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

SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

School of Public Health


photo of Karen Benker

Karen Benker, MD, MPH

Associate Professor

Department of Health Policy and Management

Tel: (718) 221-6194 • Fax: (718) 270-2533


Academic Qualifications:
  • MD: University of Southern California at Los Angeles
  • MPH: Columbia University School of Public Health
Background and Expertise:

Dr. Benker's work centers around improving the adaptation of health and social services to the public health and healthcare needs of urban and immigrant populations. She completed her specialty boards in Family Practice and in Preventive Medicine. Before joining the School of Public Health, she was the Medical Director the University Hospital of Brooklyn’s Family Health Services Neighborhood Health Center in Crown Heights and was the Coordinator of Geriatrics Training for Family Medicine residents.

Her main educational focus is training competent public health practitioners and healthcare managers. She teaches courses in Access, Cost & Quality of Health Care, Policy Issues in Mental Illness, and Principles of Hospital Management. As Associate Dean for Community Public Health Affairs she helps the school maintain active relationships with over thirty community-based organizations and agencies for collaborative work and student Field Experiences.

Her previous research and advocacy focused on homeless families, foster children, and abused children. Her current area of research is promotion of screening for colorectal cancer in diverse communities.