Header Logo



Downstate Receives $1.9M to Create a Center for Community Health


Sen. Chuck Schumer


Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

Yvette D. Clarke

Rep. Yvette D. Clarke

I am grateful to U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and our own Brooklyn U.S. Representative Yvette D. Clarke for securing $1.9M in Congressionally-Directed Omnibus spending, which President Biden signed on March 12. The funding will establish a Center for Community Health and a network of service sites to provide comprehensive Primary Care services for adults and children in Central Brooklyn.

In the first year, Downstate will develop a technology-enabled population health infrastructure hub and a related Primary Care practice pilot site that provides an integrated support service network. These patient-centered medical models include two-way patient/family community communication, health and community service engagement, and a system to monitor outcomes to address community needs.

I thank the entire New York Congressional delegation for this critical funding in the FY22 appropriations government funding package and for their continued support of Downstate’s efforts to serve our community.


UHD to Participate in Leader Clinician-Relationship to Reduce Burnout Collaborative (TLCR)

Congratulations to UHD on its selection as one of five participant sites for Transforming the Leader-Clinician Relationship (TLCR) to Reduce Burnout Collaborative. This program is designed to examine root causes of clinician burnout, and the sometimes strained relationships between an organization’s senior leaders and frontline clinicians who are responsible for the delivery of patient care.

TLCR addresses critical drivers of burnout, including lack of control, breakdown, perceived absence of fairness, and conflicting values. Building trust and transparency between frontline clinicians and senior leaders can mitigate these drivers resulting in improved working relationships, healthier workplaces, increased personal and organizational resilience, and enhanced patient-clinician experiences.

As a participating organization, will work with the O’Brien Group—the consultant managing the project—to select at least two of four core activities to implement. Choices include employing a “CEO-Clinician Council” conducting regular leader-clinical rounding and shadowing/ immersion sessions, encouraging joint leadership development and education, and developing an organizational compact to define reciprocal agreements on how senior leaders and individual clinicians honor the organization’s values.

Participating UHD leadership includes UHD chief executive officer David H. Berger, M.D., MHCM, Hospital Operations senior vice president Patricia A. Winston, DNP MS, RN, chief nursing officer Cheryl Rolston, MA, RN, NE, and chief medical officer Jameela J. Yusuff, M.D., MPH, who also spearheaded the TLCR effort.

As UHD moves toward becoming an HRO institution, TLCR endeavors to understand the challenges clinical staff and senior leadership face which can help to greatly enhance UHD’s work and reputation.


Annual Cancer Health Disparities Symposium Welcomes Dr. Edith P. Mitchell

The 7th Annual Cancer Health Disparities Symposium took place virtually on March 4. The event was free and open to physicians, scientists, nurses, trainees, students, and community members.

photo of Edith P. Mitchell

Downstate was pleased to welcome keynote speaker, Edith P. Mitchell, M.D., MACP, FCPP, FRCP, Clinical Professor at Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Associate Director for Diversity Programs. Dr. Mitchell also serves as Director of the Center to Eliminate Cancer Disparities for the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University, served as the keynote speaker.

Chair of Medicine at the University of Michigan John Carethers, M.D., MACP moderated the Q&A following Dr. Mitchell’s presentation, Improved Survival in Cancer but Continued Disparities: Planning the Future with Precision Oncology, but Assessing the Past through the Rear-View Mirror.

The Symposium covered three critical topics: colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer, and cancer and comorbidities/modifiable factors. Speakers were from Duke University School of Medicine; Whitehead Institute, University of North Carolina; MD Anderson Cancer Center; Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Northwell Health; and Downstate Health Sciences University.

The Downstate Department of Medicine/Division of Gastroenterology, the Brooklyn Health Disparities Center, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and Northwell Health sponsored the Symposium.

Department of Medicine chair Moro O. Salifu, M.D., MPH, and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Cancer Center director David Tuveson, M.D., Ph.D., gave Opening Remarks.


Dr. Dale Blackstock Awards Celebrate the Women of Downstate

poster image

Please Click Photo to view Full-Size

Each Women’s History Month, the Office of Diversity Education and Research hosts the Annual Dr. Dale Blackstock Awards acknowledging women’s achievements and service throughout Downstate. Honorees embody Dr. Blackstock’s commitment to promoting diversity, inclusion, academic and service-based excellence, and a passion for serving.

Dr. Blackstock was a respected attending physician and nephrologist in Downstate’s Department of Medicine. Born and raised in Brooklyn in the 1950s and ’60s, she faced and overcame numerous challenges in her pursuit of a career as a physician. She graduated from Harvard Medical School and completed an Internal Medicine residency at Harlem Hospital and a Nephrology Fellowship at Brookdale. Dr. Blackstock’s first job was at Downstate, where she spent the bulk of her career.

Dr. Blackstock took great pride as an attending physician in providing clinical care in the same community in which she was raised. She was involved in advocacy and initiatives that bridged Downstate and its communities. Dr. Blackstock was actively involved with the Daniel Hale Williams Society, the Provident Clinical Society (N.M.A. Brooklyn Chapter); the Dr. Susan Smith McKinney Steward Society (named after the first Black woman to earn a medical doctorate in New York State), and the American Women’s Medical Association (AMWA).

