Alumni Profile
Stephen E. Straus: A Veteran NIH Investigator Takes on Complementary and Alternative Medicine

By Peter Wortsman
Stephen E. Straus
Stephen E. Straus’72
YOU’RE NOT LIKELY TO FIND STEPHEN E. STRAUS’72 SEATED IN A lotus position, fingers curled, chanting “OM!” or popping Echinacea pills at the first signs of a sniffle. But the sunny glass-walled National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), his base of operations at the National Institutes of Health, emits good vibrations — of the scientific kind.
   “I’m a skeptic, but not a nihilist,” Dr. Straus said of himself in the course of an interview in March 2006. “There’s an important difference. Skepticism is essential to science: You have to scrutinize your own observations. Nihilism is a corrosive force. The belief that nothing could be true really negates an opportunity for inquiry and rational thought.”
   Granted that opportunity for inquiry by former NIH director Harold Varmus’66, who appointed Dr. Straus the first director of NCCAM in 1999, Dr. Straus and the center have made waves in the vast and complex field of complementary and alternative medicine. One controversial study displeased some in the CAM community, failing to confirm the effectiveness of St. John’s wort, a popular herb, in treating depression. But two other ongoing studies hold great promise. One that he wrote up in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that acupuncture is an effective adjunctive therapy, along with conventional therapy, for the treatment of patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. And another, the largest herbal study ever done, suggested that the herbal remedy gingko biloba may have some efficacy in preventing the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. If the findings are confirmed in follow-up studies, “it would be spectacular,” says Dr. Straus, “and even if gingko biloba turns out not to be effective, the study will teach us much more about the natural history of the onset of dementia in otherwise healthy individuals than we currently know.”
   NCCAM has funded 1,200 projects, many in collaboration with other institutes at the NIH. Some in the medical establishment may have questioned the decision to put the considerable clout of the NIH and a start-off budget of $105 million behind the study of modalities of care outside the mainstream. The alternative and complementary medical community may have been wary at first of Dr. Straus’ Western medical bias. By most accounts, though, the center has been effective under his watch in testing and weeding out the potentially beneficial from the bunk.

“This Isn’t About Magic”
   Dr. Straus’ excitement in his work is palpable. You can sense it in the smile that slips past a skeptical caution and the balance of passion and reserve evident in his voice. “This isn’t about magic,” he is careful to point out. “If things are going to work in the body it’s because they have some physiological, pharmacological effect.”
   In the rarefied scientific atmosphere of the NIH, Dr. Straus is a heavy hitter with a proven track record of discovery. A
“The notion that complementary and alternative medicine is new, or that people are just newly attracted to it, is preposterous. People have been constantly building their own health-care theories and practice philosophies in all societies at all times.”
veteran NIH investigator and internationally renowned virologist, he concurrently holds the title of chief of the Laboratory of Clinical Investigation of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He is best known for having demonstrated the effectiveness of acyclovir in suppressing recurrent genital and oral herpes and for first characterizing autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome.
   And while his skepticism has not diminished one iota, he has brought scientific rigor, open-mindedness, and a zest for discovery to the study of therapies and modalities outside the medical mainstream.
   “As a scientist for the past 30 years [27 of which were spent at the NIH] I can tell you that a lot of my hypotheses in the lab and the clinic are proven wrong. It’s the nature of biomedical research,” Dr. Straus insists. “But if you are open to the process and accept the results, the scientific method sets things right over time.” A staunch adherent of the basic premises of the Western tradition of medicine, he nevertheless remains cognizant and respectful of other medical traditions and open to their potential provable benefits.

Putting Ancient Medical Modalities and Modern Methods Under the Microscope
“The notion that complementary and alternative medicine is new, or that people are just newly attracted to it, is preposterous,” says Dr. Straus. “People have been constantly building their own health-care theories and practice philosophies in all societies at all times.”
   Among other areas of interest, NCCAM is examining ancient non-Western medical traditions from China, India (Ayurveda), Tibet, Africa, and the Middle East plus Native American remedies. The growing number of recent immigrants from Asia has heightened interest in the medical practices they brought with them. Acupuncture, in particular, is an increasingly popular regimen. But the use of herbal remedies and other natural products, common in non-Western traditions, is hardly anathema to Occidental practice.
   “Western medicine never gave up on natural products,” Dr. Straus says. “They are the basis of some 75 prescribed drugs today for many different conditions.” Taxol, quinine, and penicillin are just three examples. “There are still people out there mining our natural kingdom, looking for new treatments.”
   In one noteworthy instance, a Chinese herbal product called quinghaosu or artemsinin, traditionally used in Southeast Asia for the treatment of recurrent fevers, was studied and has since been accepted as a standard remedy, used in conjunction with another drug, mesloquine, for otherwise drug-resistant malaria.
   In addition, old treatments once thought to be a lot of hokum have been shown to have a new utility. Dr. Straus cites, for example, the use by microvascular surgeons of leeches and specifically a protein they secrete called hirudin (reproduced in the lab by recombinant technology), as a potent anticoagulant to sustain viable blood circulation after re-attaching an amputated finger.
   Another “rediscovered” natural product with promising prospects is cranberry juice. “People have long believed that cranberry juice is good for preventing recurring urinary tract infections,” he says. And while medical science tended to pooh-pooh its benefits as a function of “extra fluid...to flush out the bladder,” Dr. Straus notes, “the data now suggest otherwise. There is a chemical constituent in cranberries that seems to block the ability of certain bacteria to adhere to the epithelial cells lining the bladder, and adhesion is necessary for the infection to take hold.” NCCAM is engaged in ongoing clinical studies with a standardized cranberry product.
   Still, Dr. Straus cautions against a misguided blind faith in the benefits of everything natural. “There is a tension between that long and venerable history and the assumption that because it’s natural, and really potent drugs have been found in nature, it’s necessarily going to be good for you.”

New Immigrants and a Growing Sense of Medical Empowerment
According to NCCAM’s five-year strategic plan, “Expanding Horizons in Healthcare,” CAM is in ever wider use in the United States. While Dr. Straus credits the influence of immigrant cultures, he traces the growing interest in the population at large to “a larger sociological phenomenon. Over the past decades, Americans have felt increasingly empowered to make decisions about their own health and lifestyle. Some of these decisions, like eating less meat and exercising more, have proven to be very good.” This self-empowerment, he allows, was in part a response to “an authoritarian medical system. The doctor was right a lot of the time. But the patients’ ability to participate in the decision-making about their care was very attractive.”
   The NCCAM strategic plan makes the point that, given the “dramatic gains in the health and well-being of Americans and a remarkable increase in average life expectancy,” today’s informed adults hope to live better lives and, consequently, turn to CAM to treat the symptoms of chronic disease, an area where conventional Western medicine has been less successful, and to lessen the noxious side effects of some Western remedies.

