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Sept. 11 Memorial Ceremony The U.S. flag atop the Presbyterian Hospital building flew at half-mast on Sept. 11, 2002, to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks that killed more than 3,000 people, destroyed the World Trade Center, and left craters in the Pentagon and in an isolated field in rural Pennsylvania. At Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, the day was marked with a memorial ceremony in the medical center garden. Hundreds of students, faculty, and visitors crowded the lawn to hear speakers discuss the impact of the attack, both personal and national, and to share feelings that ranged from fear and sadness to unity and optimism. The event concluded with a tree-planting ceremony.

Spinal Muscular Atrophy Clinic Although it is the most common genetically determined cause of infant death, spinal muscular atrophy has not received as much attention as other genetic disorders. The newly opened Spinal Muscular Atrophy Clinic at Columbia University could change that and promises to be a center for treatment and research for this condition. "SMA, as common as it is, is essentially under-recognized," says Dr. Darryl DeVivo, director of the new clinic. "We have the opportunity, with this clinic, to bring together different specialties and set the stage for important clinical research."

Lauren Eng, who, along with her husband Dinakar Singh, were major donors to the clinic, cut the ribbon to open the clinic at a ceremony Sept. 17. The couple began promoting awareness of SMA after their daughter, Arya, 2, was diagnosed with the disorder. On hand for the event, pictured above, were, from left, Dr. Petra Kaufmann, associate director of the clinic, assistant professor of neurology at P&S and associate director of the Pediatric MDA Neuromuscular Center at Children's Hospital; Dr. DeVivo, who is also the Sidney Carter Professor of Neurology at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center and director of the Muscular Dystrophy Association's Pediatric Neuromuscular Center at Children's Hospital; Mr. Singh; Arya, being held by Ms. Eng; Cynthia Sparer, senior vice president and chief operating officer for Children's Health Network at Children's Hospital; Dr. Timothy Pedley, chairman of neurology at P&S and CPMC; Dr. Gerald Fischbach, executive vice president and dean; and John Jay Scales, vice president for development in the Health Sciences division.

George Perera, who served as professor of medicine at P&S from 1947 to 1971 and associate dean of the faculty from 1960 until his retirement in 1971, died Sept. 14 at the age of 90. Dr. Perera was well-known for his research on hypertension and published more than 100 articles on the subject. He earned two degrees from Columbia, his M.D. in 1937 and his Med.Sc.D. in 1942. After retiring, he served as an alumni trustee of Columbia University from 1974 through 1980. Dr. Perera was also a fellow at both the American College of Physicians and the American Association for the Advancement of Science and was president of the Practitioners Society. During his career, he was appointed to the National Research Council, the Friends Medical Society, and the American Board of Internal Medicine. As an advocate for world peace, Dr. Perera also traveled internationally on missions for the American Friends Service Committee, and he was a trustee of the Bridges of Understanding Foundation.

As part of an effort to attract more minority graduate students to Columbia, the University expanded its summer residential program for minority students this year and plans to make it even larger next summer. Fifteen undergraduate students from around the country spent eight weeks studying at Columbia this summer, with accommodations provided so all of the students could live together at the Morningside Heights campus. Seven students worked with mentors at P&S, while the rest participated in humanities programs.

"We want this program to help increase the number of minority students at Columbia that are involved in basic sciences," said Dr. Richard Kessin, professor of anatomy and cell biology, associate dean for minority affairs, and program director. "Now the students all want to come to Columbia after they graduate, and that's very nice."

Pictured on the top right are the P&S program participants. From left, Monica Robles (from Mount St. Mary's College), Eric Salazar (Saint Mary's University), Jennifer DeJesus (Binghamton University), program student adviser Rich Robinson, Hasina Outtz (Princeton University), Jaime Wilson-Chiru (UCLA), Dr. Sharon Gamble, director of minority affairs and special programs at the Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and coordinator of the humanities students, Hector Clarke (St. Francis College), and Dr. Kessin. Not shown is Tennile Daniels (University of Maryland).

This program complements the larger Minority Medical Education Program that is also held during the summer. Richele Jordan-Davis, program coordinator and director of the office of minority affairs and diversity, said 108 minority undergraduate students from around the country spent six weeks at Columbia University this summer, taking classes in the basic sciences required to practice medicine. Pictured below are three MMEP students in an anatomy laboratory. The students also shadowed doctors during clinical rounds twice each week to get a feel for the daily routine of physicians.

The MMEP is funded by a five-year grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and was held at Columbia for the first time in 2001. Ten other schools in the United States also host similar programs funded by the foundation.

"We try to give them a slice of what medical school is like," Ms. Jordan-Davis says. The program also includes details on applying for medical school, to help make that often-complicated process less intimidating and more accessible. "We want to give them the skills and tools they need to get into medical school. We want to help them realize their dreams."

Need a cup of joe? Two caffeine depots at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center—one on Black Building's first floor and the other in Hammer Health Sciences Center's lobby—have received a face lift and a new owner. The school had wanted to upgrade the appearance of the Hole in the Wall in Black Building, and when the prior vendor's contract expired earlier this year, the school accepted bids for a new partner. X Café won. "Expresso Room," or ER, pictured above, replaces the "Hole in the Wall" in Black and "Expresso Cart" replaces the Hammer java dispensary. The "x" rather than "s" in espresso is a nod to the X Café name but its owners did not want the new locations also to be named X Cafe—built in the Audubon Ballroom where civil rights leader Malcolm X was assassinated in 1965—because of the unique historic significance.

Jennifer Downey, clinical professor of psychiatry at P&S, has returned from a research trip to the Dominican Republic, where she studied why Dominican cancer patients at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center often interrupt their treatment plans to return home, which can allow the disease to advance significantly. Dr. Downey learned that cultural differences can make U.S. healthcare an overwhelming experience for Dominican immigrants and that they will sometimes choose to go home for emotional support, even if that means abandoning needed medical care. Dr. Downey focused on Dominicans because so many live in the CPMC area. Her research about Dominican attitudes toward cancer care was funded by a grant from the Emily Davie and Joseph Kornfeld Foundation.

Suzanne Bakken, Alumni Professor of Nursing and professor of medical informatics, testified in August before the Subcommittee on Standards and Security of the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics, an advisory body to the Secretary of Health and Human Services in the area of health data and statistics. Speaking on behalf of the American Nurses Association, Dr. Bakken addressed the criteria that should be used to select terminology for patient medical record information. She stressed as high priority certain terminologies that promote patient safety and improve quality, including those for pharmacy, laboratory, and the diagnoses, interventions, and outcomes of many clinical professionals who contribute to healthcare delivery.