M.D., M.P.H. Vice President, Medical Affairs • Bedford Stuyvesant Family Health Center Inc. • Brooklyn, N.Y.
M. Monica Sweeney, M.D., M.P.H., always knew she wanted to be a doctor. “Health care is not a job. It’s my calling and my way of serving humanity,” she states.
Sweeney is vice president of Medical Affairs at the Bedford Stuyvesant Family Health Center Inc., a primary care facility in Brooklyn, N.Y., catering especially to local residents who have no insurance or are underinsured. She is as an adjunct professor at the City University of New York’s Medical School of Biomedical Education and a clinical assistant professor of medicine and preventive medicine at the State University of New York Health Science Center (Downstate) in Brooklyn. She served two terms on the Presidential Advisory Council on H.I.V./AIDS, becoming chair of the prevention committee during her second term. In 1998, she became the first Black female president of the Medical Society, County of Kings, at the time a 176-year-old organization, and on World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, 2005, she received an award from New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg for her work on H.I.V./AIDS.
“Remember the definition of success: holding on when others give up,” she counsels others.
Author of Condom Sense: A Guide to Sexual Survival in the New Millennium (Lantern Books, ISBN: 1590560779), Dr. Sweeney earned a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University’s Teachers College, a medical degree from SUNY Health Science Center of Brooklyn and a master’s degree in public health from Columbia University. Her educational and professional achievements, stemming from the values of education and serving others that she learned from her parents, are a personal triumph, she says.
She concedes that she juggles her roles of wife, mother, grandmother and health care advocate with the support of a husband, “who has been there through everything always with enthusiasm, love and patience.” But she also lives by her mantra, “With God all things are possible,” and makes good use of her “persistent and tenacious nature.”
Sweeney dreams of seeing “a more equitable distribution of the world’s resources” Until then, she will continue to advocate for affordable and accessible health care for all.