Standardization of Doses and Quality
Given the public’s documented use of herbal products and dietary supplements and some alternative treatments, the center’s research priorities initially differed from those of most other institutes at the NIH, whose primary focus, Dr.
“I saw birth. I saw death. I’m very proud of what I’ve been permitted to do. It all started at P&S.”
Straus says, is the “study of things that people haven’t used yet.”
   “At NCCAM, we went backward. We started with clinical studies and then moved back toward earlier phase and mechanistic studies.”
   More recently, however, the center changed course. “Our original assumption actually proved a bit naïve,” Dr. Straus acknowledges. “Lots of things are easy on the blackboard but when you get to the bench they get difficult. The huge variability in the quality of products already in wide use compelled the center, in many cases, to start from scratch and recreate a standardized product.”

From Brooklyn to Bethesda
Dr. Straus’ own blackboard training began in his native Brooklyn. He honed his mental faculties at MIT, where he earned a B.S. degree in life sciences. Initially headed for a career in chemical research, an eye-opening experience as a counselor to disadvantaged neighborhood adolescents at MIT’s Science Day Camp led him to pivot to pre-med.
   At P&S, he relished “the process of engaging with patients,” while never leaving the lab far behind. One of his mentors was the late Dr. Harold Neu, whom he credits with kindling his interest in infectious diseases. In medical school, he also learned “about the privilege of insinuating myself into the lives of my patients. I saw birth. I saw death. I’m very proud of what I’ve been permitted to do. It all started at P&S.”
   Following an internship at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, he got his first taste of NIH science as a research associate in the Laboratory of the Biology of Viruses at NIAID. And after returning to Barnes Hospital to complete his residency in medicine, Dr. Straus went back to Bethesda, as head of the medical virology section of the Laboratory of Clinical
“Working in complementary and alternative medicine reveals the nature of being human and what people want and what they’re seeking and what they’re willing to do to get it. Whether or not I agree with it, whether it’s scientifically proven or not, it’s all about the human experience.”
Investigation at NIAID. There he conducted landmark clinical studies, treating some of the first patients in the United States with the drug acyclovir and demonstrating that it suppressed recurrent genital and oral herpes.
   In the course of these early human studies, he was obliged to ask questions that touched upon potentially sensitive areas. “When I saw a young woman who had come in with genital herpes, I was seeing a person in crisis at many levels.”
   Writing up his findings for the New England Journal of Medicine, he was the first to prove the existence of asymptomatic shedding and transmission of genital herpes, showing that a person could transmit the disease while shedding the virus, not knowing that he or she had the infection. In human terms, the study helped to eliminate the shame associated with the disease.
   In addition, he identified auto-immune lymphoproliferative syndrome, a rare, albeit debilitating, disease of children born, as a consequence of genetic error, with lymphocytes that proliferate wildly, thus greatly increasing the risk of lymphoma.
   He also studied a variety of conditions, some of which were considered controversial at the time, such as chronic fatigue syndrome. “I was confronted by individuals who believed they were sick and sought answers,” he says. “It was in treating patients with chronic and complicated viral diseases,” Dr. Straus recalled in an online interview for the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, “that I began to see the larger clinical dimension of these illnesses... [Some of his patients]...were also some of the first to seek complementary and alternative approaches, so I welcomed the opportunity to bring my research background to the discipline of CAM.”

Heightened Awareness of the Human Experience in CAM Research
Dr. Straus believes that “working in complementary and alternative medicine reveals the nature of being human and what people want and what they’re seeking and what they’re willing to do to get it. Whether or not I agree with it, whether it’s scientifically proven or not, it’s all about the human experience.”
   Ever the caring physician, he is willing to entertain questions that transcend the traditional strictures of medical science and touch upon the way people derive meaning in life. “Maybe it’s not so important whether you can prove that a person will be more likely to survive a certain procedure or a certain disease better with a prayer,” he conjectures, “and more important to ask whether he or she can traverse that difficult time in their life more comfortably. These are questions that can be studied.”
   Elected to a number of prestigious professional societies, including the Association of American Physicians and the American Society for Clinical Investigation, Dr. Straus received five medals and several commendations from the U.S. Public Health Service, notably the Distinguished Service Medal for innovative clinical research and the Health and Human Services Secretary’s Distinguished Service Award. He is author of more than 400 research papers and editor of several textbooks.
   If NCCAM’s director can be said to have a scientific mantra, it is this: “The plural of anecdote is not evidence.” At a lecture in 2002 at the University of California at San Francisco, he characterized complementary and alternative medicine as “a controversial area that holds promise and lacks proof.” Seven years and counting into his mission, he is mining the promise and amassing the proof.


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Profiles in Giving
A New Approach to Gene Identity and Function

Instead of profiling a donor, this issue’s Profiles in Giving is written by Judith Sulzberger’49, benefactor of the Judith P. Sulzberger, M.D., Columbia Genome Center, on her view of the promising field of genomics.


