Alumni Profile
Thomas Q. Morris:
A Pivotal Player at P&S and Presbyterian Hospital
Removes the White Coat (And Looks Back with Pride)


Dr. Morris in October 1984 as president-elect of Presbyterian Hospital.

“THIS IS MY UNIFORM, MY WAY OF LIFE,” THOMAS Q. MORRIS’58 proudly proclaims, fingering the lapels of a spotless, starched white coat. No mere garment to him, it’s clearly more like a second skin. The genial curl of his lips and the pockets under his eyes attest to his joy in and tireless commitment to the medical way of life. “That’s the way it began when I first added an M.D. to my name,” he says “so that’s the way I want it to finish.” After 50 years in various leadership roles at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center — notably acting chairman of the Department of Medicine, interim dean of P&S, and president and CEO of Presbyterian Hospital — he took off his white coat in September 2003.
He and his wife, Jacqueline, are giving up their home in Westchester County and moving full time to a farm they’ve owned for years in Delaware County in upstate New York. It is nearly impossible for his many friends and associates at P&S to imagine the dapper, urbane Dr. Morris forsaking that spotless white coat for muddy overalls. But his intention — for the moment at least — is to tend and till the vegetable garden and build stone walls, two of his longtime avocations. He will, in any case, keep several fingers — if not all 10 — in the medical pie, as chairman of the editorial board of this magazine, active board member of Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, N.Y., and vice chairman of the board of the American University of Beirut in Lebanon, whose campus he visits several times a year.
“When you’ve got medicine in the gut, there’s no leaving it behind,” he readily admitted in the course of an interview over lunch last June at the P&S Faculty Club. The tangible fruits of his career as a key player at one of America’s most respected medical centers include the construction of the Milstein Hospital Building and the Allen Pavilion. The intangibles are manifold just about everywhere you look, in the friendships he made and the medical legacy he leaves behind. As one longtime friend and supporter, Henry King, former chairman of the medical center’s advisory council, put it: “It is and has always been a delight to deal with Tom Morris, a man of consummate wit, intelligence, medical knowledge, dedication to Columbia, and, I might add, considerable charm. His door was always open.”
“A lot of people have been at Columbia a lot longer than I have,” Dr. Morris says, “but most of them have stayed in a particular department or area. I don’t think they’ve had as much fun as I have had experiencing it all first-hand.”
Consider the span and reach of that experience, 1954-2003: medical student; intern and chief resident at the famous affiliate, the First (Columbia) Medical Division at Bellevue; research trainee; faculty member; course director of the third-year clerkship; acting chairman of the Department of Medicine; vice dean; interim dean for clinical and educational affairs; and president and CEO of Presbyterian Hospital. From the insidious rise of HMOs to the fortuitous advent of medical informatics to the diabolical emergence of AIDS, there are few challenges affecting American academic medicine that Dr. Morris hasn’t tackled.

From Yonkers to Washington Heights (with a Detour to Notre Dame)
“Growing up in Yonkers, just north of the city, Columbia-Presbyterian was the only place to go if you were really in major trouble,” Dr. Morris recalls. And though he did not experience any major illnesses or accidents, the idea took seed early on that “medicine might be a useful and fun way to spend a life” and that “Columbia was the place to do it.”
Pre-med from the start at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, he set his sights on P&S. While he focused mainly on his studies in college, graduating magna cum laude, he did manage to play a little football. “Only touch!” he hastens to add, “but I still follow Notre Dame football very avidly, as most people around here know. Go to three or four games a year, just to make sure they’re still doing it right!”
At P&S, he found a host of dedicated mentors. “The faculty in general had great concern for and devotion to the welfare of students, as they do to this day.” Take Calvin Plimpton MSD’51, his third-year preceptor in medicine, as a case in point: “The interplay between and among everybody in his group was constant. His critical eye was on all of us all the time, but also his supportive eye.”
During the time Dr. Morris pursued his internship and residency in medicine at the illustrious First (Columbia) Medical Division at Bellevue Hospital, the shining lights there were Dickinson W. Richards Jr.’23, chief of the service, and André F. Cournand, who shared the 1956 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their pioneering work in heart catheterization. Dr. Morris recalls with unconcealed excitement, as if it were yesterday, the experience of working with and learning from such medical giants who always remained accessible to the house staff. “For us to be able to meet with a Nobel Prize winner every week and see someone who had such an in-depth understanding of science conduct rounds with us in not only the most humane but also the most informed way clinically, that was really something.” A firm believer in the mentoring principle, Dr. Morris has, in turn, served that vital function for generations of P&S students. “Your instructors mold you. You may not realize it at the time, but they set the standard and all you want to do is meet or exceed that standard,” he says.
Dr. Richards paid his protege the ultimate compliment and mark of confidence by naming him chief resident the year he was due to retire. “That year of my chief residency turned out to be another wonderful time,” Dr. Morris remembers, “because Charlie Ragan, who had been up at P&S, came down to Bellevue as the new chief of medicine.” The young chief resident helped the new chief of medicine get acclimatized to the ways of a public hospital, and the two got along famously.
At Bellevue, Dr. Morris likewise interacted with another P&S giant, Dr. Robert Loeb, who visited Bellevue regularly for rounds. He also worked with dedicated members of the voluntary faculty, notably Dr. George Carden, “who practiced in midtown and gave enormous amounts of free time. Overall, my experience at Bellevue,” Dr. Morris says, “opened up a whole new range of medical opportunities for me.”

