Home

News Archive

July 2007 News Flashes

 

DEPARTMENT NEWS

Pharmacogenetics: Bridging Genetics, Clinical Cancer Care, and Public Health — A Starr Cancer Consortium Workgroup

Heather T. Gold, Ph.D. Heather T. Gold, Ph.D.

On April 24, 2007, the Department of Public Health sponsored a collaborative research workshop under the auspices of the Starr Cancer Consortium, which includes members from Weill Cornell Medical College (WCMC), Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), Rockefeller University, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Twenty-three participants attended the conference, which was called “Pharmacogenetics: Bridging Genetics, Clinical Cancer Care, and Public Health.” The meeting was organized by Heather T. Gold, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Public Health in the Division of Health Policy, Bruce R. Schackman, Ph.D., Chief of the Division of Health Policy, and Elena Elkin, Ph.D. M.P.A., Assistant Attending Outcomes Research Scientist at MSKCC and Assistant Professor of Public Health in the Division of Health Policy.

Bruce R. Schackman, Ph.D.
Bruce R. Schackman , Ph.D.

The goal of the workshop was to present the ideas of several researchers in pharmacogenetics, discuss their disciplines as applied to the field, and then identify potential research collaborations at the intersection of germ-line mutations and drugs.

Elena Elkin, Ph.D., M.P.A.
Elena Elkin, Ph.D., M.P.A.

The workgroup identified two main areas that seem fruitful for further discussion and for the development of project proposals. The first is in colorectal cancer, to be led by Dr. Gold, and the second is in breast cancer, to be led by Dr. Elkin.

 

Read more details about the conference.


FACULTY AND STAFF NEWS

Dr. Fins Urges More Awareness of Minimally Conscious State, and More Research

 
Joseph J. Fins, M.D.
Joseph J.Fins, M.D.
On April 5, Joseph J. Fins, M.D., Chief of the Division of Medical Ethics and Professor of Medicine, Professor of Public Health, and Professor of Medicine in Psychiatry, conducted a combined Medicine and Public Health Grand Rounds on the topic, “Neuroethics and Disorders of Consciousness: Clinical and Policy Challenges.” Dr. Fins stated that unfortunately, there has been little understanding of the neurological processes, as well as the prognoses, for patients who have suffered traumatic brain injury (TBI). There has also been a lumping together of patients in permanent vegetative states with those in minimally conscious states, or those who still have the potential to recover consciousness. These patients are rarely given the treatment and attention they need; after initial acute care, they are often placed into “custodial care” with little follow-up. He also discussed the need to move beyond the historical barriers to research with TBI patients, which include a wish to protect vulnerable patients who can’t give consent, and a legacy of the futility of treating patients who are permanently vegetative. But Dr. Fins emphasized that current research is aimed at helping people with TBI, not using them as fodder for other research that won’t benefit them. He also reiterated that minimally conscious patients, who have a wide spectrum of intermittent attention and intention, are not the same as vegetative patients and should not be neglected.

Dr. Fins, along with Nicholas Schiff, M.D., Associate Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience and Public Health, and Kathleen M. Foley, M.D., Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience and Clinical Pharmacology at Weill Cornell Medical College, recently published a commentary in Neurology urging a nationwide epidemiological study of severely brain-injured patients. The paper reports on an Institutes of Medicine exploratory meeting on disorders of consciousness. The meeting committee was chaired by Dr. Foley, with Drs. Fins and Schiff serving as members. Articles on the paper appeared in HealthNewsDigest.com, News-Medical.net, NorthCountryGazette.com, and New Scientist. Read the press release.

 

Joseph J. Fins, M.D., Becomes Governor of the New York Downstate Region I of the ACP

 
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, Professor of Public Health, and Professor of Medicine in Psychiatry, assumed his position as Governor of the New York Downstate Region I of the American College of Physicians (ACP), the national organization of internists, during ACP's annual scientific meeting in San Diego, April 19-21. For the past year, he has served as Governor-elect. ACP Governors are elected by local ACP members and serve four-year terms. Working with a local council, they supervise ACP chapter activities, appoint members to local committees, and preside at regional meetings. They also represent members by serving on the ACP Board of Governors. The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. Read the press release from ACP.

