Alumni News Editor: Marianne Wolff, M.D.
Alumni News Writer: Peter Wortsman
Medicine by the Book
By Peter Wortsman
“Coma,” “Outbreak,” “Mindbend,” “Mutation,” “Harmful Intent,” “Vital Signs,” “Fatal Cure,” “Foreign Body.” The titles alone make you tremble. Ever since Robin Cook’66, P&S’s homegrown answer to Britain’s (Dr.) Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, took the publishing world by storm in 1977 with his bestselling novel “Coma,” the reading public has kept his books on the bestseller list, craving his unique brand of medicine wrapped in a plot.
Hailed by the New York Times as “the master of the medical thriller,” Dr. Cook, an ophthalmologist by training, has tackled such complex medical issues as malpractice, organ harvesting, bioterrorism, cloning, and stem cell research in 28 novels to date. His latest book, “Foreign Body,” treats the controversial subject of medical tourism. Its publication was preceded by a widely viewed webcast series produced by Michael Eisner.
P&S caught up with the prolific author at his Boston home in September 2008.
|Robin Cook lecturing students
The Houses and Hospitals We Haunt
Reflecting on the appeal of his fiction, Dr. Cook observed: “We’re all going to be patients some time. You can write about great white sharks or haunted houses, and you can say I’m not going in the ocean or I’m not going into haunted houses, but you can’t say you’re not going to go into a hospital.
“Wrapped in the pleasure of a good read, I’m giving my readers information that actually is going to help them.”
His Georgian style six-story house on Louisburg Square in Boston’s historic Beacon Hill neighborhood may not be haunted, but time has put a patina on its stately façade, and Dr. Cook, an architecture and design buff, has made sure the interior is true to period. Reproductions of Attic vases and Roman friezes popular in the 19th century decorate the first floor. Italian landscapes and the portraits of Boston Brahmins line the second. Time tested himself, albeit still remarkably trim at 67, Dr Cook strives for the same fidelity in his books. “I really try to stay very accurate in the scientific basis of my books.”
His expression shifts from puzzlement to amusement as the interviewer pulls out a copy of his first published work, “The Effects of pO2 Changes on Neuronal Synaptic and Antidromic Excitability (Giant Neurons of Aplysia fasciata,)” co-authored with Gabriel G. Nahas and Nicholas Chalazonitis, published in the Bulletin de l’Institut Océanographique Monaco in 1965. The product of research conducted at the blood/gas lab he helped set up on a summer break from medical school at the Jacques Cousteau Oceanographic Institute, its tone and style are a far cry from that of his carefully crafted novels. But science is the substrate of his imagination, always informing his fiction.
Consider the following passage from the prologue to his 2005 novel “Marker”:
“Yet exactly at three-seventeen A.M., two nearly simultaneous, unrelated but basically similar, microcosmic events occurred on opposite sides of Central Park. … One was on a cellular level, the other on a molecular level. … The cellular level occurred in a moment of intense bliss and involved the forcible injection of slightly more than two hundred and fifty million sperm in a vaginal vault …”
The first thing that strikes one about the passage is how entertaining it is to read: Woody Allen’s “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex” meets C.S. Lewis’ “Lives of a Cell.” The second thing and this is one of the astounding qualities about the work is the solid grounding of his fiction in medical fact.
“I laugh when I write it,” he admits. “Of course I have a lot of fun with the language. And people have fun reading it. That’s why they take my books to the beach and on planes.” (His novels are on prominent display at most American airport bookstores.) “But I hope my readers get something else out of it too.”
That something else is knowledge.
“Marker” includes an acknowledgement to “my medical school, the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University. … Both my professional life and writing career have depended heavily on the foundation of knowledge and experience I learned and enjoyed at that fine institution.” The tribute seeps into the fiction too. Both lead characters, Drs. Laurie Montgomery and Jack Stapleton, a pair of medical examiners with exacting standards and a ferocious curiosity, attended P&S. The two reappear in several of his books. Dr. Stapleton, Dr. Cook avows, is a fictional alter ego.
