I would like to introduce myself and welcome the Class of 2021 to the SUNY Downstate Alumni Association. It is my desire to encourage you to involve yourself in the Association’s continuous mission to support Downstate medical students who will eventually become our professional colleagues.
This is a very challenging time for our nation and the world. We are facing a deadly pandemic whose end is presently unclear. This pandemic demands the very best of all disciplines under the umbrella of medicine, from psychiatry to experts in infectious diseases. We are also facing a time when our nation is being torn apart by a great divide between those who choose to protect themselves and their loved ones and those who choose to express their rights by refusing such protection.
As alumni, we have an opportunity to make a major impact upon the world and we need to ensure that our medical students are equipped with the very best to surpass even our accomplishments. The Alumni Association has a rich history of providing students with the help they need to succeed both locally and beyond the physical boundaries of Downstate. It provides a foundation of giving that allows our students to achieve their dreams.
I would like to elaborate on some of our accomplishments in the 2020-2021 academic year. Alumni Association provided over three hundred thousand dollars in grants, including everything from tuition and research scholarships to the senior gifts. Moreover, we continued with the traditional White Coat Ceremony, and supported the Brooklyn Stories literary journal. In addition, we contributed to the continued work of the Brooklyn Free Clinic as well as medical care in developing countries. I am exceptionally proud of this work since I also participate in global medical missions and can attest to the desperate need the world has for quality medical care. Even as I write these remarks, my birth country Haiti has just suffered a major earthquake whose tally of deaths has yet to be determined. The world is in desperate need of us.
We have an opportunity to be at the forefront of social justice issues as it pertains to medical care. Our Association is committed to helping provide access to medical care for those in need and balance the structural inequities in our healthcare system that contribute to an untold number of needless deaths and morbidities each year.
During my time as president, I look forward to working with our alumni in continuing the good work we are doing and branching out to do even more. This can only be accomplished by the continuous contribution and support of our alumni. Please join me in supporting our organization, which has gifted us with the opportunity of becoming physicians and healing the world.