By Peter Wortsman
Profiles in Giving
Alumni Largesse Gives Incoming Leader Tools to Do the Job
|Judith Sulzberger’49 with Dean Lee Goldman
ASKED TO REFLECT ON HIS LATEST LARGESSE, THE WU FAMILY Fund pledge of $5 million in unrestricted funds to be used at the discretion of the new dean, Lee Goldman, Clyde Wu’56 recalled the famous words of Sir Winston Churchill: “Give us the tools and we will finish the job.”
“When the right person appears on the horizon and is needed by our beloved university, we do what we can,” Dr. Wu adds. “Dr. Goldman is that person, we trust in his vision, and we want to give him the tools to do it right.”
A Columbia University trustee and stalwart P&S alumnus, Dr. Wu and his wife, Helen, have lent their name and imprimatur to four endowed professorships, an active academic exchange program with China, their own student loan fund, and the Anke Nolting Student Loan Fund, among other initiatives. In recognition of the significant support of $10 million by Dr. and Mrs. Wu, the University approved the renaming of the Center for Molecular Cardiology in their honor.
“In all of our philanthropy, we always invest in people,” says Dr. Wu, noting his enthusiasm for such notable P&S recruits as Dr. Andrew Marks, who holds the Wu Chair in Molecular Cardiology, and Dr. James Rothman, who holds the Wu Chair in Chemical Biology.
“We treasure the coming of Dr. Goldman,” Dr. Wu says on behalf of himself and his wife. “As a cardiologist, I have, of course, followed his career with great interest, especially his decade at the helm of the Department of Medicine at UCSF, which he helped build into the No. 1 NIH-funded department in the country. His additional training in public health and his concern for medical outcomes are very much needed at this time. We believe he has the capacity to inspire the faculty, the students, the staff, and the alumni to take P&S to new heights.”
Welcoming a New Dean with Chili and Gifts
Judith Sulzberger’49, a member of the Health Sciences Advisory Council and another of the medical school’s most steadfast alumni, welcomed Dean Goldman into the P&S family with a spicy Southwestern chili dinner at her home in Lubec, Maine, a cocktail reception at her Manhattan apartment, a $1 million gift to the Judith Sulzberger, M.D. Columbia Genome Center, and a $1 million gift to the Rosenfield Tribute Fund, a fund established to recognize Allan Rosenfield’59, retiring dean of the Mailman School of Public Health, and to help recruit a worthy successor.
Like Dr. Wu, she believes that Dr. Goldman is the right individual to lead P&S at this time: “He’s a very personable man with just the right mix, I think, of charisma, scientific knowledge, know-how, and humanity.”
Dr. Sulzberger’s benefactions to her medical alma mater include the endowment of the Isidore Edelman, M.D., Professorship in Biochemistry and Molecular Physics, named in memory of the genome center’s former director. Recipient of the P&S Alumni Gold Medal for Service and the Alumni Federation Medal for Distinguished Service, she also has supported scientific and educational exchange between the genome center and the Pasteur Institute in Paris, for which she was named a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor. Her work with the Genome Center inspired her to write a novel, “Younger.”
Anke Nolting, Ph.D., associate dean and executive director of development and alumni relations, saluted Drs. Wu and Sulzberger as “true friends of learning” and expressed the hope that other alumni and friends of the school would step up to bat in support of Dean Goldman.
Alumni Association Activities
Alumni Council Dinner
Lee Goldman, M.D., the new executive vice president for health and biomedical sciences and dean of the faculties of
health sciences and medicine, officially introduced himself to the P&S alumni at the Alumni Council dinner on Sept. 21, 2006.
|Alumni Association president Jacqueline Bello’80 with Dean Lee Goldman
One of Dean Goldman’s first priorities, he said, was to reestablish financial stability as a foundation of good science. He added that one of his key roles as dean of the faculty is to aggregate talent. “This,” he said, “requires adequate space, facilities, and the kind of culture that people want to join.”
