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Archives - 2009

Archived news from the year:

2008 | 2007 |2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003



Thank you to all CUMC faculty, staff, and students

for bringing a smile to children in the Washington

Heights/Inwood community.

Thanks to the generosity of the CUMC community, over 600 toys were donated to children in the Washington Heights/Inwood community. Toys were distributed at a holiday celebration hosted by the Office of Government & Community Affairs to children attending the Washington Heights Childcare Center and Alianza Dominicana Day Care.  Children were treated to a holiday presentation by Alianza Dominicana, carols, and a visit by Santa before receiving their gifts. 















Senator Schneiderman Visits Dental Clinics

Senator Eric Schneiderman & Ira Lamster

Senator Eric Schneiderman with CDM Dean Ira Lamster at CDM clinics

New York State Senator Eric Schneiderman, who represents the district which includes Columbia University Medical Center, toured the College of Dental Medicine (CDM) clinics during a meeting with CDM Dean Ira Lamster.  During the visit, Dean Lamster discussed the importance of oral health and highlighted some of the programs that CDM runs to promote good oral health care, notably the clinics the CDM runs at local schools and the Elder Smile program.  Senator Schneiderman was very interested in getting input from the Dean as well as Associate Dean Stephen Marshall, who was also present, on how he can advocate on behalf of good oral health care policies in Albany and improve outcomes in the community.


White House Hosts HIV/AIDS Town Hall at Columbia University Medical Center

ONAP group

ONAP Director Jeff Crowley and his colleagues James Albino and Gregorio Millett listen as members of the public offer their ideas for the Presidents National HIV/AIDS Strategy

perez at ONAP

Actress Rosie Perez moderates the discussion in Alumni Auditorium


On December 4th, 2009 the White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) held a town hall meeting at Columbia University Medical Center to gather information and take testimony on HIV/AIDS issues.  The town hall is one of more than a dozen sessions that ONAP is hosting across the country to help the Obama Administration develop a national HIV/AIDs strategy.  ONAP Director Jeffrey Crowley led the session and he was joined by actress Rosie Perez who moderated the discussion.  Also present at the town hall were Congressman Eliot Engel and New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

The three stated goals of the President’s strategy are: reducing HIV incidence, increasing access to care and optimizing health outcomes, and reducing HIV-related health disparities.  About 400 people attended the event in Alumni Auditorium and offered ideas and advice to Director Crowley and his colleagues James Albino and Gregorio Millett on how to best achieve these goals.  Before the session, Columbia faculty member Wafaa El-Sadr had a chance to chat with Mr. Crowley about some of the work she is doing on HIV/AIDS.


CUMC logo


EMBARGOED UNTIL:                                                                              MEDIA CONTACT:

11 a.m. ET, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2009                                                       Nancy Nielsen





Dean of Columbia University Medical Center Testifies on

Medical Malpractice Reform in NY State Senate Public Hearing


Lee Goldman, M.D., a cardiologist and health outcomes expert, suggests ideas to lower costs, increase access and improve quality of patient care

Lee Goldman testifying



ALBANY – Lee Goldman, M.D., executive vice president for health and biomedical sciences and dean of the faculties of medicine and health sciences at Columbia University testified today on medical malpractice reform before the New York State Senate Committees on Codes, Health and Insurance in Albany, New York. 

Dr. Goldman is a cardiologist who has done extensive research on health outcomes. He spoke about the problems with New York State’s current medical malpractice legal system and offered possible solutions.  He also discussed how doctors are subject to oversight and review on many levels. Throughout his testimony, he focused on three themes – affordability, access and quality of patient care. He made the following key points:


