Fall 2023 Alumni News
By Julia Hickey González and Bonita Eaton Enochs
Patricia Donahoe participated in the 2023 virtual alumni symposium by giving a presentation titled “Epiphanies in the Clinic and at the Bench; When is Standard of Care Not Enough?”
John H. Glick, emeritus professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, delivered the keynote address at Drexel University College of Medicine’s graduation in May and received an honorary doctor of science degree from Drexel. John is the longest-serving director in the history of Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center. He also served as vice president and associate dean for resource development at Penn Medicine. He led the creation of the Penn Medicine Academy of Master Clinicians to promote excellence in all specialties across the institution. His research has focused on integration of adjuvant chemotherapy and definitive breast radiotherapy for earlystage breast cancer. He chaired the pivotal 1985 NIH Consensus Conference on Adjuvant Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer and the St. Galen International Consensus Panels for Treatment of Primary Breast Cancer. John’s career at Penn began in 1974 after he completed fellowships at the NCI and Stanford University.
At the 2023 alumni reunion, class chair Richard Spiegel received the gold medal for meritorious service to VP&S and its alumni association. A child psychiatrist in Scottsdale, Arizona, Richard was a key strategic planner when the pandemic postponed his class’s golden reunion. He works tirelessly to engage his class, resulting in historically high participation in the 50-year anniversary booklet. He went to great lengths to create tributes for each alum who did not submit a biography. He spearheaded his class fundraising efforts to support scholarships for current students and raised funds for the lounge at 50 Haven Avenue, which bears the name of the Class of 1970.
Michael Dickens, an expert on American presidents and their health, was featured speaker at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library in Virginia in March. A pediatrician who practiced for 40 years, he has been employed at James Madison’s Montpelier for 14 years while pursuing his second career passion, American history. Since retiring from medicine in 2012 he also has worked part time at the Papers of George Washington at the University of Virginia doing primary research for the editors of the Revolutionary War Series. He has completed a book titled “Threads of Influence,” the first in-depth look at Madison’s ongoing relationships with his fellow graduates of the College of New Jersey (Princeton) throughout his career. While he chaired the Board of Trustees of the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library, he had the opportunity to review Wilson’s private medical record, which had been kept by the family of Admiral Cary Grayson, Wilson’s White House physician. At the request of the Office of the Historian of the U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine & Surgery he published two short articles on presidential disability and the role of Wilson’s physician in managing and hiding from public view Wilson’s many severe medical problems. The talk in March, “Presidential Disabilities and Modern Medical Advances Allowing for Earlier Diagnoses,” reviewed the history of presidential disabilities and how the Constitution has been amended to respond to cases of disability. He focused on new diagnostic techniques in neuroimaging, genetics, and cognitive testing which, if used, should allow for much earlier diagnoses of serious presidential disabilities and earlier identification of political and Constitutional difficulties that may result.
At this year’s alumni reunion, Alexander C. Chester III gave reflections from the class celebrating its 50 years since graduation from VP&S.
Allen Weiss gave a presentation at this year’s alumni reunion. His presentation was titled “Prevention, Making Lives Healthier and Longer.”
John “Jack” Turco was one of seven recipients of 2023 Social Justice Awards at Dartmouth College. The awards recognize individuals and organizations whose work in the areas of civil rights, social and environmental justice, and public health make contributions at Dartmouth and in the broader world. Jack’s award recognized lifetime achievement. He served as medical director of the Dartmouth College Health Service for more than 30 years and is a professor of endocrinology at the Geisel School of Medicine and director of Dartmouth Health’s Transgender Health Program. He joined Dartmouth in 1979 after completing his residency at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. He has helped develop curricula to train the next generation of physicians in the care of transgender and gender-diverse patients. He also was recognized for helping Dartmouth Health colleagues draft and adopt policies to make the institution more welcoming and inclusive. His previous awards include the 2013 Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation/ Geisel School of Medicine for his contributions to underserved populations. A former standout athlete and respected local coach, Jack received the Distinguished American Award from the New Hampshire chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame in 2008.