An overhaul of the curriculum is another top priority. Dr. Goldman pointed out that a lot has changed in medicine and society since the last significant review of the curriculum in 1990. Among the curricular reforms he would like considered is a shortening of the pre-clinical time in the basic sciences. He proposes the creation of “gaps,” or pauses, in clinical clerkship rotations, “so people can come back to classroom experiences reinvigorated and realizing the importance of basic sciences in a way they might not have if they did just back-to-back rotations.” He is also proposing establishment of a medical school “major” similar to that in college to allow medical students an opportunity to focus on a specific area and benefit from a mentoring experience similar to that of trainees.
“We don’t have all the answers,” he said, “but we are going to be creative. In my view, the most important thing we can teach our medical students is how to learn. Medicine is a lifelong learning experience. The goal of four years of medical school is not to present our students every imaginable fact, but rather to get them excited about the facts that will come down the line.”
Space is another key issue. Currently, he pointed out, students spend a significant amount of time in transit (i.e., elevators) between the facilities at the Hammer building and Presbyterian’s 17th floor. “We are looking at the possibility of turning the underutilized lower two floors of the library into educational space.” He also mentioned discussions under way regarding the construction of an education building.
Acknowledging the skyrocketing cost of tuition at P&S, as at all major American medical schools, Dean Goldman said his administration would work on ways to decrease the rate of increase in tuition and increase the amount of financial aid available. As in the past, the school depends on alumni largesse to support student financial aid. At the same time, he urged a maximization of the value of the educational experience. He suggested that P&S “should be thinking every day how to make this a ‘value-added day’ for our students.”
To the alumni in attendance, he stressed that “your dedication to P&S is a big part of the value-added experience for our students. You can go around the country and it’s extraordinarily unusual to find this kind of gathering of alumni once every five years, or even once a year, let alone every other month. You all are what make this family so special.”
New Students Reception
|Dean of Students Lisa Mellman
|Henry Spotnitz’66, Sharon Spotnitz, and their son, Matthew’10
president Jacqueline Bello’80
“They’re getting younger,” said Roy Brown’56, clinical professor of pediatrics and public health, as he described the faces at this year’s new students reception in September. Another alumni-faculty member, Henry Spotnitz’66, the George H. Humphreys II Professor of Surgery, was also on hand with his wife, Sharon, to mark the entry of their son, Matthew, into the Class of 2010. Alumni Association president Jacqueline Bello’80 recalled meeting many of the members of the class at the White Coat Ceremony and reminded the students that “we alumni are here for you.” Dean of Students Lisa Mellman predicted that the class would “become a very tight-knit community.” Former Alumni Association presidents Marianne Wolff ’52 and Shearwood McClelland’74, both parents of alumni, readily concurred.
Alumna Hosts Reception for Dean Goldman
|From left, Robin Cook’66, Anke Nolting, Robert S. Waldbaum’62, Dean Lee Goldman, and Judith Sulzberger’49
|Dean Goldman with Kenneth Forde’59
The Venetian gondola serenely gliding by 25 flights below in the Central Park pond suggested new ways to navigate rush hour traffic. The unlikely sight set the stage for a cocktail reception in the home of Judith Sulzberger’49 to honor incoming dean Dr. Lee Goldman. “I have been at three other institutions, but no place rivals the loyalty that P&S engenders,” he said, saluting the alumni leadership in attendance. My goal,” he said, “is nothing less than to make P&S the flagship of Columbia University. New York should be the same kind of center for biomedical science that it is for the arts and finance.” Dr. Goldman pledged to work hard to make it happen.
|2007 Dates to Remember
Parents day for families of P&S students
Alumni reunion weekend
Class Day for Class of 2007
Steven Z. Miller Student Clinician Ceremony (transition ceremony for second-year students beginning clinical year)
White Coat Ceremony for incoming first-year students
By Marianne Wolff’52
Class of 1949
Howard L. Kantor’s granddaughter is a P&S student in the Class of 2009. She represents the third generation in the family to attend P&S “and so ad infinitum,” quotes Howard.
