Alumni News

Nicholas Romas was honored in December by the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Nicholas, professor of urology at Columbia, was recognized for his commitment to serving humanity through his profession and offering care and guidance for his fellow Ahepans.

Geraldine P. Schechter and Babette B. Weksler have co-edited a new book described in the Alumni in Print section. Geraldine is professor emeritus of medicine at George Washington University and former chief of hematology at the VA Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Babette is professor emeritus of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and former attending physician at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.

David V. Forrest, clinical professor of psychiatry at VP&S, has written a book described in this issue’s Alumni in Print section. David is past president of the American College of Psychoanalysts and a fellow of the Explorers Club. 

Anthony H. Horan presented a poster titled “The History of Immuno-cryotherapy for Prostate Cancer” on Jan. 25, 2018, at the 29th International Prostate Cancer Update in Beavercreek, Colo. “The introduction featured the first modern reference to a 1903 case report in the Annals of Surgery about two ‘cures’ of two crippling sarcomas by John Rogers Jr., MD VP&S 1891,” Tony writes. “He used W.B. Colley’s vaccine developed at Memorial Hospital. It was composed of mixed streptococcal toxins and was the first immunotherapy for a cancer. Ten copies of the 1903 paper were snapped up by the audience.” The poster went on to describe the palliation by cryosurgery to the primary of the bone pain caused by metastatic prostate cancer. “This observation was published by three VP&S faculty members in 1972. Their contribution was forgotten after the municipal hospital, Delafield, was closed by the NYC bankruptcy. Now the immunotherapy of cancer is all the rage but cryo’ is forgotten.”


Robert J. Lefkowitz returned to VP&S in November to present the 2017 Cartwright Lecture. Several of his classmates were on hand and posed for a photo. From left are Walter Flamenbaum, David Tucker, Robert Lefkowitz, Charles Lightdale, and Bart Nisonson. Henry Spotnitz also attended the lecture but missed the photo.

See the story, “Alumni Run for State, National Office,” to read about James Maxwell.

See Alumni in Print to read about a new book by Bob Cutillo, assistant clinical professor of family medicine at the University of Colorado. Bob also serves as an associate faculty member at Denver Seminary and provides patient care to underserved populations at the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. 

Scott Breidbart has been named chief medical officer of Affinity Health Plan after leaving the role of chief medical officer at Solera Health in Phoenix. Scott, who also has an MBA, has more than 20 years of experience as a managed care executive. In his new position, he reports directly to Affinity’s president and CEO to ensure the delivery of affordable, quality health care services to Affinity’s approximately 300,000 members.

Nader Moazami has joined NYU to direct a new heart transplant program launched by the Transplant Institute at NYU Langone Health. Nader, who led the heart transplant program at Cleveland Clinic, has performed more than 300 heart transplants in his career and has studied and advanced the use of mechanical devices to treat patients with end-stage heart failure. At NYU he is professor in the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery and surgical director of heart transplantation and mechanical circulatory support at NYU Langone.

1993 MD-PhD
Roy Chuck, professor and chair of ophthalmology and visual sciences at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center, received the 2017 Physician Scientist Award at the annual Fight for Sight gala in December. The primary mission of Fight for Sight is to support research to cure blindness. Roy, who also has a PhD from Columbia, holds the Paul Henkind Chair in Ophthalmology and is also professor of genetics at Einstein.

Ellen Gallant wrote: “I always enjoy receiving Columbia Medicine; in particular, I enjoy hearing alumni news. I decided for the first time ever, I would send my own news. I am an interventional cardiologist near Jackson, Wyo. I love my job and the great outdoors here in Wyoming, but my big news is that I summited Mount Everest on May 23, 2017. Fifteen long, hard years went into this adventure, about the same amount of time (pre-med, med school, residency, fellowship, interventional year) that it took to become an interventional cardiologist!”

See the story, “Alumni Run for State, National Office,” to read about Shannon Hader. 

Carl Novinahas joined the scientific advisory board of Atossa Genetics, a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics and delivery methods for breast cancer and other breast conditions. Carl, who also has a PhD from Tufts, is a leading researcher in the field of RNA therapeutics. An associate professor of medicine at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, he is also an associate member of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. 

Eric Michael David has joined Bridge Bio Pharma in Palo Alto, Calif., as CEO-in-residence to lead the company’s gene therapy efforts. Founded in 2015, BridgeBio has built a portfolio of 15 programs that address rare genetic diseases across oncology, cardiology, dermatology, neurology, and endocrinology, developing drugs that are in various phases of development, from pre-clinical to late-stage. Eric previously co-founded Organovo, a 3-D bioprinting company where he spent the past several years. He also has a law degree (Columbia Law 1996) and was inspired to combine medicine and law by people such as Columbia Law professor Harold Edgar and Phil Reilly, a 1973 Columbia Law graduate.

Sara Monaco has two new books out, described in Alumni in Print. Sara is associate professor of pathology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, where she is program director of the cytopathology fellowship and director of the fine needle aspiration service at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. She is also director of the fine needle aspiration clinic at the medical center’s Shadyside Hospital.

See 2012 for news about Joshua Willey.

Charles Haviland Mize and a team he developed, the Bhutan Emergency Aeromedical Retrieval (BEAR), received a Medical Humanitarian Award presented by Boston Biopharma. The award identifies new health care programs that have an impact on the lives of patients in underserved areas of the world. Charlie and BEAR were recognized for their volunteer efforts to help save lives in Bhutan. BEAR was created last year after the life of a patient in Bhutan with a treatable injury could not be saved because he arrived too late to the hospital. Charlie developed the program with the Royal Government of Bhutan’s Ministry of Health, Royal Bhutan Helicopter Services, and Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital, where he has volunteered for the past year to help improve emergency medical services in the country. BEAR provides timely resuscitation and critical obstetric care to patients in remote parts of Bhutan, including the Himalayas. Team members are trained to respond to emergency evacuations in extreme altitudes using a high-performance helicopter equipped with an intensive care unit. The team has saved 53 patients since its inception. Charlie—his classmates will remember him as Charles Haviland Moore—completed his emergency medicine residency at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. 

Jacob M. Appel has published a new novel. Read about his latest book in Alumni in Print. In addition to being a physician, an attorney, and a bioethicist, Jacob has published more than 13 books and 10 plays that have been performed by companies across the United States. 

Eliza Miller received the Robert G. Siekert New Investigator Award in Stroke from the American Stroke Association. The award encourages new investigators to undertake or continue stroke-related research. Eliza’s abstract, “Preeclampsia and Early Stroke Incidence in the California Teachers Study,” was presented in January at the 2018 International Stroke Conference in Los Angeles. Joshua Willey’03 was senior author. Both are assistant professors of neurology in the stroke and cerebrovascular disease division at VP&S.

See the story, “Alumni Run for State, National Office,” to read about Adbul El-Sayed. 

Stuart Levine was incorrectly identified as a member of the Class of 1994 in the Fall/Winter 2017 issue. He is a 1998 graduate. Columbia Medicine regrets the error, which has been corrected in the online edition.