 

Drs. Alvin Mushlin and Madhu Mazumdar Present Poster at PATHs Meeting


Alvin I.Mushlin, M.D.
On March 13, 2007, Alvin I. Mushlin, M.D., Sc.M., Professor and Chairman of the Department of Public Health, and Madhu Mazumdar, Ph.D., Chief of the Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, attended the 6th Annual Partnerships to Advance Therapeutics (PATHs) Meeting of the Centers for Education and Research on Therapeutics (CERTs) program. On behalf of the Cornell CERT, they presented a poster by lead author Mark A. Callahan, M.D., Chief of the Division of Outcomes and Effectiveness Research, Stephen Lyman, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Public Health, and Dr. Mushlin. The poster, called “Association between mortality and in-hospital complications and physician volume of procedures for AICD implantation,” reflects an ongoing study by the authors.

Madhu Mazumdar, Ph.D.
Madhu Mazumdar, Ph.D.
CERTs is administered by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) in consultation with the Food and Drug Administration, both agencies within the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The mission of the CERTs is to conduct research and provide education that will advance the optimal use of drugs, medical devices, and biological products. The Weill Cornell Medical College CERT is primarily focused on determining the predictors of better outcomes for people who receive medical and orthopedic devices. Its Principal Investigators are Dr. Mushlin and Dr. Callahan.

Mark A. Callahan, M.D.
Mark A. Callahan, M.D.
The PATHs meeting, entitled "The Future of Quality and Safety: Unique Challenges for Therapeutics," was held in Washington, D.C. Its main objective was to provide a forum for leaders of national organizations to identify potential opportunities for partnership between CERTs and the private sector to complement the government's effort to improve knowledge about the safe use of therapeutics.

 



Dr. Madelon Finkel Initiates Cervical and Breast Cancer Screening Program in Rural India

Dr. Madelon Finkel (second from right) and rural health care workers in front of a one room "clinic" - the primary health care setting for this village near Vellore in the state of Tamil Nadu
Dr. Madelon Finkel (second from right) and rural health care workers in front of a one room

In early March Madelon Finkel, Ph.D., Professor of Clinical Public Health in the Division of Health Policy, went to Vellore, India, to initiate a cervical and breast cancer screening program in rural India. Seed money was provided by the Catholic Medical Mission Board and larger funding is being sought to enable the project to begin in earnest. Cervical cancer is the number one cause of cancer mortality among women in India. It is hoped that a low-tech screening program utilizing trained public health nurses to visually inspect the cervix, coupled with an educational program, will reduce the incidence of this deadly disease.

 

Linda Gerber, Ph.D., Chairs Program at the Human Biology Association

Linda Gerber, Ph.D.
Linda Gerber, Ph.D.
In late March Dr. Linda Gerber, Professor of Public Health in the Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology and Professor of Epidemiology in Medicine, served as Program Chair of the 32nd Annual Meeting of the Human Biology Association. She also presented a poster entitled “Nocturnal fall of blood pressure in blacks: the influence of site and hypertension status.”

 

 


Bruce R. Schackman, Ph.D., Elected to AIDS Clinical Trials Group Committee

Bruce Schackman, PhD
Bruce R. Schackman, Ph.D.
(Photo by John Abbott.)
Dr. Bruce Schackman, Chief of the Division of Health Policy, has been elected as a member of the Optimization of Antiretroviral Therapy (OpART) Committee of the AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG) for a two-year term. Previously he served as an appointed member. The OpART Committee aims to develop new treatment strategies to limit the replication of HIV-1, further understand HIV-1 resistance to antiretroviral therapy, and optimize use of resistance assays, develop and validate laboratory techniques, and improve and optimize study design. It develops, maintains, advances, and monitors the ACTG’s scientific agenda (including analysis of data) and oversees the development of the protocols and subsequent research publications of the studies under its purview. The Committee also serves as a liaison for activities with other collaborating groups and individuals involved in the conduct of HIV-related research.

 

Pablo Rodríguez del Pozo, M.D., Ph.D., J.D., Moderates Second Qatar Student Debate

Debate participants and organizers: Dr. Pablo Rodriguez del Pozo; Students Grigori Ostrovski, Mohammed-Ali Babi, Anas Abou-Ismail, Anas Ahmed, Hasan Al-Dailami, Tasnim Khalife, Sanabel Al Akias and Nour Alhoda.

In February, Dr. Pablo Rodríguez del Pozo, Assistant Professor of Public Health/Qatar in the Division of Medical Ethics, moderated the second Qatar student debate. These debates, in which two teams of three students each represent opposing positions, concern current, controversial topics in biomedical ethics. The topic of this most recent debate was whether or not medical drugs that enhance mood and cognition should be made available over the counter. (Last year’s debate focused on the Terry Schiavo case.) Dr. Rodríguez del Pozo has vigorously promoted these debates, which he considers a good way to promote academic and civic values. He has also been instrumental to their organization. Read more about the debate.