By Judith Sulzberger’49
THE YEAR IS 2050. YOU, A 60-YEAR-OLD MAN, HAVE COME TO your physician’s office for your yearly checkup. The doctor greets you and asks if you have any specific complaints. “Not really,” you say. “Just a little shortness of breath when I walk up big hills.”
   The doctor has a record of your complete genome, available to all who desire it for $1,000. He is able to see all your genes and the computer has analyzed the ones that show disease tendencies. “Well,” he says, “it appears you have had a tendency to hypercholesterolemia. Your last test was borderline.” The doctor prescribes a computer-generated drug specially made for this problem, even though the patient’s blood values are still within the normal range. “That should take care of the problem,” the doctor tells you. “But the shortness of breath has more to do with your weight and lack of exercise. So get busy!”
   That ends your visit. No need for a lengthy physical exam or multiple tests. Medicine is chiefly preventative and mainly accomplished by blood and computer analysis. What can’t be prevented with drugs can be cured by gene therapy to replace the abnormal gene with a normal one.
   That is the ultimate goal for human genomics: the identification and function of all 25,000 of the genes in the 23 pairs of human chromosomes. When this is known, we will be able to identify the causes of most human disease and determine
The siRNAs are like magic bullets that target the specific gene whose sequence they contain. The effect of the siRNAs is to cause a specific RNA to be degraded by base pairing in all the areas spanning the region in question.
what has gone wrong and why. Prevention and treatment based on these findings will follow. This is a daunting task and until recently has been time-consuming and very expensive. Although most people are familiar with the terms DNA, genes, and genetic transmission of disease, few realize the magnitude and complexity of the search for the function of genes. This is the most important aspect of current genomics — and the most difficult.
   Today, in most laboratories around the world, establishing the function of a gene is an expensive, laborious, and time-consuming process (if it works at all). After locating family members of individuals with a presumed genetic illness, researchers compare the genomes of the individuals to find areas of mutations — differences in the sequence of bases in one or more chromosomes — in those members who carry a gene that causes or affects the disease. That study may identify a specific chromosome, and further studies can narrow the search to smaller and smaller sections of DNA, but rarely do they pinpoint a region so small that it identifies a single gene as distinct from a region of interest containing many genes.
   Fortunately for P&S, the director of the Columbia Genome Center, Jim Rothman, an eminent cell biologist, has created a method that will greatly enhance the speed and ability to identify disease genes and determine their normal function. When he arrived at the Genome Center two years ago, he brought with him an extraordinary cell imaging machine capable of examining 50,000 cell preparations for gene identification in a day.
   First, researchers make small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), which are artificially synthesized sections of RNA (the form DNA takes when it leaves the cell nucleus and goes into the cytoplasm to form a protein). They are only 20 base pairs long. The siRNAs are computer-generated from the DNA sequence of the region thought to contain a disease gene. This putative gene area has been gleaned from a preliminary analysis of disease-prone families. The siRNAs encompass, end to end, the entire area of DNA in which the genes are thought to be located.
   The siRNAs are like magic bullets that target the specific gene whose sequence they contain. The effect of the siRNAs is to cause a specific RNA to be degraded by base pairing in all the areas spanning the region in question. This degradation will result in less of the specific protein encoded by that area of RNA and target that area as the one containing the gene encoding that specific protein.
   To test for a disease gene, a cellular model is needed to mimic key aspects of the disease. In his initial work, Rothman and his lab used pancreatic islet cells secreting insulin as a model for diabetes. They tagged the siRNAs with a fluorescent dye and directed the siRNAs to all of the genes in a region thought to account for late-onset diabetes. Insulin secretion is measured in a micro-cell culture plate which contains 384 small wells, each of which contains cells to which have been added a single and different siRNA. These wells are then examined by automated fluorescent microscopy using the cell imaging machine. The machine will image hundreds of cells in each well in a matter of a few seconds. Those that secrete less insulin will show less dye.
   Remarkably, they found one gene that reduced insulin secretion — this siRNA is thought to target the gene that accounts for diabetes in these families. They are seeking to confirm this with further tests. Because the cell imaging machine robotically reads out the biological activity of each cell so rapidly, a vast number of cellular tests of function can be done, a quantum leap for disease gene identification. Now that it has been applied in the pathogenesis of adult diabetes, the new technology is slated for many more elusive gene identifications.
   We are already on the road to rapid gene identification and function. When we can provide the $1,000 genome for all who want it, and identify disease-causing genes before the onset of symptoms, we will be approaching the day when we will be able to treat and cure all human disease.

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Rx for Travel
Washington D.C., Beyond the Cherry Blossoms

By Peter Wortsman

Washington

PHOTO CREDIT: PETER WORTSMAN

IT WAS THE BEST AND WORST OF TIMES TO VISIT WASHINGTON. The fabled cherry trees had just burst into bloom. A stony Jefferson stood a little taller and an otherwise stolid Lincoln leaned forward to touch the flowering twigs. But I was not the only one to notice. All of America, it seems, was on hand to witness the spectacle. Opting out of an endless line for a fleeting glimpse of the White House Rose Garden, I fled downtown where history lives.
   The blossoms brought to mind Walt Whitman’s ode to a fallen Lincoln, “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloomed,” penned in a state of shock, while the poet moonlighted as a volunteer nurse to injured Union soldiers in a makeshift hospital in the Old Patent Office on F Street. Today it’s the home of the National Portrait Gallery.
   It was just around the corner at Ford’s Theatre on 10th Street that our 16th
A Grim Reminder of Medicine Gone Awry at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

By Peter Wortsman
Has ever medicine been more misused and science more twisted to serve warped ends than by the doctors and scientists of the Third Reich? The exhibit “Deadly Medicine” on view last spring at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. (and available in a traveling version) is a grim reminder of the consequences of the suspension of medical ethics for the perceived greater good of society. The exhibit presents the historic case, from eugenics to genocide, and raises unsettling questions.
   The exhibit starts with a chilling quote from “Authorization of the Destruction of Life Unworthy of Life,” a 1920 paper by two German academics: “If one imagines...a battlefield covered with thousands of dead youths...and then other institutions for idiots and their care...one is most appalled by...the sacrifice of the best of humanity while the best care is lavished on life of negative worth.” An excerpt from a skewed documentary shot at an insane asylum questions the value of the life of its inmates. The implied conclusions led to the 1933 mass sterilization program of Germans deemed mentally unfit and the infamous Operation T-4, the mass gassings of individuals judged unproductive by the state in 1939.
   The Holocaust looms like a great moral cloud of transgressions. But the exhibit’s impact transcends historic reflections. Perhaps most unsettling to the contemporary viewer is its clear documentation of the collusion of science in the state-supported suspension of ethics. Lest we forget the words of Hippocrates: “Whatever houses I may visit, I will come for the benefit of the sick, remaining free of all intentional injustice...” — dare we permit such terrible testimony to benumb us to present or future abuses at home or abroad, whoever the perpetrator, whatever the cause?

president was shot. The flickering gaslight lamppost out front and the vintage façade of the Peterson House across the street, where Lincoln died, evoke the era. And though every American schoolchild knows what transpired on that sad spring day in 1865, it is stirring to see the empty chair and the box in which the signer of the Emancipation Proclamation and paradigm of what we most prize about America was mortally wounded. The historical display in the basement museum includes the murder weapon, a derringer pistol, and photographs of Dr. Charles A. Leale, the first to tend to the wound and declare it mortal, and Dr. Samuel Mudd, the ill-starred physician who set the broken leg of the fleeing assassin.
   With museums, monuments, memorials, and historic homes everywhere you turn, a weekend is hardly enough to scratch D.C.’s surface. But fortunately all the great museums on the Mall are open daily and free of charge. I gleefully went nose to nose with the flying machines and spaceships at the National Air and Space Museum, dashed across the Mall to take in the “Whatever Happened to Polio?” exhibit at the National Museum of American History — complete with a vintage snapshot of a wincing Elvis Presley gamely getting his shot — and ended with a sober look at the “Deadly Medicine” exhibit at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (see box).
   Nature and history melded Sunday morning at Mount Vernon, George Washington’s sprawling plantation across the Potomac, about a half hour’s drive outside the city. The cherry blossom crowd had the same idea. So it took a while to get inside the plantation house, where, among other artifacts, the visitor can admire the key to the Bastille, brought as a symbolic gift by the Marquis de Lafayette, and the bed in which the father of our country took his last breath. But what made it all worthwhile was the view from the back porch, the same sweeping vista Washington had of the river and its rolling banks far from the madding crowd. No cherry trees in sight. Wise man, he must have chopped them all down. For more information on the nation’s capital and its charmed environs, visit http://www.culturaltourismdc.org/.

