Katrina Armstrong's Biography

Katrina Armstrong, MD, leads Columbia University’s medical campus as Chief Executive Officer of the Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) and Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. CUIMC includes the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons (VP&S), the School of Nursing, the College of Dental Medicine, and the Mailman School of Public Health. She also is Executive Vice President for Health and Biomedical Sciences for Columbia University and the Harold and Margaret Hatch Professor in the Faculty of Medicine.

Dr. Armstrong is the 25th dean of VP&S, founded in 1767 as the nation’s second medical school but the first in the nation to award an MD degree.

Dr. Armstrong, the first woman to lead Columbia’s medical school and medical center, assumed her new roles March 1, 2022.

Before joining Columbia, Dr. Armstrong was chair of the Department of Medicine and Physician-in-Chief of Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. At Harvard, she was the Jackson Professor of Clinical Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Professor of Epidemiology at the T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She was the first woman physician-in-chief at Massachusetts General Hospital when she joined Harvard in 2013. In a department that records 1.2 million ambulatory visits annually, she oversaw the work of 2,000 faculty, residents, and fellows in 10 clinical divisions and 11 research units. She also oversaw the department’s educational programs in undergraduate and graduate medical education. Her academic career began at the University of Pennsylvania, where over 17 years her roles ranged from physician scientist fellow to professor, chief of general internal medicine, associate director of the Abramson Cancer Center, co-director of the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program, and director of research at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics.

Dr. Armstrong received a BA degree in architecture from Yale University, an MD degree from Johns Hopkins University, and an MS degree in clinical epidemiology from the University of Pennsylvania. She completed her residency training in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins.

Her research focuses on medical decision making, quality of care, and cancer prevention and outcomes. Through innovative research, Dr. Armstrong has helped transform understanding of cancer, genomics, and health care disparities. She has identified ways to improve cancer care using observational data, modeling, and personalized medicine. Her work has focused on cancer risk and prevention in Black and Latinx patients, examined racial inequities in genetic testing and neonatal care, and analyzed the roles that segregation, discrimination, and distrust play in the health of marginalized populations. Her most recent research studied disparities in rural areas and include partnerships with Lakota tribal communities and organizations in western South Dakota.

She demonstrated leadership in medical education at Massachusetts General by founding the Center for Educational Innovation and Scholarship to develop and study new approaches to medical education. She also created a training program in rural health leadership. At the University of Pennsylvania, she designed courses on clinical decision making and established a master’s degree in health policy research.

She has demonstrated a commitment to educating, recruiting, and retaining diverse talent across all areas of medicine by creating programs devoted to pipeline development, flexible career pathways, coaching, mentorship, and sponsorship.

She describes her leadership style as “enabling others to succeed.”

She is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Association of American Physicians, and the American Society for Clinical Investigation. She also has been honored with awards that include the Outstanding Junior Investigator of the Year Award from the Society of General Internal Medicine, the Outstanding Investigator Award from the American Federation of Medical Research, and the Alice Hersh Award from Academy Health.