Alumni News

Glenn A. Langer founded the Partnership Scholars Program in 1996 to enable economically and culturally disadvantaged students to be competitive for entry into four-year colleges. Scholars are supported from seventh grade through high school graduation. They are offered “what a middle class family would provide for their college-bound child,” Glenn says. Thus far 327 seniors have graduated high school and 304 have been accepted to, are attending, or have graduated from a university.

See In Memoriam for a remembrance of Ernest Vandeweghe’53 written by Robert Osnos.

Peter Pressman spent his career as a breast surgeon in private practice in New York City. He spent many years at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, where he helped establish the breast center. His book, “Breast Cancer: The Complete Guide,” was published in five editions. After retiring from surgical practice in 2003, he directed the cancer genetics program at the Weill Cornell Breast Center for 10 years. He was appointed clinical professor emeritus of surgery at Weill Cornell in 2013. An endowed chair—the Peter I. Pressman, MD Professorship of Surgery—was established in his honor in 2014. “It has been a wonderful career,” he writes. “I continue to live with my wife in New York City and Southampton.”

See Alumni in Print to read about a book by William R. Taylor, who was a consultant to schools, clinics, and hospitals in central Connecticut before retiring. His wife, Barbara, is a graduate of Columbia’s School of Social Work. They have three children and six grandchildren.

Charles Brill writes that he heard actor Alan Alda speak at the Philadelphia Speakers Series in September 2014. Mr. Alda “proudly mentioned that he was the commencement speaker at our graduation.” (Editor’s Note: The text of Alan Alda’s graduation speech to the Class of 1979 is now online at the magazine website,

Henry Solomon has been appointed chief CME reviewer for MedPage Today. Henry is senior medical adviser and chair of the Professional and Corporate Consortium for the American College of Cardiology.

Geraldine Schechter received the 2014 Stratton Medal for Clinical/Translational Research from the American Society of Hematology for her multifaceted contributions to the field of hematology and her commitment to hematology training and mentorship. Geraldine has been the cornerstone of hematologic care at the VA Medical Center in Washington, D.C., since 1965. She has helped to advance the diagnosis and treatment of chronic lymphoid malignancies and autoimmune hematologic disorders and has become well-known for her enduring mentorship, editorship, and organizational leadership that has affected thousands of hematologists and medical students and helped shape hematology as a subspecialty in the United States. Geraldine is former chief of hematology at the VA, where she has served for more than 40 years. She also is professor emeritus of medicine at George Washington University.

Walter Franck’64, fourth from right, with the first Columbia-Bassett graduates

Walter Franck retired in January as senior associate dean of the Columbia-Bassett Program. Walter spent 41 years at Bassett Healthcare in Cooperstown. During that time he published 42 research papers and received awards for academic excellence and teaching. He brought rheumatology as a new subspecialty to Bassett and created an immunology lab. In 1980 he became chief of medicine and director of medical education. In retirement he plans to travel and to spend more time with his children and grandchildren, but Cooperstown will remain his base.

Robert D. Bach, a general surgeon in North Haven, Maine, and a member of the palliative care team at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, received the 2014 American College of Surgeons/Pfizer Surgical Volunteerism International Award, one of four awards given to volunteer surgeons who provide care to medically underserved patients domestically and abroad. Bob has been performing volunteer surgical procedures since he first traveled to Nicaragua’s north Atlantic coastal region in 1976, where he performed operations in a mission hospital run by the Moravian Church. During the Sandinista-Contra War, he volunteered in Honduras, Guatemala, and St. Lucia. In 1992 the new regional government hospital in Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, was named after his late wife, Nancy Bach. Through his work in Nicaragua, he has developed teams of nurses, dentists, pediatricians, surgeons, emergency physicians, and medical technicians to serve the population. He continues to visit every spring and fall to teach and follow up on projects.

Robin Cook received the 2014 Robert B. Parker Award, which recognizes outstanding accomplishment by an author or entity fostering the mystery genre in New England. Robin has written 33 mystery novels and is widely credited with introducing medical science to mystery writing to create the medical thriller genre. His 34th book, “Host,” is scheduled to be released this year. The Parker Award was presented at the third annual Gala Mystery Night in December 2014 at the New England Mobile Book Fair, where mystery writers from all over New England signed books.

John P. Bilezikian has been selected to receive the Dr. Oscar S. Gluck ISCD Humanitarian Award from the International Society for Clinical Densitometry. The award is presented to an ISCD member for distinguished service and dedication to the society. John previously was honored by ISCD as the first recipient of the ISCD Global Leadership Award, an award that is now named for him. John is the Dorothy L. and Daniel H. Silberberg Professor of Medicine, professor of pharmacology, and chief of endocrinology at P&S.

Henry Kronenberg was elected president-elect of the Endocrine Society for 2015-16. He will serve as president in 2016-17. Henry is chief of the Endocrine Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. An active Endocrine Society volunteer for more than two decades, he has served as vice president for basic science and member of the society’s leadership council. He also served on a number of society committees and has been an editorial board member for the society’s basic science journals, Endocrinology and Molecular Endocrinology. He has received the society’s Gerald D. Aurbach Award Lecture, the International Research Prize from the Austrian Society for Bone and Mineral Research, and the Gideon Rodan Mentoring Award from the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.