See Alumni in Print to read about a book by David C. Aron. Dave says the book complements his first book, “Complex systems in medicine: A hedgehog’s tale of complexity in clinical practice, research, education, and management,” which was published in 2019. Dave is emeritus professor of medicine at Case Western Reserve University.
At this year’s alumni reunion, Eric Rose received the gold medal for outstanding achievements in clinical medicine. With the mentorship of his predecessor as Department of Surgery chair at VP&S, Keith Reemtsma, Eric pioneered pediatric heart transplantation and led the Columbia heart transplant program to become one of the preeminent programs in the world. He initiated Columbia’s program in mechanical circulatory support, leading the NIH-supported REMATCH Trial (Randomized Evaluation of Mechanical Assistance for the Treatment of Congestive Heart Failure), demonstrating conclusively that long-term use of mechanical circulatory support devices prolongs and enhances life in end-stage heart disease patients not eligible for a transplant. The trial resulted in FDA approval of mechanical devices for long-term use and thousands of implants worldwide. While surgery chair at VP&S, Eric developed new liver and lung transplantation programs, with VP&S becoming one of the country’s most active solid organ transplant programs.
Jay Lefkowitch, professor emeritus of pathology & cell biology at VP&S, received the VP&S Distinguished Service Award at this year’s graduation. Jay has been associated with VP&S since beginning medical school in 1972. He is an internationally recognized hepatopathologist who has authored over 80 peerreviewed papers and textbooks on the subject. He served as a course director in pathology for over 40 years. He has received awards from students for outstanding teaching 16 times. He also received a Columbia presidential teaching award and the Bohmfalk Award at previous graduations. As a medical student he was active in the theater group now known as 50 Haven Players, and he has served as a faculty adviser to the group. He also has served on the advisory board for the VP&S Club.
At this year’s alumni reunion, Risa Gold gave a talk, “Disrupting the Poverty Industry–Lessons Learned in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion while doing Community-Led Development in Sierra Leone, West Africa.”
Vivian Lewis was honored at Columbia University’s commencement in May as a Columbia Alumni Medalist. She also was honored at a celebration during Columbia Alumni Leaders Weekend. Alumni medals recognize individuals for building Columbia’s community regionally, online, within schools, or in cross-campus initiatives. Vivian is professor emerita of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. She has been affiliated with the University of Rochester since she was named director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. She also was the medical school’s inaugural associate dean for faculty development for women and diversity and the university’s vice provost for faculty development and diversity. She has authored numerous articles, been a faculty member at three medical schools, held leadership positions at the National Medical Association Ob-Gyn Section and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and served in advisory roles for the Food and Drug Administration and the NIH. At VP&S, she was exposed to a diverse group of mentors and role models, especially faculty at Harlem Hospital. She participated in what was then the newly formed Black and Latino Student Organization (BALSO), where she gained experience in advocacy and community engagement. Since graduating from VP&S, Vivian has participated in class reunions, the VP&S Women in Medicine Collaborative, and the VP&S Alumni Association Board. She is currently president of the VP&S Alumni Association and co-chair of the BALSO Alumni Network, a new organization to support current and former VP&S BALSO members as they strive to provide culturally relevant health care. With other network members, she launched a fund to provide temporary support to BALSO students with short-term emergency needs not covered by their financial aid. Vivian divides her time between Rochester and Northern California. She and her husband, Rustam Tahir, have two sons. At this year’s alumni reunion at VP&S, Vivian hosted the welcome reception and gave welcoming remarks at the gala dinner and alumni awards celebration.
John Oldham participated in the 2023 virtual alumni symposium by giving a presentation titled “The Dimensions of Personality.”
1978 Alumni gold medals were presented at this year’s alumni reunion by Jane Salmon, chair of honors and awards for the reunion. Jane also gave a talk, “Mice and Mothers: Progress in Understanding Pregnancy Complications in Patients with Lupus and Antiphospholipid Syndrome,” at the in-person scientific session.
