Dr. Moro Salifu, Director of The Brooklyn Health Disparities Center, has pledged with the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable and The American Cancer Society to share a commitment to eliminating disparities in access to care. As such, our organizations will work to empower communities, patients, providers, community health centers and health systems to embrace these models and develop the partnerships needed to deliver coordinated, quality
colorectal cancer screening and follow up care that engages the patient and empowers them to complete needed care from screening through treatment and long-term follow-up. In this initiative
dozens of organizations have committed to eliminating colorectal cancer as a major public health
problem and are working toward the shared goal of reaching 80% of adults aged 50 and older screenedfor colorectal cancer by 2018. By achieving this goal, together we can prevent 200,000 colon cancer deaths in less than 2 decades.

Dr. Marilyn Fraser, Co-Director of The Brooklyn Health Disparities Center, CEO of The Arthur Ashe Institute was featured on  WABC  "Here & Now" which  aired on  Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016 at 12:00 noon on WABC.

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In February's Research in Progress Meeting at the Brooklyn Health Disparities Center Jeremy Herring, a MPH candidate at SUNY-Downstate, facilitated a discussion highlighting his research in the steadily increasing rates of prisoners suffering from mental illnesses in New York City.  According to the Bureau of Correctional Health Services in New York City 38% of the 11,408 inmates, suffer from a mental illness almost a 10% increase from 2010.  Additionally 7% of the jail population suffers from a serious mental illness such as depression, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder.  His research and critical review discuss the history of this incarceration trend among the mentally ill, the public safety imperative of an effectual mental health system, and also analyzes prevention methods while focusing his symposium on Mayor De Blasio’s 2014 action plan recommendations for New York City.   

Please join us  in congratulating Dr. Daniel Cukor, Research Scientist of the Brooklyn Health Disparities Center and  Marilyn Fraser-White, Director of BHDC's Community Engagement Core and Deputy Executive Director at Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health for partaking in SUNY Downstate's Health Disparities Research Funding Initiative for  receiving the President's Health Disparities Award.  A total of 42 applications were submitted. Best wishes  for success to BHDC's two awardees.

Health Disparities Research Awards

Please join the Brooklyn Health Disparities Center in congratulating Zerin Kashem.  Ms. Kasehm is a  former trainee of the BHDC's Underrepresented Minority Research Traineeship.  Her publication was entitled, "Preconception Peer Educators: Spreading the Word". Her essay was published in Penn State's Undergraduate Journal of Service-Learning and Community-Based Research,. Ms. Kashem essay depicts her service-learning experiences with a Community Advisory Board Member of ours:  Brooklyn Perinatal Network (BPN). The Center would like to our partners at BPN--Denise, Ngozi and Brandy, for giving Ms. Kashem the opportunity to work with their organization to teach high school students the importance of preconceived health.

Articles on Health Disparities in Kidney Transplantation

  • Epstein,Arnold M., et al. "Racial disparities in access to renal transplantation—clinically appropriate or due to underuse or overuse?." New England Journal of Medicine 343.21 (2000): 1537-1544. 
  • Young, Carlton J., and Robert S. Gaston. "Renal transplantation in black Americans." New England Journal of Medicine 343.21 (2000): 1545-1552. 
  • Powe, Neil R. "To have and have not: Health and health care disparities in chronic kidney disease." Kidney international 64.2 (2003): 763-772 

Dr. Cukor and Dr. Salifu, along with other investigators at Downstate and 2 other New York hospitals are currently analyzing the data from a study they did on kidney transplant medication adherence. 


Strict adherence to anti-rejection medication is a key factor in maintaining the health of a donated kidney, yet many people have difficulties taking their medication exactly as prescribed. The current study interviewed over 300 ethnically diverse transplant patients, from across New York City, about their medication adherence and what types of problems prevent them from taking their medication.
While, by and large, most patients reported taking their medication as prescribed, there were some interesting differences across the sample. Patients who reported more concerns about the safety of the medication and less conviction about the need to take the medication, not surprisingly, took their medication less frequently. What was also true was these folks identified more
barriers to getting their meds, being more forgetful and feeling more depressed, anxious and generally worse than people who believed the medications were safe and necessary. While we are still analyzing the data, the need to study people's perspectives and belief systems seems to be fundamental to understanding why they do anything, or in particular take their immunosuppressant medication.

Dr. Michael Joseph was appointed as the new Director of the BHDC Training Core in the summer of 2013. Dr. Joseph, recipient of the 2013 Chancellor's Awards for Excellence in Teaching, has participated in training efforts of BHDC, most recently providing a workshop teaching community based organizations how to analyze research data. He also provides supervision to staff engaged in the community based research conducted by BHDC.

