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August 2007 News Flashes

 

FACULTY AND STAFF NEWS

Health Systems Emergency Response Logistics Conference at ORIE Manhattan

Participants at the Health Systems Emergency Response Logistics Conference
Participants at the Health Systems Emergency Response Logistics Conference

On August 2-3, 2007, leading researchers in the field of public health emergency response logistics convened at the Manhattan campus of the Cornell University School of Operations Research and Information Engineering. The event was sponsored by the Intel Corporation and was organized by Jack Muckstadt, Ph.D., the Acheson-Laibe Professor of Business Management and Leadership Studies at the School of Operations Research and Information Engineering of Cornell University; Nathaniel Hupert, M.D., M.P.H., Assistant Professor of Public Health and Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College; and David Murray, Ph.D., Assistant Dean and Clinical Professor at The Mason School of Business at the College of William and Mary. The presenters, experts from universities, government agencies, national labs, and corporations around the country in the fields of engineering, computer science, emergency medicine, biology, and policy analysis, described their work in planning for potential emergencies such as pandemic flu outbreaks and biological or chemical terrorism. The meeting concluded with an idea sharing session that focused on formulating a coordinated research agenda and developing strategies for effectively presenting proposals to clinicians and policy makers.

Left to right: Nathaniel Hupert, M.D., M.P.H.; Roger Lang, OR Manhattan Corporate Relations; David Murray, Ph.D.; Jack Muckstadt, Ph.D.
Left to right: Nathaniel Hupert, M.D., M.P.H.; Roger Lang, OR Manhattan Corporate Relations; David Murray, Ph.D.; Jack Muckstadt, Ph.D.
The speakers included Aaron Bair, M.D., Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of California at Davis; Lynn Yang, Ph.D., an analyst at Sandia Livermore National Laboratories; Irene Eckstrand, Ph.D., Scientific Director of the National Institute for General Medical Science (NIGMS) Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study (MIDAS) Consortium; Eva Lee, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology; Margaret Brandeau, Ph.D. Professor of Operations Research at Stanford University; Michael Samsa and Matthew Berry of the Argonne National Laboratory; Rocco Casagrande, Ph.D, Scientific Director of Gryphon Scientific; Silas Smith, M.D., Toxicology Fellow at Bellevue Hospital and the Department of Emergency Medicine at New York University; Shane Henderson, Ph.D, Associate Professor of Operations Research at Cornell University; Ed Chan, Ph.D., Research Associate at the RAND Corporation, and Dr. Hupert and Professors Muckstadt and Murray.

 

Joseph Fins, M.D., Testifies Before Veteran’s Affairs Committee

 
Joseph J. Fins, M.D.
Joseph J.Fins, M.D.
Dr. Joseph J. Fins, Chief of the Division of Medical Ethics and Professor of Medicine, Public Health and Medicine in Psychiatry, testified on July 18, 2007, before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Veteran's Affairs hearing on traumatic brain injury (TBI). Dr. Fins called attention to the compelling needs of minimally conscious patients, both among the military and civilian populations. “The pervasive neglect of these patients is especially unfortunate because of developments in neuroscience, neuroimaging in particular, that is making it possible to peer into the recovering brain and discern mechanisms of recovery,” he said.

To begin to provide improved treatment for TBI, Dr. Fins offered several recommendations. These include breaking down research barriers between the Department of Defense, the Veterans Administration, and civilian centers, such as academic medical centers, to enable the movement of patients so they can be properly diagnosed. He also suggested using the epidemic of brain injury from the current Iraq war to study the epidemiology and natural history of brain injury and to track patients long-term. This information will be essential to help fill in the sizeable gaps in reliable information on brain injured patients and to help researchers and physicians understand how the injured brain recovers. Dr. Fins emphasized the need to expand other research efforts involving brain injured patients as well. He further said that it is necessary to identify infrastructural needs to ensure that patients receive appropriate assessment by qualified practitioners with appropriate institutional support, and that there needs to be coordination of payment for care across treatment and research venues.

