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Around & About

Graduating P&S students gathered in the P&S Alumni Auditorium March 21 to find out where they would be spending their medical residencies. In a departure from previous tradition, the participating students gathered first for a reception, funded by the Gold Foundation, in the lobby outside Alumni Auditorium. They then moved inside to hear a few words from 2002 Class President Matthew Carty; Dr. Gerald Fischbach, executive vice president and dean; and Dr. Sandra Gold, co-founder and executive vice president of the Gold Foundation. Students returned to the reception so that student affairs staff could place the residency match envelopes on the stage in alphabetical order. When students returned to Alumni Auditorium, they learned from their envelopes the location of their next phase of training.

The 147 P&S students who matched this year are headed to 62 programs in 22 states. Just about a third—34 percent—matched to Columbia-affiliated hospitals. Nationwide, 13,489 U.S. medical students matched to a first-year residency program. Six primary care specialties saw less residency positions filled than last year: family practice, internal medicine, pediatrics, medicine-pediatrics, primary internal medicine, and primary pediatrics. Programs with an increased number of match rates include anesthesiology, physical medicine, and rehabilitation.

A luncheon at the Faculty Club in March announced the establishment of a new Lyme disease research center at Columbia University. The event also honored the University’s partners in the project, the Lyme Disease Association and the Greenwich Lyme Disease Task Force, for underwriting the center with a $675,000 endowed gift, presented above to Dr. Gerald Fischbach, executive vice president and dean. Honored guests were Dr. Fischbach; Diane Blanchard and Deborah Siciliano, co-presidents of the Greenwich Lyme Disease Task Force; Dr. Brian Fallon, director of Lyme disease research and associate professor of clinical psychiatry at P&S; Joan Kiplinger, director, Tiffany & Company, Greenwich, Conn.; actress Mary McDonnell; and Patricia Smith, president of the Lyme Disease Association.

Friends and colleagues gathered in the Baldwin Hall Lounge March 25 to say farewell and good luck to Dr. David Stern, professor of physiology and cellular biophysics and surgery and director of the Center for Vascular and Lung Pathobiology at P&S. Dr. Stern will become dean of the School of Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia. Above, Dr. Stern, center, stands with Dr. Kenneth A. Forde, the Jose M. Ferrer Professor of Clinical Surgery, left, and Dr. Eric Rose, the Morris and Rose Milstein, Johnson & Johnson Professor and Chairman of Surgery.

Vincent Racaniello, Higgins Professor of Microbiology at P&S, left, gave the Dean’s Distinguished Lecture in the Basic Sciences on March 21 about his work on poliovirus. Dr. Racaniello came to Columbia in 1982 with a circle of DNA containing all the genetic information of the virus, which he decoded as a postdoc with Dr. David Baltimore. The plasmid DNA infected mammalian cells and allowed Dr. Racaniello and one of his first students, Dr. Cathy Mendelsohn, now an assistant professor in urology, to discover the receptor the virus uses to enter cells. Later, Dr. Racaniello inserted the receptor’s gene into a mouse to make the first animal model susceptible to polio, which only infects humans in nature. Using the model, he discovered the virus travels from the muscle to the brain via nerve cells. Dr. Racaniello also discussed his future research plans once all polio cultures are destroyed as part of the World Health Organization’s polio eradication program.

DR. HENRY SPITZ, clinical professor of psychiatry, has received the first Award for Outstanding Contributions to Education and Training in the Field of Group Psychotherapy from the National Registry of Certified Group Psychotherapists. The award was created to acknowledge an individual who has made unique contributions in training, standards, and ethical practice in group therapy.

DR. STEVEN J. SCRIVANI, the Edward V. Zegarelli Assistant Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in the School of Dental and Oral Surgery, received the Ralph Colp Award from the Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine for best paper on a surgical topic. He received the award for the paper, “Percutaneous Stereotactic Radiofrequency Thermal Rhizotomy for the Treatment of Trigeminal Neuralgia,” that he co-authored with Dr. Ernest S. Mathews of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. The paper appeared in the journal’s theme issue on minimally invasive techniques in neurosurgery. Dr. Scrivani is director of the Center for Oral, Facial and Head Pain at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and a faculty fellow at the Rosenthal Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

DR. GERALD FISCHBACH, executive vice president and dean, participated in a plenary panel during the first day of the New York Biotechnology Association’s 11th annual meeting in March. The panel was titled “New York—The State of Science,” and Dr. Fischbach was joined by moderator Dr. Colin Goddard, OSI Pharmaceuticals; Dr. David Hohn, Roswell Park Cancer Institute; and Dr. Bruce Stillman, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

DR. CHARLES J. LIGHTDALE, professor of clinical medicine, served as co-editor of “Gastroenterological Endoscopy,” a new textbook being released in the United States in May. The book, written and edited by specialists from all over the world, offers information ranging from basic examination techniques to the latest in treatment strategies. Sections are organized by disease and procedure, with a special chapter dedicated to terminology and reporting procedures. The book is published by Thieme Medical Publishers.

P&S will join New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, and the American Museum of Natural History in co-sponsoring the third annual “Revolutionizing Medicine in the 21st Century” lecture series. In this year’s four-part series, “Revolutionizing Medicine in the 21st Century: From Infectious Disease to Bioterrorism,” speakers will discuss a separate question involving this general subject, examining topics from bacterial infection to bioterrorism. The lectures, which begin April 30 and run for four consecutive Tuesdays, will be held at 7 p.m. in the Caspary Auditorium at Rockefeller University, 1230 York Avenue at East 66th Street.

Scheduled speakers and topics:

Tuesday, April 30
“Natural Defenses: Cellular Mechanisms of Defense Against Bacterial Infection,” Dr. Samuel Silverstein, the John C. Dalton Professor and Chairman of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, P&S

Tuesday, May 7
“After Anthrax: Bioterrorism in America,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director, National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases

Tuesday, May 14
“In Our Own Backyard: Infectious Diseases of New York State,” Dr. Barry Hartman, Weill Cornell Medical College and New York-Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Center

Tuesday, May 21
“The Microbiome: Germs as Genes,” Dr. Joshua Lederberg, Rockefeller University

For tickets and additional information, call (212) 769-5200 or visit