Uptown To Harlem and Back to Washington Heights
Following two years of military service at the hospital at Scott Air Force Base in Belleville, Ill., a large facility devoted to the care of patients with pulmonary disease (where, among other duties, he ran the cardiopulmonary lab), Dr. Morris returned to P&S as a research trainee in the laboratory of Dr. Stanley Bradley, chairman of medicine. Dr. Bradley focused on renal and hepatic research and Dr. Morris took advantage of the opportunity to study and publish on bile formation in experimental animals. He joined the P&S faculty as an instructor.
Meanwhile, the city’s administration had decided to discontinue the First (Columbia) Division at Bellevue and to transfer Columbia’s academic “allegiance” to Harlem Hospital. Dr. Ragan, who moved the service uptown, asked Dr. Morris to “come help me out.” Maintaining his faculty appointment at P&S, in 1968 Dr. Morris followed the call to Harlem, where he began to make rounds as an associate visiting physician. “We helped raise the quality of care, introduced educational programs, put in a whole cadre of residents — in short, we shook things up and turned the institution upside down.”
Then, in 1972, Dr. Ragan was asked to return to Columbia-Presbyterian as the new chairman of medicine. “Don’t spend so much time at Harlem,” he advised Dr. Morris. “Come help me out here.”

Dr. Morris with Henrik Bendixen
A Talent for Organization
Back at Columbia-Presbyterian that same year, Dr. Morris took over the administrative reins of the third-year clerkship in medicine from Donald Tapley’85HON. Though Dr. Morris had shouldered considerable responsibilities as chief resident at Bellevue, running the clerkship was his first major academic administrative test, which he passed with flying colors. He realized and relished a budding talent for institutional administration and began a long friendship with Dr. Tapley, another rising star at P&S. “I always told him I was straightening out all the things he did wrong,” Dr. Morris jokes, “and Don, in turn, was appropriately free with his advice.”
In 1976, Dr. Morris was appointed chairman of the Curriculum Committee. “The most important thing we did,” he says, “was to foster communication among the course directors.” Also instituting student evaluations and encouraging the active participation of students on the committee, he promoted well-advised suggestions while cautioning against “change for the sake of change.”
“The biggest challenge, not only in medicine, but it’s glaring in medicine,” he says, “is to be able to anticipate, think about, and respond to change, rather than wait for it to happen and then catch up. Not easy!”
Dr. Morris has always managed to keep a steady course on the rapids of change. Named associate chairman of medicine in 1977, he was asked to step in as acting chairman of the department following the sudden death of Dr. Dan Kimberg. Taking the helm for what he thought would be a brief watch of several months, he ably steered the department for four years, never expecting the clinical hurricane that was about to hit American medicine.

The Clinical Emergence of a New Killer
“During the years of my tenure as acting chair, 1978 to 1982, the house staff and I had a unique experience,” he recalls. “A lot of seriously ill young men, primarily gay, came in and ultimately died of fulminating pulmonary infection. Initially, we didn’t know what it was. As I told the resident group at our end-of-year dinner in 1982, we had witnessed the emergence of a new disorder about which we were then at the very initial stage of learning and that would affect our medical careers for the rest of our lives.” His prognosis proved portentous. That disorder, of course, came to be called AIDS.
“It’s a very humbling learning experience,” Dr. Morris admits, “when you don’t know what you’re dealing with or what to do about it and it’s fatal. I had very frank conversations with the house staff concerning our medical and ethical responsibilities under these dire circumstances.”
Among his accomplishments as acting chairman of medicine, he is proudest of the pivotal role he played in recruiting and cultivating a cadre of clinically based full-time faculty who were both expert clinicians and wonderful teachers. Many of them are still on the faculty today.
Parallel to his leadership in the Department of Medicine, in 1979 he accepted the additional responsibilities of associate dean for academic affairs, overseeing, among other areas, academic promotions and appointments. From this vantage point, as he explained in a Columbia interview published in September 2003, “I was able to get a broader overview of ... the institution and understand its mission more fully.”