Class of 1951
Stephen Fleischer has been practicing pediatrics in Ross County, Ohio, for more than 50 years. At 81, he still puts in a six-day week but has cut back by not taking night call anymore. One of his associates in the practice was a patient of Steve’s who, at age 10, announced he wanted to become a pediatrician. In 2003 the Ohio chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics awarded Steve the first Community Pediatrician of the Year Award, describing him as “the consummate clinician, still spending time with his patients, discussing their health and, often more important, their lives.”
Class of 1956
A semi-retired child psychiatrist, Christopher H. Hodgman consults at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, N.Y., eight hours a week. He also has used his expertise abroad, spending six months in New Zealand in 2001 and three months in the Seychelles in 2005. As a diversion, Chris is a “community forester” and “master gardener” for the Cornell Agricultural Extension in Rochester.
Class of 1959
A profile of Allan Rosenfield starts on Page 15 of this issue.
Class of 1961
An article published in 2001 by Alan A. Wanderer et. al and subsequent papers were the theme of a laudatory summary in the New England Journal of Medicine in August 2006. Alan and his co-authors discovered the gene that causes familial inherited cold intolerance, which is mediated by cryopyrin inflammasome; this plays an important role in cold intolerance, inflammation, and even gout. Alan is clinical professor of pediatrics and allergy at the University of Colorado Health Science Center. His co-authors are at the University of California, San Diego. The summary in the New England Journal calls the discovery “the Rosetta stone of innate immunity.”
Class of 1962
After 36 years of service, Robert S. Waldbaum has stepped down as chairman of the Department of Urology at North Shore University Hospital; he will become chairman emeritus. The Robert Waldbaum Chair of Urology has been created in his honor. Bob will continue his private practice of urology and will be able to devote more time to the Kidney and Urology Foundation of America, on which he serves as chairman of the Urology Board, as well as the American Urological Association, where he is a board member and historian.
Class of 1963
The University of Oklahoma has honored David C. Kem with the title of George Lynn Cross Professor in Research. This is the highest honor the university bestows, and it recognizes David’s contributions to translational research. Formerly chief of endocrinology, he is still active in the Department of Medicine. His research interests include causes and prevention of sudden cardiac death after myocardial infarction and autoimmune/endocrine causes of cardiovascular disease. David and his group have described a new cause of hypertension, related to nonfocal stenotic aberrant renal arteries (Hypertension 2005; 46: 1-6). David and his wife, Janet, have five children and 21 grandchildren.
Class of 1965
In the summer of 2006, Roberta L.A. Carroll received the title of Chevalier (Knight) of the National Order of the Legion of Honor by President Jacques Chirac of France, to recognize her as “an eminent professor of medicine ... and a great philanthropist.” Leigh, as she prefers to be called, has held positions on the faculties of Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, the University of Paris, and the All India Medical Institute in New Delhi. She spent four years at the Université Paris VII and as senior medical consultant for the installation of the first French-constructed full body scanner at Hopital Saint Louis in Paris, where she helped train a generation of French radiologists in CT, ultrasound, digital imaging, and low radiation techniques for mammography. Leigh holds many committee assignments nationally and internationally; she has lectured extensively in many parts of the world and also has published numerous scientific papers. Unfortunately she was forced to retire from clinical practice of radiology for health reasons; she is now working on the development of imaging techniques for early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias with an appointment as adjunct professor of psychiatry at NYU. Leigh’s husband, the Hon. Joseph P. Carroll, was appointed Officer of the Legion of Honor a year before Leigh received the honor. They represent one of the few married couples recognized individually with appointments to the Legion of Honor. The Carrolls have two sons. Aside from their professional careers, they are patrons of the arts, supporting museums in the United States and abroad.
Class of 1973
The Food and Drug Administration has appointed Mark Goldberger as medical director for emerging and pandemic threat preparedness in its Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. Mark will serve as senior adviser for the center’s pandemic flu program to plan, coordinate, and implement activities related to the development and evaluation of products for emerging and pandemic threats. Mark’s background is in infectious diseases; he also has held positions with the CDC.