On leave from the clinical faculty at Harvard Medical School, and ever the medical educator at heart, Dr. Cook is careful to underline the serious educational side of his literary pursuit. He is particularly proud of the fact that his books are taught in many high schools “because they’re good for both English and science.”
|Dr. Cook hopes that a Robin Cook’66 Professorship in Medical Ethics at P&S may help students strive for “the high standard of medical accountability that made them want to be docs in the first place.”
The Medicine is the Message
Reading Robin Cook, one is reminded of the lyrics of a song from the popular musical “Mary Poppins”: “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.” For hidden beneath the mask of the entertainer is the stern face of the practitioner dashing off a prescription for his loyal readers while taking his profession to task for promises broken or unfulfilled. Every novel has an implicit warning label: Medicine can be dangerous to your health. And a caveat: To be taken with a grain of salt.
In the words of Lorena Laura Stookey, author of the book, “Robin Cook: A Critical Companion”: “For Cook’s readers, a friendly and familiar figure once known as ‘Doc’ (the bearer of the ubiquitous black bag) has faded into legend. The black bag has long since given way to medical technology, and the ancient art of healing has been broadly named with obvious significance the health care industry.”
Dr. Cook concurs. “The most important underlying theme of my work is the fact that medicine and business got into bed together and remain much too close. People realize that medicine has really been taken over by business. And also, that some of the major changes in the practice, not necessarily for the better, that have occurred have actually come from outside the field.” A physician to the bone, he adds: “I’m embarrassed at the fact that the whole health industry ignores personal health, doing healthy things, exercise, eating properly. Medicine has just been dragged along by for-profit business.
“When I was in medical school,” he recalls, “my idea of medical practice was this old-fashioned very tight fiduciary relationship between the doctor and the patient. The patient was paying the doctor something he or she valued, whether it was potatoes or money or whatever. The doctor, in turn, was very conscious of the fact that this person was offering him something they held very dear, was willing to give it in exchange for expert medical advice. Both parties valued the relationship. So did the society. Things are a lot different today.”
He traces part of the problem back to medical school. While he remains a loyal alumnus and a staunch supporter of P&S, an institution he reveres (he funded the refurbishing of a gym in his name at Bard Hall and is in the process of setting up the endowment of a professorship in medical ethics, among other kindnesses), his own memories of the medical school experience are not all rosy.
He faults a curriculum that in his day stressed esoteric illness as opposed to common wellness. “You quickly became aware of what got you the good grades. First of all, on rounds, it made a very big difference which patient you happened to draw. If it was someone with one of those newly understood metabolic diseases you could give a little talk on and if there were some specific treatment based on this metabolic link, you got an A. But if your patient had just the run-of-the-mill sort of problem, obesity or diabetes, you realized that nobody really cared.”
Dr. Cook’s diagnosis is sobering. “Medical school takes a bunch of bright students, almost invariably altruistically minded which is a good portion of why they’ve gone into medicine and somehow, somewhere along the way, injects cynicism.” And while medical science has advanced at lightning speed, opening ever new horizons of knowledge, “the technology has distanced the physician from the patient and the science has raised important ethical issues.
“In my medical school days,” he recalls, “there was no department of medical ethics, no courses in ethics.” He hopes that a Robin Cook’66 Professorship in Medical Ethics at P&S may help students strive for “the high standard of medical accountability that made them want to be docs in the first place.” He cites the new Physicians Charter proposed by the Internal Medicine Society as a good working model. “Its key principles, as I recall, are patient autonomy, patient well being, and social equality.” Dr. Cook is a proponent of universal tax-based single-payer health insurance.
