Our History

Founded in 1997 by African-American and Latino house officers, the Lindenbaum-Thomson Society (LTS) was named in honor of Drs. John Lindenbaum and Gerald Thomson for their efforts in promoting academic excellence and diversity in medicine. In the original mission statement, the founding residents expressed their commitment to ensure the recruitment, retention and development of minority house staff and to provide a supportive academic and social environment in which to help minority residents realize their full potential. Though a resident driven organization, the members looked for support within the residency program, and from faculty, CUMC alumni, as well as from organizations and groups outside of the residency.

Prior to 1997, there were less formal efforts to organize amongst minority house staff. Hhowever, in the spring of that year Dr. John Lindenbaum, Professor and past Chairman of medicine passed away and inspired the formalization of the organization. Dr. Lindenbaum was a truly beloved clinician, teacher and mentor. As a clinical investigator, he earned renown for vitamin B-12 and folate metabolism studies, and his research benefited patients with sickle cell anemia, vitamin B-12 deficiency, and heart disease. Dr. Lindenbaum was also committed to producing highly trained, well-respected and compassionate minority physicians. Prior to his death, he established a fund to bring minority leaders in the field of medicine to CUMC.

Dr. Thomson’s name was also selected for the organization for his longstanding commitment to the recruitment of minority physicians and for his contributions to minority health. Dr. Thomson was recruited to Columbia in 1970 to head the new renal division at Harlem Hospital. He was Director of Medicine at Harlem Hospital from 1971 to 1985. He then returned to Presbyterian Hospital to become Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President for Professional Affairs in 1985. In 1990, he was Associate Dean. Dr. Thomson has served and led numerous local and national organizations. He is co-founder and past President of the New York Society of Nephrology and a founder and past President of the Association of Academic Minority Physicians. Dr. Thomson served several years on the Board of Directors of the American Board of Internal Medicine and was the first African-American to serve as its Chairman from 1991 to 1992. He was also the first African American to serve as President of the American College of Physicians. Dr. Thomson remains very involved with the minority house staff acting as ward attending during the year, and as faculty advisor for the LTS society.