President of SUNY Downstate Medical Center in East Flatbush, Dr. Jonn LaRosa, is stepping down from the position after 13 years of service, according to a release sent out Wednesday afternoon.
LaRosa plans to return to Downstate and his faculty duties after a year's sabbatical, the release continues.
SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher noted that a search for an acting president is underway, and until a candidate is selected, Dr. Ian Taylor has been appointed to serve as officer-in-charge. With oversight from Zimpher, he will work alongside and CFOs Alan Dzija and David Ho to continue operations.
Taylor is and will continue to serve as dean of Downstate's College of Medicine and senior vice president for biomedical education and research.
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“Throughout Dr. LaRosa’s presidency, his deep clinical experience, forward-looking approach to medicine and passion for his work were appreciated by students and staff alike,” said Taylor in the release. “We wish Dr. LaRosa an enjoyable year of leave and look forward to his return to the medical community in an academic capacity.”
LaRosa's departure comes at an already trying time for Downstate as it looks to consolidate operations to and without closing any facilities. Taylor noted LaRosa's departure will not impact plans to move forward with these goals.
According to The New York Times, a group appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to recommend the restructuring of health care in Brooklyn urged last fall that the hospital shift its operations .
LaRosa came out publicly against that recommendation, saying it failed to acknowledge the role that East Flatbush's SUNY Downstate played in health care education in the borough, as its only medical school.
Nevertheless, colleagues said his presence helped smooth the transition.
"Dr. LaRosa was integral to the process of merging LICH into Downstate, thus ensuring its future as a vital resource and community hospital for Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens," said Zipporah Dvash, a spokesperson for Downstate.
Most recently, when it opened the first clinic dedicated to treating non-FDNY 9/11 responders living in Brooklyn who suffer from ailments related to exposures at Ground Zero. LaRosa helped spearhead the initiative.