Surgery, Saturation Diving, and Literary Inspiration
|Robin Cook’66 on his doorstep in Boston
|Photograph by Peter Wortsman
Like most doctors, he was originally motivated to pursue the study of medicine by a genuine desire to help. The desire first crystallized into a goal around a high school sports accident he witnessed. “There was one episode in football where somebody broke their leg and I was right there. And I really wanted to help but I didn’t know what to do. And I thought to myself: Wow, what a power, to know what to do! That might have been the most significant episode that pushed me toward becoming a doctor.”
Valedictorian of his high school class in Leonia, N.J., he attended Wesleyan University, graduating summa cum laude. He came to P&S with high hopes, admittedly “awed by the tradition of the school,” and feeling “really lucky to be there.”
Coming from a family of modest economic means, he had to work his way through medical school, often holding down several jobs at the same time. One of these jobs entailed running a blood/gas chemistry laboratory for the cardiac surgery team at Presbyterian Hospital, where he crossed paths with pioneering heart surgeon James R. Malm’49, now professor emeritus of surgery and former chief of cardiac and thoracic surgery at Presbyterian Hospital. Inspired by Dr. Malm and other members of the team, Dr. Cook opted for a career in surgery, training at Queens Hospital in Honolulu. An avid surfer, he admits that the Honolulu lifestyle and the proximity of the world’s best waves were part of the allure.
Following the completion of his residency training, he was drafted into the Navy and, as luck would have it, assigned to submarine school and diving school. Time spent on a tour of duty submerged aboard the USS Kamehameha, a ballistic missile submarine and flagship of the Pacific fleet, and thereafter as a navy aquanaut medical officer assigned to the Deep Submergence Systems Project, proved fruitful in at least two respects.
A participant in pioneering diving research, he wrote up the results in “A Medical Watch Standers Guide to Saturation Diving,” his first published book. The data are still used today. The long periods of isolation while off duty on the submarine also offered him the occasion and the impulse to write his first literary work, “The Year of the Intern,” published in 1972. In it he formulated a critique of the human side of medical training. The book’s favorable reception prompted him to try again, this time targeting the bestseller list. With the analytical skills he had acquired in college and mastered in medical school, he carefully dissected every bestselling book on the New York Times list, isolating their structural strengths as well as the “active ingredients” that made them so appealing.
Writing nights, tapping the dark, heretofore unspoken, side of hospital care, he applied his flare for fiction and came up with “Coma,” a medical mystery about a scandal in organ harvesting by unscrupulous MDs. First drafting it as a screenplay, he later transformed the script into fast-paced prose. The result was a double bull’s-eye, the 1977 bestselling novel and the 1978 hit movie by the same name directed by Michael Crichton.
|Robin Cook’66, center,
with John Alexander’66, left,
and Steve Pauley’66 on Navy duty
“Most doctors are terrific,” he insists, “but there are a lot of doctors who are in it for the wrong reasons and aren’t necessarily very ethical. And in fact, when I wrote ‘Coma,’ I think part of the real appeal of the book was that people were surprised that the bad guys were the doctors. But no doctors were surprised. We all know there are some bad apples. But nobody talks about it.” The book has held up over time. Given the dearth of organs for transplantation and the growing demand, scandals abound.
Meanwhile, Dr. Cook shifted his medical focus to ophthalmology and trained at Harvard, then started a private practice in ophthalmology in Marblehead, Mass., and joined the clinical faculty at Harvard. An inveterate multi-tasker, he simultaneously matriculated as a full-time student at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and though he ultimately decided not to pursue politics as a calling, the experience kindled an interest in public health policy. He realized that his most powerful and effective tool was the pen.
While his writing eventually took precedence over his practice, Dr. Cook still sees himself first and foremost as a doctor who writes. “Sure, I’ve sold a lot of books, but you know, you have this idea of what a writer is like, and you know yourself too well. I still don’t think of myself as a writer.”
