Congressmember Yvette Clarke Names SUNY Downstate Frontline Workers “Healthcare Heroes”

By Office of Communications & Marketing | Feb 9, 2022

University Hospital at Downstate and Interim Director of Environmental Services David A. Charles Honored by Congresswoman Clarke at “Healthcare Heroes Appreciation” Event

Brooklyn, NY— SUNY Downstate’s University Hospital at Downstate (UHD) and Interim Director of Environmental Services, David A. Charles, were honored by Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (D-NY 9th District) at the “Healthcare Heroes Appreciation” event held virtually on January 25, 2022. Charles and employees at UHD were presented with awards for extraordinary efforts and accomplishments in combating the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Downstate continues serving on the frontlines of the COVID fight in one of the hardest hit communities in Brooklyn,” said UHD chief executive officer David H. Berger, M.D., MHCM. “We are grateful to Congressmember Clarke for recognizing the dedication of our employees, I was honored to represent University Hospital at Downstate on behalf of our hardworking and dedicated staff. We are proud of Mr. Charles’—and everyone’s efforts—and are honored by this humble recognition.”

Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, Mr. Charles was recently appointed as Interim Director of Environmental Services, managing the direction, planning, and organization of the department and leading efforts to maintain safe work practices and a clean, safe, and comfortable environment in patient, public and private areas of the hospitals throughout the pandemic. During the run-up to and throughout the most critical times of the pandemic, his team worked to provide cleaning services in keeping with mandates, helping to facilitate smooth operations during a time of uncertainty.

“This pandemic has been extremely difficult on many of our frontline healthcare workers who have worked tirelessly to protect our communities, but at Downstate Health Sciences University, we have done everything in our power to maintain a safe environment for our faculty, staff, and patients,” said Mr. Charles. “This recognition is incredibly meaningful, and serves as confirmation that our long hours and hard work have been well worth it.”

In March of 2020, University Hospital at Downstate (UHD) was the only healthcare facility in New York City to be designated a COVID-only hospital. Downstate has been front and center in the battle against COVID-19 ever since, most recently helping the city tackle the Omicron outbreak that began in late 2021.


Contact: Dawn S. Walker
917.439.9666 | 347.533.2071

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. It 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 an outstanding medical school's expertise and world-class academic center research facilities. More than 800 physicians, representing 53 specialties and subspecialties—many of them ranked as tops in their fields—comprise Downstate's staff.

In addition to high-risk neonatal and infant services, pediatric nephrology, and dialysis (kidney diseases)—and offering the only kidney transplantation program in Brooklyn, among many other distinctive programs—Downstate also sponsors a major learning center for young children with developmental disorders and disabilities. 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.