health care delivery coordination. It will mobilize a cadre of community health workers and doulas who provide continuous and real-time support to pregnant women. Payment arrangements are based on the completion of “Pathways” that connect pregnant women to social resources and healthcare. It’s a sustainable model that finally gives greater autonomy  to CBOs—the institutions that have historically served and cared for pregnant women in these vulnerable communities. 

Dr. Afable was also invited to speak on the “Pathways Community HUB Champions” panel—a discussion among health experts and leaders guiding the maternal health discourse. The panel also included Christine Pardo, M.D., MPH, Clinical Assistant Professor in Downstate’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, as well as representatives from NYC Health + Hospitals, Maimonides Medical Center, Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center, and Kings County Hospital Center, among others.

Many thanks to Drs. Afable and Pardo for their ongoing work in helping to close the gap in maternal health.

School of Health Professions

Year of the Nurse & the Midwife: Introducing Lehman College Students to Professional Midwifery!


Continuing with our commemoration of the “Year of the Nurse and the Midwife”—it’s only right that we illuminate the role of midwife in the global healthcare industry.

Midwifery is a centuries old profession. Long before modern medicine in hospital settings was established, midwives existed. Still, even with every transformational advancement in science and technological innovation in healthcare—midwifery continues to thrive today.

Rooted in a philosophy of care directed toward women and their individual healthcare needs, as well as providing supportive environments during and after their pregnancy—the midwife promotes traditional births for low-risk pregnancies, expert care during labor and delivery, immediate care of the newborn, along with a broad spectrum of healthcare services to women, including gynecological examinations, the provision of all contraceptive methods, treatments for common health problems, including prescriptions, afterbirth care, and many components of primary care. In all encounters, midwives promote the woman's choice within the boundaries of safety.

Here at Downstate, students can enter the Midwifery Program via two distinct pathways—direct entry or nursing.

Nurses have several degree options: 

  • Masters of Science in Midwifery through the School of Health Professions (SOHP)
  • Advanced Certificate in Midwifery, also through SOHP, if they already have a related graduate degree
  • Masters of Science in Nurse-Midwifery plus an Advanced Certificate in Midwifery via the SOHP's joint program with the College of Nursing (CON), available only to nurses with a bachelor's in nursing. 

Direct entry students have two degree options: 

  •  Advanced Certificate in Midwifery if they have a related graduate degree 
  • Masters of Science in Midwifery

Whichever track students choose, they take the identical core midwifery curriculum, delivered in SOHP. All graduates are eligible for the same national certification examination and are licensed as Licensed Midwives (LMs) in New York State.

Lauded nationally for its strong clinical education, high standards for academic rigor and excellence, leading-edge innovation and its unmatched diversity—within its student body, faculty, and amongst the patient populations served—the Midwifery Program at Downstate offers both a Master of Science in Midwifery as well as an Advanced Certificate in Midwifery.

Midwifery Lehman College

To continue advancing the midwifery profession, to drive interest in the field, and to grow the number of healthcare professionals that enter into Midwifery at the local and state levels, Ronnie Lichtman, CNM, LM, Ph.D., FACNM, Professor and Chair of the Midwifery Program in the School of Health Professions, and other leaders within SOHP’s Midwifery Program have launched a series of information sessions on the Midwifery programs offered at Downstate—reaching new audiences and tapping into genuine interest locally and around the city.


Most recently, following an invitation from Elin Waring, Ph.D., Interim Dean for Lehman College’s School of Health Sciences, Human Services, and nursing, Dr. Lichtman had the privilege of speaking to Lehman College undergraduate students in the Bronx. 

Along with her at the informational was Carol Bues, CNM, LM, MS, a Downstate Midwifery alumna who is also a preceptor for current midwifery students in the home birth observation course, Continuity of Care. Together, they addressed the role of midwifery (both historically and within the current healthcare landscape), the academic programs offered at SUNY Downstate, and the professional opportunities that exist upon successful completion of our programs. 

As these photos attest, the room was packed and a lot of interest was generated.

Many thanks to Dr. Lichtman and Ms. Bues for working to advance the growth of midwifery in new territories and amongst new audiences.


