Dean’s Message

Lee Goldman, MD, Dean. Photo Jörg Meyer.

For my last “From the Dean” message for Columbia Medicine, I want to devote this space to thanking the groups and individuals who have made the medical school so successful these past 14 years.

The growth and progress of these years represent a true team effort of our faculty, staff, students, and philanthropists, as well as the leadership of Columbia University, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, and Bassett Healthcare. We especially appreciate gifts of almost $3 billion from alumni, grateful patients, and faculty since 2006. These gifts, ranging from small amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars, have transformed the medical school and medical center. Together we are doing our best to make the world a healthier place by delivering outstanding patient care, conducting groundbreaking research, educating the next generation of health care professionals, and extending our resources into the neighborhood around us, where we improve the public’s health as well as take care of one patient at a time. Nowhere has our mission been more evident than in our response this year to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our faculty, staff, and students have worked heroically to treat patients; conduct research into diagnosis, treatments, and vaccines; and offer our graduates opportunities to enter their training early to make an immediate impact on patient care. 

Our success is inextricably tied to the success of our hospital partner, NewYork-Presbyterian, and to the greatness of Columbia University. Sharing a campus with a truly great hospital—for local residents as well as patients who could go anywhere for their care—is a reminder that a top hospital and a top medical school go hand in hand. Being part of a great university is also critical to our success, especially as the Morningside campus has expanded northward to Manhattanville and a number of our faculty have moved to its Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute, thereby blurring the distinction between “uptown” and “downtown.” The greatness of Columbia reflects on us, and vice versa. 

As I said back in 2006 when my term as dean began, “No one wants anything less than the very best, and I’m proud to become part of that commitment.” When I step down from my executive leadership roles at the end of June it will be with enormous gratitude for the faculty, staff, students, patients, donors, and alumni who have trusted me to be the temporary steward of this great school, which, hopefully, has become even stronger. Thank you for joining us to build on the greatness of those who preceded us and for all you have done to make these past 14 years so successful. Your continuing excellence and dedication will ensure that our outstanding medical school remains among the very most preeminent in the world.

With best wishes,

Lee Goldman, MD, Dean


Editor's Note

Adding a Fast-Moving Virus to a Slow-Moving Magazine Production

A typical issue of Columbia Medicine involves months of preparation: development of assignments; research, interviews, and writing; photography; page layout; proofreading; approvals; printing; and mailing. This issue was well along in that process when COVID-19 cases started appearing in New York City and at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. Articles had been approved by sources, and the design process had begun. Some photo shoots were completed before the city went into work-at-home and social distancing mode, but other photo shoots were cancelled. The editorial staff was deployed to other communications needs, but work continued on the magazine’s design so we would be prepared to complete the magazine’s production once the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic had passed.

We are still in the process of returning to some semblance of normal and are proud to present this belated issue of the magazine. The issue includes some of the content planned and completed in February but we have added an article that, we hope, conveys the response to the pandemic by Columbia University Irving Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian. In the News section, articles describe how the traditions of the graduating class—Super Night, Match Day, and graduation—were anything but traditional as members of the Class of 2020 graduated early to support the clinical front lines of the pandemic.

In the next issue, we will shine a light on the COVID-19 research efforts that were ongoing during the height of the pandemic and continue now in hopes of creating new diagnosis, treatment, and prevention options.

With the American epicenter of the pandemic in New York City, the spread of the illness changed daily operations at the medical school and medical center, upended the daily lives of all clinical and administrative staff, and altered the graduation memories of the newly minted members of the Class of 2020. What did not change and will not change is the school’s commitment to leadership in education, patient care, and research. In all three missions, we showed our city, state, and country during the pandemic that VP&S remains among the best medical schools in the world. Columbia Medicine magazine is proud to be part of the efforts to share our successes and to remind you that we are doing our best to make the world a healthier place.

—Bonita Eaton Enochs