Congratulations to the 2022 honorees, and thank you to everyone involved in coordinating the Blackstock awards, including the Office of Diversity Education and Research associate dean Carla Boutin-Foster, MD, MSc, director Anika Daniels-Osaze, Ed.D., and undergraduate program coordinator Runako Gulstone, MA



Dr. Dale Blackstock Award: 

  • Deborah L. Reede, M.D.

Diversity Champion Award: 

  • Mahalia French, MS, RD, CDN
  • Dawn Froome, MSEd
  • Christina Pardo, M.D., MPH, FACOG
  • Christine Persaud, M.D., MBA, FAAFP

Excellence in Faculty Service Award: 

  • Brigitte Desport, DPS, ATP, OTR/L
  • Barbara Messina, Ph.D., MS, ANP
  • Katherine Perkins, Ph.D.

Outstanding Service Award:

  • Alithia Alleyne
  • Avion Ambrose
  • Cheryl Daley-Hill
  • Romelda Huggins
  • Cheryl Marriott, M. Div., DRE


College of Nursing Collaborative Diabetes Self-Care Program Empowers Patients

photo of two women

College of Nursing assistant nursing professor Nataliya Shaforost, DNP, FNP-C, CDE, and assistant nursing director Linda S. Cohen, RN, MSN, co-authored “Preparing Nursing Students to Care for Persons with Diabetes—An Innovative Educational Intervention,” that was published in the journal of the Association of Diabetes Care and Education Specialists in Practice.

Central Brooklyn has the highest prevalence, mortality, and hospitalization rates for diabetes in New York City. Consequently, a large number of patients who are admitted to our hospital have diabetes and diabetes complications.

Two certified diabetes care and education specialists developed and taught a diabetes elective course for nursing students in the accelerated nursing program. An IRB-approved study was also conducted to measure project outcomes.

The 12-week course focused on patient-specific diabetes education, cultural aspects of diabetes self-management, health beliefs and attitudes of diabetes care, most recent diabetes technology, prevention of complications, and effective teaching strategies. The results revealed improved knowledge, skills, and attitudes among students. This innovative project was recognized by local, national, and international professional diabetes communities.

For information on becoming a certified diabetes care and education specialist, visit www.diabeteseducator.org or www.cbdce.org


Four Downstate Learners Receive NYAM Research Grants

photo of Tasmia Promi

Tasmia Promi

photo of McKenzie Andrews

McKenzie Andrews

photo of Grace Shadid

Grace Shadid

photo of Lulu Wei

Lulu Wei

As the proud Board Chair of the New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM), I am delighted to share that NYAM has awarded four of our phenomenal College of Medicine learners with important research awards for summer 2022.

Following a highly competitive process, Tasmia Promi (COM ’25), Carolyn “McKenzie” Andrews (COM ’25), Grace Shadid (COM ’25), and Lulu Wei (COM ’24) received grants to support their faculty-mentored 10-to-12-week research projects. Consistent with NYAM’s mission, each project addresses issues of health equity.

NYAM’s student grants and fellowships allow medical students to gain direct, hands-on experience in a high-quality research environment and exposure to health policymaking and leadership development. Each of the Downstate recipients will conduct their research project under the direction of an established senior investigator. The experience prepares them to move on to more intensive research commitments as their careers develop.

These four students are: Tasmia Promi: Glorney-Raisbeck Medical Student Grant in Cardiovascular Research

“Conventional Brachial Artery and Central Aortic Blood Pressures as a Predictor of Nocturia in Adolescents”

Faculty Mentor: Education vice-dean, Medical Education chair, and COM and SOPH professor and clinical assistant dean Jason Lazar, M.D., MPH

Carolyn “McKenzie” Andrews: David E. Rogers Fellowship for Medical and Dental Students

“COVID-19’s Impact on Continuity of Care with Use of Telemedicine in the Brooklyn Free Clinic”

Faculty Mentor: Office of Diversity Education and Research associate dean Carla Boutin-Foster, M.D., MS

Grace Shadid: David E. Rogers Fellowship for Medical and Dental Students

“Measuring the Prevalence of Food Insecurity Among Patients with Autoimmune Diseases in the Arthritis”

Faculty Mentor: Rheumatology chief, distinguished teaching professor of Medicine and Medicine Department Research vice-chair Ellen Ginzler, M.D., MPH

Lulu Wei: Ferdinand C. Valentine Medical Student Research Grant in Urology

“Urological cancer incidence trends among Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander populations in the United States,1990-2014”

Faculty Mentor: Surgical Simulation program director andassistant professor Bethany Desroches, M.D.

Congratulations to our research award winners and thank you to their faculty mentors.



