Downstate Medical Center comprises a College of Medicine, Colleges of Nursing and Health Related Professions, Schools of Graduate Studies and Public Health, and University Hospital of Brooklyn. It also includes a major research complex and biotechnology facilities.
SUNY Downstate ranks eighth nationally in the number of alumni who are on the faculty of American medical schools. More physicians practicing in New York City graduated from Downstate than from any other medical school. With 1,040 residents (young physicians in training), Downstate's residency program is the 16th largest in the country.
SUNY Downstate Medical Center is the fourth largest employer in Brooklyn. Eighty-six percent of its employees are New York City residents; 68 percent live in Brooklyn. The medical center's total direct, indirect, and induced economic impact on New York State is in excess of $2 billion. SUNY Downstate Medical Center attracted close to $100 million in external research funding in 2011, which includes $26 million from federal sources. It ranks fourth among SUNY campuses in grant expenditures, and second among SUNY's academic health centers.
In 2010 SUNY Downstate celebrated its sesquicentennial, commemorating the year that the Long Island College Hospital (as it was then known) first opened its doors to students. Yet Downstate traces its roots back even further (to 1856) when a small group of physicians set up a free dispensary in Brooklyn to care for poor immigrants.
Known as the German General Dispensary, its original aim was to care for indigent Germans living in Brooklyn, but changing demographics soon required it to broaden its outreach. In 1857 it was reorganized as a charitable institution and renamed The St. John’s Hospital—the first of many name changes.