 

Dr. Elizabeth Nilson Presents Educational Lecture on DVT

Elizabeth Nilson, M.D., M.P.H.
Elizabeth Nilson, M.D., M.P.H.
On March 29, Elizabeth Nilson, M.D., M.P.H., Assistant Professor Public Health and Medicine, Division of Medical Ethics, and Associate Director the General Preventive Medicine Residency Program, gave a lecture for patients, staff, and friends called “DVT: An Ounce of Prevention (Words of Wisdom from an Internist).” Her talk was part of a series sponsored by the Hemophilia Diagnostic & Treatment Center of the Weill Cornell Division of Pediatric Hematology. It was attended by a number of patients who had experience with this condition. Dr. Nilson's thorough overview and clear answers to questions were very much appreciated.

 

Marcus M. Reidenberg, M.D., Elected Chairman of WHO Expert Committee

Marcus Reidenberg, M.D.
Marcus Reidenberg, M.D.
Dr. Marcus Reidenberg, Professor of Pharmacology, Medicine, and Public Health, was elected chairman of the World Health Organization's Expert Committee on the Selection and Use of Essential Medicines at its meeting at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, held March 19–23. The WHO Essential Medicines program was started in 1976 to establish the essential medicines concept: that a limited list of medicines must meet the medical needs of the vast majority of a population and be purchased and made available to everyone in the population before money is spent purchasing other medicines. One hundred and fifty-six countries have adopted this concept in principle. This essential medicines list, now including over 300 drugs, is used as a purchasing list by many countries with limited resources that are helped by this international expert advice. Dr. Reidenberg has served on the Expert Panel and Expert Advisory Committee since 1989.

Dr. Reidenberg and Beth F. Jung, M.D., Ed.D., Clinical Instructor in Pharmacology, were also mentioned in a recent New York Times article concerning their research into the ability or inability of doctors to spot patients who may be faking a pain condition in order to obtain opioid medications. In their review of six studies, they found that doctors could identify deceptive patients in less than 10 percent of cases.

 

Dr. Leonard Groopman Presents Medical Ethics Lecture in Bilbao, Spain

Leonard C. Groopman, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Public Health in the Division of Medical Ethics, gave a lecture to the faculty of the medical school of the Basque University in Bilbao, Spain, in early May entitled "The Patient's Work." Dr. Groopman’s presentation was based on work he did in collaboration with Joseph J. Fins, M.D., Chief of the Division of Medical Ethics and Professor of Medicine, Public Health, and Medicine in Psychiatry, and Franklin G. Miller, Ph.D., Head of the Unit on Clinical Research in the Department of Clinical Bioethics, National Institutes of Health, and Associate Professor of Public Health (Courtesy) in the Division of Medical Ethics, while Dr. Groopman was a fellow in the Division of Medical Ethics. He also taught a workshop in a masters-level course for physicians on the psychological approach to the cancer patient.

 

NEW GRANTS

 
Nathaniel Hupert, M.D., M.P.H.
Nathaniel Hupert, M.D., M.P.H.
Nathaniel Hupert, M.D., M.P.H., Assistant Professor of Public Health in the Division of Outcomes and Effectiveness Research, is the co-Principal Investigator on a year-long grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality called “Emergency Preparedness Resource Inventory and Surge Model Enhancements.” The other co-PI is Tom Rich of Abt Associates, Inc. This project is being funded as part of the five-year Accelerating Change and Transformation in Organizations and Networks (ACTION) contract for rapid-cycle, applied research.

Dr. Hupert also received a two-year award to continue his work with the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative.

 

 
Madhu Mazumdar, Ph.D.
Madhu Mazumdar, Ph.D.
Madhu Mazumdar, Ph.D., Chief of the Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, is a co-investigator on a five-year training grant from the National Institutes of Health called “Collaborative Program in Nutrition and Cancer Prevention.” The Principal Investigator is Richard Rivlin, M.D., of the Weill Cornell Department of Pediatrics. The grant supports training of postdoctoral laboratory and clinical scientists in the role of nutrition in cancer prevention. The program is highly inter-disciplinary and collaborative. Dr. Mazumdar developed a specialized curriculum on nutritional epidemiology and along with her colleagues Linda Gerber, Ph.D., Professor of Public Health and Epidemiology in Medicine, and Heejung Bang, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Public Health, provided instruction on topics ranging from introductory statistical methods, epidemiologic designs, anthropometric measures/ body composition, measurement errors, randomized clinical trials, observational studies, and meta-analysis. Dr. Mazumdar serves as mentor for all trainees and guides them for their biostatistical needs.