His international readership in the millions may beg to disagree. He was the recipient of the 2002 “Author of Vision” award presented by the RP International organization.
|Plaque of the titles of Dr. Cook’s books
|Photograph of plaque by Peter Wortsman
In his 28 books, 26 of which have made the bestseller list and all of which have been translated into 40 languages, Dr. Cook has dramatized such pressing medical issues and emergencies as egg donation (“Shock”), therapeutic cloning (“Seizure”), concierge medicine and malpractice (“Crisis”), cancer (“Fever”), and spreading pandemics (“Outbreak”).
The ideas come from a fine-tuned feel for medicine and its discontents. “I guess I’m just sensitive about any changes in medical care that might have a detrimental effect on the public.”
One book, in particular, “Vector” (1999), a book about medical terrorism, proved eerily prophetic, appearing as it did two years before the 2001 anthrax attacks that terrorized the United States. “They started in the mail, just like in my book. It’s a little unnerving,” Dr. Cook acknowledges. But as he points out, he got the terrorist tactics for his novel, “what they would be using and how and even all that stuff about the skinheads,” straight off the internet.
In another book, “Fever” (2000), one of his most popular, he wrote “about some of these companies up here in New England dumping toxic waste into the water supply. And then it all came to pass, everything came to pass within three or four years.”
Influencing Public Opinion and Public Policy
Dr. Cook takes very seriously the power of his influence on public opinion in medical matters. Active in the Republican Party, he is a personal friend of Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, who had him sign 650 copies of his last book, “Foreign Body,” on the dangers of medical tourism, and hand-delivered them to members of Congress.
“It’s a reflection on just how bad our health care system is: 180,000 Americans go to India each year to have their operations. How bad is that? It’s crazy! We’re pricing ourselves out of the competition. India, a Third World country, is doing 21st century medicine, competing with us, and doing better.”
Dr. Cook has used his considerable influence to push causes close to his heart, including stem cell research and the reform of the American health care system, agitating for a single payer plan.
“Almost everybody agrees that we have a terrible system. We’re not doing the right thing by doctors or patients. Too many people are making too much money out of it and not contributing enough. The astronomical salary paid to the CEO of a hospital or HMO is coming out of the total healthcare pie.” He uses his influence as a member of the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Board of Trustees, an appointment made by President George W. Bush.
Back to School
Meanwhile, the book ideas keep coming. Every September he researches a new subject. “September was always my favorite time of year: new school year, new course, new ideas…” He is currently working on a book project on issues relating to the uses and abuses of alternative medicine. “We’re pushing people in the direction of alternative medicine because regular medicine is getting too expensive and people don’t have insurance.”
September has acquired another special meaning, now that he and his wife, Jean, have a son. It’s back to school time for Cameron. At age 9, he shares his father’s insatiable curiosity. The author converted his old study in the house on Beacon Hill into a bedroom for the boy and, in a touching design metaphor, had Cameron’s bunk bed built around his old writing desk. Tapping his hobby of architectural design, he currently oversees the design of new additions and modifications to his summer house on Martha’s Vineyard and the interior design of a pied-à-terre in New York.
He also has begun to feel a tug of attachment to his medical alma mater. Dr. Cook delivered informal remarks to a packed house at the Donald F. Tapley Faculty Club as guest speaker at the September 2008 Alumni Council dinner. The visit stirred up strong feelings on the part of the listeners and the speaker.
“I have a current dream, crazy as it sounds, that I’d go back to P&S and start again,” he laughs. “What I’m really tempted to do, to tell you the truth, is to go back and spend a couple of weeks each year, just to see how different it is.”
|“We’re pushing people in the direction of alternative medicine because regular medicine is getting too expensive and people don’t have insurance.”
Rx for Travel
White Nights in St. Petersburg
By Peter Wortsman
|The Hermitage viewed from the Neva River
|Photograph by Peter Wortsman
The best time to see St. Petersburg, Russia’s northernmost city, is during the White Nights of summer, from late June through early July, when daylight lingers till midnight and the streets take on a soft amber glow. Viewed from Panteleimonovsky Bridge, where the Moika Canal flows into the Fontanka, with Mikhailovsky Castle shimmering magenta to one side and the Czars’ Summer Gardens a lush green mirage to the other, you’d swear three centuries had never lapsed until you turn onto Nevsky Prospekt, the fashionable artery in the heart of town, where strollers and rollerbladers keep the pulse pumping all night.
