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Archives - 2004

Archived news from the year:
2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003


Food Drive
From November 1st – November 17th, 2004, the Office of Government and Community Affairs sponsored a food drive to donate canned goods to the Helping Hands Food Bank, run by Fresh Youth Initiatives. Columbia University Medical Center employees donated more than 200 canned goods in an effort to provide much needed food supply for our most vulnerable populations: children and the elderly. Fresh Youth Initiatives’ Helping Hands Food Bank (HHFB) is New York City’s only youth-run, adult-facilitated food pantry. HHFB has been running successfully for the past eight years feeding thousands of people in the Washington Heights/Inwood community. Recently, there has been an increase in demand for food, but a decrease in funding and food donations. The Helping Hands Food Bank is responsible for feeding over 6,000 community residents in addition to delivering food to 30 senior centers. Youth at HHFB collected Columbia’s donations and distributed the food among residents in the community.

Toy Drive
On December 20th, 2004 more than 350 toys were donated by Columbia University Medical Center staff and faculty at Dean Fischbach’s annual holiday brunch held at the Faculty Club. The toys were distributed among local day care, head start, after school programs and the local precinct councils. These agencies then distribute the toys to children who participate in their programs. Our special thanks to all of you who contributed in making the holidays a special occasion for local children.

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Alfred Nobel Comes to Harlem
Difficult perhaps since Alfred Nobel has been dead for over 100 years, but his spirit was evident as Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) Professor Richard Axel, the 2004 Nobel Prize winner for Physiology or Medicine, came to the Thurgood Marshall Academy (TMA) on 135th. Students, faculty, and staff assembled to honor Dr. Axel and wish him well as he left for Stockholm to except his most prestigious prize. Dr. Axel won the 2004 Nobel Prize for work that he and his co-recipient, Dr. Linda Buck, did on understanding the sense of smell.

Dr. Axel, a Columbia College graduate who has spent most of his career at CUMC, discussed his experiences growing up and going to school in New York City, including facing off against Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul Jabbar) as Axel’s Stuyvesant High School basketball team played Power Memorial. He also noted the important of working in a supportive environment like CUMC and surrounding oneself with good people, especially students. After Dr. Axel’s remarks, TMA principal Sandye Johnson presented Dr. Axel with a TMA school sweater, which he proudly wore. CUMC Executive Vice President and Dean Gerald Fischbach, who spoke at the event, was heard to say that he wanted one too. Also on the stage were Congressman Charles Rangel, Councilman William Perkins, and the Reverend Calvin Butts.

Congressman Rangel, Reverend Butts, and Dr. Axel chat before speaking to TMA students
Dean Fischbach, Dr. Axel, Councilman Perkins, and Reverend Butts pose with TMA science students before the ceremony

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Dykman Scholars Announced
Columbia University announced the Dyckman Institute Scholarship Fund winners for the 2004/2005 academic year. The Dyckman Institute Scholarship provides financial support to outstanding students from the Washington Heights and Inwood area who attend Columbia College. This year’s recipients are freshman Vera Tseylikman, sophomore Brenda Cepeda, and seniors Alexandra Hernandez and Katherine Paez.

“Columbia University is the quintessential urban university,” said Ross A. Frommer, deputy vice president for government and community affairs and associate dean at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC). “I think it is wonderful that students from our area, a quintessential urban neighborhood, will have the experience of attending Columbia College.”

The Dyckman Institute Scholarship supports Columbia’s financial aid program and helps make it possible for students from northern Manhattan, who may not otherwise be able to afford the full cost of attending college, to go to Columbia.

“We are delighted that Vera, Brenda, Alexandra, and Katherine have chosen to attend Columbia,” said David Charlow, associate dean of student affairs and director of financial aid at Columbia College. “I strongly encourage all high school seniors regardless of their financial circumstances who are interested in Columbia to apply.”

At the October 26th Community Board 12 meeting, chairman Martin Collins, conveyed his congratulations to the scholarship winners. “We recognize the level of academic excellence these students have achieved and join in congratulating them and wishing them well as they continue their education at Columbia College,” he said.

The Dyckman Institute Scholarship is one of 300 individual need-based scholarships available to Columbia students. Its origins can be traced to Alexander Hamilton, one of Columbia’s most illustrious students. Hamilton’s widow, Eliza, donated the building and land for the Hamilton Free School—the first school in Washington Heights in 1818. In 1860, the school became the Dyckman Library, the first free public library in upper Manhattan. In the early 1920’s, the Library became the Dyckman Institute, which operated both a museum devoted to local archeology in Inwood Hill Park and a publishing house. In 1943, the trustees of the Institute decided to dissolve it and to establish a scholarship fund at Columbia College for Washington Heights/Inwood students.