Research Roundup

School of Public Health's Dr. Rosenbaum Discovers Link Between School Suspension and STIs

In research news, Janet Rosenbaum, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the School of Public Health, recently published an article in BMC Public Health on the relationship between school suspension and increased STI risk among young adults.

Beginning in the mid-1990s, Zero Tolerance school discipline policies prescribed school suspension as a uniform punishment for certain infractions, and these policies were adopted at the federal, state, and local levels. Although recent evidence has led to the reconsideration of these policies, school suspensions remain widely employed—resulting in nearly a third of all students being suspended over a school career.


Dr. Rosenbaum's past research found that young adults who were suspended from school were less likely to graduate high school and more likely to have contact with the criminal justice system than non-suspended young adults who were matched on 60 pre-suspension variables, including demographics, socioeconomic status, and performance in school.   

In her most recent publication entitled "School Suspension Predicts Trichomoniasis Five Years Later in a Matched Sample," Dr. Rosenbaum found that young adults who experienced school suspension were more likely to test positive for trichomoniasis years after their first suspension, compared with similar non-suspended young adults, matched on 67 pre-suspension variables including safe sex.

Young adults from families with household incomes below the median were at an even greater risk, but the association was true even for young adults who graduated high school and didn’t have contact with criminal justice system. Healthy People 2020 names high school graduation as a social determinant of health; however, this research suggests that the disciplinary policies of school-systems around the country may be an additional social determinant of health that is independent of educational attainment.  

Many thanks to Dr. Rosenbaum for her seminal contributions to science that will continue to drive and inform our approach to public health.



Downstate Welcomes New Information Security Officer, Igor Gorelik

Igor GorelikIt is my great pleasure to announce that Igor Gorelik has joined the Downstate Community as our new Information Security Officer—serving within our IT Department under the leadership of Chief Information Officer, Michele Scaggiante.

Mr. Gorelik joins Downstate with more than 20 years of experience in Information Security across several different verticals, including the healthcare, finance, and public sector industries.  

Mr. Gorelik comes to us from the New York City Employees’ Retirement System (NYCERS), where he served as the Chief Information Security Officer responsible for advocating for the organization’s agency-wide information security needs, as well as for the development and implementation of its comprehensive information security strategy. During his time at NYCERS, Mr. Gorelik successfully developed, executed, and launched a compliance monitoring system that effectively managed all facets of the agency’s enterprise risk management and privacy programs.

Mr. Gorelik also served as the Chief Information Security Officer for The New York City Law Department, where he was responsible for designing and implementing new information security policies, standards, and best-practice procedures to meet national and international regulatory requirements. He also managed the development of solution-based systems for internal data classifications, vulnerability assessment and remediation, endpoint security, incident response, and much more.

He is a member of several national and international professional associations including the International Information System Security Certification Consortium (ISC)², the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA), and the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)—holding several Information Security & Systems Audit certifications.  As a respected Information Security professional, Mr. Gorelik has been a recipient of multiple awards from the New York City Law Department and the City of New York.

A Downstate alum, Mr. Gorelik first earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from Mozyr State Pedagogical institute, Belarus and later joined the SUNY Downstate family where he earned his second degree in Health Information Management from Downstate’s School of Health Professions.

As Downstate’s Information Security Officer, Mr. Gorelik will be responsible for helping to develop and enable the secure digital transformation necessary for the institution’s ongoing success, as well as for ushering in an information and cyber security-driven culture at Downstate. 

Please join me in giving a warm Downstate welcome to Igor!


President's Seal

Dr. Noriyuki Murakami, Healing Across Global Borders

MurakamiNoriyuki Murakami, M.D., COM 2010, is a Clinical Assistant Professor in Downstate’s Department of Medicine and an academic hospitalist overseeing residents at the University Hospital of Brooklyn (UHB). He is also a doctoral student in Community Health Sciences in our School of Public Health, a faculty member in the College of Medicine’s Global Health Pathway, and cofounder of the Asylum Clinic run in conjunction with the student-led Anne Kastor Brooklyn Free Clinic.