This year’s Virginia Kneeland Frantz’22 Award for Distinguished Women in Medicine was presented to Mary Bassett during the alumni reunion. With more than 30 years of experience in public health, Mary has dedicated her career to advancing health equity. She was the 17th health commissioner of the New York State Department of Health from 2021 to 2022 and New York City’s health commissioner from 2014 to 2018. She now directs the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University. Originally from New York City, Mary lived in Zimbabwe for nearly 20 years, where she served on the medical faculty of the University of Zimbabwe. She also worked as the program director for the African Health Initiative and the Child Well-being Program at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and as deputy commissioner for health promotion and disease prevention at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
See Alumni in Print to read about a book by Daniel McCrimons. His previous book, “Diamonds in the Water,” was a work of historical fiction. Daniel practices pediatrics in California.
See Alumni in Print to read about a book by Joanne Intrator. She was born and raised in New York City by parents who were both refugees from Hitler’s Germany. She decided to go into medicine to help others and became a psychiatrist. She conducted groundbreaking research on brain imaging of psychopaths, resulting in an oft-cited paper published in the journal Biological Psychiatry. Joanne’s experience in Berlin has been the subject of news articles, television interviews, and museum exhibits. She currently writes for Aesthetik & Communication (Berlin) and a blog for Psychology Today on psychopathy. Her website, JoanneIntrator.com, regularly features interviews with prominent writers and other figures.
Elaine J. Abrams was named the 2023 Virginia Apgar Academy of Medical Educators Mentor of the Year at VP&S. The award recognizes her transformative engagement in the lives of students, trainees, clinicians, and scholars at Columbia and elsewhere. At Columbia she is professor of epidemiology and pediatrics and a founding member of ICAP. As ICAP’s senior research director, she supports global research with a growing portfolio of studies of HIV prevention, care, and treatment. Dr. Abrams has worked in perinatal and pediatric HIV prevention and treatment for over 30 years as a clinician, researcher, and public health practitioner. During her tenure as co-chair of WHO’s HIV clinical guidelines group, many innovations were introduced that resulted in a worldwide increase in treatment for adults, pregnant people, and children living with HIV. Elaine was recognized for the Apgar Academy honor at this year’s Thomas Q. Morris’58 Symposium on Medical Education on May 1.
The Bohmfalk Award for Clinical Teaching was given to Michael Devlin at this year’s VP&S graduation ceremony. Mike is professor of psychiatry at VP&S and comedical director/faculty adviser of the VP&S Human Rights Initiative and Asylum Clinic. He is co-director of the Foundations of Clinical Medicine course that students take at the beginning of medical school and director of a course during the major clinical year that combines reflective practice, longitudinal integration of clinical clerkships, and individual mentoring. He also volunteers with the CoSMO Behavioral Health Clinic. He has received several awards for teaching.
Donna J. Formichella was one of five Providence College alumni to receive honorary degrees at the college’s commencement in May. Donna was awarded an honorary doctor of science degree. After graduating from medical school, Donna was the first woman to graduate from the surgery training program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. She retired as a partner from the Southern California Permanente Medical Group after 33 years where she practiced general surgery and still works part time as a partner emeritus. She was assistant chief of surgery for Kaiser Permanente in Orange County, California, for 10 years and was a clinical instructor in the surgery residency program at the University of California, Irvine, for 25 years.
The 2023 virtual VP&S alumni symposium included a presentation by Robert Basner on “Sleep, Breathing, and a Medical Lifetime in Critically Applied Physiology.”
At the 2023 alumni reunion, Donald Landry received the gold medal for outstanding achievements in medical research. As a scientist and longtime physician-in-chief at VP&S, he has used his clinical acumen to identify and forge novel medical approaches to intractable health challenges. His work on cocaine addiction led to the discovery of the first artificial enzyme to degrade cocaine. His discovery of vasopressin deficiency syndrome in vasodilatory shock led to the use of vasopressin to treat septic shock and vasodilatory shock after cardiopulmonary bypass. Aware of reports on pump-based continuous dialysis, Don built a continuous veno-venous hemodiafiltration apparatus to provide continuous renal replacement therapy and in-serviced 100 ICU nurses to start ICU Nephrology at VP&S. He also founded the Division of Experimental Therapeutics and the Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellowship at VP&S. In 2008, he received the Presidential Citizens Medal, the nation’s second-highest civilian award, “for his diverse and pioneering research and his efforts to improve the well-being of his fellow man.”
