Mark Goldberger'73: FDA's Master of Medical Preparedness
BY PETER WORTSMAN
Mark Goldberger’73 likes to cite the medical credo of his old P&S mentor in infectious diseases, the late Dr. Harold Neu: “I’d rather hear about it at 3 a.m. than cry about it at 9 a.m.”
Photo credit: Peter Wortsman
As the first medical director for emerging and pandemic threat preparedness at the Food and Drug Administration, Dr. Goldberger operates in extended 3 a.m. mode, trying to head off an impending 9 a.m. influenza pandemic panic. The pandemic, experts maintain, is a matter of when, not if, and some predict that it may rival in virulence the deadly influenza outbreak of 1918 that killed an estimated 20 million to 30 million people worldwide.
America’s preparedness and success in limiting severe illness and loss of life depend on careful planning and crisis control which is Dr. Goldberger’s specialty. His 18 plus years at the FDA include a lead role in staving off drug shortages and ensuring the readiness of pharmaceutical firms on the eve of Y2K. A widely respected authority on infectious diseases, he honed his hands-on skills at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where he participated in the epidemiological investigation of Legionnaires’ disease and the swine flu vaccination program. He fine-tuned his medical methodology at P&S, where he taught clinical medicine for close to a decade.
Infected by the Intellectual Challenge of Infectious Disease
Born in Perth Amboy, N.J., Dr. Goldberger majored in biology while earning his B.A. in three years at Johns Hopkins. He had decided early in life that he wanted to become a doctor, after ruling out soldier and astronomer (though military history continues to be one of his abiding passions, and he still likes to stare at the stars). Though there were no physicians in his immediate family, he was aware of the accomplishments of his great-great-uncle, Dr. Joseph Goldberger, a significant figure in the U.S. Public Health Service who was nominated for a Nobel Prize for his epidemiological studies leading to the finding that pellagra is due to a vitamin deficiency.
At P&S, he became fascinated with infectious diseases, because, as he put it, “the field covers so many diseases and clinical problems and allows you to get involved in medicine across the range of specialties and subspecialties.” The late Glenda Garvey’69, professor of clinical medicine, infectious diseases expert, long-time director of the third-year medical clerkship, and later a colleague and friend, made a deep impression on him.
Following a medicine residency at Presbyterian Hospital, he completed an infectious disease fellowship at Columbia under Dr. Neu, professor of medicine and pharmacology, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, and an internationally renowned authority on anti-microbial development.
Medical Detective Work for the CDC
During training at the CDC, Dr. Goldberger served as an epidemic intelligence officer for the Division of Communicable Diseases of the Maryland State Health Department in Baltimore.
He relished the opportunity to gain experience in the field. “Working in a state health department is very far removed, from both an administrative and an infectious disease point of view, from working in an academic medical center,” he said. “That’s one of the places where I started to really learn a lot more about communicable diseases.” In 1976, he was assigned to work on the swine flu immunization program and, specifically, to investigate several cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome caused by the vaccine. Guillain-Barré is a serious neurological condition related to pre-existing vaccination, viral illness, or other causes that can lead to variable degrees of weakness, sometimes to paralysis or even death.
“And then, of course, beyond the ordinary daily public health concerns,” he recalled, “there was the unexpected.” One morning at 12:30 a.m. he received a call to pack his bags and leave immediately for Philadelphia to investigate the outbreak of a mysterious respiratory illness at an American Legion convention at the Stratford Hotel. The illness would later become known as Legionnaires’ disease. Dr. Goldberger was a member of the epidemiological investigative team that eventually found the microscopic culprit, Legionella pneumophila, a never-before described gram-negative type of microorganism that had been spread by water from a water tower used for the hotel’s air conditioning system.
The discovery had a far-ranging medical significance beyond the specific incidence of the disease. “There had been a certain prevailing idea that there weren’t any new diseases,” Dr. Goldberger said, “and Legionnaires’ was a chilling reminder that there are new things we don’t know about.”
Back to the Fort Fort Washington Avenue,That Is
Another P&S mentor and friend, Thomas Q. Morris’58, now Alumni Professor Emeritus of Clinical Medicine, informed Dr. Goldberger of an opening for a senior medical resident at Columbia, for which he applied and was accepted.
At the completion of his training, Dr. Goldberger joined the P&S faculty as assistant professor of clinical medicine. He combined the clinical teaching of house staff and students with a busy private academic practice in internal medicine and infectious diseases. He participated in teaching rounds in the general medical service, the medical ICU, and the infectious disease service and lectured in the abnormal human biology course on the use of antibiotics in the management of serious infections, among other subjects. “For me, personally, the interaction with house staff and the teaching was one of the most positive aspects of being back at Columbia,” he said. “You learn how to get people to think through medical problems and, in the process, challenge yourself to think about them in new ways. One of the key issues, which we forget all the time, is understanding how things looked medically at that moment, because they invariably look different in retrospect. In medicine, as in most other matters, you should always be thinking of how you can use whatever happens to help you in moving forward, because if you’re not improving your skills you’re generally falling behind.” In the decades that followed, he put that theory to practice time and again.
At Columbia, he likewise “moved forward” on the personal front. After dating a fellow trainee, Dr. Florence Houn, the two decided to marry and move to the Washington, D.C., area, where she pursued a fellowship in cancer prevention at
the National Cancer Institute and he joined Northern Virginia Infectious Disease Associates in Springfield, Va. Dr. Houn later went to work for the FDA, where she directed implementation of the Mammography Quality Standards Act and has helped establish the nationwide standard on quality mammography. They have a son.
|At P&S, Dr. Goldberger became fascinated with infectious diseases. “The field covers so many diseases and clinical problems and allows you to get involved in medicine across the range of specialties and subspecialties.”
While maintaining his private practice, he enrolled in a master of public health degree program at George Washington University, concentrating on health administration.
With his MPH in hand, in April of 1989 Dr. Goldberger joined the FDA’s Division of Antiviral Drug Products, serving as the primary medical reviewer for drugs for both AIDS and mycobacterial disease. His unique mix of biomedical, epidemiological, and administrative talents soon became apparent. Promoted to supervisory medical officer and medical team leader, he took a leadership role in, among other areas, setting standards for approval of drugs for mycobacterium avium infection in AIDS and in the design and analysis of clinical trials of drugs for tuberculosis. (A disease once thought to have been eliminated in America, TB was just then beginning to assert an ominous new prominence on the public health scene with multidrug-resistant strains.) Perhaps most importantly, in light of his later responsibilities, Dr. Goldberger played a key role in the rapid resolution of key drug shortages, helping to put adequate supplies of streptomycin, PAS, sulfadiazine, INH, and insulin, among other medications, back in circulation.
In 1997, he moved on to the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, first as acting director then as director of the Division of Special Pathogen and Immunologic Drug Products. Among other responsibilities, he oversaw the drug shortage program. “In the late 90s,” Dr. Goldberger explained, “a series of events occurred that increased the frequency and impact of drug shortages to an extent where the country faced some major public health problems.” Pharmaceutical firms that produced certain medications, including widely used drugs for anesthesia and other medications of more limited, albeit vital, application in the treatment of thalassemia, ran into manufacturing problems. “I think we were down to two days’ supply in the U.S.” So Dr. Goldberger stepped into the “3 a.m.-9 a.m. mode”: “Had we not taken emergency action [to assist manufacturers] I’m not sure how many people might have died.” He developed a reputation at the agency as the man to call for crisis control.