As vice chair and assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics in the School of Public Health; he played a key role in the transition of the Graduate Program in Public Health to full School status and is known for creating a learning environment where excellence is expected.
He consistently receives high praise in student evaluations of his teaching and takes great personal interest in his students' success: each semester devoting time to tutoring students who find epidemiology and biostatistics challenging. Dr. Joseph has a knack for explaining difficult concepts in a simplified, yet exhaustive fashion; for this reason, his course at the Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association, Biostatistics for Non-Statisticians, is widely popular.

He is also active in local pipeline programs, such as the PRISM Program at Medgar Evers Preparatory High School, which seek to inspire underrepresented young people to pursue health careers. Dr. Joseph also has vast international teaching experience in epidemiology and biostatistics, and has provided training in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Estonia, and Ukraine.

Dr. Daniel Cukor  

Below is the link for publication of our Barbershop Talk With Brothers pilot test of our project for which Dr. Tracey Wilson, BHDC Research Core Co-Director, Professor, Department of Community Health Sciences School of Public Health is the PI.


BHDC New Publications




Click the link below to watch the channel 1 News Feature about the Arthur Ashe Institute's Health Science Academy. Every year,  students from the Brooklyn Health Disparities Summer Internship get a chance to learn firsthand about the medical field  and various medical career paths.

Brooklyn Health Disparities Center Mentor Internship 2016

Dr. Marilyn Fraser

Health Science Academy

80% by 2018

Below is the link for publication of Dr. Daniel Cukor, BHDC Research Core Research Scientists, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at SUNY Downstate Medical Center.

Psychosocial Intervention Improves Depression, Quality of Life, and Fluid Adherence in Hemodialysis

Betty L. Jung, RN, BSN, is a Teaching and Research Care Nurse, Patient and Community Health Educator at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, Center for Community Health Promotion and Wellness in Brooklyn, New York.  Ms. Jung has served an underserved urban community, 84% of whom are immigrants in Brooklyn since 1981 at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, University Hospital of Brooklyn.  Ms. Jung is a graduate of the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, College of Nursing where she received her BSN degree in 1981.  Her career immediately began after graduation as a medical-surgical nurse.  For almost 9 years she gained clinical and patient and family education experience on the medical-surgical and cardiothoracic step down units.

Ms. Jung’s has committed much of her time and energy in strengthening and expanding the Center’s community health education programs.  Today through her efforts and commitment, many schools and colleges recognize the Center’s reputation as having a comprehensive and sustainable culturally sensitive community health programs that is uniquely operated by 2 nurses for them to send their students majoring in the health care field to gain community health experience at the graduate level as an MPH and DrPH candidate intern, and to be able to offer undergraduate students field experience in community health prior to graduation to complete a well rounded education.  


Ms. Jung is co-author of an IRB approved nursing research study on “Effectiveness of Cardiac Risk Assessment Screening Among Returnees at One Year” and is the recipient of many awards from the New York State Assembly, University Hospital of Brooklyn, and faith based organization for outstanding community health service.  In 2009, she received the State University of New York Chancellor Award for Excellence in recognition of outstanding and sustained service and significant contribution to institutional quality at SUNY Downstate Medical Center.

Betty Jung, RN

New Collaborations

Dr. Maragaret Kaplan was appointed as the new Co-Director of BHDC Research, Training, andEducation core  for the Center in the Fall of 2014. Margaret Kaplan is a licensed Occupational Therapist and has combined her work with children and families with her work as a full time faculty member at SUNY Downstate. Kaplan's teaching and grant activities have focused on Early Intervention with children and families, use of assistive technology for people with disabilities, and developing cultural competence. She has consistently worked with underserved children and families economically disadvantaged, and with underserved children and adults with severe developmental disabilities.

Dr. Margaret Kaplan  

Research Interests

His current research interests are well aligned with those of the Center and are focused on behavioral medicine and affective disorders, as well as adherence to medical prescriptions. The bulk of his research has focused on the complex relationship between depression and end stage renal disease. He has received grant support for his research from Downstate Medical Center, the American Psychological Association and the National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and Mental Health.
Dr. Daniel Cukor was appointed Research Scientistfor the Center in the Fall of 2013. Dr. Cukor is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at SUNY Downstate Medical Center and is SUNY Downstate's Networks of Excellence Presidential Scholar.
Dr. Cukor received his Ph.D. in Clinical Health Psychology from Ferkauf Graduate School/Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University (2002). He did a post-doctoral fellowship in cognitive behavioral therapy treatment and research at Downstate Medical Center. He has authored many articles and reviews in the field of behavioral medicine and sought after speaker in the field of psychonephrology. He was recently appointed as SUNY Downstate's Networks of Excellence Presidential Scholar.

New Training Core Leadership

Dr. Michael Joseph

New Community Engagement Core Leadership

Ongoing Research

Brooklyn Health Disparities Center

This year the Brooklyn Health Disparities Center had a five week summer Internship. Students had a chance to meet various professionals within the healthcare setting. Topics that were discussed included: Introduction to Health Disparities, introduction to Data Entry, Qualitative & Quantitative research design, Informational Interviewing, among many others.