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1853-2006 153 Years of Community Service

Meeting these needs of the local community and training future healthcare workers has been part of the Hospital's primary mission for more than a century and a half. Indeed, Downtown Hospital represents the co-mingling of two great hospitals, both of which were specifically created to address the unique healthcare needs of Lower Manhattan.

The Hospital's first incarnation, The New York Infirmary, was founded in 1853 by a medical and social pioneer determined to provide care for the impoverished women and children of Lower Manhattan. The pioneer was Elizabeth Blackwell, M.D., the first female physician in the United States.

The other branch of the Hospital's history has its roots in the Beekman Street Hospital, which was started by a group of concerned financiers in response to a terrorist bombing at JP Morgan in the early 1920s. Even then, the Wall Street area was recognized as one of the financial capitols of the world. Then, as now, the Financial District was a symbol of American success and therefore a target for those bent on attacking the American dream of freedom and prosperity.

Crucial developments in the field of healthcare and breakthroughs in science and medicine were pioneered at these two institutions over the last 153 years: medical training for women and minorities, the adoption of formal written medical records, the introduction of cancer prevention, paramedic training and modern ambulance service.

Over the last century and a half, the Hospital has responded to meet the changing needs of our growing community and the challenging demands of a world altered by the tragic events of September 11th.


Downtown Hospital serves a population equal in size to most major cities in the United States. It is the closest acute care facility for Lower Manhattan's employees, residents, and tourists -- an annual total of nearly 9 million people. As the first responder to virtually every medical emergency in Lower Manhattan, New York Downtown Hospital treats over 30,000 emergency patients each year.

Downtown Hospital is the only full-service hospital in Lower Manhattan, an area of thriving commerce and residence, rich in tradition and diverse in population. The Hospital stands surrounded by a number of landmarks: the Brooklyn Bridge and south Street Seaport to the East; to the North, City Hall, Chinatown, and Little Italy; Wall Street to the South; and to the West the World Trade Center site and Battery Park City. A network of subways, buses, tunnels, roadways, ferries and bridges bring more than one half million workers into Lower Manhattan each weekday. Thousands more travel to this area to transact business or visit the statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and other tourist attractions. Because Downtown Hospital serves one of liveliest business and tourist districts in the world, its patient population is unusually varied. Patients come not only from the local residential area served by the Hospital but also from metropolitan New York and its suburbs, other states, and foreign nations. This diverse population provides a wide variety of clinical experiences and is great advantage to our teaching program.


Downtown Hospital is a voluntary not-for-profit community teaching hospital with a total inpatient capacity of approximately 160 beds. The Hospital provides medical, podiatric, surgical, and obstetrical-gynecological residency training programs. Most members of the Downtown Hospital staff are on the faculty of the New York University School of Medicine. A full spectrum of ambulatory care services including an active emergency Department, a faculty practice, and outpatient clinics is fully integrated with the inpatient service and the residency teaching program. The Hospital's busy fleet of ambulances, staffed by well-trained para-professionals, includes mobile intensive care units. Resident training in ambulatory medicine includes the Hospital-based faculty practice, local health care clinics, outreach programs in Chinatown and neighboring communities, and experience in private physicians' offices.

The services, specialties, and technologies expected of a modern urban teaching hospital are in place at Downtown Hospital. A twenty-bed intensive care unit includes medical, surgical, and coronary sections.

Our affiliation with a major medical center ensures a close working relationship for the treatment of patient with serious tertiarycare problems that cannot be handled in-house. The Downtown Hospital Medical Library is available to house staff members twenty-four hours a day. During weekends, it is staffed by an experienced librarian who has immediate access to reference searches from several sources via the university. Medical education materials, and on-line resources are readily available with work stations through the Hospital.


Thanks to the ongoing support of the community and other local organizations, Downtown Hospital has been recently able to:

Break ground on the Lehman Brothers Emergency Center, a new $25 million dollar emergency facility

Invest in state-of-the art technology such as a new 16-slice CT scanner and vascular imaging equipment;

Establish new programs such as the NICHE nursing program for geriatric patients, a Home Visit program and a Hospitalist service

Expand services in key areas such vascular surgery, endoscopic and laproscopic surgery, rehabilitation, and oncology;

And continue to build on centers of excellence including dialysis, maternal-child health and cardiology.

Areas slated for further development at the Hospital include thoracic surgery, vascular medicine, and pain management. In addition, Downtown Hospital has taken a leadership role in addressing the issue of emergency preparedness, both on a local and international level.

Clearly, New York Downtown Hospital is rebuilding, along with the Downtown community it so proudly serves. Like Lower Manhattan itself, Downtown Hospital has a bright future ahead.


Warren Licht, M.D.
Institutional Director for Graduate Medical Education
Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs

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