TOP: Dr. Morris, left, as one of the award recipients at the 2002 P&S alumni dinner-dance BOTTOM: Dr. Morris as he receives the 2000 Columbia University Alumni Federation Medal, flanked by former Columbia president George Rupp and former Alumni Federation president Bernard Sunshine
President of Presbyterian Hospital
Inevitably, his administrative talents came to the attention of the trustees of Presbyterian Hospital. It was the 1980s and the Presbyterian Hospital building, constructed in 1928, was wholly inadequate to the clinical needs of a new era. As acting chairman of medicine and associate dean, Dr. Morris had already been involved in discussions and preliminary planning for a new building. In 1985, he was the natural in-house talent to tap as hospital president and CEO.
Having closed a number of local community hospitals in Upper Manhattan, New York state called for construction of a new community facility at the northern tip of Manhattan. Dr. Morris oversaw the building and opening in 1988 of the Allen Pavilion as part of the major modernization program, planning for which had been initiated by his predecessor, Dr. Felix E. Demartini, president and CEO from 1977 to 1984.
Recommending that the university and the hospital combine their fund-raising efforts to meet an unprecedented goal of $100 million toward a new building, Dr. Morris took a lead role in the development effort. “I ate a lot of lunches and dinners with prospective donors in those days,” he says. A major gift of $25 million from the Milstein family, longtime friends and supporters of Columbia University, helped the hospital trustees reach their goal and Presbyterian’s state-of-the-art new home, the Milstein Hospital Building, opened its doors to considerable fanfare in 1989.

Improving on High School Spanish and Other Priorities
As president, Dr. Morris was personally “committed to a tangible outreach to the community.” That included, in his case, “rekindling my high school Spanish.” He also took the senior hospital administrative staff on several Spanish immersion retreats. Following a speech he delivered in proficient Spanish, one local politician was so moved, “she gave me a great big hug.” Needless to say, she listened closely to his recommendations.
If one had to characterize Dr. Morris’ management style, it is one based on dialogue, collaboration, and cooperation. He treasures the extraordinary rapport he enjoyed with Dr. Henrik Bendixen, dean of P&S in the 1980s. “We had complete respect for one another and very open communication.” The Office of Clinical Trials, arguably one of the most effective and successful endeavors of its kind, was the result of a two-day retreat the two men organized on basic and clinical research. Under their joint sponsorship, with a grant from the National Library of Medicine, the hospital and medical school teamed up to develop the Center for Informatics and an integrated information system that has stood the test of time.
In another pioneering venture, this time in conjunction with the Hospital Association of New York State (HANYS), Dr. Morris participated in one of the first clinical care quality assurance efforts.
Does an institution take on the character of the individual at the helm?
“I used to wonder about that,” Dr. Morris says as he pauses to ponder the question. “At the time, you know, we had between 5,000 and 6,000 employees. It’s a little like a very, very large flower pot. You can water it on top but you can never be sure how much gets to the bottom. Finally, all you can do is pick the right people and trust them to get the job done.”
He stepped down from the hospital post in 1990, following a five-year tenure at the helm, but continued to lend his advice as a consultant to the hospital’s trustees.

International Medical Experience
From the early days of his medical career, Dr. Morris was interested in the big
picture at home and abroad. He enjoyed working closely with fellows from around the world at P&S and Harlem Hospital. In the mid-70s, when a former fellow from Iran invited him to come over as a visiting professor at the University of Shiraz, he and his family leapt at the opportunity. “The important thing about international experiences in medicine, I think, is not so much to see diseases you don’t ordinarily see, but to take care of patients with disorders with which you are familiar and yet to see them managed in a different way, usually with far less resources. That’s a learning experience. It reinforces just how important it is to take a thorough history and do a good physical exam.”
Dr. Morris is currently involved in a joint effort by the New York Academy of Medicine and the Association of American Medical Colleges to develop curricular innovations at American medical schools to enhance the clinical interaction. “The trick,” he says, “is to try to preserve those fundamental clinical skills in the face of what I would call overwhelming technology and data.”
In 1981, during his tenure as associate dean of medicine, he embarked on yet another international adventure. “I received a call from the New York State Department of Education asking if I were willing to evaluate an offshore medical school. It was a school they hadn’t visited in a while, way offshore, they said — the American University of Beirut in Beirut, Lebanon.” Leading an academic evaluation team in the midst of a civil war, he found “a vibrant center of learning with very bright students and a dedicated faculty.” So began a lasting association with the institution. A member of the AUB board of trustees since 1985, he was recently named vice chairman. He visits the school at least three or four times a year.

