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Press Releases

HHC Appoints New Leaders for Kings County Hospital and its Psychiatric Department

Jan 09, 2009

New York, NY

New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation President Alan D. Aviles today appointed two HHC administrative and clinical leaders to run Kings County Hospital Center and its behavioral health program.
Antonio D. Martin, Executive Director of Queens Hospital Center, will serve as Senior Vice President of the Central Brooklyn Network and Executive Director of Kings County Hospital Center. He will replace Jean G. Leon, R.N., M.P.A., who announced her retirement effective February 2, 2009. Joseph P. Merlino, M.D., M.P.A., a psychiatrist and clinical leader at Queens Hospital Center, will serve as Administrator of Kings County Behavioral Health Services. Both appointments are effective February 2.
“Kings County Hospital is a vital institution that has long served the Central Brooklyn community and for the past 15 years has had the benefit of strong and effective leadership from Jean Leon. She is a respected and compassionate leader who started her career at HHC as a nurse in 1984 and has served in many demanding roles with tireless dedication. She will be greatly missed by the entire HHC family and she leaves HHC with my deep respect, gratitude, and best wishes for a long and rewarding retirement,” said Aviles.
“Fortunately, HHC is able to draw from its own bench of experienced managers to fill this void. Both Antonio Martin and Dr. Joseph Merlino are talented and tested leaders who are ready to continue to build on the strong foundation of the past and will help complete and execute the ambitious redesign plan for the Behavioral Health program that is already under way,” Aviles added.
In addition to today’s appointment, HHC will unveil a series of fundamental reforms – some completed and others in progress — to the psychiatric program at Kings County following the opening of the hospital’s new Behavioral Health Center Pavilion in mid February. The new $153 million, seven-story building features 230 private and semi-private inpatient beds, a new psychiatric emergency center with double the space of the current one, and a wide range of outpatient and day treatment programs. The modern, efficient space will replace and consolidate services now provided in seven older buildings.
“While the impressive, state-of-the-art facility will be a very visible sign of a new era of behavioral health services at Kings County Hospital, the programmatic redesign of service delivery that accompanies the move into the new space is the more significant transformation that is underway,” Aviles said.


Antonio D. Martin

Antonio Martin has been an HHC employee for 23 years. He has served as Executive Director of Queens Hospital Center for more than six years. Earlier in his career, Mr. Martin also served as Executive Director of East New York Diagnostic & Treatment Center, part of the Central Brooklyn Network, and as Deputy Executive Director for the Network’s Behavioral Health Services. Dr. Ann Sullivan, Senior Vice President of the Queens Health Network, will serve as Acting Executive Director of Queens Hospital Center until a permanent replacement is made.
“It is a great honor to once again be able to serve the neighborhoods and communities of Central Brooklyn. I am familiar with the significant healthcare challenges we face and I look forward to working with my colleagues from Kings County, the Susan McKinney nursing facility, the East New York health center, and other parts of the Central Brooklyn Network to meet those challenges head-on,” Martin said. “We will deal effectively with the chronic diseases that disproportionately affect our patient population, we will further strengthen our behavioral health services, and we will continue the modernization of Kings County Hospital.”


Dr. Joseph P. Merlino

Dr. Joseph Merlino has practiced psychiatry at Queens Hospital Center since 2003 and has teaching faculty appointments at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, Ross University School of Medicine, and New York Medical College, from which he received his M.D. in 1974. He also served as Director of Psychiatry at Queens Hospital Center and as Director of Ambulatory and Community Psychiatry at Bellevue Hospital. He is widely recognized as leader in community and administrative psychiatry and has published extensively on behavioral health issues.
“Mr. Martin and Dr. Merlino will bring deep administrative and clinical experience and a powerful commitment to transforming Kings County’s behavioral health services into a model program focused on recovery and rehabilitation, and designed around principles of compassion, patient empowerment, family engagement, and clinical best practices,” Aviles said.
Kings County Hospital is a 627-bed facility that serves New Yorkers primarily from the communities of East New York, Brownsville, Flatbush, East Flatbush and Crown Heights and is one of the largest providers of medical care in Central Brooklyn. Kings County is a Level 1 Trauma Center, AIDS Center, a Stroke Center and has also been designated as a Center of Excellence for Diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. In Fiscal Year 2007, there were approximately 540,000 outpatient visits and over 100,000 emergency room visits.

Contact: Ian Michaels (HHC) (212) 788-3339

About Kings County Hospital Center

Kings County Hospital Center (KCHC) is a 627-bed facility that serves the communities of Central Brooklyn, East New York-New Lots and Flatbush. KCHC, a teaching hospital, is part of the NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC). KCHC is a Level I Trauma Center for Adults and the only Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center in Brooklyn. It is a NYSDOH Designated AIDS Center; a Stroke Center; and has also been designated as a Center of Excellence for Diabetes and for Parkinson Disease. KCHC has played a major role in providing health care to vulnerable populations in Brooklyn since 1831. For more information visit