 

Dr. Fins Appointed to Governor’s Task Force
Dr. Fins
has also been appointed by Governor Eliot Spitzer to the Governor's Task Force on Life and the Law. The group was established in 1985 under the Cuomo administration to address ethical issues in medicine at the intersection of clinical practice, research, and law, including the development of public policy on a host of issues arising from medical advances, including the withholding and withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment, assisted suicide and euthanasia, assisted reproductive technologies, and organ and tissue transplantation. The Task Force members include leaders in the fields of law, medicine, nursing, philosophy and bioethics, as well as patient advocates and representatives of diverse religious communities.

 

Public Health Community Saddened by Death of Dr. Lawrence Hatterer

The following message is from Dr. Alvin Mushlin, Chairman of the Department of Public Health:

It is with sadness that I am writing about Dr. Lawrence Hatterer who passed away on the morning of July 13th. Dr. Hatterer was a member of the Cornell voluntary faculty for over 30 years, primarily in psychiatry and more recently in both psychiatry and public health. He graduated from Princeton University and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He was trained in psychoanalysis at the New York Psychoanalytic Institute, and was well regarded for his work on homosexuality and addiction. In addition to having an active clinical practice, Dr. Hatterer also conducted research into the etiology of addiction and the addictive process. In our department he collaborated with Drs. Botvin and Millman. The focus of his recent NIDA-funded research was on developing a clinically useful and effective diagnostic instrument for addiction. He is survived by his wife, Myrna, who is also a psychiatrist, and two daughters, Julie and Jane.

His family has asked that contributions in his name be made to the Department of Public Health or Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College.

 

Bruce Schackman, PhD
Bruce R. Schackman, Ph.D.
(Photo by John Abbott.)
Dr. Bruce Schackman Interviewed on WNYC Radio

Bruce Schackman, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Public Health and Chief of the Division of Health Policy, was featured in a WNYC interview about the increase in syphilis cases in New York City, especially among gay and bisexual men from Latino and African-American communities.

 

 

 

Dr. Ann Beeders’s Art Work Currently on Exhibit

Ann B. Beeder, M.D.
Ann B. Beeder, M.D.  
Ann B. Beeder, M.D., Associate Professor of Public Health in the Division of Community and Public Health Programs and Director of the Adult and Adolescent Services Clinics, is among the artists whose work is currently on view at The Philoctetes Center at 247 East 82nd Street in Manhattan. According to the notes for the exhibit, The Doctor’s Palette, the works demonstrate “how art and science find harmony in the individual.” The show will run through September 15, 2007.

 

 

FACULTY PUBLICATIONS

 
Nicholas D. Schiff, M.D.
Nicholas D. Schiff, M.D.
Nicholas D. Schiff, M.D., Associate Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience and Public Health, was the lead author of a groundbreaking study on the success of deep brain stimulation (DBS) in improving the condition of a severely brain injured man who had been in a minimally conscious state for six years. Joseph J. Fins, M.D., Chief of the Division of Medical Ethics and Professor of Medicine, Public Health and Medicine in Psychiatry, was a co-author of the article. Dr. Fins formulated the ethical framework that guided the design and execution of the study, which represented a collaboration among researchers from the Cleveland Clinic, the JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Center for Head Injuries, and Weill Cornell Medical College. The report was titled “Behavioural improvements with thalamic stimulation after severe traumatic brain injury” and appeared in the August 2, 2007, issue of Nature.

 
Joseph J. Fins, M.D.
Joseph J.Fins, M.D.
This study was the first in which deep brain stimulation was used on a patient in a minimally conscious state. The patient in this case was a 38-year-old man who had suffered a severe head injury six years ago. Before the procedure he had been unable to communicate, except inconsistently with slight eye or finger movements. After it was performed, he became able use words and gestures to communicate and to respond quickly to questions. Before the DBS he had to be fed with a feeding tube; now he can chew and swallow food. He can also perform some complex movements that he couldn’t before, including drinking from a cup and brushing his teeth.