Helping to Revive and Sustain Two Vintage New York Institutions
In 1990, Dr. Morris pitched in to reinvigorate the New York Academy of Medicine as its newly appointed vice president for programs. Once a pivotal advisory body to the New York City Commissioner of Health, the academy had waned in importance. Dr. Morris helped dust off the academy’s reputation and bring it back into the main arena of public health policy, notably in extramurally funded epidemiological research. He remains a senior adviser there and serves as a trustee.
Like his old friend, the late Dr. Tapley, he took an abiding interest in another historic New York institution, serving a tenure as president, 1993 to 1999, of the Morris-Jumel Mansion, a colonial residence turned museum located within walking distance of the medical center. “It’s an American jewel that just happens to be practically next door. I was proud to play a role in its preservation and in its ongoing effort to educate young people in the community.”

Back to the Future II at P&S
In 1993, Dr. Mike Weisfeldt, chairman of the Department of Medicine at P&S, asked if Dr. Morris would “help him for a year” as associate chairman. The year ended and he intended to return to the academy when Dr. Herbert Pardes, dean of P&S, called him back to the Dean’s Office, reappointing Dr. Morris vice dean of the faculty, a position he held with distinction a decade before.
When Dr. Pardes followed Dr. Morris’ lead, moving from the medical school to the presidency of the hospital, now the newly merged New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Dr. Morris stepped in to hold the fort as interim dean for clinical and educational affairs (teaming up with Dr. David Hirsh as interim dean for research). When Dr. Gerald Fischbach took office as vice president and dean, Dr. Morris resumed his role as vice dean.
His many honors have included the Dean’s Distinguished Award for Teaching in 1977, the P&S Alumni Association Special Recognition Award in 1986, the Academy Plaque of the New York Academy of Medicine in 1997, the Columbia University Alumni Federation Medal for Outstanding Contributions to the School and to American Health Care in 2000, and the Gold Medal for Meritorious Service to P&S and its Alumni in 2002.
Aside from harvesting “the best hay in Delaware County” and spending more time with his wife and children — Amy, MaryAnne, and Tom — Dr. Morris will hardly be able to catch his breath between shuttling back and forth to Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, AUB in Beirut, and P&S.

Profiles in Giving:
Class of 1953 Launches “Harold Brown Fellowship” to Support International Electives

THE LATE DR. HAROLD BROWN, A MILD-MANNERED PARASITOLOGIST, raised the micro- and macro-consciousness of generations of P&S students, inspiring them to focus on the tiny organisms that cause tropical diseases and to peer outward at the world that suffers from their mischief. “Dr. Brown opened up our vistas,” recalls Class of 1953 chairman Stanley Edelman, a retired surgeon. “We wanted to perpetuate his memory in the spirit of his teaching.” The class decided to mark its 50th anniversary by establishing the Harold Brown Fellowship to support student study abroad.
In the course of his nearly three decades on the faculty of P&S — 1943-1970 — Dr. Brown (See “Faculty Remembered,” Spring 2002, P&S) stimulated many students, like Nobel laureate Baruch Blumberg’51 (See “Alumni Profile,” Winter 1996 and Fall 2002, P&S ) and former Columbia School of Public Health director Jack Bryant’53 (See “Alumni Profile,” Winter 2003, P&S) to pursue international electives that in both cases germinated into a life’s work.
In a professional life devoted to international health, Dr. Bryant, professor emeritus of community health sciences at the Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan, carried the torch lit by his old teacher. He believes that the Brown Fellowship will “not only provide an opportunity to enrich the lives of P&S students, but also benefit others whom they will in turn teach, mentor, and advise.”
Classmate Edgar M. Housepian heartily concurs. “With all the problems in the world today, it’s more important than ever that medical students get out there and become attuned and sensitive to the issues,” he says. Professor emeritus of clinical neurological surgery and special adviser for international affiliation at P&S, Dr. Housepian’s own international health activities included the coordination of emergency medical relief efforts in Armenia following the catastrophic earthquake of 1988.
Other members of the Class of 1953 also spent considerable time abroad. Colin McCord, professor of surgery at Harlem Hospital, worked for many years in India, Bangladesh, and Mozambique. Pediatric surgeon George Hyde practiced in China, India, Gambia, and Kenya. Orthopedic surgeon Homer Dimon cared for indigent patients at the Hôpital Albert Schweitzer in Haiti.
For years, in fact, P&S students have been taking advantage of an elective opportunity in the fourth year of medical school to travel and gather hands-on experience at hospitals and clinics abroad. Almost a third of the Class of 2003 spent some time overseas. But the funding was largely ad hoc, dependent on the student’s own resources. The Harold Brown Fellowship will make $1,500 grants available to meritorious students to defray travel and living expenses.
Dr. Housepian credits the students for their initiative. The International Health Organization, created by P&S students a few years ago in conjunction with the P&S Club, has channeled an ever-growing interest in international health at all the medical center schools. The organization sponsors presentations and discussions of global health issues. “We saw how active the students already were,” says Dr. Housepian, “and decided we were going to help them.”
“The idea is in tune with the times, the need is apparent,” says Ben Wright’53, a retired internist from Princeton, N.J.
But the Class of 1953 insists this fellowship is only the beginning. “We get a little credit for lighting the spark,” says Dr. Housepian. “Now we leave it to P&S alumni at large to take the idea and run with it, lending their support. Columbia is a global university; reaching out to the world is what we’re all about.”