Founded in 1703 by Peter the Great, successively known as Petrograd and Leningrad, and rechristened St. Petersburg in the wake of Perestroika, the city retains a timeless aura. While Lenin still stands guard on the square that bears his name in front of Finland Station, with the symbolic wind whipping his petrified coat tails and hair, the birthplace of the Russian Revolution has all but erased revolutionary memories, reaching back to its imperial past to bolster a burgeoning consumerist present.
History haunts its stately facades and the treasures within. The Hermitage, the Czars’ winter palace, a green-hued architectural gem, houses one of the finest and most extensive art collections in the world. The Peter and Paul Fortress complex preserves Peter’s original concept (and his bones). The Russian Museum showcases Russian masters, from 14th century icon painter Andrei Rublev to avant-gardists Kasimir Malevich and Wassily Kandinsky. Literary buffs will tremble, as I did, crossing the threshold of the Dostoyevsky House Museum (5/2 Kuznechny Pereulok), where “The Brothers Karamazov” was born.
Tradition was rocked Nov. 7, 1917, when a canon fired from the deck of the Battleship Aurora, now a floating museum on the Neva River, signaled the start of the Russian Revolution.
Medical history was made here too. The Pavlov State Medical University of Saint Petersburg, founded in 1897 and formerly known as the St. Petersburg Women’s Medical Institute, Russia’s first medical school to admit women, was renamed for its most famous faculty member, the Nobel Prize-winning physiologist I.P. Pavlov. It is a part of Saint-Petersburg State University, whose noted alumni include chemist Dmitri I. Mendeleev, creator of the periodic table of elements, Vladimir Lenin, and Vladimir Putin. The D. Mendeleev Museum and Archives, on the grounds of the university, can be visited by appointment (Tel. 812-328-9744; museum@ID4330.spb.edu).
I stumbled on a P&S connection at an exhibit devoted to yet another Nobel laureate, poet Joseph Brodsky, at the Anna Akhmatova Museum (www.akhmatova.spb.ru). Akhmatova, the poetic conscience of the Stalin era, met and befriended the young Brodsky, who himself spent time in “psychiatric” detention and later emigrated to the United States. On display, amidst photographs and manuscripts, was a medical release form, issued on official Presbyterian Hospital stationery after open heart surgery, dated 1979, and signed by his cardiologist, Ronald Drusin’66.
Yet despite all its charms, St. Petersburg holds the visitor at arm’s length. Smiles are scarce. The Cyrillic alphabet on street signs is a challenge. Perhaps most startling to me was the bear cub on a bench beside the Bronze Horseman, the massive equestrian statue of Peter the Great in Decembrists Square. For 150 rubles you could have your picture taken cuddling it. Noting the length of its claws, muzzled though it was, I preferred to admire it from afar.
