Vicki Breitbart

BA, Sarah Lawrence College. MS, Bank Street College of Education. MSW, New York University Graduate School of Social Work. EdD, Columbia University. An accomplished public-health leader, she has dedicated her career, spanning 40 years, to improving health services for underserved New Yorkers. As a researcher and program manager, she has led efforts to assure that reproductive-health services and practices are solidly evidenced-based and to demonstrate an understanding of the need for collaboration between disciplines and sectors. Many of the programs, partnerships, and policies that she helped initiate serve as models for other urban centers across the country. She recently served as vice president of the Department of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, which she created at Planned Parenthood of New York City (PPNYC), and served as senior vice president and director of the Clinician Training Initiative at PPNYC, as well. She has held positions as project director at the Columbia School of Public Health for a national study, funded by the Ford Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, to review and formulate policies regarding infant mortality, HIV prevention, and substance use among pregnant women. She also served as deputy director of the Office of Women’s Health at the New York City Health and Hospital Corporation, where she monitored all of the city hospital programs for substance-using women and pregnant adolescents. Prior to that, she developed the Women’s Healthline, a public information system for the New York City Department of Health and then served as program management officer at the Bureau of Maternal and Child Health at the New York City Department of Health, where she managed the 300-staff initiative to reduce infant mortality in the city. Working with community and government partners, her accomplishments include founding the first Bereavement Program in New York City for families experiencing perinatal loss, establishing the Brooklyn Perinatal Network, and developing the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Healthy Teen Initiative. In recognition of her work and leadership abilities, she was elected president of the Public Health Association of New York City in 2010 and has served as chair of the board of the National Abortion Federation. Breitbart has taught at CUNY School of Public Health, Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, and New York University. Her publications include books on education and articles on reproductive health and intimate partner violence for peer-reviewed journals. SLC, 2016–

Previous Courses

Health Advocacy

Capstone Seminar

Graduate Seminar—Spring

The Capstone project and seminar provide health-advocacy students the opportunity to integrate their academic learning with field experience and examine how theoretical advocacy themes are made operational in workplace settings. Capstone is designed to enhance the coherence of students’ educational experiences and further develop their sense of professional identity. The project generally builds on the third and final fieldwork placement and is supported by this Capstone Seminar, which provides students with a strategic perspective on how the field is evolving and the skills required to successfully navigate a rapidly changing profession in a health-care system undergoing significant reform. The seminar is designed to facilitate students’ work on their Capstone projects by providing them with a group setting in which to explore ideas and refine project parameters, connect the project to broader advocacy concepts and career development opportunities, and receive regular feedback on Capstone progress.


Models of Advocacy: Theory and Practice I

Graduate Seminar—Fall

This course explores the multiple roles that health advocates assume as they create productive change on behalf of patients/consumers, families, and communities. Advocacy is practiced by improving the way health care is delivered within existing systems, by restructuring or reinventing areas of the health-care system, and by eliminating barriers to health caused by environmental destruction, poverty, and illiteracy. Throughout the year, students will be exposed to leaders who practice in diverse arenas within this interdisciplinary field, including clinical settings, community-based organizations, advocacy organizations, the media, interest groups, governmental organizations, and policy settings. They will learn to analyze organizations and communities in order to understand hierarchies and decision-making within them, and to be exposed to frameworks for conceptualizing and promoting the right to health. The course will also explore strategies to give health advocates and consumers more power in making decisions, defining issues, designing programs, and developing policies. The experiences of individuals and communities, as well as how systems respond to those experiences, will remain a central focus as students explore concepts, models, and practices of health advocacy.