Averting Millennial Mayhem
Then in early 1999, concerned about computer problems that might prevail when 1999 turned into 2000, the director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research assigned Dr. Goldberger a Herculean chore assessing the pharmaceutical industry’s readiness for Y2K.
He vividly recalls the tension at the first meeting of the drug distributors he called together: “We were on one side of the room, the distributors on the other, and they were not happy about having to meet with the government. They were sure we were going to tell them what they had to do. And I said: ‘We’re not here to tell you, we’re here to have you tell us what you think constitutes a serious problem.’ After that,” he smiled, “things went smoothly.”
He had to juggle pressing imperatives: identify companies, create an inspection program, meet with trade organizations, manufacturers and distributors, advance a common agenda, and maintain cooperation among all concerned parties. “It was a monumental effort to coordinate,” he allows, “but we got it done.”
He also was assigned to assess the likelihood of public hoarding of certain medications in anticipation of Y2K. Preparations for a millennial drug shortage proved propitious, Dr. Goldberger believes, not only in facilitating “an essential understanding of how the pharmaceutical distribution system works,” but also as a basis for pharmaceutical preparedness for the unexpected public health challenges of 9/11, the anthrax scare, ongoing counter-terrorism concerns, and the impending flu pandemic.
Pandemic Flu Not Just Something to Sneeze At
Starting in 2001-2002, with the increased circulation of avian influenza viruses in Asia and elsewhere, and news of a limited number of related human deaths, the threat of pandemic flu registered in a big way on America’s public health radar screen. The established genetic similarity between the avian influenza virus and the deadly flu of 1918 was, and still is, cause for concern. Scientists fear that the virus found among wild and domestic birds might, under certain circumstances of contact with people, acquire some of the genes from human viruses, making them effective human pathogens against which we have little immunity. Given the increasingly global nature of travel and trade, such pathogens move swiftly. “The number of people who fly across the Atlantic going either way on any given day is astronomical,” Dr. Goldberger observed. The travels of an individual with multidrug-resistant TB that hit the news in June 2007 is a worrisome example of the global risk of infectious transmission.
“And while it remains unclear,” Dr. Goldberger said, “whether we would actually have another pandemic as severe as the one of 1918, I think most experts would agree that it is virtually inevitable that we will have another pandemic similar to what happened in 1957 and 1968, in which tens of thousands of people were infected and thousands died. Pandemics of this level of virulence generally occur in 40-year cycles. But whatever the risk, we’ve got to make the public health investment now.”
In August of 2006, Dr. Goldberger was named the first medical director for emerging and pandemic threat preparedness in the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.
Needless to say, his experience in the swine flu immunization program has come in handy. Pandemic preparedness demands the availability of adequate supplies of effective vaccines a bit of a problem, Dr. Goldberger pointed out, if you don’t know which virus you’re combating. “There are a variety of potential pandemic viruses in circulation. Say you pick one and make a vaccine and a different virus causes the pandemic; can you demonstrate through appropriate experiments that the vaccine you’ve developed for strain A will also protect against strains B, C, and D?” This is just one of the many scientific and logistical issues he and his team are addressing.
While the commercial interest in influenza vaccine in the United States and abroad had been on the wane and the United States faced a serious shortage in 2004, the vaccine market has since rebounded, and the U.S. government has in recent years been helping to provide resources, encourage new technologies, and help build new facilities.
Dr. Goldberger has played an important role as a conduit of scientific knowledge and a liaison to industry. Here again, he benefited from his prior experience, specifically in issues relating to pharmaceutical manufacturing and information technology preparedness for Y2K. In addition to his ongoing work on the development and evaluation of vaccines, blood, and blood products for use before and during a pandemic, he headed up the effort to develop a center-wide plan for the maintenance of essential operations in the event of a pandemic. “How are we going to prioritize our work? What is our IT support likely to be? Those are the kinds of questions we asked.” The plan includes emergency use authorization, to make products available in an emergency, even if they are not yet FDA approved.
A Well-Rounded Medical Experience
“There is a great sense of fulfillment,” Dr. Goldberger said, in having covered so many medical bases in the course of his career. “I think, if I had not spent the years I did at Columbia in academic practice and teaching, I would have regretted that forever.” One experience informs another. “Medical officers here at the FDA who come straight out of training don’t always have the experience that would be very helpful in understanding what it’s like to teach and take care of patients, which I have found to be invaluable in this job.”
Government service, he believes, has greatly enriched his perspective on medical issues and he would recommend the experience to medical students “for at least a part of your career.”
Family is another important part of the mix. When he’s not strategizing for pandemic flu preparedness, he’s playing armchair general with his 14-year-old son or strolling down military memory lane at the site of the battlefield at Gettysburg, as they did together on a recent vacation. For a physician engaged in combat with microscopic adversaries, “There is perhaps some satisfaction in ruminating on perceptible battles won.”
Rx for Travel
Philadelphia, In Franklin’s Footsteps
BY PETER WORTSMAN
“Genius without education is like silver in the mine,” said Benjamin Franklin, Philadelphia’s adopted favorite son. He never imagined how much it would one day cost to mine that silver and send a kid to college, but that’s not Franklin’s fault.
Photo credit: Peter Wortsman
|Independence Hall in Philadelphia
We breezed through Philly in April to prospect educational opportunities for our daughter. With some 80-plus colleges, universities, and specialty schools in and around the city, Philadelphia ranks second only to Boston as a great American college town.
Laid out on an even urban grid by its visionary founder, William Penn, Old Philadelphia has a distinctly English feel, complete with stately squares and parks, though the splendor runs ragged at the edges. A temporary capital of the United States, it was, in the 18th century, the country’s most populated and sophisticated city, surpassing in importance Boston and New York. That rich heritage is still on display in the holdings of its art museums, notably the resplendent Philadelphia Museum of Art, and other cultural institutions.
The city’s hallmark, of course, is a famously malfunctioning bell a fact that would have upset Franklin to no end, as he was very much committed to things that worked, especially his own inventions: the Franklin stove, the catheter, bifocals, and the University of Pennsylvania, which he helped found.
His serene bronze effigy still symbolically presides over the intellectual ferment on College Green at the heart of UPenn’s sprawling 269-acre urban campus. A student tour guide showed off some of the academic highlights, including Houston Hall, America’s first student union; the Wharton School, first business school in the world; and the School of Medicine, the oldest in the country. Facilities have been updated a bit since then, with new additions including the state-of-the-art Roy (P&S ’54) and Diana Vagelos Laboratory Building. The university also boasts one of the first three psychology departments in the country; several Penn psychology faculty members founded the American Psychological Medical Association.
Philadelphia has a grand medical tradition. In 1774, local physicians established the Society for Inoculating the Poor, the first benevolent association of its kind to treat and stem the spread of smallpox. And though not himself overly fond of physicians “God heals, and the doctor takes the fees,” he said Franklin had a hand in founding the Pennsylvania Hospital. Some years later, another famous Philadelphian, Dr. Benjamin Rush, published the first American work on medicine and helped found the Philadelphia Dispensary for the medical relief of the poor.