Dr. Schiff developed the original concept for the procedure more than 10 years ago. The tri-institutional team together developed the research plan. Neurosurgeon and senior author Dr. Ali R. Rezai performed the operation at the Cleveland Clinic. The post-surgical protocol was conducted at the JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute by neuropsychologist and co-lead author Dr. Joseph T. Giacino. “The work challenges the existing practice of early treatment discontinuation for this patient population and also changes the approach to assessment and evaluation of the minimally conscious patient,” said Dr. Schiff, commenting on the success of the operation. “This innovative procedure holds the potential for patients to recapture a lost personhood as they regain an ability to communicate through a prosthetic device that helps them participate the human community,” added Dr. Fins. “This clearly speaks to an ethical mandate to further such clinical trials designed to improve function in these patients.”

Read the press release.

The study’s findings were covered by numerous media outlets, including the New York Times, USA Today, Newsday, Daily News, New York Sun, Philadelphia Inquirer, Arizona Daily Star, International Herald Tribune, Times of London, Daily Telegraph (London), Daily Mail (London), London Times, Money Times (India), The Herald, Journal de Brazil, Scientific American, New Scientist, Platinum Today; Associated Press and Reuters; NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, ABC World News, MSNBC, BBC, CBC, PBS Charlie Rose Show, WCBS-TV, WNBC-TV, NY1, plus an additional 69 network affiliate stations; NPR “All Things Considered” and WINS Radio; and Forbes.com, WebMD and MedPageToday. The study was also discussed in the August news bulletin from Cornell Center for Technology Enterprise and Commercialization.

 

 
Inmaculada de Melo-Martín, Ph.D.
Inmaculada de Melo-Martín, Ph.D., M.S.
Inmaculada de Melo-Martin, Ph.D., M.S., Associate Professor of Public Health in the Division of Medical Ethics, presented a paper called “Globalization and Medical Trials in Developing Countries” at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Philosophy and Technology held in Charleston, SC, July 8-11, 2007. The paper’s co-author was Craig Hanks, Ph.D., of the Departments of Philosophy at Texas State University-San Marcos and Stevens Institute of Technology.

Dr. De Melo-Martin and Kristen Intemann, Ph.D., from the Department of History & Philosophy of Montana State University, also had a letter published in the July 12, 2007, issue of Nature titled “Author’s financial interests should be made known to manuscript reviewers.” The letter argues that authors of articles submitted to journals should be required to reveal possible financial competing interests, not only to the public after publication, but also earlier to peer reviewers. These reviewers, who are in the best position to evaluate the possible influence of the conflicts of interests, currently are not given this information during the review process.

Dr. De Melo-Martin also published a comment, “Should Professional Associations Sanction Conscientious Refusals?” in the June 2007 issue of the American Journal of Bioethics. Hers was one of several peer commentaries to an article in the same issue on conscientious objection and emergency contraception, by Robert F. Card, Ph.D., of the Department of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Oswego.

 

 
Paul J. Christos, M.P.H., M.S.
Paul J. Christos, M.P.H., M.S.
Paul J. Christos, M.P.H., M.S., Lecturer in Public Health, and Madhu Mazumdar, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Public Health and Chief of the Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, are co-authors of four recently published articles: “Positron emission tomographic scanning predicts survival after induction chemotherapy for esophageal carcinoma” was published in the August 2007 issue of the Annals of Thoracic Surgery. It reflects a study led by Jeffrey L. Port, M.D., Associate Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College. “Expression of the cancer/testis antigen NY-ESO-1 in primary and metastatic malignant melanoma (MM)—correlation with prognostic factors” was published in the July 12, 2007, issue of Cancer Immunology. This article describes a study led by Dr. Elsa Velazquez of the NYU School of Medicine Department of Dermatology, which suggests that certain patients with malignant melanoma may benefit from immunotherapy.

 
Madhu Mazumdar, Ph.D.
Madhu Mazumdar, Ph.D.

