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Downstate Earns Top Spot in National Hospital “Avoiding Overuse” Rankings!

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Downstate's University Hospital of Brooklyn is making headlines after topping the Lown Institute Hospital Index as the #1 Hospital in New York City avoiding overuse!

After the Lown Institute conducted a national study—that included more than 3100 hospitals across the nation— to assess hospital practices in avoiding wasteful and unnecessary medical procedures and clinical practices, Downstate landed in the 99th percentile! Among the  hospitals evaluated in this study, Downstate ranked #1 among New York City hospitals, #2 among all hospitals in New York State, and placed in the top 10 hospitals in the Northeast Region.

The Lown institute’s recent study found that “more than one million tests and procedures performed in hospitals on Medicare patients from 2016-2018 met established criteria for overuse”–demonstrating that overuse and sustainability in hospitals continues to be a pervasive problem and challenge for our national health care systems.

The 2021 Lown Institute Hospitals Index uses an avoiding overuse metric based on data from the 100% Medicare claims database from January 1, 2016 – December 31, 2018. The study measured 12 low-value services, that included the following four tests and eight procedures:

  • Arthroscopic knee surgery
  • Carotid artery imaging for fainting
  • Carotid endarterectomy
  • Coronary artery stenting
  • EEG for fainting
  • EEG for headache
  • Head imaging for fainting
  • Hysterectomy
  • Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) filter
  • Renal artery stenting
  • Spinal fusion/laminectomy
  • Vertebroplasty

Hospitals’ overuse score for each service is based on the rate of overuse and the volume of overuse. The overuse composite ranking is based on all services, with more weight placed on the services that make up the larger share of overuse.

Congratulations to our incredible clinical staff at University Hospital of Brooklyn on this honorable achievement and THANKS to David Berger, M.D., MHCM, FACS, Chief Executive Officer of UHB; Mohamed (Rami) Nakeshbandi, MD, Chief Quality Officer for UHB; and Patricia A. Winston, DNP, MS, RN, NEA-BC, FACHE, Senior Vice President for Hospital Operations for UHB; for their steadfast leadership over our institution’s clinical offerings!




A Very special Shout-Out...

Patricia Winston Completes DNP Program at George Washington University!

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I would like to extend a very special shout-out to Patricia A. Winston, DNP, MS, RN, NEA-BC, FACHE, who recently completed requirements to earn the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree in Executive Leadership at George Washington University’s School of Nursing! 

Dr. Winston has served as a pivotal member of University Hospital of Brooklyn’s executive leadership, including having served as Interim Senior Vice President and Managing Director of the Hospital. She currently serves as Senior Vice President of Hospital Operations where she works alongside the Chief Executive Officer.

A board-certified nurse executive, Dr. Winston is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Administrators. Before joining Downstate, Dr. Winston served as Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer at The Brooklyn Hospital, as well as the Chief Nursing Officer for Universal Health Services in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, and as a senior member of leadership at the George Washington University Hospital.

Dr. Winston has served on numerous boards and in professional leadership capacities, including the American Nurses Association; Delaware Nurses Association, National Association of Health Service Executives; American College of Healthcare Executives; American Organization of Nurse Executives, and the Delaware Organization of Nurse Executives.

In 2019, Dr. Winston was honored in The Network Journal's annual list of 25 Influential Black Women in Business.

CONGRATULATIONS on this distinguished achievement, Dr. Winston!

Photo: The George Washington University


NYS Health Foundation Awards Multi-Disciplinary Downstate Team $225k Health Equity Grant!

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It is with great pleasure that I share that a multi-disciplinary team—comprised of Downstate scientists and decision-makers from the Department of Family and Community Medicine, School of Public Health, Department of OB/GYN, College of Medicine, and University Hospital of Brooklyn's Office of Patient Relations, as well as leaders from the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health and One Brooklyn Health System— recently secured a $225k grant from the New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth) in support of advancing health equity!

The team’s winning project “Designing a Health Equity Index to Improve the Patient Experience” was submitted in response to the NYSHealth’s Request for Proposal (RFP), “Patients as Partners: Advancing Equity”— an RFP designed to support projects that empower patients of color to be significantly engaged in their healthcare via operational enhancements, new practice developments, and clinical interventions.

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Both NYSHealth and Downstate understand that in order to build a healthcare model that advances equitable outcomes for all, patients (especially those in our most vulnerable communities) need to be active participants in the care they receive in a system that intentionally and strategically commands their engagement. As grantees, the Downstate team will be focused on NYSHealth’s “Empowering Health Care Consumers” Priority Area and, will design and implement an index that identifies, measures, and addresses racial disparities within the patient experience across the continuum of care.

