From the Program Director


The Department of Pediatrics of the Columbia University Medical Center, the Affiliation at Harlem Hospital Center, has had a fully accredited residency program in general pediatrics since 1927. Our department supports an outstanding and productive general and subspecialty faculty and is an active site for grant-funded clinical research projects. Our pediatricians serve the medically underserved communities of Central Harlem and the South Bronx, which have rates of infant mortality, asthma and obesity reported to be among the highest in New York and the USA. The primary teaching location, Columbia University Medical Center, the Affiliation at Harlem Hospital Center, is a 400-bed, full-service, acute care teaching hospital supporting eight residency programs and is a member of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation. The hospital is an area wide Burn Center, provides Level III Neonatal Intensive Care services and is a designated Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Service serving children in northern Manhattan.

We recognize that 3 years is an arbitrary time limit and that residency training is not the end of a pediatric education, but only the beginning. We have created an educational environment for residents to gain the fundamental knowledge and expertise to become the best pediatricians possible, and from there to pursue their individual giftedness in either general pediatrics or a pediatric subspecialty field. We challenge residents to become leaders and agents of change in their individual career paths as well as true child advocates. 

Our residency program requires the residents to obtain competencies in the 6 areas below to the level expected of a new practitioner. Toward this end, we have defined the specific knowledge, skills, and attitudes required and will provide educational experiences as needed in order for the residents to demonstrate these competencies:

  • Patient Care that is compassionate, appropriate, and effective for the treatment of health problems and the promotion of health.
  • Medical Knowledge about established and evolving biomedical, clinical, and cognate (e.g. epidemiological and social-behavioral) sciences and the application of this knowledge to patient care. 
  • Practice-Based Learning and Improvement that involves investigation and evaluation of their own patient care, appraisal and assimilation of scientific evidence, and improvements in patient care.
  • Interpersonal and Communication Skills that result in effective information exchange and teaming with patients, their families, and other health professionals.
  • Professionalism, as manifested through a commitment to carrying out professional responsibilities, adherence to ethical principles, and sensitivity to a diverse patient population.
  • Systems-Based Practice, as manifested by actions that demonstrate an awareness of and responsiveness to the larger context and system of health care and the ability to effectively call on system resources to provide care that is of optimal value.

Our philosophy is one of broad-based training with exposure to a wide variety of general and subspecialty problems in children, stressing the importance of patient involvement and ownership. Our program provides a solid curriculum in general pediatrics through inpatient, normal newborn, emergency, outpatient and community experiences. Pediatric subspecialty experiences are offered in neonatology, infectious diseases, genetics, hematology, allergy/immunology, pulmonary, dermatology, endocrinology, developmental-behavioral pediatrics, adolescent medicine, child and adolescent psychiatry, radiology, pathology and surgery, with external rotations in pediatric cardiology, neurology and intensive care at the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York-Presbyterian and pediatric hematology-oncology at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

As a leading community hospital, our residents participate in a diverse and effective array of community-based programs supported through the Department of Pediatrics, such as: asthma services, including the community-based Harlem Children’s Zone Asthma Initiative and Family Asthma Center; the Central Harlem School Health Program; Project Health, a national undergraduate program  supporting programs for children with asthma, sickle cell, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and obesity; the Family Help Desk, which links families to programs and services in the community; the Family Care Center, providing comprehensive medical, social and mental health services to HIV infected children and youth and their families; the Harlem Hospital Injury Prevention Program, a nationally replicated model, including programs in art, dance and biking; Reach Out and Read; a Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit; the Center for Victim Support; the Obese Children with Asthma in Central Harlem project; and the Family Friends Program, which matches senior mentors with children with special health care needs.

As a department, we are dedicated to the teaching and development of our residents, who put their trust in us just as parents put their trust in our care of their children.

Sundari Periasamy, MD
Residency Program Director