After touring UPenn and the three illustrious intellectual oases on the Main Line, Swarthmore, Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges, we devoted the remaining day and a half to historical tourism.
Think of the Revolutionary War and we generally think of Boston and surroundings. But it was just outside Philadelphia in the fields of Valley Forge that General Washington and the Colonial Army retooled one fateful winter. Reconstructed log cabin barracks evoke the grim conditions. And it was downtown at Independence Hall, a sober red brick building, that the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence (which Franklin helped draft) and a decade later approved our constitution (the oldest in the world). And from Independence Hall’s towering white steeple, the Liberty Bell (now housed in an enclosed structure across the street) tolled our independence, proclaiming the birth of the new nation. The crack in the bell is a sober reminder of the fragility of freedom. Or as Franklin put it: “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
Go to www.gophila.com for more information about Philadelphia.
Alumni Reunion Weekend
Alumni Day Scientific Session
Dr. Ralph Schlaeger, 2007 Honorary Alumni Day Chairman, died in March so he presided in spirit over this year’s Scientific Session. Professor emeritus of clinical radiology, Dr. Schlaeger was a revered member of the faculty for more than five decades. As per tradition, Andrew G. Frantz’55, professor of medicine, chaired the session.
|George A. Violin’67 and P. Roy Vagelos’54
The following papers were presented:
“Recent Advances in Refractive Surgery,” Emil Chynn’92, attending surgeon, New York Eye & Ear Infirmary
“Cortical Electrical Stimulation Enhances Recovery After Stroke,” Charles J. Hodge Jr.’67, professor and chairman, Department of Neurosurgery, SUNY Health Science Center, Syracuse
“Setting National Dietary Intake Levels Problems and Pitfalls,” Robert M. Russell’67, professor of medicine and nutrition, Tufts University
“Overview of Bariatric Surgery Today and Trends in Obesity Management for the Future,” Henry Buchwald’57, professor of surgery and biomedical engineering, University of Minnesota
“Experiences from Haiti and the AIDS Epidemic,” Warren D. Johnson Jr.’62, professor of medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College
“Prenatal Famine, Human Development, and Schizophrenia,” Ezra Susser’82, professor of public health (epidemiology) and psychiatry, Columbia
“Resistance Exercise Equipment: The Unacceptable Medical Treatment,” Vert Mooney’57, clinical profes- sor of orthopedics, University of California, San Diego
“Use of Lithium Carbonate in Bipolar Illness,” Ralph N. Wharton’57, clinical professor of psychiatry, Columbia
Every five years, P&S alumni take a look in the rear-view mirror to catch up with old comrades in arms. Part stroll down memory lane, part reality check, reunions draw far-flung graduates from around the country (and the world) to reaffirm their commitment to a shared calling and to the institution that gave them their grounding. The oldest classes (1932, 1937, 1942, 1947, 1952, 1957) and youngest classes (1992, 1997, 2002) gathered for meals in the newly named Donald F. Tapley Faculty Club. The Class of 1977 marked its 30th at the colorful Friar’s Club, the traditional haunt of actors and entertainers. The Classes of 1947 and 1957 continued their reunion celebrations at the Century Club, where the Classes of 1967 and 1982 also celebrated. The Class of 1952 continued its reunion at the Harmonie Club, where the Classes of 1962, 1972, and 1987 held their reunions.
|Members of the Class of 1982 mark their 25th reunion
Half a century puts a patina on any surface, let alone a human face. Time may have bleached or uprooted a few hairs and etched a few smile lines, but the energy level was in full throttle when the Class of 1957 gathered for its 50th reunion. Life had taken old friends in myriad professional and geographic directions. Like Leon Anderson, a native of Norway, who came to the United States practically penniless in the wake of the Depression and worked his way through Harvard and P&S to become a successful cardiologist in Lancaster, Pa. Among other professional accomplishments, he developed the largest police defibrillator program in the nation. P&S became a family tradition, with his two sons, Rolf’83 and William’87, following in their father’s footsteps. At 80 years old, he still skis, plays golf, and serves a mean tennis ball. “Life has been good,” he says.
|Class of 1957
Women made up 10 percent of the class, many with extraordinary profiles. Born and raised in the foothills of the Himalayas, Tanke Tenduf-La was the first Tibetan to attend medical school in the United States. Affiliated with UC Davis, she practiced family medicine for many years and since retirement has worked for a free clinic and been active in trying to keep the Tibetan culture alive. Another classmate, Alice Gutmann Brandfonbrener, a member of the medical faculty at the Feinberg School of Medicine of Northwestern University in Chicago, helped launch the field of medical care for performing artists. Dr. Brandfonbrener delivered the keynote address at the Dean’s Day Program on Music and Medicine. Marcia Kepler Bilbao, another highly successful woman in the class and former professor of radiology at the University of Utah and Oregon Health Sciences University, helped to develop and launch the field of interventional radiology.
Donald Gerber, the genial class chairman, professor of clinical medicine (rheumatology) and clinical assistant dean at SUNY Health Sciences Center at Brooklyn, found romance outside the class. His wife, Marcia Gerber’67, could not be on hand as she was busy hosting her class’s 40th reunion one flight up. (Their daughter, Susan Eve Gerber’94, is assistant professor of ob/gyn at Northwestern University.) Celebrants cheered and hoisted their glasses as Dean Lee Goldman followed a longstanding P&S tradition by reading laudatory faculty appraisals from student records and symbolically re-conferring degrees.
Dean’s Day Program: Medicine and Music
Music is so much a part of the P&S tradition, the ampersand in the school’s acronym could double as a G clef. Generations of medical students, house staff, and faculty have recharged their intellects and tuned their spirits on an instrument or harmonized with their vocal cords.
“I’ve often described a great medical school as being like a symphony orchestra, so having a morning of music really exemplifies that,” said Dean Lee Goldman in his welcoming remarks, passing the baton, as it were, to the morning’s master of ceremonies, Kenneth A. Forde’59, the Jose M. Ferrer Professor Emeritus of Clinical Surgery.
Few exemplify the medical-musical link better than the late Virginia Apgar’33, the first professor of anesthesiology and first woman professor at P&S who was best known for developing the Apgar score, a scale to assess newborns. Dr. Apgar not only fiddled in her free time but also built string instruments, including a viola carved out of wood from a phone booth in Harkness. These instruments were played by the Apgar Memorial Quartet, whose revolving membership includes students and faculty, under the leadership of Dr. Nicholas Cunningham, the group’s musical director. The quartet performed Beethoven’s Opus 16, accompanied on piano by Helen Tseng Wu, wife of P&S alumnus and
Columbia University trustee Clyde Wu’56. “It’s the people in this institution that make it so special,” said Mrs. Wu, spreading her hands in salute to her fellow musicians and all in attendance. “I have never played with four doctors in my life. It’s stage fright in double dose,” she quipped, before letting her fingers dance across the keyboard.
|June Wu’96 and Carl Erik Fisher’08
The keynote address, “An Overview of Medical Problems of Instrumental Musicians,” was given by Alice G. Brandfonbrener’57, assistant professor of medicine at Northwestern University and founding director of the Medical Program for Performing Artists at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. In her remarks, Dr. Brandfonbrener spoke of the pressing need to “give first-class medical care to musicians and performers,” 25 percent of whom are uninsured, and to “educate the performers how to take care of themselves.” Among the factors affecting this group are technique conditioning, posture, and stress. Dr. Brandfonbrener elaborated on the need to take both a medical history and a musical history. Among the benefits of her practice, she said, was that “you get to go to some wonderful concerts.”