Dr. Michael Myers on Physician Wellness and Suicide Awareness

poster image

photo of Michael F. MyersCongratulations to Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences education vice-chair and clinical psychiatry professor Michael F. Myers, M.D., who was quoted in Medscape’s annual Physician Suicide Report. More than 13,000 physicians in 29 specialties shared their experiences about suicidal thoughts, coping strategies, and how they support colleagues.

This year, Medscape found that 21 percent of participant-physicians reported feeling depressed. One in 10 indicated they had suicidal thoughts, with most seeking professional help. Medscape reports that these data are exacerbated by COVID-related stress and burnout.

Throughout the pandemic, Dr. Myers wrote and lectured widely on physician wellness. He is a staunch advocate of the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act—named for an emergency medicine physician at New York-Presbyterian Hospital who contracted COVID and died by suicide during the height of the pandemic.

The Lorna Breen Act, supported by the American Medical Association and many other national medical groups, was passed in both houses of Congress in mid-February. If signed by President Biden and fully enacted, it will establish a public awareness campaign to encourage physicians to care for their mental health. It will also authorize grants to reduce and prevent suicide and burnout among healthcare professionals.

Dr. Myers also recommends the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, at 1-800-273-TALK. Additionally, GME Downstate resources can be found here.

For more information, access the Medscape 2022 report.


Shout Out to:

School of Public Health assistant dean for student Engagement and Success and assistant professor Marlene Camacho-Rivera, Sc.D., M.P.H., and Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology director of GI Research Laura A. Martello-Rooney, Ph.D., who presented at the Brooklyn College Cancer Center Second Colorectal Cancer Symposium on March 18.


STAR Program postdoctoral associate José E. Diaz, Ph.D., who received a $25K award from the New York University’s Center for Drug Use and HIV/HCV Research for a novel pilot study to examine how stigma and resilience are associated with low levels of substance use treatment utilization among Latinx sexual minority men living with HIV.


Family and Community Medicine professor and chair Montgomery Douglas, M.D., who contributed to a “Perspective” analysis in Healio News on the correlation between discrimination and burnout among medical students.


Office of Continuing Medical Education director Edeline Mitton, MEd, who moderated a Resilience keynote panel during the Society for Academic Continuing Medical Education 2022 Annual Meeting.


Research Strategy and Operations associate vice president W. Marcus Lambert, Ph.D., who served on the panel that chose the 2021 Cell Press and Cell Signaling Technology Rising Black Scientists Awards.


Department of Medicine professor, assistant dean for Clinical Education, and Essentials of Clinical Medicine Programs director Sheldon H. Landesman, M.D., who was quoted in the March 1, 2022 edition of the New York Times New York Today newsletter.


Obstetrics & Gynecology vice chair for quality and innovation, director of health equity and assistant professor Christina Pardo, M.D., MPH, FACOG, and Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health Community Relations and Engagement manager Faven Araya, MP. They presented at the AAMC Group on Diversity and Inclusion Professional Development Conference. Their topic was “From Ally to Accomplice, Academic-Community Partnerships to Address Health Disparities."


Medicine Department chair Moro O. Salifu, M.D., MPH, MBA, FACP, who was among the honoree at Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso’s Black History Month event, streamed on February 23rd.


Media Moments

Here are our Editor’s Picks in case you missed it...

Crain's Health Pulse

UHD chief executive officer David H. Berger, M.D., MHCM, was featured in Crain’s Health Pulse



Featuring:  SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

Technology, Privacy Concerns Pose Barriers to Virtual HIV Care – January 26, 2022


The Westchester County Press

Featuring: Obstetrics and Gynecology chair Camille A. Clare, M.D., MPH

Local Women Making a Difference – March 2022



Featuring:  Dermatology clinical professor Daniel M. Siegel, M.D.

DermTech Study Published in SKIN: The Journal of Cutaneous Medicine – March 8, 2022


Must See Downstate TV…

World Social Work Day

SUNY Downstate celebrates World Social Work Day by highlighting Emergency Department social worker Gina Jean-Baptiste, LCSW, and her ongoing social work and commitment to the immediate Downstate community here in Brooklyn and beyond. With comments by Felicia Thompson, LMSW, MPA.


Women’s History Month

SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University highlighted Nursing pediatrics assistant director Judy Ashur, MSN, RN, for 2022 Women’s History Month.


Panel Discussion: “War as a Public Health Crisis for Women and Children.”

A panel discussion focused on the plight of women and children in war-torn regions. 


International Women’s Day Tribute

Worldwide celebrations included rallies and events calling for women’s right to vote and an end to gender discrimination. International Women’s Day has been celebrated on March 8 since 1914.


Digital Health Informatics Education & Credentialing for Health Professionals

Featuring Medical Informatics chair and associate professor Mohammad Faysel, Ph.D.


Save the Date…

Doctor's Day

Wednesday, March 30, 2022


SUNY Global Center for Climate Inclusive Clinical Research: Inter-professional Engagement and Training around Climate and Health Equity Symposium

Tuesday, April 5, 2022


Annual Graduate Day Keynote Lecture

Wednesday, April 6, 2022


To submit an item in consideration for The President’s Bulletin, please email BulletinSubmissions@downstate.edu.