SUNY Downstate Chosen For Urban Health Initiative

BROOKLYN, N.Y., Oct. 25, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- SUNY Downstate Medical Center has been selected as one of five institutions to participate in Urban Universities for HEALTH (Health Equity through Alignment, Leadership, and Transformation of the Healthcare Workforce), a national initiative that aims to improve the health of urban communities by developing their health workforce.

Urban Universities for HEALTH is a collaborative program of the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities/Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

This joint project will identify strategies to create a diverse, well-prepared workforce capable of improving urban health and meeting demands for new delivery systems that ensure quality care for all. The five institutions will work to improve data on health workforce needs, build institutional capacity, and identify metrics for workforce goals to enhance urban health equity. The knowledge gained will be applied to a larger constituency of higher education institutions.

"SUNY Downstate has a demonstrated commitment to improving urban health through specialized education, research, and clinical care programs, and we are so pleased that SUNY can be a part of this exciting national initiative," said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher.

"Downstate's record in training students who are historically underrepresented in medicine and other health sciences is outstanding," said John F. Williams, M.D., EdD, MPH, FCCM, president of SUNY Downstate. "The Urban Universities for HEALTH initiative complements Downstate's existing efforts to reduce disparities in healthcare delivery in urban communities."

Ian L. Taylor, M.D., Ph.D., senior vice president for biomedical education and research and dean of the College of Medicine at SUNY Downstate, will lead this effort at Downstate as principal investigator. In addition to Downstate, the schools involved are Cleveland State University/Northeast Ohio Medical University, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and the University of New Mexico. To conduct the project, Downstate will receive $428,400 over four years.

SUNY Downstate is in the top decile of all American medical schools in the number of African-American students and in the percentage of underrepresented minority full-time faculty. Working with the NIH-supported Brooklyn Health Disparities Center and the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health, Downstate maintains educational pipeline programs and innovative community partnerships to increase opportunities for qualified students to enter the health professions. The goal is to generate healthcare professionals who reflect the diversity of Brooklyn and New York City and have the skills and cultural competency to serve numerous New York communities.

The Downstate Urban Universities for HEALTH initiative is fully supported by the SUNY system-wide strategic plan project, The Right Health Professionals in the Right Places (RP2). The program also draws on the Center for Health Workforce Studies at the University at Albany. The initiative will allow Downstate to improve program outcomes through better data analysis and enable the broader RP2 project to use Downstate as a model in programs to increase diversity and reduce disparities throughout the SUNY system.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive university system in the United States, educating more than 465,000 students in more than 7,500 degree and certificate programs on 64 campuses with nearly 3 million alumni around the globe. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit

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, Colleges of Nursing and Health Related Professions, a School of Graduate Studies, a School of Public Health, University Hospital of Brooklyn, and an Advanced Biotechnology Park and Biotechnology Incubator. SUNY Downstate is the only academic medical center in Brooklyn, serving an urban community of 2.5 million people.

SUNY Downstate ranks eighth 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. To learn more, visit

This news release was issued on behalf of Newswise(TM). For more information, visit

SOURCE SUNY Downstate Medical Center