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SUNY Downstate Medical Center

Department of Family Medicine

The Community

What can be said about New York City that hasn't been said before! Manhattan and all of its excitement is only a bridge away from the Family Practice Center.

Brooklyn itself has a unique identity and history. It is one of the ten largest cities in the United States; it is also the largest component (borough) of New York City. There are dozens of neighborhoods with unique character and identity, ranging from the gentrified Brooklyn Heights to the inner city Bedford-Stuyvesant, from the middle-eastern Atlantic Avenue to the Caribbean Flatbush Avenue. There is no limit to the ethnic, culinary, musical, economic or educational diversity in Brooklyn: if it exists on the planet, WE HAVE IT! There are museums, symphonies, parks, universities and colleges, including branches of the state university systems (the Health Science Center), the city university system (Brooklyn College, Kingsboro College) and a law school just to name a few. Street fairs, ethnic festivals and just plain happenings enliven warm weather months.

The community in which the residency is located is one of the most diverse in the city. At the same time working class and indigent, native-born and immigrant, religious and secular, it is hard to pick one without being confronted with its contradiction. Of the immigrant groups, the most frequently encountered are from the Caribbean, including Haiti, Jamaica, Guyana, and all the islands between. While segments of the community work and study to get ahead, others are caught up with problems of poverty, substance abuse, violence and A.I.D.S. Our patients' lives and health are influenced by all of these factors, many having received their medical care at the Family Practice Center for two decades. It is not unusual for residents to take care of three generations in one family.

It is not difficult to like our patients and become involved in their problems and problem solving. It is not always easy or successful; but it is always rewarding.