SUNY’s Shift: Streamlining Education with Leo

The State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate College of Medicine’s goal is to be nationally recognized for improving people's lives by providing excellent education for healthcare professionals, advancing research in biomedical science, health care and public health, and delivering the highest quality, patient-centered care.

SUNY Downstate College of Medicine serves the needs of a larger and more diverse urban population than any other center like it in the U.S. Given their unique requirements, the school struggled to find a robust enough platform to suit their complex and multi-level cohorts. Since adopting Leo as their comprehensive software platform, SUNY Downstate has been able to improve their curriculum mapping, run better reports, and prepare their organization for accreditation.

The challenge

SUNY Downstate College of Medicine has a four-fold mission focused on excellence and equity in medical education, biomedical research, clinical care, and community engagement. Located in the heart of Brooklyn, the college is surrounded by a diverse patient population whose needs vary based on culture, language, education, and income. Students who are drawn to SUNY Downstate typically want to work in community-focused healthcare.

SUNY Downstate needed a healthcare education platform to manage classes of over 200 students each. The College had tried several different platforms, including Angel Learning, D2L, and most recently, Ilios. However, they struggled to find a system with a robust enough framework. Senior Manager of Curricular Technology, Floyd Bennett, explained that previous software platforms were not flexible or customizable enough to fit their needs. Because the College has such a large cohort of students, they have extensive curriculum mapping needs. With previous platforms, users kept running into challenges with mapping and running reports, resulting in wasted time and energy.

Additionally, SUNY Downstate was about to undergo their next accreditation review. They could not delay resolving these problems with their existing software platform, so the team made the decision to once again search for a new vendor.

The solution

This is where Leo and the DaVinci Education team stood out. Several associate deans from SUNY Downstate connected with representatives from DaVinci Education at an event and were intrigued by what they learned. Leo turned out to be the solution they needed — the platform improves their curriculum mapping process and comes with other unexpected benefits. Bennett especially praises the calendar feature as “really clean[with its] custom color coding and readability” and says that as a data person he appreciates “the accessibility of the data without having to get too fancy.” The team also loves the self-service features and benefits from the ability to conduct evaluations, track faculty contributions, and integrate the platform with student information systems.

Bennett was also impressed with the implementation experience, saying he “thought it would be harder than it was” to transition to Leo. The main challenge was simply that Downstate has a complex and multi-level cohort that came with unique requirements. In the face of these complicated needs, Bennett describes DaVinci Education’s customer support as “very responsive” and the implementation process as “well thought-out and collaborative.”

“Since using Leo, the self-service has increased, and the information and data are present at a glance for all users.”
Floyd Bennett
SUNY Downstate College of Medicine Senior Manager of Curricular Technology

The DaVinci Difference

SUNY Downstate quickly saw the positive effects of using Leo. Between weekly remote training sessions and “sandbox” style homework, Bennett and his team soon became confident Leo users. Because Leo allows schools to run virtually everything related to a healthcare educational system from a single platform, the information users need is available at a glance. Students have also taken to the new platform. Many say that Leo is the first or second tool they log into every day, even before email, because they can find everything they need in one place.

Self-service also continues to increase as Leo empowers users to find and apply any data they need. But at the same time, Bennett appreciates that he is “never left hanging by DaVinci.” The SUNY team also benefits from the “community feel” among Leo users—seeing how other schools use the platform helps them apply tools more effectively in their own program.

As the key Leo administrator for the SUNY Downstate College of Medicine, Bennett states that working with DaVinci is “more of a partnership than a vendor relationship. They pay attention to ideas and requests and roadmap it if it makes sense. And they give credit to their users with good ideas and share with other users.” SUNY Downstate looks forward to continuing this collaborative partnership with DaVinci and leveraging Leo to enhance their overall efficiency and, more importantly, student outcomes.