In addition, Dr. Mazumdar received a sub-contract for a three-year grant from the National Cancer Institute called “Early Therapeutics Development with Phase II Emphasis.” This project, led by Joseph Sparano, M.D., of Montefiore Medical Center, is a consortium of eight medical colleges, seven based in New York and one in Australia. The grant’s mandate is to develop phase II cancer clinical trials in response to applications solicited by NCI/CTEP (National Cancer Institute/Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program). The studies are to be performed in a multi-center manner. Dr. Mazumdar and Paul Christos, M.S., M.P.H., Lecturer in Public Health, lead the statistical center and are responsible for providing quantitative oversight for all letters of intent, protocols, and related manuscripts.

 

 
Heejung Bang, Ph.D. Heejung Bang, Ph.D.
Dr. Bang is also a co-investigator on a three-year grant from the NIH/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute awarded to Kathryn Rose, Ph.D., at the Department of Epidemiology of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The grant is called “Recall and Survivor Bias: Impact on SES CVD Associations.” It is ancillary to the Life Course Socioeconomic Status, Social Context, and Cardiovascular Disease (LC-SES) Study, which in 2001-2002 queried the members of a large, ongoing cohort study of cardiovascular disease (CVD) about early life SES. The current study will obtain early life SES information from historical records, compare the early life SES recalled by participants in adulthood to that recorded on historical records, and estimate the magnitude and direction of bias in SES-chronic disease associations due to recall error.

 

FACULTY PROMOTIONS

Bruce R. Schackman, Ph.D.
Bruce R. Schackman, Ph.D.
(Photo by John Abbott.)
Bruce R. Schackman, Ph.D., Chief of the Division of Health Policy, has been promoted to Associate Professor of Public Health. Dr. Schackman joined the faculty of the Department of Public Health in the Division of Outcomes and Effectiveness Research in 2001, after earning his Ph.D. degree in health policy with a concentration in decision sciences from Harvard University. Previously, he had earned B.A. and M.B.A. degrees from Harvard and had worked as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company, as a management expert in the Office of the Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, and as a managing director for health-care venture capital investments in a financial services firm. Because of his successes as an innovative researcher in the fields of cost-effectiveness modeling, quality-of-life measurement, and access to health care by underserved populations, Dr. Schackman was appointed Chief of the newly renamed Division of Health Policy in July 2006. His current projects include economic evaluations of HIV and hepatitis C care in the United States, and screening and care for HIV and syphilis in Haiti. He is actively working to build up the division and its role in enhancing health policy initiatives that are relevant to the local, national, and global delivery of health care.

 

 
Inmaculada de Melo-Martín, Ph.D.
Inmaculada de Melo-Martín, Ph.D., M.S.
Inmaculada de Melo-Martín, Ph.D., M.S., was promoted to Associate Professor of Public Health in the Division of Medical Ethics. Dr. de Melo-Martín received a Licenciada in Philosophy from the University of Oviedo, Spain, a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of South Florida, and an M.S. in Molecular Biology from The University of Texas at San Antonio. She also did graduate work in Philosophy of Science and Philosophy of Technology at the University of Valencia, Spain. Before joining the Department of Public Health in 2005, Dr. de Melo-Martín was an Associate Professor of Philosophy at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas, where she taught graduate and undergraduate courses in bioethics and philosophy of science and served as a member of the IRB. She has also been a visiting professor at the Universidad National Autónoma de México and the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana. Her research interests include Bioethics and Philosophy of Science, and she has published widely on ethical and epistemological issues related to reproductive technologies and molecular genetics. Dr. de Melo-Martín is Vice-Chair of the IRB at Weill Cornell Medical College. She is also responsible for consulting with and assisting Cornell investigators in the preparation of IRB protocols, aiding faculty members in the development of conflict of interest management plans, and collaborating with Medical College leadership to develop programs to intensify the institutional commitment to high ethical standards in research. She has extensive experience teaching graduate and undergraduate students and professionals on topics related to philosophy of science, research ethics, ethical theory, and responsible conduct in research.

