SUNY Downstate clinical assistant professor Dr. Robert Gore to be honored with “Candle in the Dark” award from Morehouse College

By Office of Communications & Marketing | Feb 4, 2021

MEDIA CONTACT: Dawn S. Walker | | 917-439-9666

Dr. Gore Honored Alongside U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock, Darren Walker, Kenneth Frazier, And More at 33rd Annual “A Candle in the Dark” Gala

Brooklyn, NY - Morehouse College announced this week that Dr. Robert Gore, an assistant professor at SUNY Downstate, will receive its “Candle in the Dark” Award at their 33rd Annual “A Candle in the Dark” Gala set to take place virtually on February 13 at 7:30pm.

The “Candle in the Dark” award recognizes excellence in a variety of fields, including athletics, business, education, entertainment, government, law, military service, religion and science and technology in non-Morehouse graduates. The “A Candle in the Dark” Gala is a part of Morehouse College’s Founder’s Week, and this year includes programming from Chris Tucker, Rev. Ernest Andrew Brooks and Isabel Wilkerson. Dr. Gore is being honored for his work not only in expanding the diversity of the medical field, but also his efforts to reduce youth violence via the Kings Against Violence Initiative.

“As a Morehouse Man myself, I am exceptionally proud to see one of SUNY Downstate’s own honored by such a historic and impactful university,” said Dr. Riley, SUNY Downstate President. “This year has been an intensely trying time for all of us in the medical field, and for Dr. Gore to stand out in such an important year is that much more impressive. Dr. Gore is an exemplar of our university’s values and mission, and this recognition is well-earned and well-deserved. I’m grateful for Dr. Gore’s continued work, and look forward to seeing what he does next.”

“I am incredibly grateful to Morehouse College for honoring me this year, and I am humbled to stand amongst such outstanding leaders across a variety of fields,” said Dr. Robert Gore. “Violence is an endemic public health issue, particularly in low-income and communities of color – that is why I have devoted my career in medicine to addressing youth violence and increasing diversity in all fields of medicine. I am honored to have this work recognized by the College, and look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure true equity for Black medical professionals and patients alike.”

Dr. Gore, a Brooklyn resident and Morehouse graduate, is also the executive director and founder of the Kings Against Violence Initiative (KAVI), a youth violence intervention and prevention program working on solutions to tackle issues of violence within the community – for which he was named a “CNN Hero”. In 2018, he was also appointed to the class of the Presidential Leadership Scholars Program – a partnership between the presidential centers of Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Lyndon B. Johnson – in recognition of the success of KAVI.

Dr. Gore is also the founder and director of the Minority Medical Student Emergency Medicine (MMSEM) Summer Fellowship, a mentoring and enrichment program with a focus on project development for underrepresented minorities interested in Emergency Medicine. Dr. Gore is a 2000 graduate of University of Buffalo SUNY School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences and specializes in emergency medicine.

The following honorees will also accept awards at the gala: U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock, Georgia’s first Black senator; Gordon Joyner, the former executive director of the state of Georgia Commission on Equal Opportunity; Kenneth Frazier, the president and CEO of Merck and Company; Darren Walker, the president and CEO of the Ford Foundation; and Byron Allen, the chairman and CEO of the Allen Media Group. 

CNN Anchor Fredricka Whitfield will host “Reflections of Excellence,” a discussion with each of this year’s honorees, the day before the gala on February 12 at 1:00pm. 


About SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University is the borough’s only academic medical center for health education, research, and patient care, and is a 342-bed facility serving the healthcare needs of New York City, and Brooklyn’s 2.6 million residents. University Hospital of Brooklyn (UHB) is Downstate’s teaching hospital, backed by the expertise of an outstanding medical school and the research facilities of a world-class academic center. More than 800 physicians, representing 53 specialties and subspecialties—many of them ranked as tops in their fields—comprise Downstate's staff.

A regional center for cardiac care, neonatal and high-risk infant services, pediatric dialysis, and transplantation, Downstate also houses a major learning center for children with physical ailments or neurological disorders. In addition to UHB, Downstate comprises a College of Medicine, College of Nursing, School of Health Professions, a School of Graduate Studies, a School of Public Health, and a multifaceted biotechnology initiative, including the Downstate Biotechnology Incubator and BioBAT for early-stage and more mature companies, respectively. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter at @sunydownstate.