Rx for Travel
The Heart of Harlem

IN “THE HEART OF HARLEM,” HARLEM’S POET LAUREATE, Langston Hughes, captured the pulse of the place: “The buildings in Harlem are brick and stone/And the streets are long and wide,/But Harlem’s much more than these alone,/Harlem is what’s inside.”
One day last May I set out on the first of several walks to peruse those stones and streets and to catch a fleeting glimpse of “what’s inside.”
An erstwhile Native American village, Harlem evolved into a prosperous Colonial suburb of New York before being subsumed by the city. In the 1920s and 30s, changing demographic trends and real estate schemes gradually transformed Harlem into a mecca for African-Americans migrating from the South. Past and present are neighbors nowadays.
Heading south of Columbia University Medical Center on St. Nicholas Avenue, just beyond the mundane facade of the C-Town Market at 162nd Street, I climbed the steps to Sylvan Terrace, a double row of artfully restored 19th century yellow clapboard homes. My sense of wonderment mounted as I walked up the alley into Jumel Terrace, a semi-circular enclave of stately townhouses (one of which, No. 16, belonged to the great black performing artist and political activist Paul Robeson, a 1923 Columbia law graduate). And there smack in the middle sat the majestic Morris-Jumel Mansion, 65 Jumel Terrace, 212/923-8008. Manhattan’s sole surviving Colonial residence, now a museum, the vintage Georgian-style mansion offers a privileged look back, including a re-creation of the room used by George Washington to plan the Battle of Washington Heights. The view from the garden of Yankee Stadium and the Harlem River is breathtaking.

A Gentle Giant Mends Broken Bones and Lifts Spirits

By Peter Wortsman
One day last May, at the corner of Lenox Avenue and 137th Street, Shearwood McClelland’74 stalled traffic. The driver of a city bus slowed down long enough to hail him out the window: “Thanks, Doc!”
“Hip replacement,” explained the gentle giant,
his smile as broad as the span of his powerful hands. It happened again a block later: A middle-aged woman lifted the elbow he’d repaired and gave him a bear hug. Not an uncommon occurrence for the revered (and clearly beloved) director of orthopedic surgery at Harlem Hospital featured in the August 2001 issue of Black Enterprise magazine as one of “America’s Leading Black Doctors.”
One of 16 attendings and three department heads who graduated from P&S, Dr. McClelland, associate professor of clinical orthopedic surgery at P&S (who also holds an M.P.H. degree from Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health), has been
mending bones and lifting spirits in Harlem for 21 years, the last 10 at the helm of the service.
“I like what I’m doing and I like where I’m doing it,” he sums up in explaining his attachment to the institution with which P&S has had an academic affiliation since 1962. A member of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, the nation’s largest system of public hospitals, Harlem Hospital runs the city’s busiest trauma unit, the front line of orthopedic care. “When I look at medicine in America,” Dr. McClelland reflects, “there are two brands: medicine as a business and medicine as a calling. Here at Harlem, I still have the
privilege of practicing the latter and making a real difference in people’s lives.”
But mending broken bones is only part of the picture. Originally intending to go into psychiatry, he opted for orthopedics for “the more immediate satisfaction of treating concrete problems and seeing people get better.” Dr. McClelland’s openness and caring bedside manner complement his consummate skill: “The operation gets them back on their feet. The mutual trust helps them cope. And I make a friend for life.”