  • Malpractice costs are significantly higher in New York than in other states.  A Pacific Research Center report commissioned by New Yorkers for Lawsuit Reform, released two weeks ago, ranked New York last among the fifty states for losses due to medical malpractice and at or near the bottom in most other tort categories. The report noted that 93 percent of doctors in New York said they practice defensive medicine.
  • High malpractice rates reduce patient access and force many healthcare providers out of business. Several hospitals have closed their maternity wards.  In Northern Manhattan, where Columbia University Medical Center is located, the only remaining obstetricians left are those who are part of ColumbiaDoctors.  With average annual insurance premiums approaching $150,000 in New York County, higher in other places, an obstetrician cannot earn enough to support him or herself in a community like Washington Heights where many residents are low income and are on Medicaid, Family Health Plus or uninsured.  If an OB/GYN stops delivering babies, his/her malpractice rates will go down by 40 percent.
  • In October, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issued an opinion estimating the potential budget effects of medical malpractice reform. The CBO concluded that reform could lower malpractice costs by 10 percent.  It also reported that in states that had not enacted reforms, like New York, the savings would likely be greater since the changes would be much more extensive than in states which had enacted reforms.
  • The CBO also estimated that medical malpractice reform could lower overall health care costs by 0.5 percent. Between Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Family Health Plus and other programs, New York State spends about $61 billion a year on health care.  Reducing those costs by 0.5 percent would save the state $305 million and help close the State’s budget gap.
  • The annual malpractice insurance cost for Columbia University Medical Center and its affiliated hospital, the uptown campus of New York-Presbyterian Hospital, is expected to exceed $71 million in 2010.  Saving 10 percent of that could be used instead toward treating patients, promoting public health, training doctors and other professionals, getting new equipment, conducting research to prevent disease, and even lowering rates charged to patients for medical services.
  • In addition to savings, a series of medical malpractice reform measures in Texas in 2003 led more doctors to practice in Texas. In 2003, about 2,500 applied to take the Texas medical licensure exam. In 2009, that figure was close to 4,000 – more doctors in all fields from primary care to many of the high-cost specialties and in all parts of the state from inner city Houston to rural west Texas. This 60 percent increase is well above any population increase Texas has seen since then. This means greater access to care, especially for the underserved. By contrast, in roughly the same period, New York’s increase was less than 500. 


Dr. Goldman also addressed an argument made by trial lawyers that they are policing the medical profession, and explained that physicians are subject to oversight and review on many levels.

First, all medical professionals are subject to licensure and discipline from the New York State Department of Education and other state agencies.  They are also reviewed by payers, Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurers, all of whom measure quality. With the new physician and hospital quality measures coming out of Washington and the emphasis on comparative effectiveness research, this will only increase. Finally, there are surveys like the U.S. News and World Report and New York Magazine’s Best Doctors, and perhaps most importantly, patients who demand excellence and let their physicians know when they are displeased.   

Second, medical malpractice lawsuits are not a good way to police against bad doctors. Some estimate that virtually every New York neurosurgeon will at some point in their career be sued for malpractice, 80 percent within the first 10 years of beginning practice. Obstetricians have similar numbers. It is arguable what percentage of neurosurgeons are bad doctors, but one can say with certainty the number is not 80 percent.


Dr. Goldman offered four suggestions to reform the medical malpractice system by lowering costs, increasing access and promoting quality:

1. Caps:  Put a limit on non-economic damages, which have been a central part of the  successful reforms in California and Texas. Medical costs and lost income would continue to be fully compensated.  The only damages that would be limited would be pain and suffering and, in some cases, punitive damages.


2. Safe Harbor:  A doctor who meets or exceeds the standard of care, who does everything he or she is supposed to do and does it well, would not be held liable in a medical malpractice case simply because there was a bad outcome.  There have been tremendous advances in evidence-based medicine so that there is very often consensus on what practice standards should be. Doctors who do not depart from the standard of care should not be subject to malpractice liability.


3. Sorry Works:  Apologize and compensate. Because of the current litigation climate, a doctor who makes a mistake and knows he or she made a mistake is very reluctant to admit that mistake and apologize to the patient for fear that the apology could be used in a future law suit. Amend the rules of evidence so this type of apology cannot be used in court, as 30 other states have done.  This will go a long way to turning down the temperature when a mistake is made. Do not let fear of lawsuits prevent people from settling problems quickly and easily.  


4. Other Ideas:  Set up a pool to reimburse families as they incur expenses to care for their children born with defects related to a doctor’s management, set up a no fault system for babies born with non-preventable birth defects, enact enforceable sanctions for frivolous lawsuits, compel expert discovery and disclosure, and strengthen the physician certification requirement.  A physician claiming that a malpractice case has merit should at least have to assert so in writing; furthermore, the certifying physician should be knowledgeable on the subject at issue. e.g., A dermatologist may not be qualified to judge the suitability of an obstetrics case.


Dr. Goldman’s full remarks and slides are attached under separate cover.

Columbia University Medical Center provides international leadership in basic, pre-clinical and clinical research, in medical and health sciences education, and in patient care. The medical center trains future leaders and includes the dedicated work of many physicians, scientists, public health professionals, dentists, and nurses at the College of Physicians & Surgeons, the Mailman School of Public Health, the College of Dental Medicine, the School of Nursing, the biomedical departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and allied research centers and institutions. Established in 1767, Columbia’s College of Physicians & Surgeons was the first institution in the country to grant the M.D. degree. Among the most selective medical schools in the country, the school is home to the largest medical research enterprise in New York State and one of the largest in the country. For more information, please visit www.cumc.columbia.edu.


