meet our Chief nursing Officers

Chief Nursing Co-Officers Jamal Berkenkotter & Julia Smith

In 2015, the College of Nursing joined the Anne Kastor Brooklyn Free Clinic healthcare
team. Each week the nursing students contribute to patient care at the BFC. When a patient
comes to the clinic, the nursing team is the first stop. The nursing team begins the health
assessment and interview process for patients at triage, whether the patient is coming in for a well-visit, or he/she is not feeling well.

The nursing students are part of the College of Nursing’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science
in Nursing (ABSN) Program. Serving at the BFC is an invaluable opportunity for the
students to get hands on experience caring for patients in a primary care setting.
 Nursing Volunteers are trained to effectively assess and triage clients, perform EKGs,
phlebotomy, and administer vaccinations and screenings under the supervision of an RN
preceptor. RN preceptors who volunteer their time to teach and supervise come from UHB
Brooklyn and from the greater NYC area. The BFC has also seen great support from the
College of Nursing’s Family Nurse Practitioner Program and many FNP students have
shared their knowledge and experience in the role of an RN preceptor.

The 2019-2020 Brooklyn Free Clinic Nursing Program is overseen by a team of student co-nursing officers. Jamal Berkenkotter and Julia Smith started in July of 2019 and have
become a weekly presence at the clinic. Together, Jamal and Julia continue to help
develop clinic protocols, train nursing volunteers, and orient registered nurse (RN) preceptors.

The ABSN program is designed for career-changing professionals. Jamal enters the field of nursing with a career background in dance (ballet and contemporary) as well as an M.S. in Actuarial Science from Columbia University. Julia has a B.S. in Biology and Society with a focus on Global Health and Nutrition from Cornell University and a background in community health outreach.

Together, they continue to collaborate with medical students and the School of Health Professions to develop an interdisciplinary curriculum and continuous quality improvement initiatives. One recent Nursing Volunteer wrote, “I love the clinic and what it stands for. I am so happy and proud to have helped deliver quality care to people in our community.”