Just around the corner, the once elegant high rise at 555 Edgecomb Ave. was home to such Harlem notables as prizefighter Joe Louis and jazzman Count Basie. Duke Ellington lived nearby at 935 St. Nicholas Ave, now a national landmark, in historic Sugar Hill.
Harlem has the largest number of historic districts in the city. Hamilton Heights has Alexander Hamilton’s country home perched at 141st and Convent Avenue. Strivers Row is a charmed tree-lined stretch of landmark townhouses on 138th and 139th streets between Frederick Douglas and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. boulevards, some designed by McKim, Mead and White (the firm that conceived much of Columbia University’s Morningside campus).
History lives on in Harlem. The city got its moniker “The Big Apple” from a nightclub of that name once located on 135th Street, near the northwest corner that intersects with Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard. An apple-shaped plaque marks the spot of the club, which was popular with musicians and jockeys.
I strolled up 135th Street, a wide thoroughfare bordered with upscale apartment buildings and shops, known as “the Campus,” where, it was once said, you could see all of Harlem out strolling on a Sunday afternoon. Polished sidewalk plaques comprising the “Walk of Fame” commemorate such African-American cultural icons as Hughes, Robeson, and Ella Fitzgerald.
There is no “inside” in Harlem quite as “in” as Wednesday “Amateur Night” at the Apollo Theater, 153 W. 125th St., 212/531-5305, where Fitzgerald and fellow musical legend James Brown got their starts and the walls still vibrate with the sound of today’s contenders. Out on 125th Street, the bustling commercial hub of Harlem, you’ll find more happening at street stalls than indoors.
Other institutions of note include the Studio Museum in Harlem, 144 W. 125th St., 212/864-4500, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, 515 Malcolm X Blvd, 212/491-2200.
My eminently knowledgeable companion and guide on one memorable stroll was Anthony Bowman, cofounder of the Harlem Association for Travel & Tourism (HATT) and A La Carte Tours, 646/265-1402, and co-proprietor of the Harlem Gift Shop, 2224 Frederick Douglas Blvd., an eclectic emporium of local treasures, including a line of handmade rag dolls and Aunt Viv’s Sweet Potato Butter. Passing a flurry of construction sites that is changing the face of Harlem, I recalled the Hughes poem about stones and streets and “what’s inside.” As if reading my mind, he pointed to the roof of a hardly “historic” building on the corner of 118th Street that had seen better days. “That’s where Mike Tyson returns to his pigeons when he’s had it with humanity.”


Sugar Hill Bistro Ups the Culinary Ante Uptown

By Peter Wortsman
From the United House of Prayer, where the holy spirit enters the mouth at lunchtime, to Sylvia’s, the reigning “Queen of Soul Food,” to Londel’s Supper Club, an elegant Cajun-soul fusion café, a diner will find no dearth of good food in Harlem.
Two P&S alumni, Dineo Khabele’94 and Michael Jones’94, co-founders and owners of the Sugar Hill Bistro at 458 W. 145th St., 212/491-1700, have upped the culinary ante and added a refined ambience in Harlem’s historic Sugar Hill district. But fine food in an elegant setting is only part of the picture. Housed in a lovingly restored town house, the Sugar Hill Bistro features live jazz in a lounge on the ground floor, a garden out back, the main dining room on the second floor, an art gallery on the third floor, and a conference facility on the fourth. Bill Clinton and Vernon Jordan have stopped by to sample the fare and the bistro has catered receptions at the former president’s new office on 125th Street.
The menu features familiar foods prepared with an original twist. So, for instance, this writer’s luscious lump crab cake appetizer ($14) came with a spicy wasabi remoulade.
And his half roast duck ($32) was dabbed in a blackberry and strawberry sauce, the whole washed down with a rich South African red. A sensible man would have opted for sorbet after such a lineup but your fearless diner went for the warm chocolate espresso cake ($8) and did not regret it.
So what impelled Dr. Khabele, a busy gynecologic oncologist on the faculty at Montefiore, and Dr. Jones, a no less-stressed plastic surgeon in private practice and trumpeter on the side, to become restaurateurs?
“Sheer madness,” confesses Dr. Khabele. They opened to the public on Sept. 11, 2001, not an auspicious day for a fine dining experience. The economy has also taken its toll. But Drs. Khabele and Jones are holding on. “There are moments,” she says, “when it is just incredible, the dining room is full, jazz is playing in the lounge, people are looking at art upstairs, and I say to myself: ‘Look, we built this from scratch!’”
A former president of the Black and Latino Student Organization at P&S, Dr. Khabele earned her bachelor’s degree at Columbia College in 1989. The bistro has hosted prospective medical students for brunch and plans in the future to hold P&S alumni gatherings and fund-raising events. Meanwhile, says Dr. Khabele, “students can flash their IDs for a 10 percent discount and alumni will be welcomed with a hug and a smile.”