Shanti Serdy’98, instructor in medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, a Harvard affiliate, and a virtuoso violinist, performed the prelude to Bach’s Partita in E major. Kim Jain’08, choreographer, producer, and past president of the Bard Hall Players, told of how she filled in by dancing and miming the lead role of Maria in last year’s BHP performance of “West Side Story” when the leading lady fell ill with abdominal pains on opening night. “Developing our abilities as performers,” she said, “helps us understand and deal with patients.” She showed a video of a song and dance segment from the musical, “Jekyll and Hyde,” which she choreographed. The Ultrasounds, a popular student a cappella group, harmonized hits by the Beatles and Stevie Wonder. Student folksinger Scott Fruham’10 accompanied himself on piano, turning the Alumni Auditorium into an intimate coffeehouse.
Robert Schumann’s musical settings of selections from Heinrich Heine’s “Dichterliebe” were presented by student
baritone Carl Erik Fisher’08 with June Wu’96, assistant professor of surgery at P&S, on piano. And with astounding finger work and verve, student pianist Lamont Barlow’09, a member of the P&S Musicians’ Guild, took the program into the 20th century by playing the complex Toccata in E flat minor by Aram Khachaturian.
|Yvonne Thornton’73 and husband Shearwood McClelland’74
A song and dance troop from the Bard Hall Players lightened the mood with a duo of ditties from “Guys and Dolls.” And Edward Requenez’08 jazzed things up with a driving rendition of Billy Strayhorn’s “Take the ‘A’ Train” made famous by Duke Ellington.
Yvonne Thornton’73, former professor of clinical ob/gyn at Weill Cornell, a bestselling author, and award-winning speaker, ended the music and medicine part of the morning program on a high note with reminiscences titled “Music, Me, and P&S.” She paid stirring tribute to her hard-working parents, recalling their tireless efforts to put their daughters through college and professional schools at a time when the doors of higher education and other opportunities for advancement were closed to most African-Americans. She and her sisters played in a family band, the Thornettes, helping pay for their tuition. Dr. Thornton showed two TV clips, one from the “Ted Mack Amateur Hour,” on which they performed in 1959, and a more recent clip from the “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” when she appeared to promote her book, “The Ditchdigger’s Daughters.”
The Virginia Kneeland Frantz’22
Distinguished Women in Medicine Award
Former Alumni Association president Shearwood J. McClelland’74, associate professor of orthopedic surgery at P&S and director of the Department of Orthopedic
|Karen Antman’74, Clyde Wu’56,
Dean Lee Goldman, and Helen Wu
Surgery at Harlem Hospital Center, presented the Virginia Kneeland Frantz’22 Distinguished Women in Medicine Award to his classmate, Karen H. Antman’74, dean of Boston University’s School of Medicine and provost of BU’s medical campus. A distinguished oncologist, renowned for the development of now standard regimens for the treatment of sarcomas and mesotheliomas, Dr. Antman formerly held the Wu Chair in Medicine and Pharmacology at P&S and served as director of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center. Her husband and classmate, Eliot Antman’74, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, was on hand to join in the salute.
|P. Roy Vagelos’54 and Diana Vagelos
Gala Dinner-Dance on the Hudson
Cocktails on a wind-swept veranda. Sailboats passing in the dusk. It may not be what you imagine when you think of New York City, but it’s what alumni from near and far and members of the graduating class enjoyed on May 12 at the gala reception and dinner dance held this year at Chelsea Piers. For one grand night on the town, graduates traded in their white coats and scrubs for black ties and gowns. The formal program included welcoming remarks by Alumni Association president Jacqueline A. Bello’80, greetings from Dean Lee Goldman, and a nostalgic look back by Donald A. Gerber’57 on behalf of the 50th anniversary class. William Gomez’82 and Marguerite Pennoyer’82 presented the perspective from 25 years out. Jonathan Amiel’07 evoked the collective mix of emotions of the graduating class, including the joy of lifelong friendships established, the satisfaction at having completed the rigorous curriculum, and the thrill of starting a medical career.
As in past years, Alumni Honors and Awards Committee Chairman Kenneth A. Forde’59, the Jose M. Ferrer Professor Emeritus of Clinical Surgery and a Columbia University trustee, delivered the eloquent salutes to honorees.
|Honors and Awards Committee chairman Kenneth A. Forde’59, left, and Dean Lee Goldman, right, with gold medalists Henry Metzger’57, Burton J. Lee III’56, andEphraim P. Engleman’37
Henry Metzger’57 shared the Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievements in Medicine with Stephen E. Straus’72. Dr. Metzger, one of the world’s leading authorities on structural aspects of the immune system, was the founding director for intramural research of the National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Dr. Straus, who was ill and could not be present, made history as the first director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the NIH. He previously served as chief of the Laboratory of Clinical Investigation of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
The Gold Medal for Excellence in Clinical Medicine went to Ephraim P. Engleman’37, one of the acknowledged fathers of modern rheumatology. Founding
director of the Rosalind Russell Center for Arthritis Research and clinical professor of medicine at UC-San Francisco, he was instrumental inthe effort to create the National Institute of Arthritis. The crowd rose to applaud Dr. Engleman, age 96, as he strode to the podium.
The distinguished clinical oncologist Burton J. Lee III’56 received the Gold Medal for Meritorious Service to the College of Physicians and Surgeons and its Alumni Association. Former White House physician and personal physician to President George H.W. Bush, Dr. Lee developed widely used protocols for the treatment of Hodgkin’s disease and multiplemyeloma. Chairman of the Cancer Committee for the Columbia-Presbyterian Health Sciences Advisory Council, he also gave his all as co-chair of the 50th anniversary fund drive for his class.
|Jacqueline Bello‘80 and husband
Peter Carmel MSD’70
Catherine DiSipio’07 and Jonathan Amiel’07 shared the Gold Medal given to a graduating senior in recognition of interest in and devotion to P&S and its Alumni Association. Dr. DiSipio was co-president of the P&S Club; Dr. Amiel was class president.
Alumni Association Activities
At the council dinner in March 2007, guest speaker Dr. Eric Kandel, the 2000 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, regaled alumni with a run-through of his scintillating memoir, “In Search of Memory, the Emergence of a New Science of Mind,” published to great acclaim in 2006. A member of the P&S faculty since 1974, when he was named founding director of the Center for Neurobiology and Behavior, Dr. Kandel now holds multiple titles: University Professor of Physiology and Cell Biophysics, Psychiatry, Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Kavli Professor and director of the Kavli Institute for Brain Sciences, and senior investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. “Columbia is a spectacular environment in which to do science,” he said. He ascribed the institutional strength at least in part to a collegial atmosphere conducive to productive collaborations. “In Search of Memory” recounts Dr. Kandel’s personal and intellectual odyssey, from his family’s flight from Nazi Vienna and arrival in America to his budding interest in intellectual history pursued as an undergraduate at Harvard. Initially intending to pursue a career in psychoanalysis, Dr. Kandel earned his M.D. from NYU and went on to the NIH, where he began a study of the cellular biology of memory. Focusing at first on crayfish as an animal model for learning acquisition, he switched to the aplysia, a marine snail, on account of its large nerve cells. A scientist to the bone, thoroughly committed to observations based on carefully formulated experiments, he never abandoned the intuitive dimension, i.e., a trust in the unconscious as a guide. Following his presentation, Dr. Kandel graciously stayed to autograph copies of his book.
