Kitaw Demissie, MD, PhD
Dean and Professor
School of Public Health

Welcome to the School of Public Health at the State University of New York’s Downstate Health Sciences University. 

Located in the heart of Brooklyn, Downstate Health Sciences University has a rich legacy of excellence in education, research, and community service.  Our School of Public Health, with roots beginning in 2001, now stands at the forefront of public health education, with a focus on urban and immigrant populations. Our exciting vision is one full of hope, possibility, challenges, and eventually, greater health equity for all.

Our ultimate goal is to promote health and prevent disease in the population as a whole.  Thus, our approach moves past preventive services provided to individual patients in clinical settings (though this approach is extremely important). Our faculty and students adopt a population-based perspective on pressing health issues, through health education campaigns, screening and prevention programs, epidemiologic analysis of health problems, and consideration of implications of health policies.

We are committed to advancing the health of Brooklyn, and to the larger world that contributes to its amazing diversity.  Brooklyn is a borough of immigrants.  We know from careful statistical analyses that many common diseases disproportionately affect the residents of Brooklyn. In response, our academic curriculum places a unique emphasis on the health needs of our urban and immigrant populations. Our Center for Global Health was created to foster a range of educational, research, and service initiatives overseas and to enhance local and global partnerships through student field practicums abroad.

Our school is nationally accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health. We offer Master of Public Health (MPH) degrees in five disciplines, as well as Doctor of Public Health degrees in three disciplines.  Our 15-credit Advanced Certificate in Public Health has served as a springboard to wider public health education for many.

Our school is home to faculty who are nationally recognized public health leaders, distinguished in their respective specialties through teaching, research and service.  Faculty and student projects often include collaboration with our College of Medicine, College of Nursing, School of Health Professions, School of Graduate Studies, community-based organizations, and the University Hospital at Downstate and its affiliated hospitals and institutions. This provides our students with easy access to the rich diversity of faculty expertise found in the only academic medical center in Brooklyn.

Our student body is as diverse as the populations we serve.  We welcome students from a broad range of professional backgrounds. We provide public health education and training to recent college graduates, nurses, lawyers, administrators, physician assistants, medical students, and physicians. We highly value the unique perspectives all of our students bring to the public health learning experience.

The School of Public Health was founded by Pascal James Imperato, MD, MPH&TM, MACP, an internationally respected leader in national and global public health.  Dr. Imperato spent six years in West Africa with the CDC eradicating smallpox and controlling measles.  He also assisted in designing efforts to prevent and control epidemics of yellow fever, cholera, and meningococcal meningitis.  He demonstrated long-term benefits in achieving the eradication of smallpox in Mali, and in designing health care infrastructures for Sahelian nomads seriously affected by droughts.

During his six years at the New York City Department of Health, he initiated a nurse epidemiology training program that dramatically changed the way the department investigated and controlled outbreaks.  As Commissioner of Health, he recruited National Health Service Corps physicians to provide treatment and preventive services to address health and health care disparities among the city's disadvantaged populations.

Please contact us to learn more about how you can advance your career through our unique and exciting educational, research and service opportunities.  Join us to take part in our mission of Public Health for a Global Community. 

We look forward to having you join us in this important, satisfying, and exciting endeavor.  Please take some time to explore our website. If you wish to speak with us, please don't hesitate to contact us by telephone or e-mail. We are ready to answer your questions and to help you to develop a meaningful career in public health.

With warm greetings from Downstate and from Brooklyn!