Brooklyn Free Clinic Begins Annual Education and Wellness Program with Inaugural Free Event on April 12

Apr 10, 2014

Brooklyn, NY – A new program has been created to educate the Brooklyn community and empower local leaders to make the Borough of Brooklyn a haven for wellness. The all-day, free event is being offered by the Brooklyn Free Clinic (BFC) of SUNY Downstate Medical Center, a student-run free clinic for any adult without health insurance, where medical care is supervised by SUNY Downstate faculty. In support of its mission, BFC is inviting the entire New York City community to share in a day of learning about ourselves, communicating with others, and celebrating Brooklyn.

The event, “BFC What’s Next: Reimagining Health,” will be held on Saturday, April 12 from 10:00 am-8:00 pm at the Brooklyn Lyceum, 227 4th Ave, Brooklyn, New York, 11215 in Park Slope/Gowanus.  It will be hosted by Bertrand Gervais, author of Who’s In Your Top Hive: Your Guide to Finding Your Success Mentors, and Emily McDonald, a second-year medical student at Downstate and volunteer at the Brooklyn Free Clinic. Beyond its weekly clinic hours, BFC is tackling health disparities by curating a fun and informative annual event that highlights the progress being made by health and wellness leaders in New York City.

Talks and performances will feature entrepreneurs, educators, researchers, artists, clinicians, and more.  Their work will explore the challenges to individual wellness and how it affects people living in New York City. For more information about the event or to register, visit

Featured speakers include Shelley Worrell of CaribBEING and the Flatbush Film Festival; Elaine Eng, MD, a psychiatrist at Weill Cornell Medical College and teacher at Alliance Theological Seminary in Nyack, NY; and Kathleen E. Powderly, CNM, PhD, director of the John Conley Division of Medical

The Brooklyn Free Clinic's first annual event promises to “educate, entertain, and inspire a wide demographic,” says Karrah St. Laurent-Ariot, a first-year medical student at SUNY Downstate and organizer of the event. “The audience will not only be able to relate but will have the opportunity to view the concept of health from a completely new perspective.” Priyanka Chopra, a co-organizer and fellow first-year medical student at Downstate, is equally excited about the event. She adds, “Speakers will share personal health stories, elaborate on untraditional health topics, and draw connections to health and medicine unprecedentedly heard.”

According to the 2011 report by Stephen Berger for the New York State Department of Health, Brooklyn is facing an epidemic of obesity, hypertension, and diabetes; nearly half of its residents are on Medicaid; and 15% are uninsured. This report also lists the following four neighborhoods, between which BFC is strategically located, as having the greatest health disparities in Brooklyn. The report also estimated that between 47 to 50% of emergency room visits in these neighborhoods could have been treated in a primary care setting.

  • Bedford-Stuyvesant/Crown Heights
  • East New York
  • Flatbush
  • Canarsie

To secure tickets for the event, or find out about the Brooklyn Free Clinic, please contact Emily McDonald at 631-678-2192 or ABOUT: The Brooklyn Free Clinic, established in 2006, provides free primary care to adults without health insurance. The clinic is a student-run operation out of SUNY Downstate Medical Center in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. It was created by students from the College of Medicine who believed that they could help address the need for primary care in their community. BFC offers wellness visits, sick visits, STI screening, HIV testing and counseling, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and specialty referrals.

Over the years, the clinic has grown into a community presence that provides disaster relief, as it did in Red Hook and Far Rockaway after Hurricane Sandy, and offers preventative screening at community fairs like the Atlantic Antic and the Brooklyn Flea. It also participates in the We Are All Brooklyn Fellowship, a program for non-profit leaders with diverse cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds focused on solving quality of life issues affecting their communities.


Brooklyn Free Clinic:

BFC Conference:


About SUNY Downstate Medical Center

SUNY Downstate Medical Center, founded in 1860, was the first medical school in the United States to bring teaching out of the lecture hall and to the patient’s bedside. A center of innovation and excellence in research and clinical service delivery, SUNY Downstate Medical Center comprises a College of Medicine, College of Nursing, School of Health Professions, a School of Graduate Studies, School of Public Health, University Hospital of Brooklyn, and a multifaceted biotechnology initiative including the Downstate Biotechnology Incubator and BioBAT for early-stage and more mature companies, respectively.

SUNY Downstate ranks twelfth nationally in the number of alumni who are on the faculty of American medical schools. More physicians practicing in New York City have graduated from SUNY Downstate than from any other medical school.