The third article, “Role of radiologic imaging at the time of initial diagnosis of stageT1b-T3b melanoma,” was led by Molly Yancovitz, M.D., of the NYU School of Medicine Department of Dermatology. It was published in the July 9, 2007, issue of Cancer and describes a study suggesting that imaging of asymptomatic melanoma patients at the time of diagnosis may not be useful. The fourth, published in the September 2007 British Journal of Haematology is called “Lenalidomide-induced myelosuppression is associated with renal dysfunction: adverse events evaluation of treatment-naïve patients undergoing front-line lenalidomide and dexamethasone therapy.” The lead author of this article is Ruben Niesvizky, M.D., Clinical Director of the Multiple Myeloma Service at the Center of Excellence for Lymphoma and Myeloma at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Cornell Medical Center.

 

FACULTY PROMOTION

 
Xi Kathy Zhou, Ph.D., M.S.
Xi Kathy Zhou, Ph.D., M.S.
Xi Kathy Zhou, Ph.D., M.S., has been promoted to Assistant Professor of Public Health in the Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology. Dr. Zhou joined the faculty at Cornell in 2004 from the Genomic Institute of Novartis Research Foundation in San Diego, where she served as a biostatistician and participated in many projects related to microarray and high-throughput screening data analysis. She holds an M.S. and Ph.D. from the Institute of Statistics and Decision Sciences at Duke University, and a B.S. in Astronomy from Nanjing University in China. Dr. Zhou has significant experience in analyzing and modeling complex genomic data and her research projects concern statistical genetics, Bayesian methodologies, design and sampling issues in observational studies, and design and analysis issues in lab research and animal studies. In addition to conducting prognostic modeling studies, she collaborates with clinical researchers in the field of oncology with classification problems and with behavioral scientists for modeling moderation effects of competence skills on alcohol use among inner-city adolescents. She also mentors graduate students with the design of their experiments and data analysis and teaches in the biostatistics course for the graduate school.

 

STAFF PROMOTION

 

Maria Esther Romero
Maria Esther Romero has been promoted to Assistant Research Coordinator in the Division of Prevention and Health Behavior. Ms. Romero joined the Institute for Prevention Research of Weill Cornell Medical College in 1994. Before coming to WCMC she worked as a Child Interviewer at the Family Resources & Housing Dynamics Project, a five-year federally funded grant at New York University, Faculty of Arts & Sciences, Community Psychology Department. Her current responsibilities have included serving as the Managing Editor of Prevention Science and helping the new Editor and Managing Editor of the publication during a six-month transition period. In her new position, she will create and maintain the Division’s databases, documents and files related to the different areas of field study; assist with the coordination of field activities; conduct staff development training for staff; assist in the design of evaluation tools; assist in the submission of IRB protocols; and assist in the recruitment of research participants. Throughout the years she has enjoyed using vacation time to work in orphanages, youth homes, and nurseries in Brazil, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, India, Florida, and NYC.

 

WELCOME NEW FACULTY

Carla Boutin-Foster, M.D., M.S.
Carla Boutin-Foster, M.D., M.S.  
Carla Boutin-Foster, M.D., M.S., has been appointed as the Nanette Laitman Clinical Scholar in Community Health and Assistant Professor of Public Health in the Division of Community and Public Health Programs. She is also currently Assistant Professor of Medicine and Assistant Professor of Complementary and Integrative Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, and Assistant Attending Physician at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Boutin-Foster received her M.D. from the Health Science Center at SUNY Downstate and completed a residency in Internal Medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. She then obtained an M.S. degree at Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences of Cornell University, where she also completed a fellowship in Clinical Epidemiology. She is board certified in Internal Medicine. Her many teaching, clinical, and administrative duties include serving as a mentor for Health Services research fellows, an instructor for the Medicine, Patient, and Society course on Cross-Cultural Medicine, the supervisor and faculty advisor for Weill Cornell Community Clinic-Medical student free clinic, and Co-Director of the Office of Multicultural and Minority Health. Much of her research focuses on cross-cultural, community, and preventive medicine. As part of her role as Laitman Scholar, Dr. Boutin-Foster will engage in research and initiatives targeted at communities that are hardest to reach but that experience the highest burden of health disparities. She will focus especially on cardiovascular disease, HIV/AIDS, and mental health. Specifically, she plans to develop academic partnerships within communities such as Brooklyn that have the poorest health profiles; identify social, cultural, and political barriers to the effective dissemination of health messages in these communities; and develop and evaluate community-based strategies such as curricula, conferences, or workshops that improve dissemination of health messages. The scholarship will also enable her to develop skills in community health and health policy through interactions with Dr. Millman, Chief of the Division of Community and Public Health Programs, Dr. Carrillo, Vice President of Community Health Development at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, and other faculty within the Department of Public Health.