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Alumni Weekend

Inauguration of Glenda Garvey Teaching Academy
Teaching took center stage on May 11, in a tent in the Medical Center garden, when P&S Dean Gerald Fischbach introduced the first class of fellows for the Glenda Garvey Teaching Academy. “Neither the research nor the clinical practice would be possible without a commitment to teaching. We are an education institution,” Dr. Fischbach said. The academy is named after the late Glenda Garvey’69, revered and beloved member of the faculty in the Department of Medicine who mentored countless medical students and house staff over 25 years. The academy’s mission is to recognize excellence, reward achievement, and promote innovation in education of health professionals. Representatives from the College of Dental Medicine, the Mailman School of Public Health, the School of Nursing, and P&S were on hand to salute stellar members of their faculties. Among the P&S Garvey fellows present were Jay H. Lefkowitch’76, professor of clinical pathology, and Blair Ford, M.D., associate professor of clinical neurology.

Alumni Day Scientific Session
Chairman Andrew Frantz’55 with Honorary Chairman David Schachter
Alumni Day Chairman Andrew Frantz’55 with Honorary Chairman David Schachter
Alumni Day Chairman Andrew Frantz’55 kicked off the Alumni Day Scientific Session with a salute to Honorary Alumni Day Chairman David Schachter, M.D., professor of physiology and cellular biophysics, who directed the M.D./Ph.D. program for 19 years and helped build it into one of the nation’s finest. Dr. Schachter is noted for his work in calcium transport and the identification of a new signal system in the rat model. The following papers were presented at the scientific session:
“Angiotensin Type 1 Receptor and Angiotensinogen Polymorphisms and Risk of Hypertension, Cardiovascular Disease, and Renal Dysfunction in Type 2 Diabetes,” Julie Lin’96, instructor in medicine, Harvard Medical School and Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Boston
“When Psychiatry at Columbia Went ‘Mental’ and What Psychoanalysis has Learned: A Look at the First 60 Years of the Columbia Psychoanalytic Center,” Robert A. Glick’66, professor of clinical psychiatry, P&S
“Subclinical Inflammation and Vascular Dysfunction in Women with Prior Gestational Diabetes Mellitus,” Ellen W. Seely’81, associate professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School and Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Boston
“Project Shunt: The University of Michigan Neurosurgery Goes to Guatemala,” Karin M. Muraszko’81, professor and chair, Department of Neurosurgery, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor
“Growing New Tendon: Experience with GDF-5 in Rats,” Shepard R. Hurwitz’76, professor of orthopedic surgery,
Members of the Class of 1966
Members of the Class of 1966 gather at the Alumni Day Scientific Session, from left: Jack Baker’66, Harry Richardson’66, Ron Drusin’66, J. Dennis Baker’66, Mrs. Baker, Robin Cook’66, and Robert Barratta’66
University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville
“Confidentiality Versus Duty to History: The Ethical Quandary of Howard G. Bruenn, M.D.,” Barron H. Lerner’86, associate professor of medicine, P&S
“Type 2 Diabetes: Addressing the Epidemic in Canada 2005,” Keith G. Dawson’56, emeritus professor of medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
“Reforming the U.S. Health Care System,” Arnold S. Relman’46, professor emeritus of medicine and social medicine, Harvard Medical School, and editor-in-chief emeritus, New England Journal of Medicine
   Alumni Association president Jay Lefkowitch’76 presided over the Alumni Day Luncheon at the Faculty Club. Dr. Lefkowitch reviewed alumni activities throughout the year and introduced Andrea Sturtevant, the director of student activities, who spoke of her plans to renovate the P&S Club office.


P&S Reunion Parties Paint the Town
The six most senior anniversary classes and the two junior classes reunited at the Faculty Club. The Class of 1966 feted their 40th chez Flamenbaums — Walter Flamenbaum’66 and Mrs. Flamenbaum, that is. The 76ers sauntered down to Sambuca Restaurant. Other classes partied at the Century, Harmonie, and Harvard clubs.


Fifty and Still Going Strong: The Class of 1956 Comes of Age
Class of 1956 at its 50th reunion at the Century Club
Class of 1956 at its 50th reunion at the Century Club
If you’re going to mark a half century in medicine you might as well do it up right, like the Class of 1956 at the Century Club. Your roving reporter cornered a huddle of reminiscing classmates: Tom Federowicz, retired surgeon from Syracuse, N.Y.; Carl Meier, emeritus professor of family medicine at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, retired to Sanibel, Fla.; and class chairman Roy Brown, who holds joint clinical faculty appointments in the Department of Pediatrics at P&S and the Mailman School of Public Health. A beaming Dr. Federowicz reported on his nine children, six of whom had become doctors. All three alumni knew each other since their undergraduate days at Columbia College, where Brown and Meier rowed crew. “Didn’t win many races,” recalled Dr. Brown. “We must have been rowing in different directions!” Dr. Meier objected: “Yes, but we’re here today, so I guess we won the race!” Retired ophthalmologist Charles Tulevich Jr. came with his wife, Peggy, a former head nurse at Presbyterian Hospital. Among the other spouses on hand to join in the festivities was Helen Wu, wife of cardiologist Clyde Wu. A musicologist and concert pianist, Mrs. Wu and her husband have been active supporters of the arts and medicine. “Music and medicine go together,” she said. “I don’t know why, but it makes for a perfect mix.”

