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Marc Dickstein, associate professor of clinical anesthesiology, displays a test question on a projection screen before a class of first-year medical students in the P&S Auditorium. This is one of 20 questions the students are asked in preparation for an exam they will take in a few days. They select their answers on a hand-held response pad that resembles a remote control device. As soon as all selections are logged in, the percentage of students who selected each answer is displayed on the screen. With this information at hand in PowerPoint, Dr. Dickstein can now spend more time on questions that stumped a large number of students.

Dr. Dickstein was among the first faculty members at CUMC to use the computerized Audience Response System (ARS) to obtain instantaneous feedback about how well students understand the material presented. About a dozen professors have used the system in their classrooms over the past year; they report increased student retention, improved attentiveness, and higher participation.

Now a larger number of faculty members can use this technology with the expansion of services at CUMC's Center for Education Research and Evaluation (CERE) of the Office of Scholarly Resources. Sven Philipp, education technologist at CERE, helps faculty design questions based on a professor's lecture and is present during class to program the system and to trouble-shoot.

"Sometimes faculty are surprised at the percentage of students who get a question wrong," says Mr. Philipp. "Typically, a professor might just go on to the next topic, not aware that it hasn't been sufficiently understood. With the ARS system, students can show, anonymously, where their understanding is the strongest and weakest. Many students are just not comfortable expressing this verbally in front of their classmates. The interactive technology takes classroom teaching to the next level."

Pictured is Tony Lee'07 answering a question with his hand-held response pad during Dr. Dickstein's class.

For information contact Mr. Philipp at

The CERE Web site is located at

Dean's Lecture Series Presents Nobel Laureate and Renowned Public Policy Analyst

As part of the Dean's Lecture Series, two presentations were made in February: The Alexander Ming Fisher Lecture Feb. 11 and the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize Lecture Feb. 12 in the P&S Alumni Auditorium.

This year's Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize winner was Roderick MacKinnon, 2003 Nobel Laureate in chemistry, professor of molecular neurobiology and biophysics, Rockefeller University, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, above left. Dr. MacKinnon was honored for his studies of ion channels. His work has major ramifications for the mechanisms active in many diseases, including conditions related to the heart, muscles, nervous system, and endocrine system. The topic of Dr. MacKinnon's lecture was "The Atomic Basis of Selective Ion Conduction in Potassium Channels."

The Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize, awarded annually since its inception in 1967, recognizes exceptional accomplishments in biological and biochemical research. The prize was named for the mother of Columbia benefactor S. Gross Horwitz. Mrs. Horwitz was the daughter of former American Medical Association president Dr. Samuel David Gross.

James Q. Wilson, the Ronald Reagan Professor of Public Policy at Pepperdine University, above right, presented the Alexander Ming Fisher Lecture, "The Morality of Nascent Human Life." Dr. Wilson has served on a number of national commissions concerned with public policy and was chairman of the White House Task Force on Crime and of the National Advisory Commission on Drug Abuse Prevention.

The Alexander Ming Fisher Memorial Lecture on Death and Dying was established in 1974 by E. Douglas Southwick to commemorate the life of Dr. Alexander Ming Fisher, a Columbia University graduate.

Faculty Members Address New York State Legislature

Joanna Rubinstein, senior associate dean for institutional and global initiatives at CUMC, testified before the New York State Senate Task Force for Economic Development and the Emerging Industries (NextGen) Jan. 29. Dr. Rubinstein, who represented Dr. Gerald Fischbach, executive vice president and dean, informed the task force about Columbia's experience with the Audubon Biomedical Science and Technology Park and the university's efforts to attract a private sector partner for the planned Audubon IV building. The task force plans to issue a report this spring with recommendations on what the state can do to help New York's technology and biotechnology industries prosper.

Ira Lamster, dean of the School of Dental and Oral Surgery, testified at the Executive Budget Hearing on Higher Education/Academic Research of the New York State legislature Feb. 5. Dr. Lamster and other representatives from five New York academic dental schools requested government support for the renovation of clinical care facilities.

Institute of Human Nutrition Leads Jordanian Conference

CUMC's Institute of Human Nutrition, under the auspices of the Jordanian and Palestinian Ministries of Health and the U.S. Agency for International Development, led a regional conference in Amman, Jordan, Jan. 11 to 16 to address chronic nutritional deficiencies among women and children in the Palestinian territories. The conference, "Nutrition Programmes: Opportunities and Challenges," convened NGOs and government ministers, physicians, and community health workers to devise strategies to combat malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies in children in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Speakers included Dr. Richard Deckelbaum, Robert R. Williams Professor of Nutrition and director of the institute; Dr. Eileen Kennedy, adjunct professor of epidemiology and nutrition; Marion Greenup, associate vice president for administration; and Dr. David Talmage, associate professor of clinical pediatrics and nutrition. Also participating to promote CUMC's collaborations with ministries of health and medical educators in the Middle East were Dr. Dorit Kalusky, former pediatrics fellow who is now assigned to the Israeli Ministry of Health, and Pamela Cooper, administrative director of the Ben Gurion-Columbia M.D. Program in International Health and Medicine.