Dr. Lee Goldman's Testimony

Dr. Lee Goldman's Slide Show Presentation

Food Drive Poster

Neighborhood Fund Kicks Off First Annual Appeal

The season for giving started earlier this year with the Medical Center Neighborhood Fund’s launch of its first annual Kick-Off Breakfast on October 5, 2009 at the Faculty Club. Employees from Columbia University Medical Center, NYPresbyterian Hospital and New York State Psychiatric Institute, including Drs. Lee Goldman, Herbert Pardes and Jeffrey Lieberman, interacted with representatives from community organizations, who had obtained grants from the Neighborhood Fund to help them sustain programs vital to Washington Heights and Inwood residents.

For the past 22 years, employees have generously contributed to the Medical Center Neighborhood Fund, an idea conceived by the late Dr. Donald Tapley, who sought a way to give back to the community that had so enriched his professional life at NYPresbyterian Hospital.

Employee contribution has helped to maintain arts programs in neighborhood schools, shore up dwindling resources at food pantries and provide assistance to an outreach program that offers comprehensive treatment services for substance abusers and those infected with HIV. Testimonials provided by three program coordinators were compelling arguments for the continued need for funding. Long-time site visitor Matt Gold, Director of Occupational Therapy at NYSPI, highlighted the personal growth and fulfillment gained from his participation of more than a decade.

Over $1.5M has been awarded since the Neighborhood Fund’s inception. Last year, more than $75,000 was awarded to 56 community organizations.


Representative Schwartz and Tiberi Establish Congressional Academic Medicine Caucus

United States Representatives Allyson Schwartz (D-PA) and Patrick Tiberi (R-OH) have created the new Congressional Academic Medicine Caucus in the House of Representatives.  Reps. Schwartz and Tiberi will serve as co-chairs of the new bipartisan caucus which will focus on maintaining and strengthening the nation's medical schools and teaching hospitals.  When establishing the new caucus, Reps. Schwartz and Tiberi wrote, "The new caucus will also strive to educate other members on the unique health care, research, and training missions of teaching hospitals and medical schools."

AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, M.D., thanked Reps. Schwartz and Tiberi for "ensuring that academic medicine continues to have a strong voice and the support to continue to provide the best that American medicine has to offer."  Dr. Kirch also stressed the importance of academic medicine saying "academic medicine is where patients, their families and other health care providers turn for hope.  With the establishment of this caucus, the nation's medical schools and teaching hospitals will have a strong voice in Congress and the support they need to continue to provide the high-quality care that all Americans deserve, and pioneer the innovations that transform medicine and improve health.  We look forward to working with Reps. Schwartz and Tiberi and all the members of this important new caucus."


Gov. Paterson Visits Columbia University Medical Center to Announce More than $600 Million in Stimulus Grants for Science and Medical Institutions Statewide

Research Will Promote Innovation to Build the New Economy

NEW YORK (Sept. 22, 2009) – Governor David A. Paterson announced today that Columbia University Medical Center and other New York State universities, medical facilities, businesses and research institutions have been awarded 1,164 research grants worth more than $600 million in competitive stimulus funds available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

“The key to a growing economy is investing in innovation – by turning discoveries into business opportunities,” Gov. Paterson said at a special press conference held at Columbia University Medical Center. “The $605.5 million that institutions all around New York have won will help ensure that New York remains a leader in research as we continue to work with our universities to build bridges from research to application."


Lee Goldman, Executive Vice President for Health and Biomedical Sciences and Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine at Columbia University, introduces Governor David A. Paterson of New York. Photo credits: Diane Bondareff.

Columbia University Medical Center received about $30 million for medical research, including studies that investigate the causes of Alzheimer’s, the connection between heart disease and depression, new treatments for cancer and AIDS, how adult stem cells in the brain make new neurons, and how prenatal exposure to pollution affects the health of children. In all, Columbia University as a whole was awarded $66.9 million in the package.

Among other projects being funded is a $16 million grant for the Energy Frontier Research Center at Columbia University, matched by 10 percent from the State and by another $250,000 from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, to use nanotechnology and supercomputing in pursuit of advances in solar energy, biofuels, transportation, energy efficiency, electricity storage and transmission, carbon capture and sequestration, and nuclear energy.

Before getting into the crux of the announcement, however, Gov. Paterson related his own personal story about his being treated at the Medical Center, where an ophthalmological appointment as a young child revealed severe sight loss.

“I couldn’t be happier to be back for this announcement today because I was, in effect, reborn at Columbia University Medical Center many years ago," Gov. Paterson said at the start of the conference. “Growing up in Brooklyn with an unknown ophthalmologic problem that was diagnosed – at another facility that will remain nameless – as Tay-Sachs Disease, my parents were told that I probably would live until age 2. And so I was brought to Columbia University Medical Center in early 1955 where they re-adapted the diagnosis to optic atrophy and that it was something that I would be able to go through life with and make something of myself. So coming back here is a great thrill for me.”


