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In Vivo

Dear Colleagues and Students,

Photo: Biomedical Communications, Annemarie Poyo-Furlong

White Coat Ceremony

Lee Goldman, executive vice president and dean, said that although he has worn a white coat for many years, being cloaked at the P&S White Coat Ceremony in August symbolized the start of his new tenure at Columbia and his support for the mission of teaching humanism in medicine. In photo, Dr. Goldman receives his “Humanism in Medicine” pin from Sandra Gold, Ed.D., president of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, which created the ritual. Dr. David Leach, executive director of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, seated, was the keynote speaker.

Thank you all for your warm welcome during my first summer as EVP and dean at Columbia University Medical Center. The welcome was so warm that the resulting heat wave set records and provided our first challenge, the threat of a major power outage. To avoid a major shutdown, our medical center community pulled together, ensuring that no critical research specimens were lost and securing the safety of our patients. Our teamwork was my first true introduction to the level of commitment that everyone at CUMC displays toward this institution and its purpose.
   The new academic year is now well under way, and I want to welcome our new and returning students. Whether you are at P&S, the Mailman School, the School of Nursing, the College of Dental Medicine or in one of our graduate programs, you have chosen to attend an exemplary institution that values excellence in all its forms and demands integrity of purpose and performance.
   Attending the P&S white coat ceremony was a particular highlight for me. The spirit and enthusiasm displayed by the first-year medical students was inspirational. Everyone was profoundly moved as the students took the oath to practice their art in “uprightness and honor.” This commitment to being the very best drives the educational experience across all our schools.
   Our medical center is in transition on many fronts – in the restructuring of our clinical
Commitment to Excellence
organization, in the creative rethinking of our educational programs, and in our research integration across disciplines. Financial and physical challenges continue and must be addressed. A full assessment of our physical plant is under way to ensure that space priorities parallel needed growth. Quality and growth are core goals, and we cannot settle for anything less than the best – in the caliber of students, faculty, education, research or patient care.
   To support our goals, I have created two new advisory groups – a Development Advisory Committee and a Research Advisory Committee – each of which will help determine priorities and make recommendations to my office. I look forward to working closely with these important faculty groups.
   Several key P&S searches are under way: for a permanent Vice Dean for Education and a new Vice Dean for Academic Affairs. Finally, our search continues for a successor to Allan Rosenfield, the extraordinary dean of the Mailman School of Public Health. Over the past two decades, he has transformed the school into a major force in public health with influence in nearly 50 countries worldwide. It will be a challenge to fill the shoes of someone of Dr. Rosenfield’s soaring stature, but we are confident that his legacy will attract other individuals who share his dream of bringing better health to so many parts of the world.
   In the weeks and months ahead, I hope to meet many of you throughout our schools. In the meantime, please accept my personal best wishes and hopes for a successful year.
First-Year Students Don White Coats

Ms. Chock being “cloaked” by Elaine Adler, board member, Arnold P. Gold Foundation for Humanism in Medicine.
CDM students receive their coats

Ms. Chock being “cloaked” by Elaine Adler, board member, Arnold P. Gold Foundation for Humanism in Medicine.

CDM students receive their coats, from left: Samuel Addison, David Alfaro, Rajesh Ameen, Lisneida Arjona, and Hugo Asurza.

At P&S: Susanne Chock (below) and 154 other members of her class celebrated the start of their medical careers at the 14th Arnold P. Gold Foundation White Coat Ceremony. The Foundation initiated this ritual in 1993 at P&S to mark a student’s entry into the medical profession and to promote humanistic practice. It is now performed in most medical schools around the country.
At CDM: College of Dental Medicine professors placed white coats on 76 members of the Class of 2010 at a ceremony that signals acceptance by the entire faculty of the students as their junior colleagues.