Alumni Association Activities

Speaker Roy E. Brown’56, clinical professor of pediatrics at P&S, at the Sept. 17, 2003, council dinner
Alumni Council
Technical problems kept the scheduled speaker, Donald O. Quest’70, the J. Lawrence Pool Professor of Neuro-surgery and vice chairman of neurological surgery at P&S, from delivering his prepared remarks at the Sept. 17 council dinner. Roy E. Brown’56, clinical professor of pediatrics, kindly stepped in to pinch-hit and riveted his listeners with tales of practice in developing nations. Dr. Brown, an expert on malnutrition, spent a large part of his professional career overseas, tending to the needs of children who live under dismal conditions. Clearly comfortable at the microphone, his face as animated as his voice, Dr. Brown recounted how a third-year medical school elective at the Hôpital Albert Schweitzer in Haiti changed his life. “I had never seen so many ill people and had never had so many children die in my care,” he recalled. “I saw starving children, children with malaria, things I thought I’d never see.” Dr. Brown later worked in a hospital in Uganda immediately following that country’s independence. The knowledge that that hospital “ate up 85 percent of the health budget of Uganda,” made him realize that “hospitals were not the fixture of medicine in the developing world.” More recently he has served on medical humanitarian missions to Kosovo. His foreign expertise has served him well stateside too. As an expert on pediatric malnutrition, he is often called upon to testify as an expert witness in court cases in which parents or caretakers of malnourished children are accused of unconscious infanticide. “My career hasn’t exactly been your standard in pediatrics,” he acknowledged, “but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.” He strongly advocated the benefits of work overseas for medical students and residents.

Alumni Association president Shearwood McClelland’74 with members of the Class of 2007
New Students, House Staff, and Their Families Welcomed
The Alumni Association hosted its annual reception Sept. 3 for incoming students and house staff. It was a great opportunity for many to mingle with their peers and professors in a relaxed atmosphere over wine and cheese. “Now I know I’m really here,” said one young woman.
“Ladies and gentlemen of the Class of 2007, I welcome you to what I firmly believe is the best medical school in America,” said Alumni Association president Shearwood McClelland’74. “I should know. I’m not just a P&S alumnus, I’m a P&S spouse and a P&S parent.” Dr. McClelland, associate professor of clinical orthopedic surgery at P&S and director of orthopedic surgery at Harlem Hospital, is married to Yvonne Thornton’73, a respected perinatologist, author, and speaker, and father of Shearwood “Woody” McClelland Jr.’04. Among other faculty and members of the administration, Andrew G. Frantz’55, professor of medicine and associate dean of admissions, was also on hand to welcome the new members of the P&S family.

Class News


BILL POLLIN still practices psychiatry in Maryland. He has several outside interests, such as neuroscience, cosmology, and physics, and is attempting to correlate human behavior with these disciplines. His stepson, Jonathan Amiel’07, has been elected president of his class. As of now, Jonathan is planning to go into psychiatry, following in Bill’s footsteps.


MARVIN LIPMAN, who is chairman of his class’ 50th reunion committee, was featured in Consumer Reports in 2003 on the subject of diet and nutrition.

The recipient of the 2002 Award of Merit of the West Virginia Hospital Association, DONALD H. HOFREUTER is CEO and former medical director of Wheeling Hospital in Wheeling, W.Va. A past president of the American College of Physician Executives, he served more recently as chairman of the West Virginia Hospital Association’s Medical Liability Task Force and of the organization’s political action committee. S. WARREN SEIDES is president-elect of the Psychoanalytic Association of New York. A member of the teaching faculty of the NYU Psychoanalytic Institute, he is still active in his private practice in Scarsdale. HAROLD STEVELMAN is chairman of the Ethics Committee at Hudson Valley Hospital. He has cut his medical practice down to “part time.” Hal and his wife, Barbara, have two children (an attorney and a professor of law) and four grandchildren.

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations presented a special Ernest A. Codman Award to JOHN NOBEL for “excellence in the use of performance measurement to achieve improvements in the quality and safety of health care.” John is director of the Center for Primary Care at Boston University’s medical school. He is also the founder of the Massachusetts Coalition for the Prevention of Medical Errors. John frequently speaks about patient safety issues at local and national levels.