Elliott Antman is president of the American Heart Association for 2014-15. Elliott is professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a senior physician in the cardiovascular division of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. As president, Elliott serves as chief volunteer scientific and medical officer, responsible for medical, scientific, and public health matters for the AHA. A volunteer since 1977, Elliott chaired the association’s Committee on Scientific Sessions Program in 2011 and 2012. He has authored or co-authored more than 700 scientific articles and has led numerous multicenter trials.

1976 PhD
See Alumni in Print to read about a book co-authored by Marilyn J. August. She trained in diagnostic virology and immunology as a postdoctoral fellow at Yale, which launched her career in clinical diagnostic virology. She worked in hospital and clinical diagnostic virology, microbiology, and infectious serology laboratories in southern California, later moving to the biotechnology industry in northern California when she joined Aviron (now MedImmune/AstraZeneca) as director of the clinical testing laboratory. She oversaw clinical trials that supported studies leading to approval of a live, intranasal influenza vaccine that was first licensed in 2003. More recently, Marilyn has consulted as a scientist and freelance medical writer-editor, mixing work with trips, hiking adventures, and activities as a Let’s Look at Art docent for the San Jose Museum of Art. Marilyn was selected by the Santa Clara County Branch of the National League of American Pen Women as a “Letters Achiever” for 2014. The local branch of professional women in art, letters, and music selects two women each year in each artistic field to honor at a celebrity luncheon in San Jose, Calif.

After eight years in solo cardiology practice in New York City and 22 years of private practice in a large cardiology group in Albany, N.Y., David Wolinsky joined the staff of Cleveland Clinic Florida in 2011. In 2014 he was appointed section head of nuclear cardiology and on Jan. 1, 2015, he became president of the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology.

James Arden, who received a PhD from UCSF in 1994, was a clinical lead for neuroanaesthesia at King’s College Hospital in London for several years before returning to the United States. He is now in the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Cincinnati. Jim and his wife, Melissa, are both dual citizens of the United States and the United Kingdom and will probably return to London after he has completed his stint in Cincinnati.

William H. Seitz Jr. received the 2014 John H. Budd Award from the Academy of Medicine of Cleveland and Northeast Ohio. He is professor of surgery in the Department of Orthopedics at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine at Case Western Reserve College of Medicine and chair of orthopedic surgery at Lutheran Hospital. He was sworn in as the 69th president of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand at the group’s annual meeting in Boston in September 2014.

Kevin Slawin reported that the company he founded 10 years ago, Bellicum Pharmaceuticals, went public Dec. 18, 2014, on Nasdaq, the first biotech IPO in Houston in 15 years. According to the company’s website, Bellicum Pharmaceuticals is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing novel cellular immunotherapies for various forms of cancer, including both hematological and solid tumors and orphan inherited blood disorders.

A paper that describes data from Daniel Schechter’s NIMH K-23 award at Columbia/NYSPI was awarded a Best Scientific Paper Prize by the French Psychiatry Association. The prize was bestowed in France in November 2014. Dan is now a senior lecturer in psychiatry at the University of Geneva in Switzerland.

Gregory Dorn was named president of Hearst Health, created in 2014 to encompass the Hearst Corporation’s health care information businesses. “Jane and I currently live in Tiburon, Calif., with our four children,” he writes. “When I can find time I spend it racing or cruising on our sailboat in and outside the SF bay.”

Stuart Levine has been named vice president of medical affairs at MedStar Harbor Hospital in Baltimore. He previously served as vice chairman of strategic growth and research in the Department of Medicine at both MedStar Good Samaritan and MedStar Union Memorial hospitals and as medical director of the Good Health Center at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital. He also cochaired the Research Symposium Planning Committee for the MedStar Health Research Institute. Before joining MedStar Health, Stuart was assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Rheumatology at Johns Hopkins University, where he also served as codirector of the Johns Hopkins Vasculitis Center.

The National Psoriasis Foundation honored Bruce Strober, who also received a PhD from Columbia, for his efforts to improve the lives of people living with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Bruce received the foundation’s Excellence in Leadership Award in October 2014 at a fund-raising event in New York City that raised more than $225,000 to support psoriatic disease research. Bruce is vice chair, associate professor, and director of the clinical trials unit at the University of Connecticut Health Center’s Department of Dermatology in Farmington, Conn.

See Alumni in Print to read about a book by Rebecca Allen. Rebecca is assistant professor of obstetrics & gynecology at Brown University’s medical school. She also works in the ambulatory care division of the Women’s Primary Care Center at Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island.

The Class of 2017 began its major clinical year Jan. 5 at the Steven Z. Miller Student Clinician’s Ceremony. P&S alumni were among those honored for teaching: Erika Marulanda-Londono’11, Geoff Rubin’12, Anne Holland-Pike’13, and Jake Kriegel’13.

Read about recent Alumni Association activities here.