Dean’s Day Program Devoted to the Arts and Medicine
So what is it about doctors and music? Or doctors and writing, acting, painting, and cooking, for that matter? Why after a
Members of the Class of 1981 reunited at Dean’s Day
Members of the Class of 1981 reunited at Dean’s Day
busy day of consultations and operations do so many MDs recharge their batteries in a studio or on stage? While the May 13 Dean’s Day Program, titled “The Arts and Medicine at P&S,” may not have answered the question, everyone, from the talented student and alumni performers and speakers to the alumni and friends that packed the Alumni Auditorium, had a splendid time trying. In the words of master of ceremonies Jay Lefkowitch’76, “the problem with medicine is achieving a balance. Our students are multi-taskers and art is often an important part of the mix.”
   The program was dedicated to the memory of Albert Grokoest’43D, a distinguished academic rheumatologist who played the viola, collected art, and taught his patients, many of them performing artists, to listen to the pain and let it talk. Excerpts from a short biographical film on Dr. Grokoest, produced by Kenneth Browne, a friend and former patient, set the tone for a series of performances and talks.
   Members of the Bard Hall Players sang a rousing medley from their recent production of “West Side Story.”
“What you just heard speaks louder than anything I can say,” Andrew Frantz’55, professor of medicine and associate dean for admissions, said, adding brief remarks on what makes a P&S student. Three of his talented picks, Julie Lin’96, June Wu’96, and Drew Helmer’97 performed the first movement of a Mendelssohn trio.
   Kenneth A. Forde’59, the Jose M. Ferrer Professor Emeritus of Clinical Surgery at P&S, followed with an erudite and
Members of the Apgar Memorial Quartet
Members of the Apgar Memorial Quartet, under the direction of Dr. Nicholas Cunningham, perform at Dean’s Day 2006
entertaining talk on music in the OR, based on his own personal experience and historical research. Recalling that music pervaded medical practice in the Middle Ages, he alluded to recent studies that “demonstrated that music in the OR decreased the anesthetic requirement of patients.” Dr. Forde ended his remarks with a rousing a cappella rendition of “Music Alone Shall Live.”
   Up next, the Apgar Memorial Quartet, under the direction of Dr. Nicholas Cunningham, a faculty member in theDepartment of Pediatrics, played two movements from a Haydn string quartet. The rotating group includes students, house staff, and faculty. Dr. Cunningham related the history of the instruments fashioned by the late great Virginia Apgar’33. A distinguished anesthesiologist, best known for the Apgar Score, a method she devised of assessing the health of newborns, she was also a musician and amateur luthier in her spare time.
   Bestselling novelist Robin Cook’66, known for his medical thrillers, a genre he created, spoke on doctors and writing. Acknowledging the large number of famous doctor-writers, notably Anton Chekhov and Somerset Maugham, Dr. Cook suggested that, in his view, “there aren’t enough physician-writers. Good writing is about crisis. Medicine enables you to view crisis on a daily basis.” He urged more practitioners to take up the pen.



Salute to Jay Lefkowitch, “Our Man for all Seasons”
Dean’s Day speaker and novelist Robin Cook’66 with Alumni Association president and honoree Jay Lefkowitch’76
Jay Lefkowitch’76 reacting to his salute
Changing of the guard: Outgoing Alumni Association president Jay Lefkowitch’76 passes the baton to his successor, Jacqueline Bello’80
Dean’s Day speaker and novelist Robin Cook’66 with Alumni Association president and honoree Jay Lefkowitch’76 Jay Lefkowitch’76 reacting to his salute Changing of the guard: Outgoing Alumni Association president Jay Lefkowitch’76 passes the baton to his successor, Jacqueline Bello’80

The Bard Hall Players sang a rendition of “Hello, Jay” (set to the music of “Hello, Dolly”) that brought the house down. After a PowerPoint salute to Dr. Lefkowitch that included a video of his virtuoso dubbed performance of Frank Sinatra’s hit tune, “New York, New York,” veteran Bard Hall player Ron Cohen’81 sang his praises. Citing Dr. Lefkowitch’s astounding versatility as pathologist, teacher, writer, painter, performer, Dr. Cohen summed up: “He embodies the ideal of the P&S doctor.” The audience agreed by giving the honoree a standing ovation



Pianist Helen Wu Lets Her Fingers Do the Talking
Pianist Helen Wu, wife of University Trustee Clyde Wu’56, enchants the crowd
P. Roy Vagelos’54, Diana Vagelos, Clyde Wu’56, and Helen Wu
Pianist Helen Wu, wife of University Trustee Clyde Wu’56, enchants the crowd P. Roy Vagelos’54, Diana Vagelos, Clyde Wu’56, and Helen Wu
Making her New York debut, pianist and musicologist Helen Wu delivered a stirring grand finale to the artistic part of the program. Accompanied by Julie Lin’96 on violin and Drew Helmer’97 on cello, Mrs. Wu performed a graceful Schubert serenade and a moving Massenet meditation. But the high point of the morning was surely her soulful solo interpretation of Schumann’s “Scenes from Childhood.” Mrs. Wu, wife of Columbia University trustee Clyde Wu’56, saluted “the awesome brain power of this institution,” citing “the love and inspiration of the medical mentors that make this school so unique.” At P&S, she said, “medicine and music have always gone hand in hand.” Dr. and Mrs. Wu’s considerable largesse to the medical school has included the creation of a music room in Bard Hall.



Psychiatric Pioneer Takes Women in Medicine Award
Kenneth Forde’59 with Elizabeth Davis’49
Student sommelier Scott Moffat’08 and former pastry chef Thomas Lo’08
Dean’s Day speaker Kenneth Forde’59 with Elizabeth Davis’49, recipient of the 2006 Virginia Kneeland Frantz’22 Distinguished Women in Medicine Award
Art of the table P&S style: Student sommelier Scott Moffat’08 and former pastry chef Thomas Lo’08 toast the sweet things in life
Elizabeth Davis’49, founder of the Department of Psychiatry at Harlem Hospital and one of the nation’s pioneers in the delivery of psychiatric care to the underserved population of Upper Manhattan, received the 2006 Virginia Kneeland Frantz’22 Distinguished Women in Medicine Award. Shearwood J. McClelland’74, associate professor at P&S, director of orthopedic surgery at Harlem Hospital Center, and a past president of the Alumni Association, presented the award. Noting that the following day was Mother’s Day, Dr. McClelland saluted Dr. Davis as “a maternal giant in the annals of inner-city psychiatry.”
   At a luncheon that followed at the Faculty Club, the wines were selected by Scott Moffat’08, president of the Society of Bacchus, and the dessert was prepared by former professional pastry chef Thomas Lo’08.