Dr. Lee Goldman with Governor David Paterson

Lee Goldman, Executive Vice President for Health and Biomedical Sciences and Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine at Columbia University, introduced the Governor and kicked off the event, saying: “Government support for biomedical research not only directly leads to the discovery of preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic measures that improve people’s health and quality of life but also generates new jobs in New York State.”

The federal agencies providing these funds include the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy.

David Hirsh, Columbia's Executive Vice President for Research, said: “These grants through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act support basic and applied research programs at Columbia and our fellow New York State institutions that develop applications with the potential to improve the lives of people everywhere. These investments also stimulate the creation of new ideas, new products and new jobs that add value to our local and national economy.”

Dean Goldman and the Governor were joined by elected officials, New York state legislators and representatives from the State’s other top colleges and universities who were part of the announcement. The full press release from the Governor’s office, which lists top institutional awardees is available here: http://www.ny.gov/governor/press/press_0922091.html


House Delegation Visits ICAP-Supported Site in Rwanda

congressional photo shoot

Members of the House visit an ICAP center in Rwanda

On September 1st, a five-member delegation from the United States House of Representatives visited the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs (ICAP)-supported Kigali University Teaching Hospital, also known as Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Kigali (CHUK), where they toured the facility, met with healthcare providers, and learned about the activities of a support group for children living with HIV.

CHUK, one of Rwanda’s national teaching hospitals, is home to the Pediatric HIV Care Model Center, which provides comprehensive HIV services to children under fifteen, including care and treatment, early infant diagnosis, and psychosocial support, as well as specialized training for healthcare providers.  As of July, 228 children were enrolled into care and 176 individuals were receiving antiretroviral therapy.  ICAP has been providing technical assistance to CHUK since 2004.

During the tour, the Members of Congress visited the hospital’s newly renovated laboratory, which is now capable of performing tests for HIV and tuberculosis, such as DNA PCR and drug susceptibility testing that previously could only be done outside of Rwanda.

“This is a very impressive facility,” said Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA). “As members who have seen it firsthand, we are going to be able to talk about it to our colleagues back in Washington, DC.”

The CHUK visit was coordinated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Rwanda along with senior members of the U.S. Embassy in Rwanda. Pratima Raghunathan, PhD, CDC-Rwanda country director, and Ann Casper, deputy chief of mission led the tour, along with Theobald Hategekimana, MD, and Narcisse Muganga, MD, director of the hospital and the head of the pediatric unit, respectively.  Also accompanying the group were Ida Hakizinka of the Ministry of Health and senior ICAP leadership in Rwanda, including ICAP-Rwanda Country Director Ruben Sahabo, MD.

In addition to Congressman Kingston, the visitors included Representatives Marcia Fudge (D-OH), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Melvin Watt (D-NC), Gregory Meeks (D-NY). The group’s three-day visit to Rwanda was part of a multi-country Africa tour to survey development projects funded by the U.S. government.


White House Health Advisor, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, Welcomes Members of the Class of 2013 as They Begin Medical School with the Donning of White Coats

White Coat Ceremony

Dean Goldman and Dr. Emanuel chat at the White Coat Ceremony

On Friday, August 21st, 2009, the College of Physicians & Surgeons welcomed the Class of 2013 at its 17th Arnold P. Gold Foundation White Coat Ceremony.  As part of this year’s event, about 150 newly minted medical students heard from Dr. Ezekiel “Zeke” J. Emanuel, Chair of the Department of Clinical Bioethics at the National Institutes of Health and an advisor to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget on health care policy. 

“The spirit and enthusiasm displayed by our first-year medical students is always an inspiration,” said Lee Goldman, M.D., Executive Vice President and Dean. “We are proud that students here begin their medical school careers by taking an oath to practice their art in ‘uprightness and honor,’ and this commitment to being the very best drives the educational experience across all our schools.”  In his remarks, Dr. Emanuel instructed the students to appreciate the wonder and reward of caring for patients, to learn from their mistakes, and to be sure they are sensitive to the effect of uncertainty on patients.

Earlier in the day, Dr. Emanuel had the chance to discuss health care policy with Dean Goldman and about two dozen leaders from Columbia University Medical Center.


Opening of New Mobile Dental Van Marked by $250K Gift from Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees

Washington Heights-Born Rodriguez Delights Young Fans, Underscores Need for Good Oral Health in Children


Pictured from left to right: Adriano Espaillat, New York State Assembly; Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees; Rafael Lantigue, M.D., CUMC; Robert Jackson, New York City Councilmember

NEW YORK (July 23, 2009) – Yankees’ third baseman Alex Rodriguez celebrated the opening of the new Columbia University College of Dental Medicine mobile dental van at an event attended by hundreds of young students today in the Washington Heights community.

