Columbia Names Interim EVP and Dean

Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center Director Anil Rustgi begins July 1 as interim executive vice president and dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine

Columbia University President Lee Bollinger has named Anil K. Rustgi, MD, director of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, as interim executive vice president and dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine, effective July 1, 2020.

Shortly after Lee Goldman, MD, EVP, dean, and chief executive of Columbia University Irving Medical Center, announced his plans in May 2019 to step down from his executive roles, President Bollinger named a committee to begin a search for Dr. Goldman’s successor. Dr. Goldman has agreed to serve as a special advisor to Dr. Rustgi and the dean’s office after July 1.

“I and the rest of the University administration will be deeply involved and supportive as well, even more so during this difficult time, with the challenges that confront us with COVID-19,” President Bollinger said. The search committee, which President Bollinger chairs, will continue to review candidates for a permanent successor to Dr. Goldman.

“I want, again, to take this occasion to thank Lee Goldman, an exceptional leader, physician, investigator, educator, and mentor,” President Bollinger said. “If we use the measure of leadership that the institution is better now than it was at the outset, Lee has done an outstanding job. The several schools—both individually and as a whole—are clearly stronger than ever (even at this moment of crisis). I and we are deeply grateful to Lee for his remarkable dedication and service these nearly 14 years.”

Dr. Rustgi joined VP&S Jan. 1, 2019, as Irving Professor of Medicine, director of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, and associate dean of oncology. At NewYork-Presbyterian/CUIMC, he is chief of cancer services. He will retain these titles and responsibilities while serving as interim EVP and dean. A leading cancer researcher, Dr. Rustgi joined Columbia from the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, where he spent 20 years as the T. Grier Miller Professor of Medicine and Genetics and chief of gastroenterology. He also co-led the Tumor Biology Program.

Dr. Rustgi, who has received the prestigious American Cancer Society Research Professorship, studies the intrinsic cellular processes and tumor microenvironment that lead to the development, progression, and metastasis of gastrointestinal cancers, including cancer of the esophagus, pancreas, and colon. Using mouse models and 3D culture models, Dr. Rustgi is investigating the role of cancer-causing genes and tumor suppressor genes in the pathogenesis of GI cancers.

Dr. Rustgi graduated summa cum laude from Yale College with a bachelor’s degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry and earned his medical degree at Duke University School of Medicine, where he was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha national medical honorary society. He completed an internal medicine residency at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and a GI fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital. He also served as associate professor of medicine at Massachusetts General before joining the University of Pennsylvania in 1998.

Dr. Rustgi has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, and the Association of American Physicians and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Previously, he was president of the American Gastroenterological Association, editor-in-chief of Gastroenterology, and president of the International Society of Gastroenterological Carcinogenesis. 

He is president of the American Pancreatic Association for 2020.