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51 Audubon Avenue
8th Floor, Suite 800
New York, New York 10032
Tel: (212) 305-8060
Fax: (212) 342-3914



Dear Friends:

Welcome to the Columbia University Medical Center's Office of Government & Community Affairs (GCA) web site.  Government & Community Affairs represents the interests of Columbia University Medical Center before the federal, state, and city governments.  This office also develops and implements programs with the communities surrounding Columbia University Medical Center and serves as the primary liaison between the Medical Center and the external community. 

GCA coordinates information on services and programs available at the Medical Center campus.  The office responds to and engages community stakeholders, local residents and community based providers as they seek to learn more about the various medical center programs, services, events and activities.  We work with various elected officials, medical associations and other organizations to advocate and educate policy makers on areas ofinterest of our faculty and staff.

If you have any need or desire to work with elected officials or community based organizations, I strongly encourage you to contact us to see if we may be of assistance.



Ross A. Frommer

Vice President and Associate Dean


Dear Colleagues:

I invite you to participate in this year’s Rally for Medical Research Capitol Hill Day. On Thursday, September 17th, 2015, a broad coalition of medical research advocates will gather in Washington to urge Congress to provide robust, sustained and predictable increases in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in fiscal year 2016 and beyond. Columbia University Medical Center is a supporter of the 2015 Rally.

You are no doubt aware that this is a very difficult time for biomedical research in the United States, but with both the House of Representative and Senate supporting increases to the NIH budget, and with the House passage of the 21st Century Cures Act, this is also a time of great opportunity. We have to make sure that Congress and others understand how important biomedical research is for our nation’s health, our economy, and our status as a world leader in research.

Capitol Hill Day participants will team up with other advocates to meet with members of Congress and key staff. Rally organizers will put together the teams and arrange the meetings. To participate, simply register at the link below. Those attending are also invited to a training session and reception for advocates the evening before and a kick-off breakfast the morning of the rally. Activities will end early enough for you to get back to the New York City area Thursday night.

To register and make your voice heard in Washington, please click here: http://rallyformedicalresearch.org/Pages/Hill-Day-Signup.aspx

There is no cost to participate in the Rally for Medical Research Capitol Hill Day; however, you are responsible for your own travel costs. If there is a large enough group from CUMC, we can look into coordinating transportation and lodging. Please note that this could be considered lobbying, so you may not use government grant funds to pay for any costs associated with this event.

Please let me know if you have any questions or need additional information. Thank you.


Ross A. Frommer

Associate Dean for Government & Community Affairs

Columbia University Medical Center

212 305 4967

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CUMC Hosts Its Fifth Annual Community

“Project Medical Education”

On July 27th, Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) held its annual Project Medical Education (PME)PME, which is coordinated by the Association of American Medical Colleges, brings policy makers and opinion leaders to medical schools and teaching hospitals to learn about academic medicine. CUMC is the only PME site that focuses primarily on community residents and neighbors.

Tony Martignetti, a local resident and a member of the Inwood Owners Coalition, noted that, “Most of us who live close have no idea what goes on inside CUMC, including its service to the community; we all left well informed and with a very high opinion.” 

After a short welcome by Steven Shea, MD, Senior Vice Dean, and a brief overview of CUMC finances by Joanne Quan, Chief Financial Officer, Stephen Nicholas MD, Associate Dean for Admissions at Columbia’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, discussed the medical school curriculum, and told how it differs from traditional curricula.  He also discussed the admissions process and efforts P&S makes to ensure a diverse class of students.  Attendees then chatted with two medical students and heard from Patrice Spitalnik, MD, Associate Professor of Pathology and Cell Biology who gave a histology lecture, complete with slides of intestinal polyps.

At the Mailman School of Public Health, the attendees worked through a public health simulation exercise in which they tried to identify the cause of a disease outbreak. They also toured an environmental health lab with Matthew Perzanowski, PhD. to learn about his work in studying the effect of environmental factors on the health of northern Manhattan communities.

The third session of the day was devoted to research at CUMC.  Presenters included Rudina Odeh Ramadan, PhD, Associate Vice President for Research Administration, who discussed what is involved in running a major research enterprise and Jose Luchsinger, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, who discussed his work in community based participatory research.  Graduates students Amanda Buch, Anita Burgos, and Nancy Padilla discussed their research projects and talked about what the future holds for young people looking at a career in science.  The highlight of the research session was a short talk by University Professor and Nobel Laureate, Richard Axel, MD, who talked about his career at Columbia and the future of biomedical research.

Executive Vice President and Dean Lee Goldman, MD, stopped by during lunch to meet with participants and talk about the important role of community relations.  He also discussed the future of the CUMC campus.

After lunch, the group traveled over to the New York State Psychiatric Institute.  David Strauss, MD, Vice Chair for Research gave an overview of mental health issues and then the group split up to hear presentations from Sydney Hankerson, MD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Victoria Arango, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry.  Dr. Hankerson discussed his efforts to work with churches in Harlem to remove the stigma surrounding mental health.  In Dr. Arango’s lab, PME participants got to see how researchers use brain tissue samples to understand the neuropathology of suicide.

The next stop was the College of Dental Medicine where Letty Moss Salentijn, DDS Professor of Dental Medicine and Stacey Whalen MSW, Adjunct Professor of Social Work discussed integrating social work into oral health care.  Steve Erde, MD, Assistant Professor of Oral Health and James Fine, DDS, Professor of Dental Medicine, lead demonstrations of 3D printing and implant technology.  Dean Christian Stohler, DDS, also led a brief discussion with two dental students.

The final stop of the day was the School of Nursing where Dean Bobbie Berkowitz, PhD discussed Advance Practice Nursing and nursing education.  Cliff Roberson, DNP, Assistant Professor of Nursing took the group through a simulation of what might happen if complications developed during knee replacement surgery.

The day ended with a reception at Coogan’s where participants received their certificate of completion and had the opportunity to socialize and relax after a long, but interesting day.  

After having spent the day at CUMC, Community Board 12 Member, Fe Florimon said, “I can’t begin to tell you how valuable I found PME.  I now have a better understanding of the medical center. We certainly had a lengthy and productive discussion and I have no doubts that my experience today has confirmed the glowing recommendation I have received in the past when I was initially referred to the Project.” 

CUMC plans to host its next PME during the summer of 2016.


Virtual Tour of the Washington Heights & Inwood communities:


MCNF Annual Appeal  To donate click on the pledge card, print and mail completed form to:

Office of Government & Community Affairs

51 Audubon Avenue8th Floor, Suite 800New York, N.Y. 10032

Medical Center Neighborhood Fund Brochure

Neighborhood Fund Pledge Card

Research Means Hope

Support Funding for the National

Institutes of Health



Last updated 8/12/ 2015

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