Alumni Association Activities
At the first council dinner of the season, Sept. 18, 2008, guest speaker, ophthalmologist-turned-bestselling novelist Robin Cook’66 kicked off a new P&S Leaders Series devoted to graduates who have become leaders in areas other than medicine. The series was initiated by Director of Alumni Relations Elizabeth Williams. A self-described “doctor who writes,” Dr. Cook, after signing copies of his latest book, “Foreign Body,” regaled a packed house of alumni and students with an informal talk titled “How I Surprised My Sixth Grade English Teacher.” Dr. Cook kept fellow alumni splitting their sides with laughter at his account of his career path from medical school to bestsellerdom. His purpose, he pointed out, has always been to use entertainment to teach the lay public about issues relating to medicine and medical care. [See Alumni Profile, P. 38]
Welcome to the Class of 2012
The highlight of the gathering for incoming students on Sept. 3, 2008, at the Donald F. Tapley Faculty Club was Nobel laureate Dr. Eric Kandel’s signing of his scientific memoir, “In Search of Memory.” A copy was offered to each new student. The event was made possible by the generosity of George A. Violin’67. Dr. Kandel is University Professor, Kavli Professor, and director of the Kavli Institute for Brain Sciences and senior investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2000 for his pioneering work on the science of memory. Dr. Kandel told the students in attendance that “coming to Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons is an opportunity of a lifetime. I think there are few places that will provide you with such an enjoyable educational experience. I truly envy you.” Dr. Violin followed Dr. Kandel to the podium. “Forty-five years ago this week,” he recalled, “I entered P&S as a first-year student. In some way it was the best four years of my life. I owe a great deal to this school and I am sure that you will profit from your experience here as richly as I did.” A wine and cheese reception followed.
|Dr. Eric Kandel signs books
||Lee Goldman with George Violin’67
Second- and third-year students participated in the annual P&S Career Fair in October 2008. The fair is sponsored by the Alumni Office and the Dean’s Office. As a first-time attendee I was very impressed with the scale of the event and how well organized it was. More than 15 specialties were represented by chief residents and other attendees. All the chief residents and attendees were extremely gracious, sincere, and genuinely interested in talking to students. It was so useful to hear from young residents who can relate to students and recall their journey from second/third year of medical school to where they are now. Also, a lot of myths and stigmas about certain specialties were dispelled and I was able to speak to residents from different specialties that I never knew existed. In addition, free food and beverages are always a plus! Catherine Chang’11
By Marianne Wolff’52
|2009 Dates to Remember
Parents day for families of P&S students
Alumni reunion weekend
Class Day for Class of 2009
Steven Z. Miller Student Clinician
Ceremony for the Class of 2011
(transition ceremony for second-year students
beginning clinical year)
White Coat Ceremony for the Class of 2013
Class of 1953
Marvin L. Sears, former chairman of Yale’s Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, which he founded, is being honored with a Festschrift. He is best known for his research in adrenergic pharmacology of the eye and is the author of two major textbooks and more than 200 articles in the field. He received a Merit grant from the NIH and was honored with the Friedenwald lectureship. In addition he is credited with being the structural organizer and first consultant for the National Eye Institute and the National Institutes of Health. Yale established a senior professorship and an endowed chair in his name in 1993.
Class of 1954
At the 2008 P&S graduation ceremony Vincent J. Butler, professor emeritus of medicine at P&S, received a P&S Distinguished Service Award.
|Vincent Butler’54 receives his distinguished service
award from Lee Goldman, dean, left, and Clyde Wu’56, a University Trustee.
Class of 1957
In September 2008 the Mayo Clinic Alumni Association bestowed one of its Mayo Clinic Distinguished Alumni Awards on Robert B. Wallace, a thoracic surgeon, who contributed innovations to the field. He has authored 250 articles or book chapters and is a member of the American College of Surgeons and the Thoracic Surgery Foundation for Research and Education. The Mayo Clinic Award is for national or international peer recognition of accomplishments in education, research, clinical practice or administration; for strengths in scientific discovery and publications; for leadership in the field; for outstanding community service or for professional and personal integrity.
Class of 1959
The Mailman School of Public Health presented its 2008 Dean’s Distinguished Service Award for “outstanding overall contributions to Public Health” to the late Allan Rosenfield, dean emeritus, the Delamar Professor Emeritus of Public Health Practice, professor of population and family health, and professor of obstetrics and gynecology at P&S. (See In Memoriam, Pages 32, 36)
Class of 1961
See Class of 2008 for news of Bob Mulcare.