Mr. Rodriguez and the University also took the occasion to announce his $250,000 donation in support of Columbia’s Community DentCare programs provided throughout New York City.

The new van will serve the Washington Heights community and surrounding areas, and was parked in front of the school during the celebration. Mr. Rodriguez, or "A-Rod" to adoring fans, christened the van with ceremonial champagne bottle.

In addition to Alex Rodriguez, Ira Lamster, Dean of the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, as well as various officials from Columbia University and from local and state office made remarks prior to Mr. Rodriguez taking the stage.

"A winning smile builds confidence and self-esteem that lasts a lifetime," Rodriguez said. "Every child deserves access to regular dental visits and it is reassuring to know that this new dental van will serve nearly 3,000 children in the community where I was born and its surrounding neighborhoods."

Failure to prevent dental diseases has a large effect on school attendance, and it’s estimated that more than 50 million school hours are lost nationally each year due to dental-related illness or care, according the American Dental Association.

“That loss could be sharply reduced with timely receipt of preventive services, and is part of the reason why Alex Rodriguez’ gift, which will be used to expand access to oral health care for children, is so deeply appreciated,” said Dr. Stephen Marshall, the associate dean responsible for Columbia’s Community DentCare.

Columbia’s Community DentCare currently operates programs in seven schools throughout Northern Manhattan, providing oral health education, preventive care, and comprehensive care to children. The new mobile dental van will travel to 65 different locations including Head Starts, Public Schools and Daycare Centers located throughout Washington Heights/Inwood, Harlem, and the Bronx. 




Snapshots from the event...............................


Pictured from left to right:  Juana Moya (NYPH);        Audience at film screening at

Tanya Dominguez (MSPH); Julio Batista (NYPH);      CUMC Alumni Auditorium

Sandra Harris (CUMC); Ana Russell (NYPH)


                                                          Pictured film actress: Yareli Arizmendi


Pictured film actor: Damian Alcazar


New York Medical Schools Deans Weigh in with Congress on Health Care Reform, NIH, and other Issues

NY Medical School Deans

Dean Goldman (back row, left) joins several of his fellow Deans from New York medical schools on the steps of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, just prior to meeting with Administration staff to discuss health care policy


On July 8th, Dean Goldman joined several of his fellow Deans from medical schools in New York State at the annual Associated Medical Schools of New York legislative breakfast in Washington.  Nine members of the New York Congressional Delegation, all Democrats, stopped by to speak to, chat with, and answer questions from the Deans and the Associate Deans and Government Affairs representatives who had traveled down to D.C for the event.  Congressman Charles Rangel from Manhattan, who is Chairman of the Ways and Committee, one of three House Committees with jurisdiction over health care reform, kicked things off by updating the Deans on the state of play in the House and where he thought the house reform bill might be going.  His insight was certainly timely as he was heading up to meet with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi right from the breakfast and had spent most of the previous day in a caucus meeting with the other members of his committee.

Congressman Rangel was followed by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney of Manhattan, Congressman Jerold Nadler, also of Manhattan, Congressman Dan Maffei  of Syracuse, Congresswoman Louise Slaughter of Rochester, Congressman Tim Bishop of Suffolk County, Congressman Brian Higgins of Buffalo, and Congressmen Joe Crowley and Eliot Engel of the Bronx.  All talked about health care reform, but also touched on other issues of importance to the Deans like funding for the National Institutes of Health and the False Claims Act.

The afternoon before, the Deans had visited the Eisenhower Executive Office Building to meet with Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel and other members of the White House staff and had a very interesting and informative discussion about health reform.  Dean Goldman had been part of a select group of physicians who had met with Dr. Emanuel earlier in the spring to give input on health care reform and Dr. Emanuel is the featured speaker at the College of Physicians and Surgeons White Coat Ceremony for the entering first year medical school class which will occur in late August.

After the breakfast on Wednesday, several of the Deans met briefly with New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and her staff while others had a chance to discuss workforce development with Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island and Dr. Mary Wakefield, Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration.

Dean Goldman spent the rest of his day on Capitol Hill.  He met with Congresswoman Maloney, Congressman Rangel, Congressman Engel, and Congressman Maffei as well as Congressman Michael McMahon of Staten Island, Congresswoman Nita Lowey of Westchester County, and Congressmen Scott Murphy Michael Arcuri, both of whom hail from upstate.




Pictured:  Summer Youth Employment Program participants at orientation on 7/6/09


Pictured Right to Left:  Clara N. Leon, Assistant Director;                          

Site Supervisors:  Natalia Estrella; Carmen Hernandez; Yanet Genao;

Gabriela Merced


Pictured:  Ross A. Frommer, CUMC Deputy Vice President & Associate Dean

U.S. Senators Visit ICAP-Supported Site in Rwanda

On May 30, U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Bob Corker (R-TN) visited
ICAP-supported Kicukiro Health Center in Kigali, Rwanda. In a tour of the
facility with ICAP-Rwanda Country Director Ruben Sahabo, MD, and officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the senators
met with health care providers, members of an HIV support group, and
children living with HIV, including 15-year old William Ntambara who has
been on HIV treatment his entire life.