|Nobel Laureate Eric Kandel signs his
memoir, “In Search of Memory,”
at the March 15 council dinner
Parents’ Day Program
Parents are all too often the unsung heroes behind a student’s success, boosting morale and paying the bills. Moms and dads, friends, and significant others of current
|P&S family members
and prospective medical students gathered at the 15th annual Parents’ Day Program in the P&S Alumni Auditorium in April 2007 to get the inside scoop on medical student life. P&S presenters included Dr. Lisa A. Mellman, senior associate dean for student affairs; Andrew G. Frantz’55, associate dean for admissions; Dr. Hilda Y. Hutcherson, associate dean for diversity; and Ronald E. Drusin’66, associate dean for education. Ellen Spilker, director of student financial planning, explained the package of financial aid. Dr. Rita Charon, professor of clinical medicine, discussed the unique narrative medicine program. Dr. Ronald O. Rieder, professor of clinical psychiatry, focused on the residency selection process. Four fourth-year students, Jonathan Amiel’07, Catherine DiSipio’07, Brad Zacharia’07, and Whitney Bryant’07, related various social and academic dimensions of the P&S experience.
|The Ultrasounds perform at Parents’ Day
At an April 2007 dinner hosted by the Alumni Association in San Diego in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American College of Physicians, P&S Dean Lee Goldman elaborated on his plans for curriculum reform, expansion of the physical plant, and other pressing concerns.
Dean Goldman also took his inspirational message on the road to Florida, outlining his academic vision for the future at March luncheon gatherings hosted by Richard Elias’55 at the Indian Creek Country Club in Miami and by Drs. John’65 and Daisy Merey at their seaside apartment in West Palm Beach.
Star Send-Off for Alumni Director
Thank God, She Isn’t Really Leaving!
Judging from the turnout and warmth of the crowd that packed the Donald Tapley Faculty Club in June for the retirement party of Katherine Couchells, outgoing director of alumni affairs, the Alumni Association ought to be re-dubbed “The Friends of Kathy Couchells Club.” The good news, as Anke Nolting, associate dean and executive director of Alumni Relations and Development and longtime colleague and friend, announced at the dinner, is that “Kathy isn’t leaving. She’s agreed to come in once a week to work on next year’s alumni reunionweekend.” Still, there was a generous mix of smiles and tears as Ms. Couchells came to the podium to give thanks to her co-workers and friends and to officially introduce her successor, Elizabeth Williams, herself a mainstay of the Alumni Office.
|Longtime colleagues and friends
Kathy Couchells and Anke Nolting
The evening’s master of ceremonies, former Alumni Association presidentJay Lefkowitch’76, another longtime friend of the honoree, prepared a slide presentation of snapshots from Ms. Couchells’ life and career.
Katherine Couchells joined the staff at the Alumni Office in 1974 as a typist and bookkeeper. In 1993, she was named director of Alumni Relations. Ms. Couchells helped make the association one of the most congenial and effective in the country, launching Parents’ Day, among other innovative programs. After 33 years of committed service to the association and the medical school, she justifiably earned the honorary white coat that Honors and Awards Committee chairman Kenneth A. Forde’59 bestowed on her during the alumni reunion weekend.
|New director of alumni relations, Elizabeth Williams, Anke Nolting, and Ms. Williams’ daughter, Ashley
Saluting her as “one of the unsung heroes of this great academic enterprise,” Dr. Forde noted her astounding success at “balancing the input and requests of some 7,000 alumni across the country and around the world, many of whom she knows on a first name basis from their student days and has followed through their careers.” On behalf of the Alumni Association, he declared her a “Doctor of Alumni Affairs.”
BY MARIANNE WOLFF'52
Class of 1937
Ephraim P. Engleman received an award at Alumni Reunion Weekend.
Class of 1955
The National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations Foundation Inc. awarded the 2007 Ellis Island Medal of Honor to Richard A. Elias in May 2007.
Class of 1956
Burton J. Lee III received an award at Alumni Reunion Weekend.
Class of 1957
Alice G. Brandfonbrener gave a keynote address at Alumni Reunion Weekend. Henry Buchwald gave a presentation at Alumni Reunion Weekend. Henry Metzger received an award at Alumni Reunion Weekend. Vert Mooney gave a presentation at Alumni Reunion Weekend. Ralph N. Wharton gave a presentation at Alumni Reunion Weekend.
Class of 1959
See the new books section to read about a book, “Cancer in the Body Politic: Diagnosis and Prescription for an America in Decline,” by Peter D. Mott.
Allan Rosenfield, dean of the Mailman School of Public Health, was honored by the International Women’s Health Coalition for “dedication to health of women worldwide and commitment to reproductive rights and health.” In addition, a grant in Allan’s name was given to the Institute of Gender, Law and Development in Argentina. In December 2006 the deans of member schools of the Association of Schools of Public Health voted unanimously to rename the ASPH/CDC Global AIDS Fellowship Program in his honor.
Class of 1960 Ph.D.
Virginia M. Tennyson received a P&S Distinguished Service Award at the 2007 P&S commencement.
Class of 1961
See the new books section to read about a book, “Planning for Uncertainty: Living Wills and Other Advance Directives for You and Your Family,” by William Reichel.
Class of 1962
See the new books section to read about a book, “A Year Without Peer: 1963-1964 in the Department of Dermatology of the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center,” by Bernard Ackerman.
Warren D. Johnson Jr. gave a presentation at Alumni Reunion Weekend. An honorary Ph.D. was conferred upon Mary Jeanne Kreek in May 2007 by Tel Aviv University “in recognition of (her) illustrious scientific and teaching career … groundbreaking discoveries in the biology of addiction … endeavors in advancing international scientific cooperation in the field and (her) ties with Tel Aviv University.”
Class of 1967
Charles J. Hodge Jr. gave a presentation at Alumni Reunion Weekend. Robert M. Russell gave a presentation at Alumni Reunion Weekend.
Class of 1968
Gail Williams, clinical professor of medicine (nephrology) at P&S, has received the Ewig Award for outstanding teaching.
Class of 1969
John Bilezekian, professor of medicine and pharmacology at P&S, received the first global leadership award of the International Society of Clinical Densitometry; the award has since been renamed the John Bilezekian Global Leadership Award. Richard L. Fraioli has accepted the position of medical director of care management with the John Muir Physician Network located in Walnut Creek, Calif.; this is the same town in which he practiced anesthesiology before his retirement. James Reiffel, professor of clinical medicine at P&S, represents one of the first group of Fellows named by the Heart Rhythm Society
Class of 1970
Donald Quest, the J. Lawrence Pool Professor of Clinical Neurological Surgery at P&S, is now past president of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. He presided over the AANS annual meeting celebrating the association’s diamond jubilee in Washington, D.C., in April.