GEORGE B. LONGSTRETH III is working part time at the Center for Breast Care at the University Hospital in Savannah, Ga. In addition, he does service work in India and other developing nations.

DAVID S. GULLION enjoys practicing medical oncology and hematology in the San Francisco Bay area and is part of a 10-physician group there. He is on the clinical teaching faculty at UCSF. Dave and his wife, Joy, have a daughter and a son.

President of the medical staff at Catholic Medical Center in Manchester, N.H., and former president of the New Hampshire Medical Society, DAVID CHARLESWORTH is lobbying his congressional delegation to correct the Medicare reimbursement fee rollback. KAREN K. HEIN, a leader in the health needs of children and youth, has stepped down as president of the William T. Grant Foundation, a position she held for five years. She plans to direct her energies to educational efforts toward global peace. To that end, she will travel to China, Mongolia, and Bhutan to perform public service. She plans, meanwhile, to continue influencing health, youth, and electoral policy as a trustee of the National Board of Medical Examiners and Consumers Union, as chairwoman of the Center for Health Care Strategies, and as a member of the Ms. Foundation’s White House Project Advisory Board, just to name a few forums.

YVONNE S. THORNTON is vice chairwoman of the Department of Obstetrics/Gynecology and director of maternal-fetal medicine at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center in Queens. She is board certified in both disciplines. On Mother’s Day 2003, she delivered the commencement address at Tuskegee University in Alabama. Yvonne is a prize-winning orator and her book, “The Ditchdigger’s Daughters,” was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Yvonne is married to Shearwood McClelland’74. Their son, Shearwood “Woody” McClelland Jr., is a fourth-year P&S student.

Clinical professor of medicine at Tulane, FRED KUSHNER was appointed (by classmate ELLIOTT ANTMAN) to the Joint Committee of the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association responsible for rewriting the guidelines for the management of patients with acute S-T elevation myocardial infarction. Fred previously completed his term on the leadership committee of the Council on Clinical Cardiology of the AHA and as president of the New Orleans Friends of Music. He continues to serve on the board of his college’s alumni association and as medical director of the Heart Clinic of Louisiana. In his “free time” he is studying oil painting at the New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts and has built an art studio in his house.

BRIAN T. NOLAN has returned from Haiti, where he worked with Ray of Hope Christian Missions in St. Louis de Nord on his third yearly eye mission. Shortly after his return, he was deployed with the Army National Guard to Kuwait and Iraq to support Operation Iraqi Freedom.

A plastic and reconstructive surgeon, CRAIG DUFRESNE appeared in a National Geographic television special, titled “Honor Killings,” which documented his work in restoring a Pakistani woman’s disfigured face. He was also featured in a Discovery Channel documentary “Extreme Surgery: Saving Faces,” dealing with reconstructive procedures for a Phoenix police officer who sustained severe burns in an auto accident.

ELAINE BERLINSKY FAIN is serving as president of the Brown University Class of 1970 until 2005. She has a solo practice of internal medicine in the greater Providence area and serves on the executive committee of the Rhode Island Medical Society and on the Board of Directors of the Rhode Island Women's Association and GAIA (Global Alliance for Immunization against AIDS). Elaine and her husband, Barry, have a daughter, Jessica, who is a junior at the University of Pennsylvania, and a son, Evan, who is about to graduate high school.

An assistant clinical professor of family medicine at the University of Connecticut, MATTHEW M. FARRELL is a fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians. Also involved in sports medicine, he was attending physician for the Special Olympics World Games in 1995 and serves as a team physician at the University of Maryland in College Park. In 2002 he became certified by the American Board of Family Practice Adolescent Medicine and also holds qualifications in sports medicine and geriatrics.

ELLEN W. SEELY received the Clifford-Barger Mentorship Award from Harvard Medical School in 2003.

DAVID T. LEVENS is in the private practice of plastic surgery in Coral Springs, Fla. He served a two-year term as chief of surgery at Coral Springs Medical Center.

BRYAN A. LIANG has moved to Texas, where he is the John and Rebecca Moores University Professor at the University of Houston Law Center. He is director pro tempore of the Health Law and Policy Institute, which has the reputation of being the top program of its kind in the United States. In addition to his P&S M.D., Bryan holds a Ph.D. and a J.D.

WILLIAM T. REEVES practices in a public hospital satellite clinic with a multicultural/international patient mix. He is assistant professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at Emory University in Atlanta.

SEAN P. ELLIOTT is assistant professor of pediatrics in the infectious diseases section
at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Sean, along with his wife, Kim, their daughter Meghan and their dog Maxie “love living in the Sonoran Desert.”

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