 
Rainu Kaushal, M.D., M.P.H.
Rainu Kaushal, M.D., M.P.H.
Rainu Kaushal, M.D., M.P.H., has been promoted to Associate Professor of Public Health in the Division of Outcomes and Effectiveness Research and Associate Professor of Pediatrics. Since June 2006, Dr. Kaushal has held a primary appointment in the Department of Public Health and has also been Director of Pediatric Quality and Patient Safety at the Komansky Center for Children’s Health at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. She first joined the faculty of Weill Cornell Medical College in 2003 as an Adjunct Assistant Professor, while holding a primary appointment at Harvard Medical School. During this period she also served as Associate Physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and as Senior Scientist at the Institute for Health Policy at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Kaushal earned her M.D. and M.P.H. degrees from Harvard University and completed her residency in Medicine and Pediatrics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital Medical Center. She is board certified in Medicine and Pediatrics. Dr. Kaushal is an expert in patient safety and the use of information technology to reduce medical errors and improve care. Her research focuses on how electronic medical records and other forms of technology can be used most effectively and economically to coordinate care across providers and institutions.


 

Jorge Kizer, M.D., M.Sc.
Jorge R. Kizer, M.D., M.Sc., has been promoted to Associate Professor of Medicine and Associate Professor of Public Health in the Division of Outcomes and Effectiveness Research. Dr. Kizer specializes in the cardiac, vascular and hematologic evaluation of arterial embolism, and especially, cryptogenic stroke. He also has a clinical and research interest in premature atherosclerosis and idiopathic venous thromboembolism, and in risk factors for these disorders. Dr. Kizer received his M.D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and his M.Sc. degree from Harvard School of Public Health. He completed his residency in Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital/Harvard Medical School, and a fellowship in Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Health System. He is board certified in Internal Medicine and in Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular Disease.

 

WELCOME NEW FACULTY

Caren Heller, M.D., M.B.A, has been appointed Assistant Professor of Public Health in the Division of Outcomes and Effectiveness Research and Assistant Professor of Public Health in Medicine. Since November 2006, she has also been the Assistant Dean for Inter-Campus Initiatives at Weill Cornell Medical College. Her role in that position is to facilitate collaborations between the New York City campus and the campuses at Ithaca, Qatar, and The Methodist Hospital. Dr. Heller received her M.D. degree from Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons and her M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. She completed her residency at NYU Bellevue Hospital, a fellowship in Clinical Rheumatology at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, and a fellowship in clinical pharmacology at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. She was a Clinical and Research Associate at the University of Chicago Department of Medicine and Committee on Clinical Pharmacology. In addition, she has been Associate Medical Director of Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, the Manager of Program Development at University of Chicago Hospitals, and the President of C. Heller & Associates and Athena Healthcare Consulting, both in Chicago, Illinois. She is board certified in internal medicine and is a professional member of several biotechnology industry societies.

Gerry E. Goodrich, J.D., M.P.H., has been appointed Lecturer in Public Health in the Division of Health Policy. Since 2003 Mr. Goodrich has been Director of Practice Operations of the Weill Cornell Physician Organization. Before coming to Weill Cornell Medical College, he served as Executive Vice President of Saint Barnabas Health Care System; President and Chief Executive Officer of Irvington General Hospital and Vice President of Beth Health Care Corporation, both of Newark Beth Israel Medical Center; Deputy Commissioner of New Jersey Department of Health; and Director of Strategic Planning for New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation. Mr. Goodrich has held several positions in international development. As a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya, he was the headmaster of a secondary school and he worked in the WHO small pox eradication campaign. He was Director of the International Assistance Programs for Oxfam-America, assisting in the founding of the American branch of Oxfam and managing the establishment of the initial international grants program of Oxfam-America. As a member of the American Friends Service Committee, he established the organization’s office in Dakar, Senegal, and developed a program of leans and grants to women-owned businesses in Senegal, The Gambia, Mali, Guinea Bissau and Ghana. He also directed the Mali Rural Health Services Project of the Harvard Institute for International Development. He has served as a consultant to the JHD Group, KPMG Peat Marwick, the Greater New York Hospital Association, where he was Vice President, and AAMP, Inc., the Ford Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Health Care Foundation of New Jersey. He has been an instructor and Guest Lecturer at Harvard School of Public Health, and currently holds academic appointments at Beijing University International MBA Program and NYU Wagner School of Public Administration. In addition, he is part owner/publisher of New Hope Media, Inc.

WELCOME NEW STAFF

 
Patricia McDonald, D.S.W.
Patricia McDonald, D.S.W.
Patricia McDonald, D.S.W., has joined the Division of Community and Public Health Programs as the Director of the Employee Assistance Program Consortium (EAPC). Dr. McDonald 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. She 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.