Class of 1976
Jeffrey M. Davis has been named chief medical officer of KP Healthy Solutions in Oakland, Calif. Healthy Solutions is owned jointly by Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and the Permanente Federation. It provides “whole person, total health care management programs to medium and large employers nationwide.” After training in pediatrics and medical genetics in California Jeff held academic positions at the University of Wisconsin and the University of New Mexico. He also received a master’s degree in public health from the University of California, Berkeley.
Class of 1978
Professor and assistant chairman of ob/gyn at the University of Florida College of Medicine in Jacksonville, Andrew M. Kaunitz received the Warner Chilcott Innovations in Perimenopausal Contraception Award from the North America Menopause Society; the award recognizes “an individual whose body of research has made an important contribution to the understanding of contraception in older women of reproductive age.”
Carolyn Riester O’Connor (formerly Carolyn E. Riester) co-authored “Osteoporosis for Dummies,” published by Wiley in 2005. She recently appeared on Discovery Health’s “Mystery Diagnosis.” Since 2001, she has served as chief of rheumatology at Drexel University College of Medicine (formerly MCP/Hahnemann University) in Philadelphia. She has two children, ages 24 and 21.
Class of 1979
Gerard Bilotto Esq., who received a Ph.D. from the Department of Physiology and Biophysics in 1979, has become a partner in the corporate department and the intellectual property group of Fox, Rothschild, a New York law firm. He will focus on biotech and pharmaceutical litigation, toxicology, pharmacokinetics, drug efficacy, and intellectual property, among other fields. In addition to the Ph.D., Jerry has an M.S. degree in biomechanics from Columbia’s School of Engineering & Applied Science and an M. Phil in physiology from Columbia.
Class of 1983
Mayo Clinic neurologist Richard J. Caselli is involved in collaborative research on Alzheimer’s disease, using tools such as genetics and advanced brain imaging. The goal is to understand what happens in the brain before overt symptoms of memory loss and dementia develop, find ways to slow the progression from normal aging to Alzheimer’s, and develop novel therapeutics to prevent the disease. The research is performed at Mayo Clinic’s three campuses. The researchers are striving “to spare future generations the devastation so many now face.”
Class of 1987
Graduation exercises at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in May 2006 included the conferring of an M.P.H. on Daniel C. Schainholz. He was one of the inaugural Sommer Scholars and was inducted into Delta Omega, the National Public Health Honor Society. Before returning to San Francisco he received a certificate in public health preparedness in practice. Back in San Francisco he plans to study the effectiveness of vision rehabilitation, as an intervention in the geriatric population, on costly adverse health care outcomes; Dan will continue his other interests in disaster preparedness and mass gathering event medicine.
Class of 1990
Craig E. Sammitt, a board-certified internist who also holds an MBA in health care management from the Wharton School of Business, has been named president and CEO of Dean Health System in Madison, Wis.; this system includes 500 physicians, 60 locations, and more than 3,000 employees.
Class of 1993
Benjamin Suratt, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, has received a five-year research grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health to pursue further studies of respiratory distress syndrome, which affects about 200,000 persons annually in the United States and kills about 40 percent of them. Ben will focus his research on the role of cytokines in this condition.
Class of 2000
Gaurav Aggarwal, who holds a B.S. in business management from Cornell, has been with several venture capital firms since graduation. He is now with Panorama Capital, a life sciences and technology investor located in Menlo Park, Calif. He also sits on the boards of a number of other life sciences investment companies. Gaurav resides in San Carlos, Calif.
From the Classes
Class of 2007: Jody Jones
By Irene Lo and Mark Mann
As Match Day 2007 looms ahead, many will notice that several faces that originally made up the Class of 2007 will be missing from those waiting in line for their Match letters. Notably absent will be Jody Jones, a member of the original Class of 2007 cohort, who has been admired by his classmates for being a “compassionate clinician,” a “dedicated and bright student,” and a “devoted friend.” Like several members of the Class of 2007, Jody has chosen to take a year off from his medical studies. He will pursue an exciting research opportunity in medical informatics with the Department of Anesthesiology.
