SPH Appoints Dr. Marlene Camacho-Rivera As Assistant Dean For Student Engagement And Success

By Office of Communications & Marketing | Feb 19, 2021

MEDIA CONTACT: Dawn S. Walker | | 917-439-9666

Dr. Marlene Camacho-RiveraBrooklyn, NY - The School of Public Health (SPH) is pleased to announce the appointment of Marlene Camacho-Rivera, SCD, MS, MPH, as Assistant Dean for Student Engagement and Success. In this role, Dr. Camacho-Rivera will oversee the development, implementation, and evaluation of SPH initiatives to support student engagement, advancement, and academic success.

Dr. Camacho-Rivera joined Downstate in Fall 2019 as a faculty member in the Department of Community Health Sciences. As a social epidemiologist, her research focuses on community and social factors influencing chronic disease prevention and self-management, and the design and evaluation of community-engaged interventions to reduce chronic disease disparities in urban racial and ethnic minority communities. During the current COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Camacho-Rivera has played a prominent role in supporting and mentoring students across Downstate in COVID-19 disparities research and scholarship, developed a focused research agenda on uptake of COVID-19 vaccination and other preventive behaviors among high-risk groups, and has served as a valued member on important institutional initiatives, including the COVID Community Education Committee and the Taskforce to address COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake within Downstate.

Dr. Camacho-Rivera’s courses, in topics such as urban public health and methods of community-engaged intervention development, are highly valued by our students, and incorporate pressing public health topics utilizing assets-based frameworks, community-engaged methods, and trauma-informed pedagogical practices. Dedicated to recruiting and training the next generation of public health professionals, Dr. Camacho-Rivera has been actively involved in in-person and virtual information sessions, recruitment at national conferences, and serves as the Chair of the School of Public Health Admissions Committee. She has worked to strengthen the integration of health equity and social determinants of health initiatives between the School of Public Health and the College of Medicine, and serves as a faculty mentor to students throughout the University’s health professional programs. Prior to her joining SUNY Downstate, Dr. Camacho-Rivera served as Assistant Professor of Community Health and Social Medicine at the CUNY School of Medicine, where she served on their Committee on Admissions, Inclusive Excellence Council, and mentored students through the City College of New York-Memorial Sloan Kettering Partnership for Cancer Research.

Dr. Camacho-Rivera received her ScD and MS degrees in Social Epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health. Her research has been funded by the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, and the Stony Wold-Herbert Fund. For her commitment to health equity, she has been awarded prestigious fellowships from the National Hispanic Health Foundation, the New York Academy of Medicine, and the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Dr. Camacho-Rivera’s strong history of public health scholarship, dedication to training and mentorship, and commitment to supporting development of the next generation of public health leaders are critical assets to our public health community. We look forward to benefiting from her considerable strengths in this new position,” –Kitaw Demissie, MD, PhD, Dean and Professor of the School of Public Health.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Camacho-Rivera!


About SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University is the borough’s only academic medical center for health education, research, and patient care, and is a 342-bed facility serving the healthcare needs of New York City, and Brooklyn’s 2.6 million residents. University Hospital of Brooklyn (UHB) is Downstate’s teaching hospital, backed by the expertise of an outstanding medical school and the research facilities of a world-class academic center. More than 800 physicians, representing 53 specialties and subspecialties—many of them ranked as tops in their fields—comprise Downstate's staff.

A regional center for cardiac care, neonatal and high-risk infant services, pediatric dialysis, and transplantation, Downstate also houses a major learning center for children with physical ailments or neurological disorders. In addition to UHB, Downstate comprises a College of Medicine, College of Nursing, School of Health Professions, a School of Graduate Studies, a School of Public Health, and a multifaceted biotechnology initiative, including the Downstate Biotechnology Incubator and BioBAT for early-stage and more mature companies, respectively. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter at @sunydownstate.