Physician FAQ

Q. What are the requirements?

A. All attending physicians must be licensed in New York State to provide primary care services to patients over 18 years of age.

Q. What are the clinical duties?

A. The attending physician supervises patient care and reviews assessments and plans. The attending should be comfortable coaching student clinical teams.  The attending approves patient notes and charts at the end of the shift and are the only staff who are allowed to prescribe medications. Patients will not be seen at the clinic until the attending is onsite.

Q. What is the time commitment?

A. There is no minimum commitment that we require of our attending physicians in terms of the number of evenings volunteered per month or year.  Patients are scheduled at the clinic from 5:30 to 8:30 pm on Wednesday evenings and the attending physician for each night must be present during these hours. The attending physician often conducts a closing meeting at the end of the clinic shift to discuss patients seen that day. There are no additional obligations outside of clinic hours.

Q. What about malpractice and insurance?

A. The BFC is a clinical elective operated by the College of Medicine. Students are covered for all clinical activity at Downstate or our affiliates.  Attending physicians are registered as clinical instructors and covered under Downstate’s medical liability insurance.

Q. How do I sign up?

A. Becoming a volunteer attending physician at the BFC is a simple process with minimal paperwork. If you are affiliated with SUNY Downstate Medical Center, you will need a letter of support from your department chair and we will happily provide a template to you. For unaffiliated physicians, you need to fill out a two-page form in order to obtain a voluntary faculty appointment at SUNY Downstate Medical Center; this will allow you to be covered under Downstate’s medical liability insurance. To get the process started, please contact our Physician Recruitment Chair, James Wong, at

Q. I cannot commit to a clinic shift, can I still volunteer?

A. If you cannot volunteer as an attending physician at the BFC, there are plenty of ways you get involved.  You might be interested in volunteering as an advisor for the BFC Cares program, or even help recruit other physicians to volunteer at the BFC.  If you have an idea of your own for the clinic, we would love to hear about that too. Send an email to and we will get back to you as soon as possible.