To accomplish this, Downstate partnered with One Brooklyn Health System (OBHS) and the Arthur Ashe Institute. As the lead for the $1.4 billion NYS “Vital Brooklyn” initiative, OBHS has an explicit mandate and commitment to transforming health in long neglected and underserved Central/Northeast Brooklyn. In recently appointing Dr. Montgomery Douglas, Chair of Downstate’s Family and Community Medicine Department, as Chief of Population Health Strategy at OBHS, the entities have created an academic-clinical partnership dedicated to implementing innovative approaches to health transformation in Central Brooklyn.  The Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health will bring to bear its deep expertise in community engagement to the research phase of the project, ensuring that the voices of our community are heard.

Together with their partners, the Downstate team will tap the insights and engage patients and community stakeholders to collaboratively develop and launch the Central and Northeast Brooklyn Health Equity Index—an advanced and “comprehensive patient survey tool” that gathers and aggregates critical data absent from existing patient experience surveys, including data on discrimination, implicit bias, medical mistrust, and patient safety.

This exciting project will not only serve to elevate the voice of our diverse patient populations as partners in the care they receive, it also has the potential to advance equitable care on behalf of impacted communities broadly, with hopes to expand and implement the use of this tool across clinical and policy settings, nationally.

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Montgomery Douglas, M.D.

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Aimee Afable, Ph.D., MPH

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Carla Boutin-Foster, M.D., MS

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Christina Pardo, M.D., MPH, F.A.C.O.G.

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Wren Lester, Ph.D., CPXP, CPHQ

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Marilyn Fraser, M.D.

CONGRATULATIONS to our entire interdisciplinary team for securing this important award which will leave a lasting and meaningful effect on the communities we serve! I’d like to extend my appreciation to Montgomery Douglas, M.D., Chair of the Department of Family & Community Medicine; Aimee Afable, Ph.D., MPH, Associate Dean for Community Engagement and Associate Professor of Community Health Sciences in the School of Public Health; Carla Boutin-Foster, M.D., MS, Associate Dean in the College of Medicine's Office of Diversity Education and Research; Christina Pardo, M.D., MPH, FACOG, Assistant Professor, Vice Chair of Quality & Innovation, Director of Diversity and Health
Equity in the OB/GYN Department; Wren Lester Ph.D., CPXP, CPHQ, Chief Experience Officer; Marilyn Fraser, M.D., CEO of the Arthur Ashe Institute and Co-Director of the Brooklyn Health Disparities Institute;
and our partners at One Brooklyn Health System.

photo of Kiki NwokoyeAnd a special THANK YOU to Nkiruka Nwokoye, JD, Administrator in the Department of Family and Community Medicine, for her lead role in developing and coordinating the successful submission of the grant.





Downstate Ranks #1 in Annual "20 Best Accelerated Nursing Programs in NY" List!


Every year, the Best Value Schools releases its rankings for undergraduate and graduate level nursing education. Last month, the publication released its 2021 rankings of the “Best 20 Accelerated Nursing Programs in New York.”

I am very pleased to share that SUNY Downstate’s College of Nursing has been included, and after data from all accredited institutions in New York State (NYS) offering accelerated programs were collected, Downstate landed in the #1 spot—earning the title of Best Accelerated Nursing Program in New York for the 2021 cycle.

To provide a comprehensive and accurate review of each school’s performance and ranking, the Best Value Schools publication collected data from all eligible nursing schools with accelerated program offerings. Institutions were assessed on two primary criteria points:

  1. the institution’s retention and graduation rate
  2. and cost/affordability.

Among NYS’s institutions with accelerated programs, Downstate ranked in the 99th percentile overall.

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Lori Escallier

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Barbara Ann M. Messina

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Jean McHugh

Congratulations to our dedicated faculty and staff in the College of Nursing ‘s Accelerated BS in Nursing program for earning this great accomplishment, and THANK YOU for adding to the prestige of this program. I would also like to extend a very special thank you to Dean Lori Escallier, Ph.D., RN, CPNP-PC, FAAN; Barbara Ann M. Messina, Ph.D., ANP, RN, Associate Professor, Associate Dean for Transformational Education and Interim Director for Entry Level Programs; and Jean McHugh, Ph.D., RN, ACNS-BC, Associate Professor and Director of Entry Level Programs--Accelerated BS in Nursing Track; for their leadership and commitment to excellence!