In the current academic year, more than 50 undergraduate students from Washington Heights/Inwood are receiving over $550,000 in need-based scholarships from Columbia College and the School of Engineering and Applied Science. Students from the Washington Heights and Inwood area, regardless of where they attend high school, who are interested in learning more about Columbia College and the Dyckman Institute Scholarship should contact the Admissions Office at (212) 854-2522 or go to http://www.studentaffairs.columbia.edu/admissions/.

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Parks Department Looks at Access Issues
Dean Fsichbach and Commissioner Casrro discuss ways to improve access to Fort Washington Park
On October 7th, Manhattan Parks Commissioner William Castro joined Dean Fischbach to discuss how to improve access to Fort Washington Park (Riverside Park north of 155th Street) from the area near Columbia University Medical Center. Currently, students, employees and visitors who want to get to the park face the prospect of venturing down a very uninviting route or traveling all the way up to 181st Street. There are however already two existing pathways, one at 160th Street and one at about 172nd Street just north of the entrance to the New York State Psychiatric Institute, but the 160th street entrance is closed and the 172nd entrance is all but unusable.

Commissioner Castro and Dean Fischbach discussed ways to make either one or both of these entrances safe and welcoming, thus providing the medical center community and local residents access to this wonderful resource. This part of Fort Washington Park includes ball fields and tennis courts as well as many places to just sit and enjoy a magnificent view of the Hudson River. It is also just south of the Little Red Lighthouse, a well know local tourist attraction at the foot of the George Washington Bridge.

Joining Dean Fischbach and Commissioner Castro on the tour was CUMC Vice President of Facilities Bob Lemieux, Director of Security Jeannine Jennette, Associate Dean for Government and Community Affairs Ross A. Frommer, Helen Morik of New York Presbyterian Hospital, Charlotte Fahn, and representatives from the New York League of Conservation Votes and Transportation Alternatives.

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Dean Fischbach Hosts First CUMC Public Policy Lunch
Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY) joined Vice President and Dean Gerald D. Fischbach as the guest speaker for the first Columbia University Medical Center Public Policy Lunch. These lunches will give CUMC leadership an opportunity to have a small intimate discussion about health care issues with policy makers. Congressman Engel represents the 17th Congressional District of New York, which is home to about 1,100 CUMC employees. He is a member of the House of Representatives Health Subcommittee.

Dean Fischbach and Congressman Engel chat before the CUMC Public Policy Luncheon

At the luncheon, Congressman Engel had an opportunity to report on the latest goings on in Washington and also hear about a number of issues raised by the fifteen CUMC representatives in attendance. The Congressman noted that he was honored to be the first CUMC Public Policy Lunch guest. Joining Dean Fischbach at the luncheon were Ira Lamster, Dean of the School of Dental and Oral Surgery, Irwin Redlenner and Dennis Johnson from the School of Public Health, Marion Greenup from the Dean’s office, Hilda Hutchison from the Office of Minority Affairs, Ross Frommer and Sandra Harris from the Office of Government and Community Affairs, Ellen Smith from the Morningside Heights Office of Government and Community Affairs, Marilyn Castaldi from the Office of External Relations, Dolores Kreisman and Francine Cournos from the New York State Psychiatric Institute, and Bill Polf and Helen Morik from New York Presbyterian Hospital.

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Health Care and Politics Hot Topics at Election Forum
Alumni Auditorium was the site of the Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) Election Forum as students, staff, and visitors had a chance to discuss health care policy and politics and the 2004 election. Over 150 people attended the September 21st event, which was co-hosted by the P&S Club, the Office of Government and Community Affairs, and the Columbia Political Union. Robin Cook (P&S 66) and Country Bank provided generous support for the event.

P&S third year student Emily Rothbaum who, along with second year student Judy Chertok helped to organize the event, welcomed everybody and discussed the importance of health care policy to medical students, and Associate Dean Ross A. Frommer gave an overview of the election itself. Steven Kroll of the Health Care Association of New York State talked about which particular health care issues were important in this year’s election. Much of Steve’s discussion focused on Health Savings Accounts the two parties’ view of them.