 

 
Patricia McDonald, D.S.W.
Patricia McDonald, D.S.W.
Patricia McDonald, D.S.W., has been appointed Assistant Professor of Public Health in the Division of Community and Public Health Programs. Dr. McDonald joined the Department as the Director of the Employee Assistance Program Consortium (EAPC) earlier this year. She received a B.A. degree in Psychology from Swarthmore College, and Master of Social Work and Doctor of Social Welfare degrees from Hunter College School of Social Work. Dr. McDonald holds certifications in clinical social work, supervision, not-for-profit management, alcoholism and substance abuse counseling, and cognitive therapy and schema therapy. Her professional experience includes clinical, supervisory, and director positions at agencies in the Bronx, including the Jewish Association for Services to the Aged, the East Bronx Council on Aging, and the Citizens Advice Bureau. Since 1984, Dr. McDonald has held teaching and training, clinical, and administrative positions at Hunter College, including serving as the administrator of Hunter’s Employee Assistance Program. She is also a staff therapist at the Cognitive Therapy Center of New York.

 

Madeleine Schachter, J.D., has been appointed Lecturer in Public Health in the Division of Medical Ethics. Ms. Schachter received her B.A. in Medical Ethics and Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania and her J.D. from New York University School of Law. She has served as an Adjunct Professor at Fordham University School of Law and as a faculty member of the Practicing Law Institute. She is currently Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at the Hachette Book Group USA, Inc. Previously, she was an Associate at Shearman and Sterling, Litigation Counsel at CBS Inc., and Senior General Attorney at Capital Cities/ABC, Inc. Ms. Schachter has participated in numerous human rights projects worldwide, especially concerning journalistic ethics and expression, homelessness, personal privacy, bioethical issues, and torture. She has authored or co-authored many articles, books, and chapters on these subjects, including several on which she collaborated with Dr. Joseph Fins, Chief of the Division of Medical Ethics.

 

WELCOME NEW STAFF

 

Sonia Gordon
Sonia Gordon has joined the Department as the Administrative Secretary in the Division of Outcomes and Effectiveness Research. Ms. Gordon most recently worked as an executive assistant at Waste Management LLC in Brooklyn, NY. Previously, she was a client service professional and executive assistant at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., an executive assistant at Brookwood Child Care Agency, a senior secretary at New York Cash Services, and an administrative assistant at Zurich American Insurance Co. She will report to Arhima Jacobs, the Division Administrator.

 

 

Sareen N. Davis
Sareen N. Davis has joined the Department as the Administrative Secretary in the Divisions of Health Policy and Biostatistics and Epidemiology. She will report to Anita Mesi, the Administrative Coordinator for both divisions. Ms. Davis has experience as an administrative/customer service specialist in the health and welfare team of NYC Staffing Agency, as a member service advocate for HIP Insurance company, and as an employee benefits call center representative for Prudential Securities, Inc. She holds an associate degree from Borough of Manhattan Community College and is currently pursuing a bachelors degree.