PUBLICATIONS AND PUBLICITY

Bruce R. Schackman, Ph.D.
Bruce R. Schackman, Ph.D.
(Photo by John Abbott.)

An article published in the May 2007 issue of Public Library of Science (PLoS) Medicine by researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College and the Groupe Haitien d'Etude du Sarcome de Kaposi et des Infections Opportunistes (GHESKIO) describes a study of rapid syphilis testing of pregnant women in Haiti. The lead author is Bruce R. Schackman, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Chief of the Division of Health Policy. One of the co-authors is Jean W. Pape, M.D., founder and director of GHESKIO and Professor of Medicine, and the senior author is Daniel W. Fitzgerald, M.D., Assistant Professor of medicine. The study found that the new rapid test, when integrated into prenatal care and HIV testing, is more effective than other methods in preventing congenital syphilis cases and stillbirths, and it is also cost-effective. A press release about the article was recently published. Dr. Schackman has been interviewed by Voice of America radio about the study.

 

Linda Gerber, Ph.D.
Linda M. Gerber, Ph.D.
A study led by Linda M. Gerber, Ph.D., Professor of Public Health in the Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, called “Hot flashes are associated with increased ambulatory systolic blood pressure,” was published in the March/April 2007 issue of the journal Menopause. Dr. Gerber and her colleagues found that the women in their study who were having hot flashes, whether they were pre-menopausal, menopausal or post-menopausal, had higher systolic blood pressure than the women who weren’t having hot flashes. The authors encourage further research to find out if the hot flashes cause the increased blood pressure, and if so, to determine the mechanisms involved. Read the press release. Articles about the publication have appeared in the Washington Post , Reuters , United Press International , Prevention , WFLD-TV (Fox, Chicago), ABCNews.com , Forbes.com , DailyIndia.com , News-Medical.net, HealthNewsDigest.com , Newswise, yahoo.com, Medline, the New York Post, and More magazine.

 
Wei Xiong, Ph.D.
Wei Xiong, Ph.D.
An article written by faculty and staff in the Division of Outcomes and Effectiveness Research, along with colleagues at the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and Healthcare System and the School of Operations Research and Industrial Engineering of Cornell University, was recently published in the journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology. “Hospital ‘Self-Prophylaxis’: Strategies for Efficient Protection of the Workforce in the Face of Infectious Disease Threats” reports the results of computer simulations comparing several inoculation strategies of hospital staff in the event of a pandemic outbreak. Wei Xiong, Ph.D., Instructor in Public Health, was the lead author and Nathaniel Hupert, M.D., M.P.H., Assistant Professor of Public Health and Medicine, was the senior author. The other co-authors were Eric Hollingsworth, Research Data Specialist in the Division of Outcomes and Effectiveness Research, Jack Muckstadt, Ph.D., Professor of Engineering at the School of Operations Research and Industrial Engineering, Jaclyn Van Lieu Vorenkamp, M.D., M.P.H., Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine and Clinical Public Health, Eliot J. Lazar, M.D., M.B.A., Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine and Clinical Public Health, and Nicholas V. Cagliuso, Sr., M.P.H., Coordinator of Emergency Preparedness at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. A recent press release has begun to generate media coverage, including from Sciencedaily.com, MedicalNewsToday.com, Medilexicon.com, and Hospitalsworldwide.com.

 
Nathaniel Hupert, M.D., M.P.H.
Nathaniel Hupert, M.D., M.P.H.
Dr. Hupert was also the lead author of an article titled “Anticipating Demand for Emergency Health Services due to Medication-related Adverse Campaigns,” published in Academic Emergency Medicine. In this article, the authors sought to define the relationship between the rapidity of mass prophylaxis dispensing and the subsequent demand for emergency health services due to predictable medication-related adverse events. Both this article and the one mentioned above describe projects funded by the Integrated Delivery System Research Network (IDSRN) and Accelerating Change and Transformation in Organizations and Networks (ACTION) contracts from the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

An article describing the collaboration between Drs. Hupert and Muckstadt in preparing for public health emergencies and disasters appeared on page 22 of the Spring 2007 issue of Weill Cornell Medicine. The article described their work in developing computer models to guide logistics planning for a variety of emergencies in the hope of optimizing patient outcomes.


An article highlighting the Weill Cornell CERT was recently posted on the main CERT website. The Centers for Education and Research on Therapeutics (CERTs) is a research program administered by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), in consultation with the Food and Drug Administration. The mission of the CERTs is to conduct research and provide education that will advance the optimal use of drugs, medical devices, and biological products. The Cornell CERT focuses on the study of medical and orthopedic devices.