Jon Cohen, Chief Medical Officer of the North Shore/LIJ Health System and a health care advisor to the Kerry Campaign, talked about how Senator Kerry would expand coverage and control costs were he to be elected, and John Faso, a partner at the law firm of Manatt, Phelps, and Phillips and the former Minority Leader of the New York State Assembly, gave the Republican perspective and discussed President Bush’s record on health care and what he would do to further reform the system should he be reelected. A spirited question and answer period followed.

Forum organizers Emily Rothbaum (P&S 06) and Judy
Chertok (P&S 07) chat with Ross A. Frommer before the event.
Ross A Frommer, John Faso, Jon Cohen, and Steve Kroll take
questions from the audience.

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Improving access to dental care for vulnerable populations is major goal of new Website directed toward dental educators
August 13, 2004—A new Website targeting dental educators was launched today by the National Program Office of the Pipeline, Profession, & Practice: Community-Based Dental Education (Dental Pipeline) program. The new Website will serve as the primary source for dental schools seeking to improve oral health care access to vulnerable populations and increase access to dental education for underrepresented minority and low-income (URM/LI) students.

Located at www.dentalpipeline.org, the Website features the activities of 15 U.S. dental schools that are part of the Dental Pipeline program. Since 2003, each of the Dental Pipeline schools have been developing community-based dental education programs, revising their dental school curriculum to include cultural competency classes, and designing initiatives to increase recruitment and retention of underrepresented minority and low-income (URM/LI) students.

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Dean Fischbach Moderates United Nations Conference on Stem Cells
Dean Gerald Fischbach as he prepares to moderate UN Stem Cell Conference. He is flanked to his right by Drs. Larry Goldstein of the University of California, San Diego and Douglas Melton of Harvard to his right and Drs. Ian Wilmut of the Roslib Institute in the United Kingdom and Gerlad Schatten of the University of Pittsburgh.

The United Nations (UN) was host to a conference on science and policy issues surrounding embryonic stem cell research (ESC) and somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). The Genetics Policy Institute and the UN Asian Group of Legal Experts Meeting cosponsored the June 2nd conference which took place at UN headquarters. The conference lineup included a dozen of the world’s leading stem cell scientists, including Dr. Ian Wilmut of the United Kingdom who led the effort to clone Dolly the sheep, Douglas Melton of Harvard University who has developed seventeen stem cell lines, and Drs. Shin-Yong Moon and Woo Suk Hwang of South Korea who conducted the first successful derivation of human stem cells using SCNT. Dean Fischbach moderated the entire conference.

Just as the debate over ESC and SCNT continues in Washington, it is also an important international issue. Last year the UN voted to postpone for one year two resolutions on SCNT. The first, sponsored by Costa Rica and supported by the United States, would have called for a worldwide ban on all forms of cloning, including SCNT. A second, sponsored by Belgium, would have called for a worldwide ban on reproductive cloning but allowed individual member states to decide how they wished to handle SCNT. The vote was very close with the Costa Rican resolution failing by only one vote in the Legal Committee. The UN is expected to take up the issues again this fall.

Dean Fischbach and all participants at the conference stressed the importance of preventing the UN from passing the Costa Rican resolution. They also made it abundantly clear that they oppose reproductive cloning. For more information on the conference visit the Genetics Policy Institute website at www.genpol.org.

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President Lee C. Bollinger Addresses the Washington Heights-Inwood Community
Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger was the guest speaker at a Community Breakfast meeting held by Dean Gerald D. Fischbach on March 4, 2004. The breakfast served to inform community leaders, service providers and advocates about our name change and to formally introduce President Bollinger to the Washington Heights/Inwood community. President Bollinger spoke about the importance of further exploration in the health sciences arena, the exceptional work that the Medical Center is doing around biotechnology and Universityís need to expand. In addition, President Bollinger spoke about the proposed Manhattanville Campus and the importance of maintaining an ongoing community/university dialogues as we move forward with the project. His presentation was followed by a question and answer period. Over sixty community based service providers, elected officials, and leaders from Washington Heights/ Inwood were in attendance.

Dr. Raphael Lantigua, Ms. Harris, President Bollinger, Assemblyman Espaillat, and Dean Fischbach.
Sandra Harris, Director of Community Affairs, welcomes President Bollinger to CUMC and intorduces him to Assemblyman Adriano Espaillat. Kevin Kirby and Larry Dais look on.

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Columbia University Medical Center Celebrates Dominican Heritage Month
On February 19, the Medical Center, in collaboration with Councilman Miguel Martinez and Repertorio Español, held a special presentation of “La Fiesta Del Chivo”, a theater presentation highlighting the era of the late dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo. Dr. Gerald D. Fischbach opened the program with welcoming remarks and thanked dignitaries of the Dominican Republic, elected officials, community leaders, and local residents in attendance for joining us in this special celebration. With over 400 guests in attendance, Alumni Auditorium served as the platform that took residents back in time to a bitter sweat era in Dominican history.

