Interprofessional Collaborations

Our Epidemiology and Biostatistics faculty have collaborated with a variety of institutions and agencies. Below showcases some of the recent projects. Please click on the embedded links to learn more.

Within SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

BRIDGE Program

In 2019, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HRSA) awarded a 5-year grant to SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University (SDHSU), Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences to prepare physicians, nurses, and other members of the health care team to provide comprehensive, integrated physical and mental health services for older adults. This model service and training initiative will be led by clinical and education experts in primary care, geriatric psychiatry and medicine, nursing and public health. Through intensive community partnerships and the development and implementation of innovative clinical, educational, and community programming, the BRIDGE program will strive to attain the overall goal of leveraging the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program to permanently and sustainably transform the healthcare workforce and community in Brooklyn, New York to be Age-Friendly and Dementia-Friendly.  

BRIDGE Program

The BRIDGE Program is composed of SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University (SDHSU), the College of Nursing (CON), the Department of Medicine (DOM), the Department of Psychiatry, the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry, the School of Public Health (SPH) and the School of Health Professions (SOHP), two primary care delivery systems in Brooklyn: NYC Health + Hospitals Kings County (NYCHHKC), the Brownsville Multi-service (BMS) Family Health Center; and a large community-based organization: the Fort Greene Council, Inc (FGC), which consists of 13 Brooklyn’s Department for the Aging-funded senior centers. 

As part of the BRIDGE program, the SPH developed an Advanced Certificate Program in Public Health Geriatrics, which will be offered starting Fall 2021. The program is comprised of 5 courses: 

  • CHSC 5206: Program Design and Evaluation
  • EPID 5200: Principles of Epidemiology
  • EPID 5305: Epidemiology of Aging
  • HPMG 5315: Legal Issues in Aging and Health
  • PUBH 5201: Public Health Leadership and Interprofessional Practice 

Dr. Elizabeth Helzner is the SPH lead for the BRIDGE program and the program director for the Advanced Certificate Program in Public Health Geriatrics.

Click here to read more about the BRIDGE program.


Committee on Plant-Based Health & Nutrition

Plant-based Diet

Dr. Elizabeth Helzner is the Chair of the Committee on Plant-Based Health and Nutrition. The Committee is comprised of faculty and students from all Downstate colleges. It promotes awareness of the health benefits of plant-based nutrition and works to enhance nutrition education for students and medical residents. The Committee advises the nutrition-related health policy of Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams’ office, holds annual conferences in plant-based health and nutrition, and hosts film screenings, lectures and webinars. Our conference, Harnessing the Power of Plant Based Nutrition, has been viewed over 620,000 times on YouTube. Leadership of the Plant-Based Committee, along with Downstate's Lifestyle Medicine Interest Group, are currently piloting the Food as Medicine Initiative to interested medical and public health students. The initiative consists of online courses from eCornell and the Gaples Institute, offered to students free of charge. Dr. Helzner also serves as Co-Chair of the Downstate-wide Lifestyle Medicine Task Force. 

U.S. Academic Partners

Dr. Janet Rosenbaum and MPH students Angelika Filippone-Marino and Dorah Labatte are involved in an attendance policy collaboration with University of Tennessee School of Nursing and University of California at Davis School of Education. A previous truancy policy collaboration with University of Minnesota School of Social Work and Department of Applied Economics, University of Tennessee School of Public Health was funded by the US Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice and published in Preventive Science, which was awarded a social policy publication award by the Society for Research on Adolescence at their 2020 biennial meeting.

City, State and Federal Agencies

Health Data for New York City (HD4NYC)

Health Data for New York City Logo

Dr. Simone Reynolds is an academic investigator in Health Data for New York City (HD4NYC). HD4NYC was launched by the New York Academy of Medicine and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in March 2019. HD4NYC is a multi-institutional initiative designed to advance policy-relevant research addressing the barriers to health equity. It is unique as it combines access to data, mentorship, and multi-institutional collaboration among early- and mid-career academic and Health Department researchers. Participants in the program collaborate on the development of research projects, participate in regular themed research meetings and an annual stakeholder summit, and attend quarterly seminars led by leaders in population health, health equity, and policy.  


Community Organizations and Labor Unions

Central Brooklyn Diabetes Project (CBDP)

Brooklyn Bridge

New York City is facing a diabetes epidemic, pointing to alarming new figures that reveal there has been a 150% increase in the prevalence of diabetes in adults across the city sincethe 1990s. More specifically, East Flatbush has the highest rate of self-reported diabetes in Brooklyn. In response, the Central Brooklyn Diabetes Project (CBDP) was formed—and a partnership between Downstate’s School of Public Health (SPH) and faith-based centers throughout Central Brooklyn was born. Aimee Afable Ph.D., MPH, Associate Dean for Community Engagement and Associate Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences, and Elizabeth Helzner, PhD, MS, Interim Chair and Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, lead the SPH effort as the New Creation Community Health Empowerment, Inc. (NCCHE) leads the faith-based coalition.