Its principal investigators are Alvin I. Mushlin, M.D., Sc.M., Professor and Chairman of the Department of Public Health, and Mark A. Callahan, M.D., Chief of the Division of Outcomes and Effectiveness Research. Other CERT investigators are Marcus M. Reidenberg, M.D., F.A.C.P., Professor of Pharmacology, Medicine, and Public Health; Madhu Mazumdar, Ph.D., Chief of the Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology and Marc D. Silverstein, M.D., M.P.H., Chairman of the Department of Public Health at The Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas. The Weil Cornell CERT also includes a number of investigators based at the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS): Lisa A Mandl M.D., M.P.H., Assistant Professor of Medicine and Public Health; Robert G. Marx, M.D., M.Sc., F.R.C.S.C., Associate Professor of Orthopedic Surgery and Public Health, Director of the Foster Center for Clinical Outcome Research at HSS, and Orthopedic Director of The Sports Medicine Institute for Young Athletes at HSS; Stephen Lyman, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Public Health and Epidemiologist at the Foster Center for Clinical Outcome Research at HSS; Thomas P. Sculco, M.D., Chairman and Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery; Robert N. Hotchkiss, M.D., Medical Director of Clinical Research at HSS and Associate Professor of Surgery.


 
Heejung Bang, Ph.D.
Heejung Bang, Ph.D.
The press release about “Screening for Occult Renal Disease (SCORED): A Simple Prediction Model for Chronic Kidney Disease,” by Heejung Bang, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Madhu Mazumdar, Ph.D., Chief of the Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, and Abhijit V. Kshirsagar, M.D., M.P.H., of the Kidney Center and Division of Nephrology, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, has led to an enormous amount of media coverage. The study was discussed on the CBS Early Show Voice of America. Stories about the article have appeared in the New York Post, United Press International, Reuters Health, Earthtimes.org, HealthNewsDigest.com, Sawf News, MedicalNewsToday.com, Internal Medicine World Report, and DG News. It will also be featured in Nature Clinical Practice Nephrology. The SCORED questionnaire currently appears on several websites, including about.com, on the Bahamas government website, and on many websites in Korea and India.

 

Jennifer Epstein, Ph.D.
Jennifer A. Epstein, Ph.D.
A press release about the article in Addictive Behaviors by Jennifer A. Epstein, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor in the Division of Prevention and Health Behavior, Heejung Bang, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, and Gilbert J. Botvin, Ph.D., Chief of the Division of Prevention and Health Behavior entitled Which psychological factors moderate or directly affect substance use among inner-city adolescents?” generated a great deal of media attention. Articles about the study appeared in U.S. News and World Report, HealthNewsDigest.com, Forbes.com, CVC News online, breakingnewsagency.com, socialworktoday.com, the Riverdale Press, and HHS HealthBeat.

 

Dr. Epstein was also the lead author of “Do Competence Skills Moderate the Impact of Social Influences to Drink and Perceived Social Benefits of Drinking on Alcohol Use Among Inner-City Adolescents?” published in the March 2007 issue of Prevention Science. The co-authors, Xi Kathy Zhou, Ph.D., Heejung Bang, Ph.D., and Gilbert Botvin, Ph.D., are all faculty members of the Department of Public Health. The study found that several competence skills served as direct protective factors against alcohol use, as well as moderated the impact of social risk factors on alcohol use.

 

 
Inmaculada de Melo-Martín, Ph.D.
Inmaculada de Melo-Martín, Ph.D., M.S.
A recent press release about the article in the European Journal of Epidemiology, “Can Ethical Reasoning Contribute to Better Epidemiology? A Case Study in Research on Racial Health Disparities,” by lead author Inmaculada de Melo-Martín, Ph.D., has begun to generate media attention. Reports on the article have appeared in United Press International and ScienceDaily.com.

 

 

 

Heather T.Gold, Ph.D.
Heather T. Gold, Ph.D.
Heather T. Gold, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Public Health in the Division of Health Policy, and Huong T. Do, M.A., Research Data Specialist in the Division of Outcomes and Effectiveness Research, published an article in Health Research and Educational Trust titled “Evaluation of Three Algorithms to Identify Incident Breast Cancer in Medicare Claims Data.” The authors found that 3–5 percent of subjects were misclassified in 1998 and that misclassification disproportionately affects older women and those diagnosed with in situ, metastatic, or unknown-stage disease.