See Alumni in Print to read about a book by Martin Lustick. Marty, a pediatrician, has had a career that includes 20 years in clinical practice and leadership roles in a large physician group, a hospital, a nonprofit health plan, and a health care software company.
The 2023 virtual alumni symposium included a presentation by Margaret Ruttenberg on “Goals of Care Conversations in the Emergency Department.”
See Alumni in Print to read about a book co-authored by Rachel Brem. Rachel is a breast cancer expert who has been instrumental in developing and implementing new technologies to improve breast cancer detection. She is professor and director of breast imaging and intervention at George Washington University, vice chair of the Department of Radiology there, and chief medical adviser and cofounder of the Brem Foundation. She is a Fellow of the American College of Radiology and the Society of Breast Imaging.
See Alumni in Print to read about a book by Katherine Kaye. The first draft of her novel about Bouboulina, a heroine of the Greek Revolution, was completed shortly after Katherine visited Greece in 1984, but she put the project aside while she was busy with her medical career and family life. With close relatives spread from Athens to New York City to the American Midwest, Katherine’s parents—both children of Greek immigrants—helped their daughter maintain family ties by having her learn the Greek language. She learned the language well enough to converse with, write to, and read letters from her grandparents and other family members. When Katherine revisited the manuscript in 2021, she realized that the story of this remarkable folk heroine could still be an inspiration to girls everywhere and proceeded to revise the manuscript for publication. A percentage of the proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to the Bouboulina Museum on the Greek island of Spetses and the American Farm School in Thessaloniki, Greece. Katherine lives in New York City, where she has worked for many years with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Earlier in her career she worked with Save the Children in Asia.
See Alumni in Print to read about a book written by Stevan M. Weine. An excerpt from the book appears elsewhere in this issue. Stevan is professor of psychiatry at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, where he is also director of global medicine and director of the Center for Global Health. His previous books are “When History is a Nightmare: Lives and Memories of Ethnic Cleansing in Bosnia-Herzegovina” and “Testimony and Catastrophe: Narrating the Traumas of Political Violence.” His research work in global mental health has won numerous federal awards and resulted in many peerreviewed publications.
Jonathan Barasch, who also has a PhD from Columbia, participated in the 2023 virtual alumni symposium by giving a presentation titled “When Acute Kidney Injury is not Acute Kidney Injury.”
The 2023 virtual alumni symposium included a presentation by Yasmin Khakoo on “All that Glitters; My Journey to Child Neurology.”
The Pennsylvania Medical Society’s Everyday Hero Award was presented to Michael Marvin in an April ceremony. Michael is chair of transplant surgery at Geisinger Medical Center in Pennsylvania. He was nominated for the award by a liver transplant recipient. Michael completed his residency in general surgery and a fellowship in transplant and hepatobiliary surgery at Columbia and joined Geisinger in 2016 as department chair. The Everyday Hero Award, launched in 2018, is designed to acknowledge physicians who go above and beyond in their profession and in providing patient care.
The Marfan Foundation honored Sanjeev Bhalla with a Hero with Heart Award at a gala in St. Louis in March. Sanjeev is professor of radiology and chief of cardiothoracic imaging at Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology at Washington University in St. Louis. He is deputy editor of Radiology Cardiothoracic Imaging and an active member of several organizations, including the American Roentgen Ray Society and the Society of Thoracic Radiology, of which he is past president.
See Alumni in Print to read about a book edited by Mark D. Olszyk and co-edited by Erin DuPree. Mark is chief medical officer at Carroll Hospital in Maryland and vice chair of the Maryland Board of Physicians. He is board-certified in emergency medicine. He served as a U.S. naval officer and was deployed overseas with the Marine Corps. Mark, the father of four, has been an active scout leader and all three of his sons achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. Erin is senior vice president and physician executive for quality and clinical initiatives at the Greater New York Hospital Association. She joined GNYHA this year after serving as chief medical officer at the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare and Mount Sinai Hospital. She is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist. Erin lives with her husband and their daughter in New York, where they enjoy the arts and Central Park.