Gala in the Garden
Clyde Wu’56
Alumni Association president Jay Lefkowitch’76
University Trustee and 50th anniversary celebrant Clyde Wu’56 salutes new grads and fellow alumni
Alumni Association president Jay Lefkowitch’76 and Awards Committee chairman Kenneth Forde’59 with gold medalists Paulina Sergot’06, Kate Nellans’06, Shearwood McClelland’74, John Brust’62, and Stephen Malawista’58
The sky threatened rain but the heavens held Saturday night at the 147th annual Alumni Gala Reception and Dinner Dance. Not quite under the stars, the big tent in the medical center garden captured the festive mood. The Class of 2006 mingled with their soon-to-be fellow alumni in anniversary classes. In his summary remarks, Dean Gerald Fischbach found it fitting “that we should celebrate together here in the garden where we all have grown.” Alumni Association president Jay Lefkowitch’76 saluted the graduates as “the best advertisement for this medical school anyone can devise.” And Clyde Wu’56, celebrating in his dual capacity as member of the University Board of Trustees and member of the 50th anniversary class, extended the congratulations of the Trustees, adding, “I want you to feel that you are home.”
   Mathis Kirby’81 announced that the Class of 1981 would mark its 25th anniversary by pledging $300,000 toward a class scholarship fund.
Mathis Kirby’81
Morey Wosnitzer’56 and Nancy Wosnitzer
Yvonne Thornton’73 dancing with husband Shearwood McClelland’74
Mathis Kirby’81, co-class chairperson for the 25th anniversary class
Morey Wosnitzer’56 and Nancy Wosnitzer
Yvonne Thornton’73 dancing
with husband Shearwood
McClelland’74
Speaking for the 50th anniversary class, Roy Brown’56 recalled that “the year we graduated, IBM introduced the first computer,” and suggested that much of the modern medical technology “would have seemed like science fiction to us.” Other momentous events of 1956 were the receipt by Columbia professors Dickinson Richards’23 and André Cournand of the Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology and the Yankees victory over the Brooklyn Dodgers in the World Series. He announced the class goal of raising $1 million toward a student loan fund.
Rebecca Hofstra’06, speaking for the graduating class, recalled the varied accomplishments of her classmates over the last four years, including the creation of a free health clinic for the uninsured in the neighborhood and a public health newsletter.



And the Gold Goes to...
Members of the Class of 2006 strut their stuff
Members of the Class of 2006 strut their stuff
Members of the Class of 2006 strut their stuff
Members of the Class of 2006 strut their stuff
Kenneth A. Forde’59, stentorian chairman of the Honors and Awards Committee, presented the evening’s encomia.
   The Alumni Gold Medal for Outstanding Achievements in Medical Research went to Stephen Malawista’8, a renownedrheumatologist and pivotal member of the team that unlocked the mystery of Lyme disease, elucidating its natural history, epidemiology, pathogenesis, etiology, molecular biology, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention by vaccine.
   John Brust’62, director of the Department of Neurology at Harlem Hospital, received the Gold Medal for Clinical Medicine. As Dr. Forde put it, “for more than a quarter century, Dr. Brust has treated the frayed nerves of the Harlem community with his tireless commitment and prodigious skill.”
   “I acted and behold, service was a joy.” Dr. Forde tapped the words of Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore to characterize Shearwood J. McClelland’74, recipient of the Gold Medal for Meritorious Service to P&S and its Alumni Association. A past president of the Alumni Association, Dr. McClelland, associate professor of clinical orthopedic surgery at P&S, always found time in his busy schedule as director of orthopedic surgery at Harlem Hospital to serve his school.
   Two students, Kate Nellans’06 and Paulina B. Sergot’06, were awarded Gold Medals in Recognition of a Graduating Student’s Interest in and Devotion to P&S and its Alumni Association. Both served terms as president of the P&S Club, the umbrella organization of student activities.

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Alumni Association Activities

Alumni Council
Michael Rosenthal
Vagelos Scholar Erin Wilkes’07 with Judy Sulzberger’49 and P. Roy Vagelos’54
Michael Rosenthal, at the March 2006 meeting, holds a copy of his book, “Nicholas Miraculous,” a biography of Nicholas Murray Butler
Vagelos Scholar Erin Wilkes’07 with Judy Sulzberger’49 and P. Roy Vagelos’54 at the March 2006 Alumni Council meeting
Professor Michael Rosenthal, a member of the Department of History at Columbia University and author of the celebrated biography “Nicholas Miraculous, the Amazing Career of Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler,” gave a witty account of the charisma and megalomania of the man who, inspired by his vision of the university as a new Acropolis on Morningside Heights, led Columbia University for four decades. The New York Times once referred to him as “the incarnation of the international mind.” Dr. Butler, who served as president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and ran for U.S. president in 1920, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931 and received 38 honorary degrees. In his lifetime he produced more than 20 volumes of essays. Professor Rosenthal was the recipient of Columbia’s Alexander Hamilton Medal and the Mark Van Doren Excellence in Teaching Award. The Butler biography took him 12 years to research and write.



Parents Day Program
New P&S family members at Parents Day 2006
New P&S family members at Parents Day 2006
New P&S family members at Parents Day 2006
Parents, spouses, family members, friends, and significant others of P&S students packed the Alumni Auditorium April 8 for a peek at what it’s like to study medicine at Columbia. The Parents Day Program, an annual event, took all in attendance on a vicarious trek through the P&S experience, from orientation to graduation. Speakers from the administration included Lisa Mellman, M.D., senior associate dean for student affairs; Andrew G. Frantz’55, associate dean for admissions; Hilda Y. Hutcherson, M.D., associate dean for diversity; and Ronald E. Drusin’66, interim senior associate dean for education. Ellen Spilker, director of student financial planning, explained how the school helps families contend with medical school costs. Faculty members Rita Charon, M.D., Ph.D., and Nancy Chang’95 spoke, respectively, on narrative medicine and the residency selection process. Students Rachel Farley’06, Brad Zacharia’07, Mark Mann’07, and Perry F. Wilson’06 described the thrills and challenges of student life. The luncheon speaker, John K. Lattimer’38, professor emeritus and unofficial historian in residence, captured everyone’s attention with stories of a glorious P&S past.

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Class News

By Marianne Wolff’52

Class of 1952
At the end of 2005 the Bank of America honored ERNEST A. REINER with the title “Neighborhood Volunteer of the Year in Philanthropy.” He has been volunteering as medical director of the Judeo-Christian Health Clinic in Tampa, Fla., since 1973; despite personal medical problems he is still working there, still playing tennis and golf, and acting as the perennial emcee at the clinic’s annual dinner. At the award ceremony, the bank characterized him as follows: “He will not rest until he has seen the last patient waiting....(he) is tenacious and will not stop until the patient has received the health care he or she needs and deserves. His dedication to providing health care to those in need is unmatched.”


Class of 1955
BookFounding medical director of the Children of China Pediatrics Foundation, JOHN SCHULLINGER was honored at Columbia University’s Low Library in the spring of 2006. The foundation’s mission is to provide direct medical treatment for disabled children in China’s orphanages. Pediatric medical teams are sent from the United States to China to correct disfiguring birth defects and disabilities. The first of these missions occurred in 1999; since then more than 250 procedures have been performed under the foundation’s auspices.


Class of 1959
ALLAN G. ROSENFIELD has completed 10 years of service as chair of New York State AIDS Advisory Council. He will remain as a member of the council but is stepping down as chair. Gov. Pataki and Health Commissioner Novello sent laudatory comments about Dr. Rosenfield’s achievements, which are considered the role model for groundbreaking developments in AIDS programs and services. Dr. Rosenfield was also honored with the Margaret Sanger Award, the first Legacy Leadership Award for Extraordinary Leadership in Public Health (from the American Legacy Foundation), and the inaugural Public Health Leadership Award from the Coalition for School-Based Primary Care. At Columbia, Dr. Rosenfield has been dean of the Mailman School of Public Health for 20 years but will step down once a successor is identified. At a Columbia University tribute to Dr. Rosenfield in June, President Lee Bollinger announced approval by the Trustees to rename the Mailman building at 722 W. 168th (the former New York State Psychiatric Institute) the Allan Rosenfield Building. Dr. Rosenfield will be the subject of the Winter 2007 issue’s Alumni Profile.