In remarks during the visit, Corker said,  ³You are doing a great job.²

Since 2002, ICAP has been supporting Kicukiro Health Center, which provides
comprehensive HIV services, including antiretroviral therapy, prevention of
mother-to-child transmission of HIV, and peer education and counseling
groups. ICAP activities at the site include clinical training and supportive
supervision, as well as support for facility improvements. The facility was
one of the initial sites supported by ICAP¹s MTCT-Plus Initiative, a
multicountry family-centered program. Kicukiro Health Center is also one of
Rwanda¹s Model Centers of Excellence for HIV/tuberculosis integration. As of
March, the health center provided HIV care to 3,253 people, including
antiretroviral therapy for 1,935 individuals.

The senators¹ visit to Rwanda was part of a four-country Africa tour to
assess outcomes of U.S. foreign aid.

Columbia Joins the Research Means Hope Campaign

Columbia University Medical Center has joined the Research Means Hope (RMH) Campaign, a nationwide effort to increase interest in and support for the National Institutes of Health (NIH).   Using radio and print advertising as well as new media like twitter and facebook, the goal of the RMH campaign is to spur constituents in several key Congressional districts to contact their Senators and Member of Congress and urge them to support increased funding for the NIH.

RMH is lead by the Association of American Medical Colleges, Association of American Universities, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, and Johns Hopkins University and has over forty members from across the country.  For more information on the RMH campaign and to weigh in to support the NIH, please visit the RMH website at www.researchmeanshope.org.


New Dental Clinic at the Stitt Complex

ribbon cutting

Councilman Jackson, Dean Goldman, Assemblyman Farrell, Dean Lamster, Community Leader Maria Luna, and Councilman Martinez Open the New Dental Clinic at the

Stitt Complex

On May 22nd, Columbia University Medical Center Executive Vice President and Dean Lee Goldman and College of Dental Medicine Dean Ira Lamster cut the ribbon on a new dental clinic at Middle Schools 326 and 328, the Edward Stitt Complex.  The state of the art facility will provide oral health care services to students at both schools, enabling to be healthier and learn better.  The renovation was funded largely by a grant from New York State and made possible by Assemblyman Herman “Denny” Farrell, who attended the Stitt school when growing up in the neighborhood.  Dean Lamster presented Assemblyman Farrell with a plaque recognizing the Assemblyman’s strong support of oral health care.  City Council Persons Robert Jackson and Miguel Martinez also attended and spoke at the event, as did the principals of the two schools.

Congress Mental Health Caucus Hosts Session on Brain Imaging

jl rep napalitano

Congresswoman Napalitano chats with Dr. Lieberman prior to  the Brain

Imaging Panel

On May 13th Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, Chair of the Columbia University Medical Center Department of Psychiatry and Executive Director of the New York State Psychiatric Institute, moderated a panel for Congressional staff on brain imaging.  Joined by colleagues from the Universities of Maryland and Pittsburgh, the panel examined the science behind mental health disease and how imaging can help scientists and clinicians identify their causes and possibly lead to treatments.  The event was co-hosted by the House Mental Health Caucus and the American Psychiatric Association.  Congresswoman Grace Napalitano (D-CA), Co-Chair of the Caucus, introduced the panel.

Dean Goldman Joins with Congressman Arcuri and Commissioner Daines to Announce new Partnership with Bassett Hospital

dean goldman

Congressman Arcuri, Dean Goldman, and Dr. Morris listen during the announcement

dean goldman2

Commissioner Daines and Drs. Morris and Nickerson chat before the announcement of the new Columbia/Bassett partnership

On May 11th, Columbia University Medical Center Executive Vice President and Dean Lee Goldman traveled to Cooperstown, New York to unveil plans for a new medical school campus in partnership with Bassett Health Care.  Dr. Goldman teamed up with William Streck, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bassett, to make the announcement.  Intended to increase the number of medical students interested in practicing in rural areas, ten to fifteen students a year will enter the new Bassett track at the College of Physicians and Surgeons (P&S).  These students will spend the first eighteen months of their medical school careers at Columbia in New York City taking their basic science courses, but will spend the next eighteen months in upstate New York doing clinical rotations at Bassett Hospital and other area hospitals and clinics.  The final year will consist largely of electives at one or both campuses.


