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Students for Medical Justice Conference

“Earlier this month, students in the College of Medicine’s Health Equity Advocacy Leadership (HEAL) curriculum pathway staged SUNY Downstate’s first ever Community Violence and Transformative Justice conference in Alumni Auditorium on Saturday, January 11.

Nearly 100 students and faculty attended the event, which was keynoted by Rob Gore, M.D., Emergency Medicine Physician at Kings County and Downstate, and Assistant Director of the Emergency Medicine Residency Program. Dr. Gore is also the founder of the Kings Against Violence Initiative (KAVI).

In addition to Dr. Gore’s presentation, sessions also explored topics such as prisons and mental health services; health, housing and violence; complicity in medical racism, policing in hospitals, human health as a right, and other topics.

This is the first time we have done something like this, and we want to look at our results and see what more we can do going forward,” said second-year College of Medicine student Lisa Kim, one of the event’s organizers. “We would especially like to move beyond awareness activities to direct advocacy for specific changes and reforms that will address violence and medical racism in the healthcare system.”

Other students who served on the planning committee included second year College of Medicine students: Christine IbrahimKelsey Sklar, and Julie Sokel, and third year College of Medicine Students Nicolle Siegart and Anjali Jaiman.

It is great to see our students take on these difficult topics and their commitment to eliminating violence and racism in healthcare,” said Carla Boutin-Foster, M.D., MS, Associate Dean of Diversity Education and Research, who leads the HEAL pathway with Christopher Roman, Ph.D.  “We hope this is a springboard for these students to careers as physicians dedicated to bringing about change and working for social justice for their patients.

Downstate faculty participating in the conference included Ramon Gist, M.D., Director of Pediatric Critical Care at University Hospital of Brooklyn, and Jeffrey Putman, Ed.D., Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs.

Sponsors of the conference included the John Conley Division of Medical Ethics and Humanities, Downstate’s COM Alumni Association, Downstate’s Personal Rights In Defense and Education (PRIDE), SUNY Downstate Office of Diversity Education and Research, Downstate Students for Choice, Downstate Students for a National Health Program, Downstate White Coats for Black Lives, The Daniel-Hale Williams Society, Downstate SMSA, and Kings Against Violence Initiative.

Many thanks to our dedicated and passionate students for continuing to be being fearless advocates for equity and justice.

For more on our students’ honorable activism, feel free to watch live footage from the conference.”

Story from The President’s Bulletin.

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