With diverse interests that include physics, the humanities, Tae Kwon Do, Capoeira, PlayStation, and, of course, medicine, Jody Jones stands out among his classmates as a well-rounded individual who has been able to balance life and work almost effortlessly. Jody’s interest in science began during his childhood when his mother, a respiratory therapist at the time with a background in science and biology, strongly encouraged Jody’s curiosity and inquisitive nature. Jody says his family has always been supportive of his education and his choices.
As an undergraduate at Adelphi University, Jody continued to pursue his interests in the sciences by majoring in physics. Jody was drawn to physics because, as he explains, “it is an effort to describe the basic nature of everything in the most elegant form” and he found that to be a great source of intellectual gratification. However, Jody’s journey toward a career in medicine did not begin until his junior year of college, when he began to explore his options and realized that medicine was the perfect fit.
After having attended P&S for nearly four years, Jody is very thankful for the diverse and intellectual environment that exists here. He chose P&S because he felt that it offered its students the best opportunities, both personal and professional, during and after medical school. He saw the P&S combination of location, patient base, student life and support, curriculum, and research opportunities to be unmatched by any other institution.
As his years at P&S come to an end, Jody plans to match anesthesiology, a field that he enjoys. His experiences as a third-year medical student taught him that it is important to match in a field that one finds stimulating and rewarding, that one feels that he or she is good at, and allows one to enjoy the other parts of life as well. Jody feels that anesthesiology will allow him this and more. We are confident that Jody’s future patients will agree that they could not find themselves in more capable hands.
Class of 2008: Erin Ferenchick
By Bram Welch-Horan
Many students arrive at medical school itching to begin their clinical work as soon as possible. Often, it is only later that they realize the importance of health policy and its impact on clinical practice and the care patients receive. For Erin Ferenchick’08, however, it was largely the opposite. Having worked extensively in Africa, her primary medical interests were, at the time she arrived at P&S, focused more on issues affecting whole populations, such as the problems of access to care and the economics of health systems.
Raised in Lawrenceville, N.J., Erin had childhood dreams of becoming a physician. But in her first year of college at Princeton, she found herself far more captivated by anthropology than by general chemistry. Early in her college career, a trip to Kenya with Operation Smile, an organization that treats cleft palate and cleft lip syndromes in developing countries, proved to be a defining moment in her life. “I fell in love with Africa,” she said. “It became like a second home.” In subsequent summers, she returned to East Africa to do research on decentralized health policy and cost-sharing in community health care. “Medicine was always in the background,” she points out, “but in a more holistic sense.”
Only two weeks after graduating from Princeton, Erin left for Somalia to begin relief work with refugees under the auspices of the International Rescue Committee. Her projects ranged from a nonformal education program for internally displaced persons to a community-based emergency obstetrics program. Erin feels her training in anthropology was the perfect preparation for her efforts overseas. “It gave me a more holistic approach to the work and the distance to appreciate cultural subtleties and their impact on what I was doing.” After more than a year with the IRC, she became executive director of Princeton in Africa, an organization that develops programs to allow recent Princeton graduates to work with nonprofit organizations serving African nations.
But as it turned out, chemistry was still to play a role in Erin’s academic future. When she was trying to decide on a direction for her graduate education and, ultimately, her career, a conversation with her former adviser at Princeton proved decisive. “He said, ‘You can be a doctor and do anthropology, but you can’t be an anthropologist and do medicine,’” she recalls. Soon afterward, she entered a postbaccalaureate pre-med program, which paved the way for her transition to P&S.
Now that she is in her third year of medical school, Erin has realized that she would like to pursue a career that blends clinical medicine and public health work. To that end, she plans to apply to residency programs in family medicine. She feels this mode of training will allow the combined cultivation of her interests in medicine, social and behavioral aspects of health, and a comprehensive approach to care. She would like to return to East Africa some day as a physician. “I can even see myself raising a family there,” she says.
