SUNY Board of Trustees Appoints Dr. Wayne J. Riley as President of Downstate Medical Center

January 24, 2017

Albany – The State University of New York Board of Trustees today appointed Dr. Wayne J. Riley as president of SUNY Downstate Medical Center. Dr. Riley is currently a clinical professor of Medicine and adjunct professor of Health Policy at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

In addition to serving as the president of SUNY Downstate, Dr. Riley will hold two faculty appointments – professor of Internal Medicine in the College of Medicine and professor of Health Policy and Management in the School of Public Health – both with tenure. His appointment is effective April 3, 2017, at an annual State salary of $500,000 and a campus foundation salary of $175,000.

“Dr. Riley’s impressive credentials in medicine and academia make him ideally suited to serve the needs of Downstate Medical Center, one of the largest employers in Brooklyn and a world-class academic medical center for our future practitioners,” said SUNY Board of Trustees Chairman H. Carl McCall. “We couldn’t be more pleased to welcome him to SUNY, and we look forward to our work together.”

“Dr. Riley is a respected leader well-versed in healthcare management and policy; he is an experienced educator; and he has vast private and public sector experience – all qualities that will benefit the students, faculty, and staff of Downstate Medical Center,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “I have every confidence that Dr. Riley is the right person to lead the campus forward.”

“I am humbled, honored, and thrilled to have been appointed to serve the students, faculty, staff, and alumni of SUNY Downstate Medical Center and the greater Brooklyn and New York City communities,” said Dr. Riley. “I look forward with great anticipation to working with the Chancellor, the SUNY Board of Trustees, and the Downstate campus community to grow, enhance and build upon its many successes while also positioning it strategically to meet the many challenges of this unprecedented time of change in healthcare and health professions education. I am most grateful for this opportunity to serve.”

About Dr. Riley

Dr. Riley is immediate past president and president emeritus of the American College of Physicians. An academic primary care general internist, he has 25 years of progressively increasing senior level management, policy, and leadership experiences in academic medicine, patient care, research administration, academic health center administration, health care management, health policy, biotechnology, the corporate sector, government service, advocacy, and organized medicine.

Prior to joining Vanderbilt University, he was the 10th president, chief executive officer, and professor of Medicine at Meharry Medical College. He began his career at Baylor College of Medicine, where he completed residency training in internal medicine and rose from instructor of medicine to a corporate officer and member of Baylor’s senior management team as the vice president and vice dean for Health Affairs and Governmental Relations, and associate professor of Internal Medicine. Prior to pursuing a career in medicine, he served in three capacities in the Office of the Mayor, City of New Orleans, rising to executive assistant to the mayor for Intergovernmental Relations.

He is an elected member of the prestigious National Academy of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences where he serves as chair, Administration of Health Services, Education and Research, master of the American College of Physicians, and as a member and secretary treasurer of the Society of Medical Administrators, the American Clinical and Climatological Association, and the Sullivan Alliance to Diversify the Health Professions. He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including: election to Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, the Arnold P. Gold Medical Humanism Honor Society, the Delta Omega Public Health Honor Society and the SUNY Downstate Ailanthous Award for Outstanding Public Health Leadership. He is the recipient of two honorary degrees from SUNY Downstate Medical Center (D.H.L.) and the Tuskegee University (D.Sc).

Dr. Riley earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in anthropology with a concentration in Medical Anthropology from Yale University, a Master of Public Health degree in health systems management from the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, a Master’s in Business Administration from Rice University, and a Doctor of Medicine degree from the Morehouse School of Medicine.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, with 64 college and university campuses located within 30 miles of every home, school and business in the state. In 2015-16, SUNY served nearly 1.3 million students, including nearly 600,000 in credit bearing courses and programs and more than 700,000 through continuing education and community outreach programs. SUNY students and faculty across the state make significant contributions to research and discovery, resulting in nearly $1 billion of externally-sponsored activity each year. There are 3 million SUNY alumni worldwide and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree are SUNY alumni. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit

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