Find A PhysicianHome  |  Library  |  myDownstate  |  Newsroom  |  A-Z Guide  |  E-mail  |  Contact Us  |  Directions

SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

Office of Communications & Marketing

SUNY Downstate Appoints New Dean of School of Public Health

Kitaw Demissie, M.D., Ph.D. and nationally-recognized public health leader brings four decades of academic and investigative experience

Exploring Health Careers Program
Kitaw Demissie, M.D., Ph.D. Photo: K. Demissie


BROOKLYN, NY—SUNY Downstate Medical Center today announced the appointment of Kitaw Demissie, M.D., Ph.D., as the next Dean of the School of Public Health. A nationally-recognized academic public health leader and researcher in the fields of health disparities and minority health, perinatal health, and cancer, who is committed to the success of young scientists, Dr. Demissie will officially join SUNY Downstate in early January 2019.

“Dr. Demissie is a highly-regarded public health professional, academic administrator, teacher, and mentor,” said SUNY Downstate Medical Center president Wayne J. Riley, M.D. “We are excited that he will join us and look forward to working with him in the School of Public health to further Downstate’s efforts at addressing challenging health disparities facing our communities.”

“I am eager to join a truly unique academic medical center where work in urban health and health disparities are valued and considered vital,” said Dean-Designee Demissie. “I look forward to working closely with School of Public Health students, faculty, and staff in charting its course that builds upon tradition and emerging strengths in order to take it to new heights."

In addition to his years of academic and investigative experience—including training at prestigious medical institutes such as Addis Ababa University, McGill University, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and the National Cancer Institute—Dr. Demissie has mentored over 100 physician and non-physician scientists and is the recipient of several Excellence in Teaching Awards. Dr. Demissie is currently the Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs at Rutgers University School of Public Health.

Dr. Demissie has authored numerous peer-reviewed publications in journals including Evidence Based Medicine and American Journal of Epidemiology. Dr. Demissie is also a nationally recognized investigator in molecular epidemiology, cancer disparities, cancer prevention and control, and population sciences.

The search for the Dean of the School of Public Health was conducted by a Committee chaired by Michael Joseph, Ph.D., MPH (Downstate SPH Faculty); Aimee Afable, Ph.D., MPH (SPH Downstate Faculty); Karen Benker, M.D., MPH (SPH Downstate Faculty); Jo Ivey Bufford, M.D., (NYU Faculty); Jeffrey Borer, M.D., FACC, FAHA (Downstate College of Medicine Faculty); Lori Escallier, Ph.D., RN, CPNP-PC, FAAN(Dean, Downstate College of Nursing); Ms. Maha Attieh, Health Program Manager of the Arab-American Family Support Center and Chair of Downstate SPH's Community Advisory Group, and students Garry Graham (Downstate SPH DrPH) and Priya Pasram (Downstate SPH DrPH).



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.