Class of 2009: Jordan Jacobs
By Darius Fewlass’09 with Jeanne Franzone’09
The second year of medical school is a watershed year filled with several milestones: examining a patient during physical diagnosis, finishing the last exam of the pre-clinical years, and completing step one of the USMLE. For Jordan Jacobs and his wife, Mary, the list also includes the upcoming birth of their first child.
Jordan Jacobs, like nearly one-third of the Class of 2009, matriculated to Columbia after pursuing another career. In contrast to most of his classmates who knew they would return to medicine at some point, Jordan believed his life was permanently headed in another direction. After graduating from Arizona State University, Jordan accepted a job as the area director for Young Life, a nondenominational Christian ministry that offers mentoring, club meetings, and fellowship to adolescents. Jordan’s position at Young Life affirmed his commitment to an organization that had a significant impact on his own life during high school and as a staff member during college. At Young Life he learned the administrative, managerial, and fund-raising skills needed to run a nonprofit organization while also doing a job he valued: mentoring and guiding the lives of inner city youth in Phoenix. Under his leadership Young Life expanded to three area high schools and more than 300 students.
In his third year at Young Life Jordan’s mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Jordan’s position at Young Life afforded him the flexibility to be actively involved in his mother’s care and to accompany her on medical appointments and chemotherapy treatments. During his mother’s battle against cancer Jordan began to consider whether the medical profession could be another means to improve lives in his community. With the encouragement of his family and Mary by his side, Jordan applied to a wide range of medical schools and was accepted at several schools throughout the country. They selected P&S for its location, student body, and the academic and career opportunities offered.
Although Jordan and Mary plan to settle in Arizona, they have taken full advantage of New York with weekend explorations of the city. They also attend religious services at Redeemer Presbyterian and spend the remainder of their free time planning for the arrival of their child in April. When on campus Jordan can be found in the free weight club, at the latest BALSO and IHO events, or in the library.
Jordan is a great example of the multi-faceted and committed students who fill the halls of P&S and make it a unique medical school.
Class of 2010: Mark Pope
By Kelly Fahl’10
Mark Pope is not your typical first-year medical student. This is apparent at first sight: At 6’10” he towers over the average person. Unlike his peers, many of whom came straight from college or from research labs, Mark comes to P&S from the NBA.
After spending most of his childhood in New York and Washington state, Mark attended college in Washington and Kentucky, where he was a member of the NCAA championship team in 1996. He graduated with a degree in English and, at the time, thought he would like to be a teacher or college professor after his career in basketball. Over the next few years, he played basketball in Turkey then for the Indiana Pacers, the New York Knicks, and the Denver Nuggets.
When Mark thought about what to do after basketball, he considered business school, law school, and even owning Subway franchises. His favorite part of the NBA was the community service work visiting high schools and hospitals and meeting children through the Make-A-Wish program. At the end of the day, he wanted a career that brought meaning and challenge to his life. Medicine was the perfect fit. His family, some influential friends, doctors, and his coursework helped him decide. Mark volunteered in the ER in Denver while he played for the Nuggets, so lucky fans at the hospital got to meet him!
To reach his goals, he took postbaccalaureate premed courses while playing for the NBA. This required a lot of studying on the road and a lot of accommodating professors at Columbia, NYU, Marquette, and Colorado. Taking classes was an enjoyable escape from playing basketball. With the busy schedule of a professional basketball player, he relied on independent study arrangements. His teammates thought he was crazy to lug organic chemistry textbooks on plane flights across the country and to study at night after a big game.
When Mark finishes up in the anatomy lab, he goes home and spends time with his wife, Lee Anne, and his three daughters, Ella, Avery, and Layla (all under the age of 5). He also volunteers as a youth group leader at his Mormon church and even finds time for camping trips as a Boy Scout troop leader.
Mark has enjoyed the first months of medical school and has gotten involved with the P&S Ethics Club. His classmates love having him around because of his big smile and his positive team-player attitude. Mark isn’t sure what specialty he wants to pursue, but whatever he chooses is sure to be a slam-dunk.