 

 

Vera DeBrosse
Vera DeBrosse is the new Patient Coordinator for the Midtown Center for Treatment and Research of the Division of Community and Public Health Programs. Ms. DeBrosse has worked as a bank teller at Washington Mutual Bank, as a guest service associate at Target, and as a front end associate at White Castle. She is currently a student at Bernard Baruch College in New York City.

 

 

 

Randy Fabellore
Randy Fabellore has joined the Division of Prevention and Health Behavior as a Research Aide. He is working with Madhuvanti Mahadeo, Dr.P.H., on the Division’s school drug abuse and violence prevention projects. Mr. Fabellore graduated from Hunter College in January 2007 with a B.A in Psychology. He has worked as a physical therapy volunteer aide at Lenox Hill Hospital, and as a peer counselor and educator at the Asian Pacific Islander Coalition on HIV and AIDS in New York City.

 

 

WELCOME NEW RESIDENT

Mona Q. Cho, M.D., is the new Resident in General Preventive Medicine in the Department of Public Health. Dr. Cho holds a B.A. from Cornell University College of Arts & Sciences and an M.D. from New York Medical College. She completed two years of her residency in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, New York, and served as a Clinical Assistant Instructor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the School of Medicine at SUNY Stony Brook. She is currently enrolled in the Masters in Public Health Program at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

 

EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS

Upcoming Department Seminars and Conferences

All divisions of the Department sponsor seminars in which current or prospective research is discussed. The departmental grand rounds, the Medical Ethics seminars, the Biostatistics and Epidemiology conferences, and the Outcomes and Effectiveness Research in Progress seminars have been approved for Continuing Medical Education credit. Unless otherwise noted, the following presentations will take place in the third floor conference room of the Kips Bay Building, 411 East 69 th Street. Please call Maritza Montalvo at 746-1264 for more information. For more upcoming events, please see the Department of Public Health Academic Calendar.

 

Robert B. Millman, M.D.September 17, 2007, 1 – 2:30 p.m.
Community and Public Health Programs Clinical Rounds
Robert B. Millman, M.D.
Chief, Division of Community and Public Health Programs
Professor of Psychiatry and Public Health
Weill Cornell Medical College
“Why Do People Become Drug-Dependent?: Etiological Models of Addiction”

 

 

September 18, 2007, 12 – 1 p.m.
Public Health Grand Rounds
T.B.D.

 

Heejung Bang, Ph.D.September 20, 2007, 3 – 4 p.m.
Biostatistics and Epidemiology Research Seminar
Heejung Bang, Ph.D.
Lecturer in Public Health
Weill Cornell Medical College
“Building and Using Disease Prediction Models in the Real World”

 

 

September 27, 2007, 3 – 4 p.m.
Outcomes and Effectiveness Research/Health Policy
Research-in-Progress Seminar
T.B.D.

 

October 1, 2007, 1 – 2:30 p.m.
Community and Public Health Programs Clinical Rounds
Speaker T.B.D.
“Hepatitis C—Part 1”

 

Robert Klitzman, M.D.October 4, 2007, 3:30 – 5 p.m.
Medical Ethics Seminar Series
Robert Klitzman, M.D.
Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry
Director, Ethics Policy and Human Rights Core
HIV Center, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
“Double Lives: Experiences of Doctors Who Become Patients, and Implications for Doctor-Patient Relationships”

 

October 11, 2007, 3 – 4 p.m.
Outcomes and Effectiveness Research/Health Policy Research-in-Progress Seminar
T.B.D.

 

October 15, 2007, 1 – 2:30 p.m.
Community and Public Health Programs Clinical Rounds
Speaker T.B.D.
“Hepatitis C—Part 2”

 

Joseph Schulman, M.D., M.S.October 18, 2007, 3 – 4 p.m.
Biostatistics and Epidemiology Research Seminar
Joseph Schulman, M.D., M.S.
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Public Health
Weill Cornell Medical College
“How to Interpret Your Dot: Assumptions and Limitations of Benchmarking Analyses”

 

 

October 24, 2007, 12 – 1 p.m.
Public Health Grand Rounds
T.B.D.


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