Congressman Michael Arcuri (D-NY), who represents the area in Washington, was on hand, as was New York State Commissioner of Health Richard Daines.  Both saw the new Columbia/Bassett program as an excellent opportunity to bring new doctors to underserved rural areas throughout New York.  Also attending from Columbia was Thomas Morris, former Vice Dean of P&S, who is the current Chairman of the Bassett Board of Directors, Katherine Nickerson, Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at Columbia, and also a Bassett Board Member and four current students, Ronald Galbraith, James Bordley, Vanessa Cervantes and Pelton Phinizy.  There was significant local media coverage of the announcement.

Dean Goldman Meets with Senior White House Staff to Discuss Health Care Reform

CUMC Executive Vice President and Dean, Dr. Lee Goldman, was part of a select group of physicians who were invited to attend a meeting with senior White House staff to discuss Health Care Reform.  Held in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on March 24th, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel from the Office of Management and Budget and Dr. Dora Hughes from the Department of Health and Human Services convened the group to formulate ideas for the upcoming policy debate on health care reform.


Dr. Edward Gelmann Lobbies Congress on Cancer Issues

gelman and israel

Dr. Gelmann and Congressman Steve Israel D-NY), Co- Chair of the House Cancer Caucus

On May 6th, Dr. Edward Gelmann, Deputy Director for Clinical Research at the Columbia University Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, took part in the annual Association of American Cancer Institutes’ annual lobby in Washington.  Along with researchers and clinicians from across cancer institutes across the country, Dr. Gelmann lobbied Congress on issues of importance to the cancer institutes, most notably funding for the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute, and regulatory and insurance coverage issues surrounding clinical trials.

Joined by representatives from the cancer centers at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Dr. Gelmann met with several Members of the New York Congressional delegation and their staffs.  Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), along with Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) has introduced the 21st Century Cancer Access to Life-Saving Early Detection, Research and Treatment (ALERT) Act, was the keynote speaker at a luncheon held during the day.  The ALERT Act, a bill to comprehensively address the challenges our nation faces in battling this disease, is the first sweeping cancer legislation introduced since the National Cancer Act in 1971.


Coogan's Salsa, Blues, and Shamrocks

5K Race 2009


Medical Center 5K Challenge


Sunday, March 1, 2009







Coogan’s Race a Big Hit Again

Over 100 Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) faculty, staff, students, and friends took part in the 11th annual Coogan’s Salsa, Blues, and Shamrocks 5K road race. 


Held on March 1st, more than 6,000 runners of all ages, also a record, including world class competitors and local celebrities, celebrated the strong community ties and rich cultural diversity of northern Manhattan, by taking to the streets of Washington Heights.  The race started and finished just up the street from the Medical Center and Armory National Track and Field Hall of Fame, heading up and back on Fort Washington Avenue with a loop around the Cloister and through historic and beautiful Fort Tryon Park.  A collage of musical groups including gospel, bagpipes, merengue, klezmer, jazz, and salsa bands serenaded the runners along the route.  Once again this year Roar-ee, the Columbia Lions mascot, and members of the Columbia University Dance Team were on hand to route the runners on.  After the finish, runners and spectators adjourned to Coogan’s for good food and good fun.


Ian Driver, a graduate student in Cellular, Molecular, Structural, and Genetic Studies, was the top male finisher again this year for the CUMC team with a time of 18:05, while Allison Whitehead, a Mailman School of Public Health student, lead the way on behalf of the CUMC women with a time of 23:53.  Full results can be found by visiting the New York Roadrunners.


The challenge was cosponsored by CUMC, New York Presbyterian Hospital, the Seasons of Wellness Initiative, Plus 1 Fitness, and the Columbia University Athletic Department.

Dean Goldman Lobbies State Lawmakers on Health IT, Medical Malpractice Issues

deans with daines

"New York Deans Meet with Commissioner Daines, (l to r), Richard Fine -- SUNY Stony Brook, Michael Cain -- SUNY Buffalo, Robert Goldberg -- Touro, Steve Scheinman -- SUNY Upstate, Commissioner Daines, Tom Scandalis -- NYCOM, Tony Gotto -- Weil Cornell, Dean Goldman, Jo Wiederhorn -- AMS"


On February 3rd , Dean Lee Goldman participated in the annual Associated Medical Schools of New York lobby day in Albany.  Deans and Government Affairs Representatives from medical schools across the state came to the State Capitol to meet with state government officials to advocate on several issues of importance to academic medicine.

The day started out with a meeting with New York State Health Commissioner Richard Daines.  Dean Goldman expressed concern that medical schools were not eligible to apply for state Health Information Technology grants.  Noting that Columbia’s Faculty Practice Organization was the largest medical group practice on the east coast and that medical schools were among the most innovative users of Health IT, Dean Goldman said it did not make sense that they were excluded from even applying for grant funds.