Andrew Coates gave a presentation at this year’s Alumni Day during the alumni reunion. His presentation was titled “Rolling in the Deep: Medicine As a Profession Full of Unrequited Love in the 21st Century.”
Catherine “Trina” Salva received the Robert Dunning Dripps Memorial Award for Excellence in Graduate Medical Education this year at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. She is associate professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. She completed her residency training at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and joined Penn in 2006 after three years in private practice. She has served as the residency program director since 2010, successfully expanding the residency from 24 to 32 trainees. She was medical director of Penn’s Helen O. Dickens Center for Women’s Health for more than 10 years. She currently leads a surgical coaching initiative for residents and faculty. Committed to lifelong learning, Trina earned a master’s degree in medical education at Penn in 2022. The Robert Dunning Dripps Memorial Award recognizes excellence as an educator of residents and fellows in clinical care, research, teaching, or administration.
Elaine Wan gave a presentation at this year’s Alumni Day during the alumni reunion. Her presentation was titled “Diversity, Heterogeneity, and Dispersion in Science and Cardiac Arrhythmias.”
Shoshana Shendelman was appointed to the Columbia University Board of Trustees this year. She is founder, CEO, and chair of the Board of Directors at Applied Therapeutics, a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company located in New York City. Before founding Applied Therapeutics, she founded Clearpoint Strategy Group LLC, a boutique life sciences consulting firm, where she served as managing director then senior adviser. She is vice chair of the Clinical Advisory Board of Columbia University Irving Medical Center and VP&S and serves on the Nominations Committee and the Committee on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. She received her PhD in cellular, molecular and biophysical studies.
Anaeze Offodile II has been named executive vice president and chief strategy officer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, a role described by MSK as “futurist.” A double board-certified surgeon with clinical expertise in oncologic reconstruction, he is also a health services researcher with a focus on alternative payment models and digital oncology and a health care administrator with management experience in academia. In this role, he will develop the core infrastructure, management systems, and processes for enterprise strategy and business development. Anaeze joined MSK from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, where he served as enterprise executive director for clinical transformation since 2018. He pioneered multiple first-inoncology programs to address the operational, financial, and clinical challenges of delivering high-quality, inpatient-level care in a patient’s home or community. He was also a faculty member in the Department of Plastic Surgery and established a diverse reconstructive practice performing microvascular reconstructive procedures on the breast, extremities, and abdominal wall. He earned an MPH from Johns Hopkins, completed a residency in general surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, completed a residency in plastic surgery at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center in Burlington, Massachusetts, and had a fellowship in reconstructive microsurgery at MD Anderson. He was a 2019 fellow at the National Academy of Medicine.
Rachel MacLean is one of 14 individuals chosen for the 2023 medical program of the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics. The program engages early-career physicians in an intensive course of study focused on contemporary ethical issues in their profession. Participants will spend two weeks in Germany and Poland to consider the conduct of physicians in Nazi-occupied Europe as a way to reflect on medical ethics today. Rachel is a psychiatry resident at Massachusetts General Hospital/McLean Hospital and a clinical fellow at Harvard Medical School.
At this year’s alumni reunion, Hueyjong Shih received the Gold Medal to a Graduating Student in Recognition of Interest in and Devotion to VP&S and its Alumni Association. He was co-president of the VP&S chapter of the Asian Pacific American Medical Students Association and organized the group’s 2020 regional conference at Columbia. He also served on the VP&S Anti-Racism Task Force. He co-directed the Columbia Harlem Homeless Medical Partnership, a student-run clinic for homeless and uninsured patients, and served as the clinic’s liaison to the Student Run Free Clinic COVID-19 Task Force. He was co-president of the VP&S Musicians’ Guild, spearheading the transition to virtual Musical Mondays monthly classical music recitals for the Columbia community during COVID-19, performing in virtual “Music at the Bedside” concerts for hospitalized patients, and later coordinating in-person Artreach concerts for patients undergoing physical rehabilitation. He was matched for residency in ophthalmology at Massachusetts Eye and Ear in Boston.