Class of 1960
Retired neurologist BERNIE PATTEN has published two books, “Truth, Knowledge or Just Plain Bull: How to Tell the Difference,” a handbook of clear thinking and practical logic, and “The Blood of a Million Christs”, a post-modern literary novel about (among other things) love, war, peace, the Middle East, and the end of ages. A third book, soon to be published, is “Innocents Abroad: The Modern Version” about the antics of the rich and famous — and not-so-famous — cruising around the world on the Queen Elizabeth 2 ocean liner.


Class of 1961
Carleton College’s Phi Kappa Phi presented THOMAS MACK with the Faculty Recognition Award for his “significant contributions to epidemiology and his rigorous scholarship.” Tom’s book, “Cancers in the Urban Environments: Patterns of Malignant Disease in Los Angeles and its Neighborhoods” (Academic Press 2004), analyzes the occurrence of various forms of cancer in the culturally diverse neighborhoods of Los Angeles. Tom resides in Manhattan Beach, Calif.


Class of 1962
JOHN N. SHEAGREN, chairman of the Department of Medicine at the Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago, has been elected to Mastership in the American College of Physicians, for his groundbreaking work in infectious diseases and medical student education.
Class of 1962Four members of the class who were roommates have remained friends. They were together recently for a dinner with their wives. From left are WARREN JOHNSON, chairman of infectious disease at Cornell; PETER PUCHNER, professor of urology at P&S; ROBERT WALDBAUM, chairman emeritus of urology at North Shore University Hospital and clinical professor of urology at Cornell; and NICK ROMAS, professor of urology at P&S and chairman of urology at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt. Dr. Johnson’s son, Christopher, who trained in urology at P&S, has become a partner with Dr. Waldbaum in his urology practice.


Class of 1970
The American Association of Neurological Surgeons has named DONALD O. QUEST as president. He has held various offices in the association over the past 16 years. At P&S he is the J. Lawrence Pool Professor of Neurological Surgery, vice chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery, and assistant dean for student affairs.


Class of 1973
The latest list of “The Best Doctors in New York,” compiled by New York Magazine, includes YVONNE S. THORNTON. She has also been named as one of the top 10 maternal-fetal medicine specialists.


Class of 1974
Members of the Class of 1974 welcome visiting classmate Fred Kushner from New Orleans. From left: Bob Fischel, Fred Kushner, Pat McGrath, Audell Ray Seigle, Adele Tedeschi Mattern, Bob Seigle, Lester Blair, Nancy Lane, Shearwood McClelland, Louis Lane, and Richard Mattern
SHEARWOOD J. MCCLELLAND was selected as a Fellow to the National Association of Public Hospitals in 2005. In addition the U.S. Congress invited him to discuss “How Safety Net Providers Influence Policy.” In May of 2005 Shearwood received Columbia University’s Alumni Federation Gold Medal for Conspicuous Alumni Service, presented by Columbia’s President Lee C. Bollinger. Shearwood is a past president of the P&S Alumni Association. During Alumni Reunion Weekend in 2006, Shearwood received a gold medal for service to P&S and its alumni.
FRED KUSHNER, a practicing cardiologist in New Orleans, visited New York in February 2006; he met with 10 classmates to discuss his personal experience with Hurricane Katrina and its devastating effects on New Orleans in general and on medical care in particular.





Class of 1980
Clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and New York-Presbyterian Hospital, ALAN MANEVITZ volunteered for Operation Assist during the fall of 2005; this group is a collaborative effort among the hospital, the Children’s Health Fund, and the Mailman School of Public Health. Alan worked out of Biloxi, Miss., in response to the Gulf Coast hurricanes.


Class of 1986
RICHARD L. WHITE, chief of surgical oncology and director of immunotherapy at the Blumenthal Cancer Center, a part of Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C., has been named a member of the Commission on Cancer at the center.


Class of 1992
Class of 1992Several members of the Class of 1992 held their third reunion, this time in Park City, Utah, with families in tow. The classmates are scattered — from Atlanta, New York, northern and southern California, and Utah — but they plan to continue the informal reunions “far into the future,” says JASON FLAMM. Pictured, from left, are ANDREW CHENG (an honorary member of the class who received his Ph.D. in 1995 and M.D. in 1996), JOHN BARRETT, MARY DIANA, BILL REEVES, DINO DECONCINI, and JASON FLAMM.



Class of 1999
Class of 1999
A photograph of Todd J. Reed’99 was included
in the 2006 Lalmba calendar. The photo shows
Dr. Reed on duty in the Lalmba hospital in Chiri, Ethiopia.
TODD J. REED, an internist working at a V.A. Hospital in Massachusetts, was recently named medical director of Lalmba, an African relief agency, for which he volunteered in 2004. As medical director (a voluntary position), he will spend three weeks each year in three African countries, managing the agency from home the remainder of the year. His wife, Pei-Lin, is a radiologist. Todd was featured in the agency’s 2006 calendar.
SHAHID AZIZ, assistant professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, led a medical team to Kishorganj, Bangladesh, in January 2006 under the auspices of Healing the Children and Impact Foundation Bangladesh. The team treated 31 children with cleft lip/palate over the course of four days. Surgery was performed on the Impact Foundation’s hospital ship, “Jibon Tari.”








Class of 2000
In addition to his M.D., BIJAN SALEHIZADEH received an M.S. in health policy from Columbia and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. With that background he has held various positions in business and venture capital firms, the latest being Highland Capital Partners Inc., where he is a member of the firm’s health-care practice and specializes in medical devices and biotechnology investment opportunities. He was promoted to vice president of the firm.