Class of 1971
Life Masters Supported SelfCare Inc., based in San Francisco, has appointed William C. Popik to serve as its chief medical officer. Bill was previously with Disease Management Association of America, Aetna, Cigna, and Healthnet of California. Life Masters offers services to 650,000 individuals throughout the United States. It provides disease management programs and services to empower individuals to achieve and maintain optimal health. It offers programs directed to patients with diabetes, congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertension, asthma, and musculoskeletal pain; the programs are holistically focused, support co-morbidities such as depression, and facilitate lifestyle changes such as smoking cessation and weight loss.
Class of 1972
In May 2007, Robert Menotti was elected president of Medical Liability Mutual Insurance Company. The former director of the ICU at Faxton Hospital in Utica, Dr. Menotti brings his experience as a surgeon to MLMIC, a top New York physicians’ mutual group for malpractice insurance. MLMIC was founded in 1975 with the help of the late Andrew H. Patterson’58, who served as president of the organization from 1989 until his death in November 2006. Stephen E. Straus received an award at Alumni Reunion Weekend.
Class of 1973
Yvonne Thornton made a presentation at Alumni Reunion Weekend.
Class of 1974
Karen H. Antman received an award at Alumni Reunion Weekend. Stanley Chang, the Edward Harkness Professor of Ophthalmology, the K.K. Tse and Ku Teh Ying Professor of Ophthalmology, and chairman of the department at P&S, received the 2006 Hobie Award and Jackson Memorial Lecture Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Class of 1976
See the new books section to read about a book, “Bipolar Kids: Helping Your Child Find Calm in the Mood Storm,” by Rosalie Greenberg. The Class of 2007 gave Jay H. Lefkowitch its Distinguished Teacher Award. To the class, Jay “represents a commitment to medical education and professionalism from which we can draw inspiration. … We are lucky to have you and thank you for putting your heart into our education,” read the citation for the award. Jay gave the address at Class Day 2007.
|Jay Lefkowitch before addressing the Class of 2007 at Class Day, where the celebration theme was the Kentucky Derby
Class of 1977
Mitchell C. Benson, chairman of urology at P&S and the George F. Cahill Professor of Urology, received the John K. Lattimer, M.D., Award from the Kidney and Urology Foundation of America for his contributions to urology. See Mitch’s remembrance of John Lattimer in the In Memoriam section.
Class of 1978
The College of Medicine of the University of Florida, Jacksonville, has named Andrew M. Kaunitz, professor and assistant chairman of its Department of Ob/Gyn, one of the college’s “Exemplary Teachers” in recognition of outstanding teaching.
Class of 1979
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recognized Paul Brandt-Rauf for his “leadership in developing and implementing the nation’s occupational safety and health research agenda over the past decade.” Paul, who also has Sc.D. and Dr.PH degrees from Columbia, is chairman and professor of environmental health sciences at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health, professor of medicine at P&S, and professor of earth and environmental engineering.
Class of 1980
Joshua E. Hyman, assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at P&S, became a member of the American Orthopedic Association and was inducted into the Orthopedic Honor Society.
Class of 1982
The Herbert and Linda Gallen Professor of Clinical Neurosurgery at P&S, Paul C. McCormick received one of the five John Jay Awards, the highest award given by Columbia College, in March 2007. In 2000 Paul received an M.P.H. from the Mailman School of Public Health in health policy, management and clinical outcomes. In April 2007 he was named treasurer of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. He has been active with the AANS for 15 years, having served on the board and on a number of its committees. His chief interest is in diseases of the spine and spinal cord, as well as vascular malformations. He serves as a director of the American Board of Neurological Surgery. Ezra P. Susser gave a presentation at Alumni Reunion Weekend.
Class of 1984
A P&S professor of clinical medicine in the cardiology division, LeRoy Rabbani received the Ewig Award for outstanding teaching.
Class of 1986
See the new books section to read about a book, “When Illness Goes Public: Celebrity Patients and How We Look at Medicine,” by Barron Lerner.
Class of 1989
The John A. Downey Associate Professor of Clinical Rehabilitation Medicine at P&S, Matthew Bartels received the New York-Presbyterian Hospital Physician of the Year award.
Class of 1992
Emil Chynn gave a presentation at Alumni Reunion Weekend. A New York Times series of articles addressing financial and other consumer considerations for patients seeking health care started with an article on hip surgery, featuring William B. Macaulay Jr., a faculty member at P&S and director of the Center for Hip and Knee Replacement at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia. The April 14, 2007, article described hip resurfacing, the alternative to standard total hip replacement that Bill has been a leader in offering to patients. (Hip resurfacing was described in a Clinical Advance in the Winter 2007 issue of P&S). The Times article interviewed two of Bill’s patients, who found him through online research into the procedure, which is gaining in popularity. Scott Small, Irving Assistant Professor of Neurology at P&S, received Columbia’s Harold and Golden Lamport Research Award in Clinical Sciences at the 2006 P&S commencement ceremony.
Class of 1993
Delphine Taylor received the Charles W. Bohmfalk Award that recognizes distinguished teaching in the pre-clinical years. She received the award at the 2007 P&S commencement.
Class of 1995
Nancy Chang, assistant clinical professor of medicine at P&S, received the Ewig Award for outstanding teaching.
Class of 1996
William M. Burke has been named an assistant clinical professor of ob/gyn in gynecologic oncology at P&S. After completing a fellowship at the University of Michigan he was named a clinical assistant professor there. In 2005 he received the Charles W. Newton Jr., M.D., Memorial Award for excellence in teaching. June Wu gave a performance at Alumni Reunion Weekend.
Class of 1998
Zero to Three, the National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families, has chosen Mary Margaret Gleason as one of 23 participants in its 2007-2008 Leaders for the 21st Century program, a two-year fellowship. Dr. Gleason, a faculty member at Brown University and at Tulane University, will collaborate with the Rhode Island Department of Health to evaluate outcomes of early childhood mental health screening in primary care and child care settings and to develop training, consultation resources, and referral options. Mary Margaret trained in pediatrics, infant psychiatry, and child psychiatry. Ajay Kirtane has returned to P&S as an assistant professor of clinical medicine in the cardiology division. He completed fellowships in cardiology and interventional cardiology in Boston. Shanti Serdy gave a performance at Alumni Reunion Weekend. William Whang has been appointed assistant professor of clinical medicine in the cardiology division at P&S. Bill completed fellowships in cardiology and electrophysiology at Massachusetts General after completing basic medical residency at NYPH. He also holds an MPH in health policy from the Mailman School of Public Health.
|Mary Margaret Gleason
Class of 1999
James A. Lee, assistant professor of surgery in the GI/endocrine division at P&S, is director of the department’s Adrenal Center. His postgraduate training was mainly at Columbia, including an adult stem cell fellowship. He is founder and director of the Department of Surgery’s proprietary online medical education training paradigm COACH.
Class of 2001
Val Jones is senior medical director of Revolution Health, working out of Washington, D.C. Val hopes Revolution Health will become the On Star system for U.S. health care. Revolution Health has partners at the Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, Harvard, and Columbia. Val maintains a blog at the organization www.revolutionhealth.com/blogs/valjonesmd in which she discusses issues ranging from health care reform to research to clinical vignettes. She invites you to send her your clinical stories and she will give you all the credit.
