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New Children's Hospital Opens Amid Great Fanfare

The Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian celebrated its Nov. 12 opening with a ceremony in the hospital lobby's Wintergarden Plaza. A highlight of the ceremony was the appearance of Jamie-Lynn DiScala, star of the TV show, "The Sopranos," who spoke about her niece's successful treatment at Children's Hospital. A group of hospital and university administrators, physicians, and guests pressed a giant button, right, that set off a cacophany of sound and a shower of confetti.

Other speakers were Dr. Gerald Fischbach, executive vice president and dean; Dr. John Driscoll, Reuben S. Carpentier Professor of Pediatrics, chairman of the Department of Pediatrics, and pediatrician-in-chief for Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital; Dr. Herbert Pardes, president and CEO, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital; Cynthia Sparer, executive director, Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian; John Mack, chairman, Board of Trustees, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital; and Robert Scott, president and chief operating officer, Morgan Stanley.

The $120 million, 10-story hospital was funded entirely through philanthropy, including personal contributions of $55 million by more than 600 Morgan Stanley employees. The 191-bed hospital provides inpatient, ambulatory, and diagnostic services and has the largest neonatal intensive care unit and pediatric intensive care unit in the tri-state area. Entire floors are dedicated to specialized services such as cardiology, neurology, oncology, and surgery. The first patients were admitted Nov. 18.

IRB Starts Outreach Program

The Columbia University Medical Center Institutional Review Board started its education and outreach program with a monthly seminar series for investigators and research coordinators on Nov. 11. George Gasparis, right, executive director, IRB and Human Subjects Protection Program, introduced the seminar series and guest speakers Dr. Harvey R. Colten, vice president and senior associate dean for academic affairs, Dr. David Hirsh, executive vice president for research, and Eileen Leach, director of the Office of Clinical Trials.

The speakers discussed the need to ensure that all human subjects research is conducted in accordance with federal regulations, in an ethical manner, and with high standards of excellence. They also discussed maintaining and improving communication among researchers, the IRB, and the Office of Clinical Trials to facilitate human research. Dr. Hirsh noted that in his new position, he wants to stimulate research programs that link the medical center with the basic science and behavioral science research done at the Morningside campus. Dr. Gerald Fischbach, executive vice president and dean, will speak at the next meeting on Dec. 9 in the Alumni Auditorium.

Star-Studded Fund-raiser Supports Columbia Cancer Programs

A fund-raising dinner and concert, November Soiree, took place Nov. 9 at the Manhattan Center to support the work of Dr. Charles Hesdorffer, associate professor of clinical medicine and director of Columbia's Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Program and the Cellular Immunotherapy Research Program. The benefit, which attracted 500 guests, was the brainchild of Paul Nicholls, a patient of Dr. Hesdorffer's. After receiving a stem-cell transplant in an operation performed by Dr. Hesdorffer last April, Mr. Nicholls was able to run the New York Marathon Nov. 2. Mr. Nicholls was the co-host of November Soiree, along with WNBC-TV anchor Jane Hanson and Saranne Rothberg, executive director of Comedy Cures and a former patient of Dr. Hesdorffer's. WNYW-TV arts critic Pia Lindstrom spoke about her mother, Ingrid Bergman, who died of cancer and Maria Cooper Janis spoke about her father, Gary Cooper, also a cancer victim. Ms. Lindstrom's sister, Isabella Rossellini, attended the benefit, as well as Steven Bogart, son of Humphrey Bogart. Gifford Miller, the speaker of the New York City Council, presented Dr. Hesdorffer with a proclamation from the City Council whose members thanked him for his dedication to cancer research and the outstanding support he provides his patients.

About 70 people, including the Gipsy Kings, Fabrizio Sotti, Cassandra Wilson, Vincenzo La Scola, and David Bratton and the Spirit of Praise Gospel Choir, performed.

African AIDS Activist Calls for Action

South African AIDS activist Zackie Achmat, right, one of the founding members of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), and Nonkosi Khumalo, TAC's women health program coordinator, spoke to a packed audience at the P&S Alumni Auditorium Nov. 10. Mr. Achmat spoke about the need to make HIV/AIDS drugs widely available in developing countries and urged young people to become involved in campaigning on behalf of AIDS treatment programs.

The event was sponsored by the Mailman School of Public Health in association with P&S, the School for International and Public Affairs, Global Health Forum, Black and Latino Student Caucus, Columbia AIDS Action Network, Columbia Global Justice, and the International Health Organization.

Mr. Achmat, who is HIV-positive, is internationally recognized for developing solidarity among South Africans and for drawing attention to obstacles blocking essential treatment. Ms. Khumalo has developed educational and awareness-building programs to reduce HIV's stigma and discrimination against HIV-positive people.

Edward O. Wilson Speaks on Biodiversity

Edward O. Wilson, Harvard University's Pellegrino University Research Professor Emeritus and honorary curator in entomology, delivered the 11th Granville H. Sewell Distinguished Lecture in environmental health sciences on Nov. 13 in the Alumni Auditorium. Dr. Wilson is the winner of two Pulitzer prizes for his nonfiction books, "The Ants" and "On Human Nature," and is perhaps best known as one of the originators of sociobiology – the study of the biological determinants of social behavior. Dr. Wilson, whose talk was titled "Saving the Last Life and Why it Matters," spoke about the diversity of life on the planet, how much money it would take to save the world's most threatened areas – $28 billion – and why preserving the environment is important to human health.

