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After a 40-year career in advancing the health and human rights of people worldwide through innovative programs in reproductive health, maternal mortality and the treatment of HIV-infected adults and children, Allan Rosenfield, M.D., the Delamar Professor of Public Health Practice and dean of the Mailman School, has asked President Lee Bollinger to begin the search for his successor. Dr. Rosenfield, recently diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, will remain on the school’s faculty as professor of public health and ob/gyn.
   World renowned for his work on women’s reproductive health and human rights, Dr. Rosenfield was among the first to draw attention to the fact that in the developing world, many women continue to die from pregnancy related complications. He established the pioneering Averting Maternal Death and Disability program, supporting more than 85 projects in 50 countries to improve obstetric care.
   Under Dr. Rosenfield’s leadership, the Mailman School has grown from a small institution to the second largest school at Columbia and the third largest school of public health in the nation. In 2004, the school received the largest federal grant ever awarded Columbia to build on Dr. Rosenfield’s work in HIV/AIDS and provide comprehensive HIV care and treatment in sub-Saharan Africa. The program has reached more than 100,000 HIV-positive people worldwide.
   In addition to these global initiatives, Dr. Rosenfield has long spearheaded efforts to improve health locally. The school now operates five Washington Heights clinics based in junior and senior high schools, with 7,000 students enrolled.
   Dr. Rosenfield is a member of numerous scientific and professional organizations and has served on the boards or committees of a wide range of international, national, state and local health-related organizations. He has also written extensively on domestic and international issues in the fields of population, women’s reproductive health, maternal mortality, HIV/AIDS, and human rights and health policy.

—Anna Sobkowski

World Leaders Forum Dedicated to Dr. Rosenfield
Allan Rosenfield, center, with former President Bill Clinton and Columbia President Lee Bollinger at World Leader’s Forum in June.
Allan Rosenfield, center, with former President Bill Clinton and Columbia President Lee Bollinger at World Leader’s Forum in June.
The World Leaders Forum is an annual university-wide initiative launched in 2003 by President Bollinger that focuses on critical global issues. The June 8 symposium, “Taking a Stand: Challenges and Controversies in Reproductive Health, Maternal Mortality and HIV/AIDS,” was dedicated to Dr. Rosenfield. The symposium included two panel discussions with international public health experts and policy leaders, and featured closing remarks by former President Bill Clinton, who lauded Dr. Rosenfield for his work in HIV/AIDS.
   “When I first got involved in HIV/AIDS work about three years ago, there was still resistance to providing treatment to poor people. Allan’s was one of the lone voices who said people had the right to treatment wherever they lived, no matter the color of their skin or their resources. Allan wanted to keep people alive, people he would never meet, people who wouldn’t even know who he was,” Mr. Clinton said, adding, “Allan knows how to get things done, to organize institutions, to hammer out compromises. It’s been a great honor for me and my foundation to work with Allan.”
   Symposium participants included, among others, Cokie Roberts, ABC News commentator; Jeffrey Sachs, Ph.D., Director, Earth Institute; Wafaa El-Sadr, professor of clinical medicine at P&S, professor of epidemiology at the Mailman School and director of the International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs; Lynn Freedman, associate professor of clinical population and family health at the Mailman School and director of the Averting Maternal Death and Disability Program; Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland; Charles Ogletree, professor of law and director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School; and, Stephen Lewis, United Nations Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa. Offering moving and heartfelt tributes to Dr. Rosenfield at a gala dinner attended by hundreds June 7 at Morningside were Phyllis Mailman, widow of Joseph L. Mailman, for whom the Mailman School of Public Health is named; UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan; and Richard Gere, founder of Healing the Divide and an active campaigner for AIDS awareness and supporter of many human rights and humanitarian causes.

The School of Public Health Soars During Years of Dr. Rosenfield’s Leadership

1975
Dr. Rosenfield recruited to head the new Center for Population and Family Health in the School of Public Health with a joint appointment in the Department of Ob/Gyn
1976
Dr. Rosenfield succeeds in having the Center for Population and Family Health established as the sixth division of the School of Public Health, to be called the Division of Population and Family Health
1985
The School of Public Health embarks on the search for a new dean as the field of public health has gained in visibility and importance both domestically and globally. Search committee unanimously recommends Allan Rosenfield for deanship
Late 1980s and 1990s
Dr. Rosenfield named dean in 1986. Begins to work on a larger scale – reaches out both to the local community in Washington Heights and Harlem as well as internationally. Expands the school academically and in number and expertise of faculty
1998
Conversations between Dr. Rosenfield and the Joseph L. Mailman Foundation lead to a gift of $33 million, at the time the largest gift ever made to a school of public health and the largest naming gift in the university’s history. The school is renamed in memory of the late Joseph L. Mailman
Today
Multifaceted research and service delivery programs operate in nearly 50 countries around the world, addressing such issues as HIV/AIDS, environmental health, maternal and child health, bioterrorism and disease surveillance

Mailman School Building Named For Allan Rosenfield

Columbia University President Lee Bollinger announced in June that the university’s board of trustees resolved to name the building at 722 W. 168th St. in honor of Allan Rosenfield, for his pioneering leadership in public health. The building houses most of the school’s departments, centers and programs. The impetus for the move was Dr. Rosenfield’s career dedicated to improving the quality of life for people around the world and in the communities surrounding CUMC, as well as his leadership in shaping the field of public health during his 20-year tenure as dean of the Mailman School.
    “Over the last three decades at Columbia, Allan has not only inspired and trained generations of public health leaders, he has helped define what a school of public health should be,” says Mr. Bollinger. “Having the Mailman School reside in the Allan Rosenfield building is a living legacy to what Allan himself has built here – and to the impact he’s had on people from Washington Heights to Asia, Africa and Latin America. We are proud and lucky that his name will now always be an essential part of this university.”
    A group of foundations have joined Dr. Rosenfield’s friends and supporters to establish a sizable Tribute Fund dedicated to the renovation of the school’s new home. The Tribute Fund, launched in March 2006, already has received commitments totaling more than $36 million, in addition to $27 million already committed to support the building.
    The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation have all made commitments to naming the building in Dr. Rosenfield’s honor. A number of individuals and families also have pledged leadership gifts to the Tribute Fund to enable Dr. Rosenfield to achieve his goal of creating facilities that match the extraordinary caliber of the Mailman School’s departments, centers and programs. They include the Joseph L. Mailman Family, Mrs. Norma Hess, the Alfred and Gail Engelberg Foundation, Dr. Judith Sulzberger, and the Heilbrunn family.

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