Pictured at the Amman conference are, from left, Pamela Cooper, Richard Deckelbaum, Eileen Kennedy, David Talmage, Dorit Kalusky, and Marion Greenup.

Campus Health Initiative Presents Walk for Fitness

Forty-five CUMC staff and students participated in two 25-minute "Fun Walks" Feb. 12 as part of the CUMC and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital "Be Fit To Be'ne'fit" healthy lifestyle outreach initiative. The program was created to promote a more nutrition- and fitness-friendly campus. Walkers took an estimated 2,700 steps between 165th and 169th streets and Haven and Amsterdam avenues. Kate Bednarz, program coordinator of "Be Fit To Be'ne'fit," recommends walking at least 10,000 steps a day. Future walks will take place the second Thursday of each month. For information contact Ms. Bednarz at

Faculty Member Donates Baby Grand Piano

Jay Lefkowitch, professor of clinical pathology, donated a Kawai Baby Grand piano to replace an old one at the Faculty Club. Under the aegis of the P&S Alumni Association, the piano will be used for student and faculty functions and events, P&S club events, fund-raising activities and Faculty Club social gatherings.

Dr. Lefkowitch bought the piano at a private sale last summer at Lincoln Center by arrangement with the firm Broadway Piano Company, which annually provides pianos to all the constituencies at Lincoln Center, including New York City Ballet and the New York Philharmonic. Bill Haught, the president of Broadway Piano Company in Farmingdale, N.Y, was helpful with the arrangements when he learned that Dr. Lefkowitch was donating the piano to P&S.

The piano dedication took place Jan. 21 at the Alumni Council dinner hosted by Dr. Gerald Fischbach, executive vice president and dean. P&S students Hilary Spencer'06, left, and Noah DeGarmo'04, right, performed a short, new piano-violin sonata that Dr. Lefkowitch, center, composed for the occasion.

School of Dentistry Gives Kids a Smile

The School of Dental & Oral Surgery participated in the second annual "Give Kids a Smile Day" Feb. 6 to mark the beginning of Children's Dental Health Month, offering children in northern Manhattan and the Bronx free dental screenings, oral health education information, health insurance information, activities and gifts. Events took place at CUMC's pediatric dentistry office on 168th Street, the Thelma C. Davidson Adair Medical & Dental Center on Manhattan Avenue and 124th Street, and at the P.S. 128 Audubon Public School on Audubon Avenue and 169th Street. A mobile dental center was stationed at 189th Street in the Bronx, open to children at La Peninsula Head Start Center in the Bronx and at Columbia Club House (Boys & Girls Club).

"Give Kids A Smile Day" is a national event sponsored by the American Dental Association; Henry-Sullivan Schein, a dental supply distributor; and Crest that aims to improve the oral health of needy children and highlight for policy-makers the ongoing challenges that low-income and disabled children face in accessing dental care.

Pictured is Ruba Fakhoury, second-year dental student, showing Stephanie Espinal, age 8, from Washington Heights the proper way to brush her teeth at the pediatric dentistry office. Stephanie was among 250 children who attended the event.

Equinn William Munnell, professor emeritus of clinical obstetrics and gynecology, died Jan. 21 at the age of 90. Dr. Munnell, who joined Columbia in 1946, extensively researched and lectured on the diagnosis and treatment of ovarian cancer. He was past president of the New York Obstetrical Society, Sloane Alumni Society and New York Medical Society.

Dental Students Shu-mei Jessie Chang and Saleem Josephs are the winners of the 2004 American Dental Education Association/Listerine Preventive Dentistry Scholarships. They will each receive $2,500 to be used toward tuition and fees for pre-doctoral study. Both are active in community and international education outreach projects. They are among only 12 students chosen throughout the country from 56 dental schools. The awards will be presented at the plenary opening ceremonies of the association's annual session in Seattle this month.

The Department of Ophthalmology has received a $1 million gift from Rand Araskog, former chairman and CEO of ITT Corporation, and his wife, Jessie. The gift establishes the A. Gerard DeVoe/B. Dobli Srinivasan Directorship of Ambulatory Eye Care at the ITT Eye Clinic of the Harkness Eye Institute. The directorship is named for A. Gerard DeVoe, professor emeritus and former chairman of the department, who established the first basic and clinical research center in 1961, and for B. Dobli Srinivasan, professor of clinical ophthalmology and director of the ITT Eye Clinic. Dr. Srinivasan will serve as the first A. Gerard DeVoe/B. Dobli Srinivasan Director of Ambulatory Eye Care.

Babacar Cisse, a first-year student in the M.D./Ph.D program at P&S, was awarded a Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans. While at Bard College, Mr. Cisse, who emigrated from Senegal, also received several scholarships, fellowships, and awards. The fellowship is for up to two years of study for students who have immigrated to the United States and have an outstanding academic record; display creativity, originality and initiative; show commitment and capacity for achievement; and have a commitment to the values of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Anatoly Nikolaev, a Ph.D. candidate in the Institute of Cancer Genetics, has received the Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award sponsored by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Wash. Mr. Nikolaev is among 17 graduate students in the United States and Canada selected, based on the quality, originality and significance of their work. They receive travel expenses and an honorarium to attend a scientific symposium in May at the research center.