Dear Colleagues and Students,
My first year at Columbia has been extraordinarily rewarding. I am personally grateful for the support of the collective Columbia University Medical Center community. Several initiatives have focused on creating a true CUMC community. The deans of the Mailman School of Public Health (Dr. Allan Rosenfield), the College of Dental Medicine (Dr. Ira Lamster) and the School of Nursing (Dr. Mary Mundinger) now serve officially as vice presidents of CUMC. We meet together regularly to address issues and common interests and concerns. Using philanthropic funds, we conducted a competitive process to encourage submission of proposals for four-school research projects. The winning proposal, “The Impact of Social Inequities on the Complex Relationship between Oral Health and Peripheral Vascular Disease: An Interdisciplinary Evaluation,” selected from among 14 applications, will be supported by the David A. Gardner New Initiatives Fund, created by Board of Visitors member Lynn Shostack in memory of her husband.
For P&S, it was a year of transition and a year of many accomplishments. We achieved strategic growth through the recruitment of many outstanding senior faculty whose expertise and professional breadth are already complementing our scientific and clinical work. A new Department of Neuroscience and the new Center for Human Genetics are prime examples of organizing for greater potential. Similar initiatives are just starting in transplantation and in cardiovascular research. Our clinical research hub for the campus, the newly renamed Irving Institute for Clinical & Translational Research, has become a central internal funding agency, helping to drive multi-department, multi-school clinical research across the medical center. P&S graduate programs, which are already highly rated for their excellence by the Chronicle of Higher Education, are being reshaped to enrich cross-disciplinary exposure consistent with current research trends. The M.D./Ph.D. program is expanding, thanks to renewed and increased NIH funding.
This year the Mailman School of Public Health fortified its position as a leader in global health, with research and service programs in more than 80 countries. The school’s International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs, (ICAP), recipient of the largest government grant in Columbia University history, provided HIV/AIDS care through ICAP-supported sites to more than 250,000 people in Africa and Thailand. The Reproductive Health Access, Information and Services in Emergencies initiative, a program addressing a full range of reproductive health needs for refugees and internally displaced persons, launched with the largest foundation grant in Columbia’s history. Two new centers the Center for Study of Social Inequalities and Health (Departments of Epidemiology and Sociomedical Sciences) and the Imprints Center for Genetic and Environmental Lifecourse Studies (Department of Epidemiology) were established to provide greater understanding of the origins and influences affecting health and disease.
Innovations at the College of Dental Medicine are expanding the scope of traditional dental research. An NIH-funded initiative is exploring the promise of stem cells to create soft tissue for craniofacial reconstruction. Faculty are leading research into lasers and new imaging techniques that will transform dental care in the future and are offering instruction on use of new technologies in patient care. The College has continued to be a leader on national healthcare policy, advocating for expanded oral healthcare for both children and the elderly. Globally, dental faculty and students are working to develop sustainable oral health programs in Sub-Saharan Africa through the Millennium Villages program, while continuing with many active local public service programs like the Community DentCare Network.
The School of Nursing enjoyed unprecedented growth this year in record numbers of students applying and being admitted. Research faculty continues to achieve prominence as leaders in areas of national priorities in science. The school ranks first in NIH per capita funding and 13th in aggregate funding (up from 27th in 2006). Clinical practice is distinguished with the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DrNP) degree developed and instituted first at Columbia now being adopted by over 200 schools of nursing. The third class of DrNP students graduated in May, and all are actively engaged in advanced practice.
A key factor in ensuring the continued evolution and invigoration of our research, education, and clinical initiatives will be the opportunity to grow physically as well as programmatically. Even as we embark on a comprehensive space planning process, we are working on plans to expand classroom space within the Hammer building to benefit all four schools.
My thanks to the CUMC community for its support and inspiration during my first year at Columbia. I wish you all an enjoyable summer as we continue our commitment to making CUMC arguably the best in all that we do.
Lee Goldman, M.D.