Class of 1965
Theodore H. Stanley was one of two recipients of the 2008 Hall of Fame awards given by the Utah Technology Council. The awards are presented for “outstanding achievements and the impact ... made to improving not only the way of life in Utah but to improving it throughout the world.” Ted is professor of anesthesiology at the University of Utah and also holds a research professorship in its Department of Surgery. One of Ted’s interests is wildlife immobilization techniques and he has consulted at numerous veterinary schools, zoos, and wildlife parks. In addition Ted has been a frequent consultant to the FBI hostage rescue team and the CIA. He has been a visiting professor throughout the United States as well as worldwide. On the basis of his having founded or co-founded eight life science companies and three research and educational foundations, Ted has been dubbed a “serial entrepreneur.”
Class of 1966
Ron Drusin has been named vice dean for education at P&S. See Page 5 for the full announcement.
In September 2008 Robert J. Lefkowitz received the National Medal of Science for his contributions to biology. This is the nation’s highest award for science. The medal recognizes Bob’s research into the largest, most important, and therapeutically accessible receptor system, which controls the body’s response to drugs and hormones. Bob is currently affiliated with Duke University Medical Center, where he is the James B. Duke Professor of Medicine and Biochemistry. In addition Bob is one of the longest-serving investigators for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The award ceremony was at the White House.
Class of 1972
Scott Hammer received one of the P&S Department of Medicine’s 2008 Ewig awards for excellence in clinical education. Scott chairs the Division of Infectious Diseases.
Class of 1973
A recipient of one of the P&S Department of Medicine’s annual Ewig awards for excellence in clinical education, J. Gregory Mears, is in the Division of Oncology.
At the 49th annual Auxiliary Autumn Ball in October 2008, the Auxiliary of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital presented Michael Nissenblatt with the President’s Award of Excellence. The theme of the ball was in tribute to the RWJUH Breast Care Connection. Michael, the first full-time oncologist at RWJUH, is clinical professor at the medical school and associate director of oncology at the hospital; he has authored more than 40 papers in prestigious journals. He has been included among top doctors in regional and state listings. He is boarded in internal medicine and medical oncology.
Class of 1974
David G. Savage (Division of Oncology) and Byron N. Thomashow (Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care) received 2008 Ewig awards, presented by the P&S Department of Medicine for excellence as clinical educators.
Class of 1975
David A. Rubin was recognized by the P&S Department of Medicine for excellence in clinical teaching with one of the 2008 Ewig awards. David is in the Division of Cardiology.
At the graduation ceremonies of the Mailman School of Public Health, the Class of 2008 honored Paul Brandt-Rauf with this year’s award for teaching excellence. Paul is chair and professor of environmental health sciences at Mailman and professor of medicine at P&S. He holds Sc.D. and DrPH degrees in addition to his M.D.
|Class of 1979
Donald Kurth has been elected president- elect of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, the national professional organization representing physicians who treat addictive diseases. The 3,000-member professional organization has provided leadership in the field of addiction research, treatment, and public policy for more than 50 years. Former president of the California Society of Addiction Medicine and former leadership fellow at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, he received a master’s degree in public administration-mid-career from the JFK School of Government at Harvard. After finishing his degree at Harvard, he resumed his position as mayor of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., as well as his role as associate professor of preventive medicine and psychiatry at the Loma Linda University School of Medicine.
Class of 1983
Donald W. Landry has been named chairman of the Department of Medicine at P&S. See Page 3 for the full announcement.
Myla P. Lai-Goldman, vice president and chief medical officer of LabCorp, has joined the scientific advisory board of GenVault. She also manages the Center for Molecular Biology and Pathology in North Carolina, the National Genetics Institute in Los Angeles, and Viro-Med Laboratories in Minneapolis. Myla is board-certified in anatomic and clinical pathology.
Class of 1991
The Society for Academic Emergency Medicine has named David C. Cone editor-in-chief of Academic Emergency Medicine, effective January 2009. Dave is associate professor of emergency medicine and public health at Yale. Before that he was at the Medical College of Pennsylvania. He has been senior associate editor of Academic Emergency Medicine since 2001. In addition he has served as deputy editor of Prehospital Emergency Care, the official journal of the National Association of EMS Physicians; Dave is currently president of that organization.