Class of 2003
Sarah M. Lambert, a resident in urology at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia, and Joshua Willey, a resident in neurologyat New York-Presbyterian/Columbia, received Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism and Excellence in
Teaching Awards at this year’s clinical transition ceremony for the Class of 2009. The award recognizes outstanding teaching by interns and residents, as chosen by the Class of 2008 at the end of its third year. Students wrote of Dr. Lambert: “the best resident teacher I have encountered thus far at P&S… She is a dedicated surgeon, educator, and caregiver and takes each role extremely seriously…is a warm, kind individual who makes everyone feel welcome and at ease, from patients, to students and attendings...” Of Dr. Willey, students wrote: “outstanding in every respect, however what I found most impressive was his leadership... He had an attitude that reduced stress and made students feel at ease…incredibly knowledgeable, fun to be around…he always made time for medical student teaching … an excellent, encouraging teacher.”
|For more class news,
Visit the new Class News Online site at
The site is updated regularly. As this issue went to press, Class News Online has class notes from the following classes:
1943, 1950, 1953, 1955, 1956, 1965, 1968, 1969, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 2000, 2001, and 2002.
The site also has the names of P&S alumni, housestaff alumni, and faculty who are listed in
New York Magazine’s Best Doctors 2007 edition, published
in June 2007.
Class of 2004
Shearwood McLelland III received the 2006 Young Investigator Award from the American Epilepsy Society. Woody is a neurosurgery resident at the University of Minnesota.
Class of 2006
Abigail A.D. Ford, a resident in obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia, received an Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism and Excellence in Teaching Award at this year’s clinical transition ceremony for the Class of 2009. The award recognizes outstanding teaching by interns and residents, as chosen by the Class of 2008 at the end of its third year. Students said about Dr. Ford: “Dr. Ford exhibited a level of warmth and enthusiasm that was not necessarily found in many of her fellow residents… is extremely enthusiastic about both her job and teaching...goes out of her way to teach the students and ensure that they are having both an interesting and educational experience…”
Ken Forde’59 was not the first occupant of the Jose Ferrer Professorship in Surgery, as reported in the Spring/Summer 2007 issue. Thomas King, the Jose Ferrer Professor Emeritus of Surgery, holds that distinction.
From the Classes
Class of 2008: Carlton Prickett
By Bram Welch-Horan’08
When Carlton Prickett began taking pre-med classes, no one could have blamed him for feeling a bit rusty. After all, his last college science class was 10 years behind him, and his professional life had been spent in film and television. Still, Carlton remembers feeling “completely at home” in his first molecular biology course at UCLA.
During high school in his hometown of Wilmington, N.C., Carlton was captain of the math team, competed in a national science fair, and served as student body president. Going to college at Harvard was a step into the unknown for someone who “didn’t know anyone north of North Carolina” at the time, but Carlton remembers having a strong desire to begin “seeing the world.”
During college, he met a number of people who suggested a career in movies and TV, so he returned to Wilmington and worked in what he describes as low-level positions on several movies. He also found time to create and teach a series of two-month SAT preparation courses for high school students. He moved to Hollywood a year later but found himself working in the same types of positions. He headed back East, this time with a very specific plan: He would not return to L.A. until he had directed or written a movie. With the release of “Winterlude,” starring Amanda Peet and Donal Logue, he achieved both objectives; the work was chosen as Best Short Film at the Hamptons Film Festival in 1996.
During his second stint in California, Carlton worked steadily as an editor for television shows. He rose through the ranks to direct episodes of “Good vs. Evil,” a fantasy action series on USA Network and later the Sci Fi Channel. He was also a director for “The Invisible Man,” another Sci Fi series.
Success was both exhilarating and frustrating for Carlton. “In movies and TV,” he says, “there’s no formal training process. You can ascend to the highest rank if you can convince someone to give you the job.” To continue working, he had to do the convincing over and over. What’s more, he found the work fun but not meaningful. “I never felt comfortable in the entertainment world. It would have been like trying to be a doctor without caring about patients.”
At the same time, Carlton’s interests were shifting back toward science in general and the biomedical revolution in particular. “I was reading my Scientific American cover to cover, and I wasn’t reading American Cinematographer at all,” he says. He became a full-time science student and also worked in a breast cancer research lab at John Wayne Cancer Institute in Santa Monica, Calif. Though he considered pursuing a business degree and jumping straight into biotechnology, he decided that a deeper knowledge of basic and clinical science would bring greater fulfillment.
During medical school, Carlton has been able to cultivate various facets of his interest in medicine. For him, the learning has a “very spiritual aspect,” in that he feels “more awe and wonder for biology than for anything else in the world.” As president of the Class of 2008, he has worked with students and administrators on a variety of projects. As his fourth year of medical school begins, Carlton has his sights set on postgraduate training in neurosurgery because he has always enjoyed “fixing things” and admires neurosurgeons’ patience and attention to detail, planning, and strategy.
He also hopes to incorporate his interests in leadership, business, and communications into his medical career. He can picture himself, for example, working with a biotechnology firm or serving as part of a think tank on issues of health-care delivery. His classmates picture him doing well in anything he pursues.
Class of 2009: In Transition
A milestone in a P&S medical student’s education is the transition from basic science education in the classroom and laboratory to formal clinical education in Columbia’s affiliated hospitals and clinics. Members of the Class of 2009 marked this milestone in June during the annual Steven Z. Miller Student Clinician’s Ceremony. The ceremony celebrates the educational experiences the class has shared up until now and prepares members of the class for the clinical experiences that lie ahead. Faculty, residents, and students are honored for academic success, commitment to teaching, and commitment to students.
|Class of 2009 pin designed
by Alexander McLawhorn’09
Remarks were made by Thomas J. Garrett, M.D., course director for pathophysiology. Andrew Mutnick, M.D., director of the clerkship in pediatrics, welcomed the class to its third year.
Awards were presented to Matthew Oliff’09, who received the Dr. Abbie Knowlton Prize and the American Society of Clinical Pathology Award for Academic Excellence, and to Rebecca Hopkinson’09, who received the Greg Grove Award. The Knowlton Prize memorializes a 1941 graduate and long-time faculty member. Given in memory of a P&S student who died in the 1990s, the Greg Grove Award recognizes a student’s interest in psychiatry, the arts, and the outdoors, interests Mr. Grove embraced.
The Class of 2009 presented its Teacher of the Year Award to Dr. Garrett.
The ceremony also honored exemplary teaching of the Class of 2008. Teacher of the year awards were presented by the class to Noel Robin, M.D., associate dean at Stamford Health System, and Michael Devlin’82, course director for Clinical Practice III and associate course director for Clinical Practice I and II.
The Class of 2008 also chose house staff to receive Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism and Excellence in Teaching Awards for their commitment to teaching and their dedication to patient care. Gold Awards were given to Abigail A.D. Ford’06, ob/gyn; Michael D. Kluger, surgery; Sarah M. Lambert’03, urology; Cyril Sahyoun, pediatrics; Susan Seo, medicine; and Joshua Willey’03, neurology.
Other residents nominated for the awards were Jonathan Hastie, anesthesiology; Caron Jacobson’04, medicine; Jay Mocco’00, neurological surgery; Elizabeth Haberfeld, neurology; Kimberly Kho, ob/gyn; Cordelia Carter, orthopedic surgery; Michael Engelbert, ophthalmology; David Hiltzik and Scott Rickert’04, otolaryngology; Jason Freedman, pediatrics; Russell Tobe, psychiatry; Amanda Powers’06, surgery; and Stephen Poon’05, urology.
