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For Immediate Release
March 7, 2024

SUNY Downstate Medical School Department Chairs Correct the Record

Faculty refute SUNY Chancellor’s misinformation about Downstate Hospital

Click Here download the statement from 16 Downstate Department Chairs

The department chairs at SUNY Downstate’s Medical School and Hospital have responded to the false claims made by SUNY Chancellor John King as part of SUNY’s ongoing effort to close SUNY Downstate University Hospital.

The chairs, 14 of whom are medical doctors, work at Downstate Hospital every day and have firsthand experience with the building, its patients, and data related to the facility.

In a four-page statement, they have responded point-by-point with actual facts challenging the misinformation that SUNY is perpetuating. The chairs have major concerns about the impact the hospital’s closure will have on Central Brooklyn patients. They believe the hospital’s closure will be “devastating” to Downstate’s medical school.

“It’s ironic to the point of being Orwellian that the SUNY administration continues to refer to Downstate’s medical school as a ‘gem of the SUNY system,’ while at the same time fabricating distortions about the facility,” said UUP President Fred Kowal. “Thankfully, we have an accurate accounting of the conditions at SUNY Downstate from every faculty chair at the medical school. Many of the chairs have spent their entire careers at Downstate. They know the facts about this vital institution rather than the fables being spread by the Chancellor and his outside crisis communications agency.”

The chairs’ statement directly addresses SUNY’s misinformation about Downstate, including the hospital’s finances, infrastructure, daily bed count/census, H & H Kings County capacity, the impact of the hospital’s closure on the medical school, and the need for health care services in Central Brooklyn.

The department chairs, in their statement noted, “We are concerned that the core missions of Downstate—to address health care disparities that disproportionately affect our community in Central Brooklyn, and to diversify the health care workforce—threaten to be undermined by this change.” They also said that the health care received by Central Brooklyn residents and the “educational mission” of Downstate’s medical school would be “drastically compromised” if the hospital closes.

“There is no questioning the fact that closing SUNY Downstate will rob this community of the vital health care services it needs and depends on,” said Kowal. “It will disrupt and diminish the quality instruction and experience our medical students and residents receive. It is imperative that the governor listen to members of the state Legislature and the Brooklyn community who have stated unequivocally that Brooklyn Needs Downstate!”

UUP is the nation's largest higher education union, with more than 42,000 academic and professional faculty and retirees. UUP members work at 29 New York state-operated campuses, including SUNY’s public teaching hospitals and health science centers in Brooklyn, Long Island and Syracuse. It is an affiliate of NYSUT, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, and the AFL-CIO.


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