The Granville Sewell lecture honors individuals who have made outstanding contributions to environmental health sciences. The lecture series was established in memory of Dr. Granville Sewell, who directed the educational programs in environmental health sciences at Columbia for more than 20 years. Dr. Sewell was internationally recognized for his work on the development of water supply projects in developing countries.

Medical Reporter On Campus to Share Communications Insights

Max Gomez, medical and health reporter for WNBC-TV, launched a new lecture series sponsored by the Mailman School of Public Health Nov. 6 to address the challenges of communicating important and complex health issues to the public through the medium of broadcast news.

Dr. Gomez, who has a Ph.D. from Bowman Gray School of Medicine, suggested that one of the best ways to communicate a health issue on TV is to highlight a patient's personal experience. He emphasized the importance of matching a story with its correct demographic audience and provided examples of his own news stories to show how reporters and producers effectively communicate health issues.

Apgar Calendar Wins Award

A calendar designed for a day-long 2002 Columbia University Health Sciences symposium in honor of Columbia alumna Dr. Virginia Apgar, developer of the Apgar scoring system to rapidly determine the health of newborns, has won a prestigious design award. The spiral-bound book, which features images from Dr. Apgar's life, won a 2003 American Graphic Design Award in the calendar category. It was designed by Hershell George of the New York-based agency George/Gerard Design (who is also the designer of In Vivo). The competition, now in its 24th year, is among the nation's most prestigious, with less than 10 percent of the entries receiving awards. A nationwide panel of judges from the design community critiques the entries.

Sally Findley, professor of population and family health at The Mailman School of Public Health and professor of pediatrics at P&S, was awarded a grant renewal of $4.5 million over five years for Mailman's Northern Manhattan Community Voices Asthma Basics for Children (ABC) Initiative. Directed by Dr. Findley, the initiative is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Controlling Asthma in American Cities project. The ABC is one of only seven projects nationwide to receive ongoing support. The project was first launched in 2001 to stem the higher-than-average rates of childhood asthma in northern Manhattan through community-based screening, education, and outreach programs.

Kristine Gebbie, Elizabeth Standish Gill Associate Professor at the School of Nursing, received the 2003 Ruth B. Freeman Award from the American Public Health Association for her distinguished career in the field of public health. Dr. Gebbie is known for her leadership in defining public health infrastructure and providing clarification on the interdisciplinary nature of public health practice, including strong attention to the role and contribution of public health nurses.

Robert B. Mellins, professor of pediatrics, was honored by the American Academy of Pediatrics with the Edwin L. Kendig Jr. Award for outstanding achievement in pediatric pulmonology. Dr. Mellins is part of a team that developed the Open Airways for Schools Program of the American Lung Association, which, for the last 11 years, has taught children with asthma about the disease and ways to manage their condition.

The Program on Forced Migration and Health at the Mailman School of Public Health and Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs was awarded a $900,000 two-and-a-half year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to enhance the creation of a comprehensive program in humanitarian affairs. The program will concentrate on the humanitarian consequences of war and the transition from war to peace; the relationship between humanitarianism and human rights; and the management of humanitarian programs and institutions. This builds on an earlier grant from the foundation when the program was established in 1998.

Irwin Redlener, associate dean of the Mailman School of Public Health and director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness, was awarded nearly $750,000 for two years from the Health and Human Services Administration to design an enhanced curriculum in bioterrorism training to augment the academic offerings at P&S, the School of Nursing, the School of Dental and Oral Surgery, and the Mailman School.

Jeanne Stellman, professor of clinical health policy and management at the Mailman School of Public Health, has been named a 2003 Townsend Harris Medalist by the alumni association of the City College of New York in recognition of her post-graduate achievements.

Burton Edelstein, associate professor of clinical dentistry in the School of Dental and Oral Surgery and associate professor of health policy and management in the Mailman School of Public Health, received the Outstanding Service Award for his work, "Advancing the Oral Health of Vulnerable Children," from the American College of Dentists in San Francisco on Oct. 23. Dr. Edelstein is the founding director of the Children's Dental Health Project, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit research and policy organization dedicated to improving children's oral health and access to dental care.

Eric Kandel, University Professor and 2000 Nobel Laureate, received the Pupin Medal for Service to the Nation from Columbia University and the Columbia Engineering School Alumni Association. The award was given to Dr. Kandel for his "lifetime quest to elucidate the mechanisms of memory and learning; for his insight, tenacity and leadership in uncovering the secrets of synapses which set the agenda for ongoing research; for his cogent, compelling and elegant writings; for his devotion to integrity in inquiry; and for his steadfast commitment to nurturing the scientists of the future." The award was presented to Dr. Kandel at the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science annual awards dinner in Low Memorial Library, Nov. 19. The dinner was hosted by the school's dean, Dr. Zvi Galil, and the engineering alumni association.