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Economic Impact

SUNY Downstate Medical Center plays a significant role in the region’s economy, according to a study conducted in 1997 by Appleseed, a Manhattan-based research organization. SUNY Downstate’s combined economic impact exceeds $600 million a year.

We are also one of the borough’s largest employers. In 1996, we employed 3,849 full- and part-time workers. Nearly two-thirds of our employees are from Brooklyn, and 85 percent are from New York City. Altogether, these employees paid more than $34 million in federal, state, and city taxes. Their purchases, along with the purchases of a major academic medical center, contribute heavily to the local and state economy.

For many of the borough’s residents, SUNY Downstate provides an opportunity for upward mobility, particularly in light of the institution’s commitment to continuous learning. More than a third of our employees are non-citizen immigrants, and a career in health care at SUNY Downstate has become their path for realizing the American Dream. The quality of jobs available at our institution has led to a highly stable labor force, with a turnover rate of less than 5 percent annually.

SUNY Downstate’s economic impact goes well beyond the jobs it provides in East Flatbush. We have trained more New York physicians than any other medical school. We are an increasingly important contributor to the city’s leadership in biomedical research. And we are the only academic medical center in Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Queens.

SUNY Downstate also provides upward mobility to its students. Our programs offer students from poor and working-class families a path for advancement. More than a third of all students in the College of Medicine are from families earning less than $30,000 annually; more than a third of all College of Nursing and College of Health Related Professions students are from families with incomes below $15,000.

The $25,000 that New York State provides to support the education of each of these nursing and allied health students yields anywhere from $288,000 to $925,000 in increased lifetime earning power. It is estimated that a single class of nursing and allied health graduates, alone, will add approximately $134 million in increased lifetime earning power to the New York economy.

Without SUNY Downstate, many of the resources Brooklyn receives would go elsewhere. Last year we received approximately $39 million in external funding for basic science and clinical research. Approximately two-thirds of that money came from the federal government alone. The vast majority of these funds was secured through national competition with other academic medical centers. Without a major academic medical center, the borough could not hope to compete for these dollars.

As the borough’s only academic medical center, SUNY Downstate plays a unique role in the life of Brooklyn. Its education, research, and patient care programs give hope and provide opportunity for thousands of people every day.