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Rudin Professor Speaks at P&S

Samuel Rudin Distinguished Visiting Professor Robert MacKinnon spoke about his ground-breaking work on the structure and function of transmembrane ion channels on April 1 and April 3 in the P&S Alumni Auditorium. Dr. MacKinnon is a professor of molecular neurobiology and biophysics at Rockefeller University and an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Pictured, from left, are Dr. Jay Meltzer, clinical professor of medicine, who conceived the idea of the Rudin visiting professorship lectures; Dr. MacKinnon; Jack Rudin, philanthropist and chairman of the Rudin Management Company; and Gerald Fischbach, executive vice president and dean.

The Health Sciences Capital Campaign, which begins in July, is a massive new effort whose goal is to raise more than $1 billion for Health Sciences initiatives by 2009. The Columbia University Health Sciences Priorities Fund, created in December 2002, is a funding opportunity of the Health Sciences Capital Campaign. Donations to the Priorities Fund will support the clinical, research, and educational initiatives outlined in the Health Sciences Strategic Plan. In Vivo asked John Scales, vice president for development, and Susie Stalcup, deputy vice president for development, about the Priorities Fund.

Why was the Priorities Fund created?

John Scales: The fund was created to encourage people to place their gifts, if they have no specific purpose in mind, to support one of the priorities of the Strategic Plan. Dean Fischbach, upon review of a request for allocation, will decide which Health Sciences projects are most consistent with the goal of the fund.

How has the fund-raising effort progressed so far?

Susie Stalcup: To this point, more than $1 million has been allocated to the Priorities Fund. Quite a few people have chosen this fund as a way to support our institution. Donors see this as an opportunity to advance the strategic mission and place their confidence in the dean to choose the best allocation of their gift.

Have any gifts from the Priorities Fund been allocated?

Stalcup: The first Priorities Fund allocation will go toward the use of handheld technology to enable third- and fourth-year medical students to track patient encounters during clinical rotations.

Scales: This is a project spearheaded by Pat Molholt [associate vice president, Health Sciences, and associate dean of scholarly resources] and Ronald Drusin [professor of clinical medicine and associate dean for education, P&S ]. It was chosen because it strongly supports our educational mission and an educational requirement of the LCME [Liaison Committee on Medical Education]. This is just the first allocation we'll be seeing to advance the strategic mission.

Physician Traveling Mission Visits Health Sciences

Doctors Without Borders, a Nobel Peace Prize-winning organization that places medical volunteers in disadvantaged areas throughout the world, brought its traveling exhibit to 168th Street, outside the entrance to the P&S building, on April 10-12. The Access EXPO exhibit, hosted by the Mailman School of Public Health, highlights the need for affordable medicines and medical research on infectious diseases in Third World and developing nations. Pictured is Stephanie Davies, public education director for Doctors Without Borders, speaking about the organization's mission to students from Central Park East #1, a public school in East Harlem.

Mailman Hosts Bill Gates Discussion on Global Health

Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft, spoke on March 17 with television journalist Bill Moyers about his philanthropic efforts to increase global health equity in developing countries. Hosted by the Mailman School of Public Health, the taping of the conversation is scheduled to air on PBS, with the airdate to be announced. Mr. Gates is pictured speaking at a reception following the taping at Morningside's Low Memorial Library.

Health Sciences Center for Community Health Partnerships has been chosen to manage a $6.3 million grant from the California Endowment to provide funds to up to four California dental schools to increase the enrollment of minority and low-income students. The dental schools that receive funds will participate in Pipeline, Profession & Practice: Community-Based Dental Education, a nationwide, 11-school initiative funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The Pipeline program office is based at the Center for Community Health Partnerships.

HIPAA Patient Privacy Notice Available To meet the requirements of the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996, which went into effect April 14, all patients must receive the newly released Health Sciences "Notice of Privacy Practices." The four-page notice includes information on patient rights and how medical information may be used and disclosed by healthcare providers, researchers and support staff. The Notice of Privacy Practices has been distributed to physician practices and can also be accessed through

Mentors Help Disadvantaged Students Steven Roser, George Guttman Professor of Clinical Craniofacial Surgery at SDOS, is directing the Lang Youth Medical Program at CPMC, which provides an opportunity for disadvantaged seventh-grade New York City public school students to participate in a health sciences mentoring program. Students and faculty from all the Health Sciences schools will participate in the program.

Richard Axel and Wayne Hendrickson, University Professors of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigators, will receive the 2003 Gairdner International Award in recognition of their outstanding achievements in biomedical research. Drs. Axel and Hendrickson will accept their awards at a gala dinner in Toronto, Canada, on Oct. 23.

Domenico Accili, professor of medicine, will receive the 2003 American Diabetes Association Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award. The award is presented to an individual researcher under age 45 who has made an outstanding contribution to diabetes research that demonstrates both originality and independence of thought. The award will be presented to Dr. Accili at the ADA meeting in New Orleans in June.

The Center for Bioethics has received a $680,000 three-year grant from the NIH to establish and evaluate a model interdisciplinary educational program on privacy, confidentiality, and conflicts of interest in research. The initiative, titled Current Issues in Research Ethics, will offer courses, a national conference, and a Web-based "e-seminar." The program will be geared to researchers, IRB members, research staff, and administrators.

Peter Gordon, assistant professor of clinical medicine and program director of the house staff training program, was presented the First Daniel V. Kimberg Junior Faculty Teaching Award at the Department of Medicine's Grand Rounds on March 12. Dr. Gordon was selected for exemplifying the principles for which the late Dr. Kimberg became renowned, particularly his passionate dedication to teaching and devotion to the development of young physicians. Dr. Kimberg, chairman of the Department of Medicine in the 1970s, died suddenly in 1978 at age 45.

Nicole Suciu-Foca, professor of clinical pathology, has been awarded the National Order for Merit with the degree of commander by Ion Iliescu, the president of Romania, for her remarkable scientific contribution in the field of immunology and genetics.

Annual Report Available

The newly released P&S 2001-2002 Annual Report, "Shared Vision: Easing the Burden of Human Disease," highlights innovative programs at P&S that bring together a diverse group of researchers, clinicians, medical educators, and students in novel partnerships. To obtain a copy of the annual report call 305-3900 or view it online at

Alan Brinkley has been appointed provost of Columbia University. Dr. Brinkley is the Allan Nevins Professor of History and chairman of the university's Department of History. His published works include "Voices of Protest: Huey Long, Father Coughlin, and the Great Depression," which won the 1983 National Book Award. Dr. Brinkley received his B.A. from Princeton in 1971 and his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1979.

Daniel Sciarra, professor of clinical neurology, died April 1 at age 84. Dr. Sciarra joined the Neurological Institute in 1948, where he served as an attending neurologist for 55 years. He founded the Neurological Institute's first fully funded clinical chair, the Sciarra Professorship in Clinical Neurology, in 1987, and established the Helen Sciarra Prize, awarded annually to the top-performing third-year clerkship student planning a career in neurology. In 1999, Dr. Sciarra was presented with a Lifetime Award by the Department of Neurology and designated Practitioner of the Year in 2001 by the Society of Practitioners.