From the Classes

Class of 2007: So Young Kim
BY IRENE LO AND MARK MANN
Class of 2007: So Young Kim The first introduction to So Young Kim for many at P&S may have been of the melodic kind. Throughout her years in medical school, So Young, an accomplished cellist, has been an active participant in and coordinator of many of the Musical Mondays in the Bard Hall lounge. A person of great depth and breadth, recognized for her prowess at the cello, So Young is a perfect example of the well-rounded individuals who populate the P&S student body.
   Born in Suwon, Korea, in 1978, she and her family immigrated to the Chicago area when she was about 2 years old. So Young had a colorful infancy and childhood. Instead of crawling to and fro as an infant, So Young chose to log-roll everywhere until she was able to walk. After being baptized as Catherina at the age of 8 and insisting on being called Cathy, she later abandoned the nickname as she further embraced her heritage. It was also in childhood that So Young developed her passion for music, learning to play the piano at the age of 6 and cello by 8.
   As an undergraduate at Yale, So Young was a member of the Yale Symphony and majored in anthropology. During the summer between her junior and senior years, So Young traveled to Bolivia to perform archaeological research. It was during that summer that So Young’s interest in medicine was sparked. Observing that many members of Bolivia’s indigenous Aymara people were unable to obtain the medical care they needed because they had little money, So Young decided she could do more for society as a member of the healthcare community than as an anthropologist.
   Like many other P&S students, So Young did not immediately enter medical school after college. To complete the prerequisite courses, So Young attended the Goucher College postbaccalaureate premedical program. Determined to secure a place in medical school, she conducted research at Johns Hopkins on depression in postmyocardial infarction patients.
   When making her decision about which medical school to attend, So Young realized that P&S was a perfect fit. Not only was P&S in New York City, a city in which So Young wanted to live, it also boasted the Musicians’ Guild. After studying the Dominican culture of Washington Heights in her anthropology coursework, So Young was interested in seeing the role of the medical center in the community.
   As a student at P&S, So Young has been extremely busy. She has been involved with the Musicians’ Guild, continues to play the cello, has helped to run the student transcript service, has participated in the Student Success Network, and has volunteered at the Columbia Student Medical Outreach (CoSMO) clinic. In her spare time, So Young spends time with her fiancé, Graham, an inspiration to So Young for being there through all of medical school and supporting her through all of the craziness that defines the life of a medical student.
   So Young is trying to decide between a career in anesthesiology and a career in medicine. Both fields will allow her to work in critical care, take medicine abroad, and think and apply her knowledge. Regardless of her choice, we are confident she will be a success.


Class of 2008: Tom Lo
BY MELISSA LAUDANO’08
Class of 2008: Tom Lo Along with his classmates, Tom Lo has been working diligently to complete step 1 of the USMLE and transition to major clinical year. His transition to medical school from Yale undergrad was less conventional. After years of focusing his efforts on his undergraduate major of molecular biology and working to be accepted to medical school, Tom realized that he had other passions that he needed to pursue before he could fully devote himself to medicine. He deferred his acceptance to medical school and explored his other interests, especially cooking.
   In high school, Tom interned in a bakery and continued to develop his culinary skills in college while teaching a class on baking and cake decorating. After graduation, Tom began training at the French Culinary Institute in New York and worked at a French restaurant, Virot. He worked with some of the top chefs in New York City and absorbed as much of their cooking techniques as possible. After a year in the food industry, Tom was ready to change gears and explore his interest in finance and investments. He worked as a financial adviser at two Wall Street firms, Morgan Stanley and UBS PaineWebber, as part of a team that provided bonds for clients. In learning about investments, he gained valuable insight into forming successful professional relationships. However, he felt something was missing from his life.
   He became aware of his own mortality and that of others on Sept. 11, 2001 — his 23rd birthday — when he was working on the 73rd floor of the south tower of the World Trade Center. Living through the experience gave Tom a different perspective on life and it became clearer which aspects of his life were most important to him. It took a few years of hard work and real life experiences for Tom to realize what he truly wanted. He enrolled in P&S in 2004 to pursue a career in medicine.
   During the first two years of medical school, Tom maintained his interest in cooking and enriched the lives of his classmates. He organized eight five-course dessert tastings, complete with printed menus, musical accompaniment, crystal stemware, wine pairings, and a guest book. Tom hopes to always incorporate his love for cooking in his life as a physician. Fans of his desserts are confident that he will find as much success in medicine.


Class of 2009: Jennifer Harms Amorosa
BY JEANNE FRANZONE’09 WITH DARIUS FEWLASS’09
Class of 2009: Jennifer Harms AmorosaIn Jennifer Harms Amorosa’s first year at P&S, she found numerous ways to utilize her rich background and energetic personality to contribute to the school. After growing up in Bloomington, Ill., Jeni graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2001 with a major in American studies. After working as an event planner at a Washington, D.C., think tank, Jeni started teaching first- and second-grade students while obtaining a master’s in elementary education at the University of Pittsburgh.
   Her enthusiasm, cheerfulness, and attention to detail made her an excellent teacher while she learned about teaching methods, learning styles, and stages in childhood educational development. Realizing that this knowledge and practical teaching experience would be a tremendous help in medicine, Jeni pursued medical school, with a goal of educating patients and future doctors. “Good teaching is such an important part of medical education. I would love to use my background eventually to teach medical students in a clinical setting,” she says.
   P&S stood out as an excellent choice for Jeni. While visiting as a prospective student, she was struck by the productive and interactive learning environment in a didactic teaching seminar she attended while accompanying a third-year student doing a pediatrics rotation. “The teaching was so good, and the students were really helping each other learn,” says Jeni. P&S also stood out among medical schools in promoting students to enjoy as much balance as possible in their daily lives.
   At P&S, Jeni has contributed to both the collaborative learning environment and the many extracurricular activities offered through the P&S Club. Her dance skills were especially suited for her performance in the chorus of the Bard Hall Players’ Fall 2005 production of “West Side Story.” Jeni also wrote and directed the health careers curriculum for eighth-grade participants in the Lang Youth Medical Program, a science education program for middle school students. As a second-year medical student this year, Jeni will lead the Student Success Network, in which second-year students hold review sessions throughout the year with the newest P&S students. She hopes to expand the network’s one-on-one tutoring for first years looking for individualized help.
   She still finds time to explore new areas of the city, try new restaurants, and bake. Having squeezed in her wedding at the beginning of the summer, Jeni has been joined in Washington Heights by her husband, Dr. Louis Amorosa, a 2006 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh medical school, who is now in the first year of his orthopedics residency at Columbia. Looking ahead, Jeni will be excited to start seeing patients and continuing to learn. “No matter the specialty, in our time as doctors things will be always changing and advancing, giving us an opportunity to really keep on learning our whole lives.”


Class of 2010
The incoming first-year class at P&S has 156 members representing 33 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The 84 men and 72 women attended public and private colleges in the Northeast, Northwest, California, Texas, the Plains and Midwest states, the South, and Canada. Underrepresented minorities make up 21 percent of the class. These photos show the class participating in the August 2006 White Coat Ceremony sponsored by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation for Humanism in Medicine.

August 2006 White Coat Ceremony August 2006 White Coat Ceremony
PHOTO CREDIT: CHARLES MANLEY (LEFT) AND ANNEMARIE FURLONG (RIGHT)













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