Dean Fischbach Sends Thousands Running

No not for their lives. On March 7th, Dean Fischbach was an Honorary Starter for the 6th Annual Coogan's Salsa Blues and Shamrock 5K road race. Dean Fischbach joined New York City Council Speaker Gifford Miller to sound the horn to start the race. Along with Assemblyman Herman "Denny" Farrell and Congressman Charles B. Rangel, Dean Fischbach joined firefighters and police officers in awarding medals to all participants in the children's race. The Coogan's race has become not only a major event in the Washington Heights/Inwood community, but a highlight of the late winter/early spring racing scene in New York City. People from all over the Metropolitan area joined medical center employees and local runners as they ran up Fort Washington Avenue and into Fort Tryon Park. Just in front of the Cloisters, they turned around and headed back down Fort Washington, finishing just north of 168th Street. The runners were serenaded along the route by a tapestry of musical groups, including bagpipes, merengue, klezmer, and gospel and the cheers of hundreds of local residents.

Peter Walsh, co-owner of Coogan's and race director reported that over three thousand people ran, the most ever. Six hundred children also participated in a fun run which took place afterwards. George Milic from Yugoslavia won the men's division with a time of 15:00 minutes while Larisa Michailova from Russia took the flag for the women with a time of 16:47. The New York City Fire Department won the Frederick Ill Uniformed Services Challenge Cup. For complete race results go to www.nyrrc.org

Unlike last year, the weather cooperated and the runners had a beautiful day. Afterwards many adjourned to Coogan's for a wonderful Irish breakfast. Funds raised from the race go to benefit the Armory Sports Foundation.

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Columbia Students Make Their Voices Heard in Albany
On February 10, a delegation of Columbia and Barnard students, including one from the College of Physicians and Surgeons, traveled to Albany to discuss New York State financial assistance and opportunity programs with Senators and Members of the Assembly. Below, some of the students meet with Columbia Alumnus Jeff Klein, who represents a Bronx district in the Assembly. Over the course of the day, the student advocates demonstrated the value of HEOP, TAP and other programs by explaining the programs' impact on their own college careers.

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Distinguished Scholar James Q. Wilson Delivers Alexander Ming Fisher Lecture
On February 11th James Q. Wilson, the Ronald Reagan Professor of Public Policy at Pepperdine University, visited Columbia University Medical Center to deliver the Alexander Ming Fisher lecture, part of the Deanís lecture series. Professor Wilson, who is a member of the Presidentís Council on Bioethics, spoke about the ethical implications of several medical research issues, most notably embryonic stem cell research and therapeutic cloning. Professor Wilson was a colleague and dear friend of former New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan and several former members of the Senatorís staff, as well as his daughter Maura Moynihan, attended the lecture.
Photo (L to R) Professor James W. Wilson, Maura Moynihan, Associate Dean Ross A. Frommer, Roberta Wilson, and Dean Gerald Fischbach at dinner after the Fisher lecture.

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Audubon IV Land Use Approval Process Moves Forward
On January 8th, 2004, Community Board 12, by a margin of 16-5, voted to give its qualified support of Columbia's application to build Audubon IV. The vote came after weeks of discussions between Columbia and members of the Community Board on issues related to parking, design, hiring, job training, and other issues of importance to the community -- discussions that are ongoing. The matter now goes to the Borough President's office and to City Planning for further review. The final step in the process is consideration by the New York City Council who must approved all land use applications.

Audubon IV is the fourth of five buildings Columbia plans to build in the Audubon Biomedical Science and Technology Park. Like Audubon I, to which it will be attached, Audubon IV will be a commercial biotechnology building and will house several different private biotech companies. When completed it will create over 100,000 square feet of leasable biotechnology space.

Under New York City law, new construction will often require what is referred to as "ULURP" approval, standing for Urban Land Use Review Process. In the fall Columbia made an application to the Department of City Planning seeking approval to build Audubon IV and for certain zooming actions. The local community board has the opportunity to review the application, hold a public hearing and make recommendations, which in this case is what Community Board 12, which covers Northern Manhattan, did.

Once the ULURP process is complete, Columbia will turn to finding a developer or anchor tenant for the building and will begin to identify and secure funding.

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Last updated 8/23/2007

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