SPH Launches New Academic Program in Geriatrics Public Health for Fall 2021!

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I’m very excited to announce the development of another dynamic and important program in the School of Public Health, the Advanced Certificate in Public Health Geriatrics— a new academic program designed to address a comprehensive range of health-related issues impacting our aging population, a population expected to double in size by the year 2050!

Addressing the unique needs of our elderly communities will be one of the most formidable public health challenges of our time. The next generation of public health professionals and leaders will be charged with identifying and understanding cultural and societal implications of aging, as well as developing and launching relevant public health programs at the local, state and federal levels. These public health professions address the safety and well-being of aging communities, in order to ensure they are afforded an equitable and enhanced quality of life.

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Students who matriculate through the Advanced Certificate program will be equipped to offer executive counsel to leaders across industries—academia, government affairs, private sector, community-based organizations—enabling them to address and reform the activities of our global populations with negative health implications.

Students will be equipped to:

  1. “Apply learned theories of aging (including biological, psychological, and sociological) to the development of projects and programs to improve well-being among older adults.
  2. Develop health literacy around age-associated health issues including medical comorbidity, polypharmacy, functional decline, insurance coverage, caregiving, policy issues, and end of life planning
  3. Develop capability to find and summarize relevant research on important issues affecting older adults at the local, national, and global levels.
  4. Communicate the unique health risks and social issues facing the aging population to patients, caregivers, health professionals, and the public.” 

The certificate program will be offered in a fully “online format,” with five component courses—Principles of Epidemiology, Epidemiology of Aging, Public Health Leadership in Interprofessional Practice, Program Design and Evaluation, and Legal Issues in Aging and Health. Courses will be offered in both asynchronous and LIVE-session format. Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, and will be offered via online, distance learning format.

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Kitaw Demissie

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Elizabeth P. Helzner

I would like to extend my thanks to SPH Dean and Professor Kitaw Demissie, M.D., Ph.D., and Elizabeth P. Helzner, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Interim Chair in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, for their leadership in advancing our public health curriculum in response to the growing need to address geriatric public health.  




Dean Lewis Presents on the Benefits of TeleRehab at University of Florida!

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photo of Allen LewisAllen Lewis, Ph.D., CRC, Dean for the School of Health Professions, was recently invited to speak on the topic of “Telerehabilitation: Benefits, What We Know, and Cautions,” at the University of Florida’s Rehabilitation Science Interdisciplinary Seminar Series.  

Telerehabilitation, or telerehab, is a branch of telehealth, that uses of technological applications, procedures, and protocols to deliver clinical rehabilitation services from a distance.  Dean Lewis addressed more than 250 attendees during his presentation that represented a cross section of University of Florida faculty, staff, and doctoral students, on the benefits of telerehabilitation, both during the ongoing pandemic, as well as long-term in a post-COVID-era. Benefits include increased service access, manageable costs, as well as comparable and sometimes better health outcomes due to the in vivo nature of the service delivery.

Dean Lewis also addressed the status of what we currently know about telerehabilitation including its increased popularity and widespread use throughout the continuum of care, the need for specific strategies to improve the evidence base, the variety of technology options available, requirements for standardization, and the importance of measuring telerehab health outcomes. 

Many thanks to Dean Lewis for addressing this importance of telehealth and working to grow the visibility and viability of these telehealth offerings.



Asian-Pacific Islander Heritage Month—Celebrating the Work of Dr. Lillian Chow!

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photo of Lillian ChowNi hao, Kamusta, Annyeonghaseyo, Aloha! May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and this year, in honor and commemoration of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community’s contributions to the sciences, we recognize Dr. Lillian Chow, M.D.—Clinical Assistant Professor and Hospitalist at University Hospital of Brooklyn.

Dr. Chow joined Downstate in 2008 as a Resident Physician in the Internal Medicine Program.  Following the completion of her training, she stayed with us to complete her Pulmonary Critical Care Fellowship, and now serves as an Attending Physician for UHB.

Dr. Chow fought to protect and save lives on the frontlines of COVID-19 during the peak of the pandemic, and now shares how coronavirus tested the heart of healthcare—fortifying her calling to heal and serve those most in need.

Thank you, Dr. Chow for your selfless service and commitment to excellence in patient care. Downstate and our Brooklyn communities appreciate you more than you know!

For more on Dr. Chow’s story and work at Downstate, please WATCH THIS VIDEO TRIBUTE in her honor.



International COVID Symposium

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SOHP Deans Lecture Series

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SPH Info Session

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Confocal Microscopy

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