COM’s Global Health Pathway (GHP) provides opportunities for medical students to identify, engage in, and advance innovative and sustainable solutions in healthcare worldwide. Dr. Murakami teaches third-year GHP students “Reasoning Without Resources,” a case-based course that draws from common diseases encountered in the district hospital of Kisoro, Uganda. The course models a learning approach grounded in clinical reasoning, practical epidemiology, and physical diagnosis skills.

Since 2017, Downstate has had a formal partnership with the local district hospital in Kisoro. Last year, students in the Global Health Pathway had the opportunity to take a four-week clinical rotation there and will have that same opportunity this year. Due to the proximity to the borders of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the District Hospital of Kisoro is the main referral hospital for a large number of refugees who have fled their homes seeking safety from the conflict and human rights abuses taking place in the eastern DRC.

Map of region

The borders of Uganda are ringed with transit camps run by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) - the first stop for refugees crossing the border before assignment to a resettlement camp. Here, patients get temporary shelter – staying 2 to 14 days – and medical attention, food, water, psychosocial support, and a safe place for children to play while waiting to be registered as refugees. Many suffer from severe physical and psychological trauma resulting from systematic human rights abuses such as rape, forced labor, prolonged imprisonment, physical violence (including maiming, blinding and scarring), being forced to watch family members, friends, and neighbors indiscriminately killed, and child abduction for militarization. Dr. Murakami has worked in Kisoro District Hospital since 2012 and is the executive director of a local community-based organization that runs a psychosocial support center in the UNHCR transit camp.

For Dr. Murakami, advocating for refugees hoping to resettle in the United States was a natural extension of his work in Kisoro. He is the lead physician in Downstate’s Asylum Clinic, which has been made available by Downstate’s Physician’s for Human Rights chapter and by the Anne Kastor Brooklyn Free Clinic.

Murakami Photo 2

In addition to his M.D. from Downstate, Dr. Murakami studied at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and completed his internship and residency in social medicine at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. His global health experience is significant. He served for two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi, and then as a Cholera Coordinator for Population/UNICEF and the World Health Organization in the Malawi District of Nkhotakota. In 2008, he was awarded a fellowship from the National Institutes of Health Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholars Program, where he worked at Chiang Mai University in Thailand in partnership with Johns Hopkins University, conducting research and advocating for the rights of ethnic refugees from Burma.


I'd like to take a moment to recognize Dr. Murakami for his philanthropy, for his activism, and for the selfless use of his skills and education.  Dr. Murakami, thank you for using medicine to be both a healer and a vessel of hope for those in need.

Want to learn more about Dr. Murakami’s work? Read the article on the Asylum Clinic in this issue of the President’s Bulletin, and watch this video of his recent Grand Rounds Presentation to Psychiatry faculty and residents, asking for clinic volunteers to help provide desperately needed psychological evaluations.


In the Community

Downstate’s Winter Kiddie Coat Drive

Winter Coat Drive

Last December, the Downstate Residency Program Coordinator Forum (RPCF) executed a “Winter Kiddie Coat Drive” campaign in support of chronically ill children being treated at the University Hospital of Brooklyn (UHB). Through the generosity of our RPCF coordinators and members of the Graduate Medical Education Committee (GMEC), 21 brand new coats (ranging in sizes from toddler to teenager), along with hats, mittens and scarves, were donated. These coats and accessories were then packaged and delivered in colorful Christmas bags to the Department of Pediatrics’ Child Life and Parenting Services Division just in time for the holiday season.

Coat Drive

In a surprise bonus, the Executive Committee of the (RPCF)—Juliet Arthur, Natalie Arrindell and Kino Williams—also donated a brand-new karaoke machine to the Child Life and Parenting Services Division. The hope was that combining a little karaoke with the care they’re receiving at Downstate will add more joy to the children’s experience at the Child Life Center and that it serves a central part of future celebrations and parties. I’m certain it will remain the gift that continues to give long after the holidays.

I’d like to extend my gratitude to the Executive Committee, RPCF, GMEC, and Lisa Smith, Director of Child Life and Parenting Services, for making all of this a reality for children in need.





President's Bulletin
SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University
450 Clarkson Ave.
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