Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation Awards President’s Grant to SUNY Downstate for Equity-Focused Graduate Medical Education Program

By Office of Communications & Marketing | Jun 26, 2023

One-year grant provides individualized support to graduate medical residents from underrepresented backgrounds.

 BROOKLYN, NY— SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University Office of Graduate Medical Education, in collaboration with NYC Health and Hospitals Kings County Academic Affairs Office, received the President’s Grant for $25,000 from the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation to develop a Graduate Medical Education Remediation Assessment and Design (GRAD) Committee to provide individualized coaching to residents and fellows of diverse backgrounds who need additional support to complete training and thrive in their chosen specialties.

The one-year grant, effective July 1st, emphasizes Downstate’s commitment to providing equitable and holistic medical education. A faculty committee of diverse individuals and backgrounds will assess factors impacting residents’ performance and consider social determinants of economic stability, access to mentorship, and potential bias in the learning environment. Faculty participants will also undergo Continuing Medical Education training sessions for advocacy and inclusivity skill-building.

Teresa Y. Smith, M.D., MSEd, Associate Dean of Graduate Medical Education and Affiliations, and Melanie Cheng, M.D., the Associate Chief Academic Officer at Kings County Hospital Center, received the grant and will lead this innovative model of graduate medical education.

“Through the collaborative efforts of our dedicated faculty and the generosity of the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, the GRAD committee will play a critical role in identifying systemic barriers and providing individualized support to GME trainees,” said SUNY Downstate president Wayne J. Riley, M.D. “We look forward to implementing this groundbreaking initiative to make evidence-based, comprehensive changes to the remediation process. Through this committee, we hope to encourage the growth and success of all SUNY Downstate residents.”

In 2019, the Association of American Medical Colleges reported that the number of white medical education graduates steadily increased over the data collection period, while the number of graduates from Underrepresented in Medicine (UIM) categories, including Black, Hispanic or Latino, Asian, and American Indian or Alaska Native individuals, decreased. Additionally, studies have shown, in particular, that UIM trainees in U.S. internal medicine programs are more likely to be placed on remediation.

To address these inequities, committee members will investigate the GRAD program’s effects on attrition rates, remediation trends, and demographics of trainees dismissed or resigning from programs and explore how competency-based training and holistic remediation strategies intersect. The intention is to gather feedback from GME program participants to determine the effectiveness of the changes to the GME remediation process and set new national standards on remediation and coaching in graduate medical education.

By reducing the stigmatization and punitive impact of remediation, SUNY Downstate intends to improve UIM retention rates and allow residents to self-identify areas of improvement. The GRAD Committee aims to create safe, inclusive clinical learning environments where all learners can thrive.


Contact: Dawn S. Walker
347.533.2071 (Cell)

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 at Downstate (UHD) is Downstate’s teaching hospital; it is backed by an outstanding medical school’s expertise and world-class academic medical center research facilities. Over 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 comprises a College of Medicine, a College of Nursing, a 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.

About the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation

Since 1930, the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation has worked to improve health care in the United States. Founded by Kate Macy Ladd in memory of her father, prominent businessman Josiah Macy Jr., the Foundation supports projects that broaden and improve health professional education. It is the only national foundation solely dedicated to this mission. Visit the Macy Foundation at and follow on Twitter at @macyfoundation.