Music and Memory at the museum For the last 21 years, "Works & Process" at the Guggenheim has celebrated the exploration of the creative process by providing behind-the-scenes insights into extraordinary music, dance, opera, theater, literature and science. Columbia University/Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain researcher Scott A. Small, M.D., and Naumburg Piano Competition winner Gilles Vonsattel joined forces in October to illustrate the complexities of how our brains process memories. Gilles Vonsattel, son of Jean Paul Vonsattel, M.D., director of the Taub Institute Brain Bank, accompanied Dr. Small's presentation, playing excerpts demonstrating how memories are stored in the brain, and retrieved and how these processes decline with age.
Royals support osteoporosis awareness His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall met in November at the NIH with Ethel Siris, M.D., president of the National Osteoporosis Foundation, and several of the Foundation's patient champions to discuss increasing public and professional awareness of osteoporosis and bone health. From left: Judith Cranford, executive director, NOF; Dr. Siris; Prince Charles and Camilla, Vice Admiral Richard H. Carmona, M.D, M.P.H, U.S. Surgeon General; Elias Zerhouni, M.D., director, NIH; and John Gallin, M.D., director, NIH's Clinical Center.
Seminar Addresses Issue of Racial Disparities in Cancer The National Cancer Institutes Science Writers' Seminar Series was held in November at the Irving Cancer Research Center. The topic: "Improving Cancer Survival by Understanding Racial/Ethnic Disparities." The presentations offered new ways to think about why mortality is so much higher among certain ethnicities, often despite a lower incidence. I. Bernard Weinstein, M.D., director emeritus of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, chaired the event. Seminar participants, from left: Dr. Weinstein, Victor Grann, M.D., M.P.H., clinical professor of medicine at P&S and epidemiology and health policy and management at the Mailman School; Alfred Neugut, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., the Myron M. Studner Professor of Cancer Research in Medicine; Regina Santella, Ph.D., professor of environmental health sciences at the Mailman School; Harold Freeman, M.D., senior adviser to the NCI director on minority and underserved communities, and Dawn Hershman, M.D., assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Medical Oncology. The seminar was organized by CUMC's Office of Communications and External Relations. For more information about the seminar, visit: http://www.cumc.columbia.edu/news/press_releases/nci_seminar_cancer_disparities.html
The Center for Women's Health Reaches Milestone The Center for Women's Health celebrated its 10th anniversary in October with a luncheon at the Century Association. Donna Hanover, the author, actress and former First Lady of New York was the keynote speaker. Linda Lewis, M.D., former dean of students at P&S, was honored for her outstanding work in mentoring two generations of medical students, including the increasing numbers of young women who have made such an impact on medicine in the last 25 years. Kathleen Walas, president of the Avon Foundation, was honored in recognition of the foundation's continuing commitment to breast cancer research and treatment programs, especially at CUMC where Avon established the Avon Products Foundation Breast Center for breast cancer research, clinical care, education, and community outreach. Pictured in photo above, from left: Joseph Tenenbaum, M.D., Edgar Leifer Professor of Clinical Medicine; Dr. Lewis, Ms. Hanover; Elsa-Grace Giardina, M.D., professor of clinical medicine and director, the Center for Women's Health; Audrey Weiderlight, Ph.D., president, NYPH Auxiliary, and Ms. Walas.
Support for Community Pediatrics The Aetna Foundation gave a $35,000 grant to the Department of Pediatrics to support cultural competency training for pediatric residents. Shown accepting the award, from left: Dodi Meyer, M.D., assistant clinical professor, pediatrics; Mary McCord, M.D., associate clinical professor, pediatrics; Marjorie Shulman, M.D., senior medical director, Aetna; John Driscoll, M.D., chairman, Department of Pediatrics; Patricia Hametz, M.D., assistant clinical professor, pediatrics; Kathryn Snyder, M.D., pediatric resident; Jessica Grant, M.D., pediatric resident, and Milagros Batista, project coordinator for Pediatrics.
New E-mail System: Faster, More Efficient
CUMC is heavily dependent on e-mail; it's simply the way business gets done on this campus. Campus e-mail users have said that the upgrades they want most are more storage space and better performance. "Cyrus" the new mail server developed by Carnegie-Mellon University that is already successfully being used at many peer institutions provides more storage space, improved system reliability and recovery of individual deleted messages, among other features. The new initial space quota, 250 MB, is six times greater than the current system; up to 1 GB is available upon request.
Columbia University Information Technology is working to move more than 65,000 users from the existing system to the Cyrus system and has designed a migration plan to move people quickly, with an interruption in e-mail service of about 15 minutes. (Migrations usually take place during early mornings and evenings). For more information about the Cyrus initiative, visit: http://www.columbia.edu/acis/email/cyrus/
The P&S annual report for 2004-2005 is now available. The report, called "health," covers the achievements and milestones in education, research, and fund-raising during the past two fiscal years. The report takes its title from the interdependent concepts of heal and health, "two words so closely linked that they are nearly the same word," says the report's introduction. The report will be mailed to full-time P&S faculty, to P&S alumni, and to friends of the medical school. Others may request a copy from Communications and External Relations by sending e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dean Fischbach Will Take on Autism Challenge
Gerald Fischbach has announced that, among new commitments, he will serve as the scientific director of the Simons Foundation Autism Project beginning sometime in the spring of 2006 when he steps down as Executive Vice President and Dean.
The Simons Foundation, whose primary mission is to advance research in autism and also education in mathematics, will invest more than $100 million in autism research over the next five years. Autism prevalence has increased many fold in recent years. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention estimates that between 2 to 5 in 1,000 individuals in the United States have some form of autism.
"When I made the decision to step down as EVP of the medical center and dean of P&S, it was because I wanted to focus on fundamental neuroscience and on the application of neuroscience to pressing clinical problems," Dr. Fischbach says. "Autism raises profound questions regarding development of the brain. It raises profound social issues as well."