Dean Goldman also pushed heavily on medical malpractice reform.  While acknowledging that the political lay of the land in Albany would make reform an uphill battle, Dean Goldman noted that at a time when New York is making a concerted effort to improve the health care delivery system and bring more doctors to underserved areas, high malpractice insurance rates were discouraging physicians, especially young physicians, from practicing in New York.

After the meeting with Commissioner Daines, the Deans headed over to the Legislative Office Building and the Capitol where they met with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assembly Health Committee Chairman Richard Gottfried, among others.  In addition to the Health IT and medical malpractice reform issues, they weighed in on several areas, including graduate medical education funding, stem cell research, physician workforce issues, and diversity programs.  Dean Goldman also had the chance to meet with local legislators Assemblymen Adriano Espaillat and Herman “Denny” Farrell and Senator Eric Schneiderman.


Dental Screenings for Children in Upper Manhattan

“Gives Kids a Smile”

NEW YORK (Feb. 12, 2009) – Nearly 1,000 children from across Upper Manhattan received oral health education and more than 500 received free screenings and treatments from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine faculty, residents, students and staff as part of the American Dental Association’s national “Give Kids a Smile Day.”


A dental student distributes free oral health care kits to students at Gregorio Luperon High School in Washington Heights. All photos credit: Michael Dames, CUMC.

Nationwide, nearly 50,000 dental professionals and volunteers screened children from low-income families at 2,000 locations as part of the ADA’s Give Kids a Smile Day on Friday, February 6, 2009.

The New York event was part of Columbia’s Community DentCare program, which visited seven public schools in Harlem and Washington Heights, and saw children in CUMC’s pediatric dental clinic on Haven Ave.

Schools participating included Bea Fuller/I.S. 528, P.S. 79, P.S. 98, Harlem Promise Academy, P.S. 173, P.S. 189 and Gregorio Luperon High School. While at Gregorio Luperon, the office of New York State Senator David Schneiderman presented a Certificate of Proclamation to the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, hailing its commitment to the community.

A College of Dental Medicine resident examines a student

A total of 579 children received dental examinations and 116 cavities were discovered. In all, 175 students had no obvious problems while slightly more -- 180 -- were told they had to a do better job brushing and flossing. Three were given emergency referrals.

An estimated 4 to 5 million children in America have dental problems so severe they have trouble eating, sleeping and learning, experts say.

Dr. Stephen Marshall

The annual CDM event was sponsored by Henry Schein, Inc., and is part of a larger scale effort to ensure the next generation of youth have healthy mouths – and good overall systemic health – heading into adulthood, said Stephen Marshall, D.D.S., M.P.H., head of Community DentCare, associate professor of clinical dentistry and associate dean for extramural programs for Columbia University Medical Center's College of Dental Medicine. Some 51 million school hours are lost each year in the United States due to oral health problems.

Dr. Amarilys Jacobo seen here with a student, after her screening
Dr. Amarilys Jacobo, President of Dominican Dental Association, said that efforts such as the one undertaken by CDM have improved the oral health of many students in the last decade. As part of that effort, CDM also takes its services to the community, with a mobile dental center van that travels to 65 day care, Head Start centers, and schools in Northern Manhattan, providing comprehensive dental care to 3,000 children, ages 3 to 5, during every school year.

CDM students and faculty pose with a "Give Kids a Smile" holding the Proclamation from the office of State Sen. Eric Schneiderman. A total of 95 students, five residents and 2 full-time faculty participated.

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Columbia University College of Dental Medicine (CDM) was established in 1916 as the School of Dental and Oral Surgery, when the School became incorporated into Columbia University. The College’s mission has evolved into a tripartite commitment to education, patient care, and research. The mission of the College of Dental Medicine is to train general dentists, dental specialists, and dental assistants in a setting that emphasizes comprehensive dental care delivery and stimulates professional growth; inspire, support, and promote faculty, pre- and postdoctoral student, and hospital resident participation in research to advance the professional knowledge base; and provide comprehensive dental care for the underserved community of northern Manhattan. For more information, please visit: http://dental.columbia.edu/

Columbia University Medical Center provides international leadership in basic, pre-clinical and clinical research, in medical and health sciences education, and in patient care. The medical center trains future leaders and includes the dedicated work of many physicians, scientists, public health professionals, dentists, and nurses at the College of Physicians & Surgeons, the Mailman School of Public Health, the College of Dental Medicine, the School of Nursing, the biomedical departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and allied research centers and institutions. Established in 1767, Columbia's College of Physicians & Surgeons was the first institution in the country to grant the M.D. degree and is among the most selective medical schools in the country. Columbia University Medical Center is home to the largest medical research enterprise in New York City and state and one of the largest in the United States. For more information, please visit http://www.cumc.columbia.edu.








Last updated 5/10/ 2010

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