The Class of 2009 pin was designed by Alexander McLawhorn. The transition video was developed and produced by Jeannie Chen, Marc Dyrszka, Jacob Kaufman, Brian Kelly, Jackie Lonier, and Peter Sculco, all members of the Class of 2009.
The Arnold P. Gold Foundation supports the ceremony, sponsors the Arnold P. Gold Foundation’s Humanism and Excellence in Teaching Awards, and provides gifts to the incoming third-year class. The ceremony is named for Steve Miller’84, who developed the first clinical transition ceremony at P&S. He was the Arnold P. Gold Associate Professor of Pediatrics, director of pediatric emergency medicine, and pediatrics clerkship director when he died in an airplane crash in 2004.
Class of 2010: Scott Fruhan
By Elizabeth Crouch’10
In retrospect, most of the students in the class of 2010 were satisfied to pass their first-year courses and appreciate both their extracurricular and academic learning experiences. A few saw the publication of a research article, participated in one of Bard Hall Players’ student-run productions, or volunteered at CoSMO, Columbia’s free medical clinic for the underserved. Only Scott Fruhan, however, managed to produce and release a folk-rock album this year.
|Scott Fruhan and his album cover
His diverse background creates original music in the same way it produces an insightful medical student. Scott grew up in Newton, Mass., and began playing instruments at a young age. He started with the piano at age 6, the saxophone in third grade, and the guitar around age 16. True to his independent style, Scott found his first guitar at a yard sale for $5 and is self-taught. He expanded his musical repertoire further at Harvard College, where he sang Renaissance choral music in the Harvard Glee Club and gained some technical experience by working at a student-run recording studio. After graduation, Scott continued to perform while obtaining a master’s degree in social psychology at Cambridge University in England.
Scott’s stage name, Heath Street, which is also the title of his debut album, comes from a Boston neighborhood where he lived for two years before entering P&S. Stylistically, the album affirms its James Taylor and Bruce Springsteen influences, and Scott adds just enough angst to draw the listener in. A rare 20-something, Scott still listens to old vinyl records to get a sense of the artist’s original conception of the sound as several Bard Hall neighbors can confirm! His music’s characteristic thoughtfulness reveals itself through piano, guitar, mandolin, and marimba, overlaid with a seductively honest voice. He continues to play frequently at P&S and finds that both the music facilities and his many talented classmates create a rich, creative environment.
Scott often fields questions about the course of both his medical and musical interests. He doesn’t see the two intertwining professionally but rather in a more personal way. “As simple as it may sound,” Scott says, “at the end of my life I would like to look back and think that the world was slightly improved for my having been there. Music and kindness have both enhanced my life, or at least my appreciation of it. I would like to do the same for as many others as possible, both through an artistic contribution and through medicine.” Sounds like both an ear-worthy musician and a compassionate future physician.
Visit www.heathstreetmusic.com or www.myspace.com/heathstreetmusic to learn more about Scott’s music. His music is available on the iTunes Music Store and through many other digital music distributors by searching for Heath Street.
Alumni in Print
Our Greatest Threats: Live Longer, Live Better
William M. Manger’46 (Jones and Bartlett Publishers 2006)
In this volume, Dr. Manger takes a thorough and systematic approach to explaining the major health risks to Americans. Although Dr. Manger concentrates on nutrition and exercise (his specialty is obesity and hypertension), he also expands his advice to safe sex, injury prevention, natural disasters, and more. Throughout the book, he maintains a concentration on family: the importance of working in a mutually supportive environment and teaching children healthy habits from a young age. “It is always essential to concentrate on changing an unhealthy lifestyle…for the benefit of your family and associates,” Dr. Manger says.
Cancer in the Body Politic: Diagnosis and Prescription for an America in Decline
Peter D. Mott’59 Published 2006
Combining his experience as doctor and social activist, Dr. Mott frames the current condition of American political culture as a medical diagnosis. Tackling mainly a culture of apathy, ideological confusion, and obedience to consumerism which Mott links to increased repression and aggressiveness in the government he draws distinct parallels between the trends in the American body politic and the behaviors associated with anti-social personality disorder. Dr. Mott prescribes a systematic change of habits to heal a wounded society, including an emphasis on quantifiable standards (not easy-to-manipulate ideology) and the growth of grassroots movements that avoid the performance problems that large, entrenched institutions often bring.
Planning for Uncertainty: Living Wills and Other Advance Directives for You and Your Family
William Reichel’61 and David John Doukas, M.D. (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007)
Spurred by the legal battle surrounding Terri Schiavo, Drs. Reichel and Doukas have put together a step-by-step guide to developing and documenting final wishes, stressing the importance of making decisions while still healthy and able to consider the options. Most of all, the book advises how, in the preparation of an advance directive, the individual can state the exact treatment preferences, wishes, beliefs, and values for future use and how to communicate such decisions to family and health-care providers.
A Year Without Peer: 19631964 in the Department of Dermatology of the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center
A. Bernard Ackerman’62 and Richard C. Miller, M.D. (Ardor Scribendi, 2007)
This memoir, with its strong narrative style, recounts the life-changing experience of two young residents in the Department of Dermatology at P&S. Drs. Ackerman and Miller (a Yale medical grad), recount how their tutelage under the late Carl Truman Nelson taught them an approach to medicine that led them on to successful careers: Dr. Ackerman founded the Ackerman Academy of Dermatopathology in 1999, after holding positions at NYU, Miami, and Jefferson Medical College. The book is as much a tribute to Nelson as it is a chronicle of the authors’ year of residency at Columbia-Presbyterian; filled with personal observations and anecdotes, the book immerses the reader in the experience of a medical resident in the 1960s.
Bipolar Kids: Helping Your Child Find Calm in the Mood Storm
Rosalie Greenberg’76 (Perseus Books Group, Da Capo Press: Lifelong Books 2007)
In writing a comprehensive guide for parents and guardians of children with bipolar disorder, Dr. Greenberg addresses one of the most current issues being hotly debated in child psychiatry. Because of the lack of concrete knowledge about how bipolar disorder manifests itself in the brains of young people (it is often misdiagnosed as ADHD or OCD), Dr. Greenberg combines illustrative case examples from her 25 years of practice with the most recent scientific advances and pharmacological approaches. She emphasizes the importance of paying attention to bipolar kids, who are often better able to gauge their moods than adults realize. In addition, the book provides information about unrecognized symptoms, comorbidity, hospitalization, academic options, and real-life answers to everyday problems.
When Illness Goes Public: Celebrity Patients and How We Look at Medicine
Barron Lerner’86 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006)
Dr. Lerner takes the view of both a physician and a social historian in analyzing how the publicity surrounding celebrity illnesses affects the public perception of certain diseases. Dr. Lerner weighs the benefits and pitfalls of American medicine rooted in celebrity examples and activism by the rich and famous on behalf of certain diseases. He observes that, over the past few decades, the American public has come to expect celebrities to be role models, cheerleaders, and fundraisers in the battle against their particular ailment, but this phenomenon can give the public false expectations about treatments and research funding can become lopsided toward more “popular” illnesses. Using cases from Lou Gehrig’s ALS to Lance Armstrong’s testicular cancer and Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson’s disease, Dr. Lerner looks at the realities of celebrity-centric medicine.