Class of 1992
Barry A. Singer, adjunct assistant professor of clinical neurology at Washington University School of Medicine, is director at the new MS Center for Innovations in Care, located on the campus of Missouri Baptist Medical Center in St. Louis. Barry is a member of the American Academy of Neurology and serves as a member of the advisory committee of the Gateway Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. In 2008 Barry received the Pathlighter Award from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and received a proclamation from Congressman Russ Carnahan, co-chair of the Congressional MS caucus, “for accomplishments in research in MS.”
Class of 1997
The Preuss Award in Neuro-Oncology for 2008 was given to Andrew B. Lassman. The award, supported by the American Academy of Neurology and its neuro-oncology section, recognizes young clinical investigators who have demonstrated exceptional commitment and potential in clinical neuro-oncology research. The purpose of the award is to foster an interest in clinical and translational research in neuro-oncology and recognize important and relevant clinical advances in the discipline.
Class of 2001
Anita Sen has been appointed assistant professor of pediatrics in critical care medicine at P&S. Her particular interest is in acute lung injury and the role played by matrix metalloproteases.
Class of 2004
Shearwood McClelland III received the Cone Pevehouse Award, granted annually by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons for the best investigation of socioeconomic issues in neurosurgery.
|Class of 2008
Classmates Mary Mulcare and Joe Shonkwiler were married June 7, 2008, in Greenwich, Conn. Father Daniel Morrissey, retired P&S chaplain, officiated. “It was the finale to a series of weddings of other classmates over the preceding five weeks,” Mary writes. “Joe and I met while at P&S during orientation of first year. We were fast friends in first year, started dating in second year, got engaged third year, and celebrated our wedding after graduation fourth year!” After a brief honeymoon in Bermuda, they started residency at NYP/Columbia, Joe in general surgery and Mary in emergency medicine. The wedding photo is heavily P&S, with many students from the classes of 2007 to 2009. Everyone in this photo (except for Father Morrissey) is a P&S grad, including the bride’s father, Bob Mulcare’61.
|From left are (bottom) Nadia Salim, Meghan Sise, Melissa Laudano,
Leslie Fink, Mary Mulcare, Joe Shonkwiler, Bob Mulcare;
(second row) Rob Neely, Kristen Knoll, Cristina Brau, Lauren Maskin,
Jessica Sims; (third row) David Wei, Gillian Diercks, David Wing,
Ankoor Shah, Jon Chang; and (top) Father Morrissey, Richard Weinberg,
Paul Allyn, and Darshan Doshi.
|Class of 1953 Leads with Alumni Professorships
By Peter Wortsman
Every P&S class has its share of heavy hitters in academic and clinical medicine. Yet while respected by their peers and revered by their students and patients, great doctors don’t always get to enjoy public acclaim for the quality of their care. Two members of the Class of 1953 have received the highest honor a medical school can confer on its own, thanks to the generosity of grateful patients. Stanley Edelman’53, a retired surgeon and longtime member of the teaching faculty at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, was recently honored with the creation of a Mount Sinai professorship in his name. A Stanley Edelman Professorship in Surgery is also in the works at P&S, supported in part by a seed gift from the Nias Foundation. Another member of the class, Edgar M. Housepian’53, a retired neurosurgeon and professor emeritus of clinical neurological surgery, was honored by the creation of a professorship in his name at P&S. Support came from the bequest of the late James Simpson Lynch Jr., a grateful patient, and his wife, Elizabeth. Dr. Housepian himself played an instrumental role in establishing the J. Lawrence Pool’32 Professorship in Neurological Surgery, named for his teacher and friend. Both Drs. Edelman and Housepian were leaders in the successful effort to gather support from their class to honor a beloved teacher, the late Dr. Harold Brown, with a fellowship in his name.