 

Bruce Schackman, PhD
Bruce R. Schackman, Ph.D.
(Photo by John Abbott.)
An article by Bruce R. Schackman, Ph.D., Chief of the Division of Health Policy, Paul A. Teixeira, Dr.P.H., Research Analyst, and Ann B. Beeder, M.D., Associate Professor of Public Health and Psychiatry, called “Offers of Hepatitis C Care Do Not Lead to Treatment” was published in Journal of Urban Health. The authors found that among HCV patients receiving medical care at an HIV or methadone clinic in New York City, a very small percentage of those offered HCV treatment received it. They concluded that there is a need to improve continuity of care, patient–provider communication, and patient education regarding HCV treatment options.

Paul Teixeira, Dr. P.H.
Paul Teixeira, Dr.P.H.
On a related note, Paul Teixeira recently received his Dr.P.H. degree in Sociomedical Sciences from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Dr. Teixeira, whose work has focused on H.I.V. prevention, will begin a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Public Health Informatics at Columbia University in August.


 

 

Marshal J.Glesby, M.D., Ph.D.
Marshall J. Glesby, M.D., Ph.D.
Marshall J. Glesby, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Medicine and Public Health, was the senior author of an article entitled “Clinical Manifestations Associated with HTLV Type I Infection: A Cross-Sectional Study,” published in March 2007 issue of AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses. The lead author was Marina F. Caskey, M.D., Instructor in Clinical Investigation in the Laboratory of Cellular Physiology and Immunology at Rockefeller University. Yolanda Barrón, M.S., Senior Research Biostatistician in the Weill Cornell Department of Public Health, was a co-author. The article describes a study performed in Salvador, the capital city of Bahia state in Northeastern Brazil. It found that individuals infected with the retrovirus HTLV-I were more likely than controls to have a variety of clinical symptoms. These symptoms occur relatively often in patients who do not have or have yet to develop a type of myelopathy caused by HTLV-I.


Robert B. Millman, M.D.
Robert B. Millman, M.D.
Robert B. Millman, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Public Health and Chief of the Division of Community and Public Health Programs, appeared on CBS TV’s The Early Show with Hannah Storm. Dr. Millman commented on a study suggesting that the brains of people who drink a lot of alcohol become smaller. He said that the recent study is remarkable in that it is the first to show atrophy of the brain in a systemic way with a very large number of people.

 

 

Bruce R. Schackman, Ph.D.
Bruce R. Schackman , Ph.D.

Bruce R. Schackman, Ph.D., Chief of the Division of Health Policy, was quoted in a “blog” feature in the New York Times about the W.H.O.’s recommendation that countries include circumcision as part of their AIDS prevention efforts. The article was titled “The Question of Circumcision and H.I.V.

 

 

Peter Bach, M.D., M.A.P.P.
Peter Bach, M.D., M.A.P.P.

Peter Bach, M.D., M.A.P.P., Associate Attending Physician at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Assistant Professor of Public Health, was the lead author of a widely publicized study on the limitations of the data behind spiral CT screening for preventing lung cancer. The article was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study’s findings were discussed in many media venues, including several New York Times articles and a special report on NPR radio. Read the press release.

 

Ashutosh Tewari, M.D., M.Ch.
Ashutosh Tewari, M.D., M.Ch.

Ashutosh Tewari, M.D., M.Ch., Associate Professor of Urologic Oncology, Urology, and Public Health, and Director of Robotic Prostatectomy And Outcomes Research, presented an interactive press briefing on March 13 to more than 50 members of the media. The event was called “The Role of Robotics for the Treatment of Prostate Cancer.” It was hosted by NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and the National Association of Science Writers. Participants donned 3-D glasses and were given a surgeon’s-eye-view of robotic prostate surgery and a hands-on opportunity to operate the robot. Among the media participating were Time Magazine, Scientific American, Associated Press, and CNN Money.

Dr. Tewari was also the lead author of two recent articles published in the journal Urology. The first found that surgery and radiation treatment double the life expectancy of patients with aggressive prostate cancer. A press release on this article led to a great deal of media coverage. The second describes a procedure to help men minimize incontinence after prostate surgery. This article was also the subject of a press release.

 

Andrew C. Leon, Ph.D.
Andrew C. Leon, Ph.D.

Andrew C. Leon, Ph.D., Professor of Biostatistics in Psychiatry and Professor of Public Health, was a co-author of an article in the American Journal of Psychiatry about a study led by Barbara Milrod, M.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry. The researchers found that psychodynamic psychotherapy is effective for panic disorder. Read the press release. Dr. Leon was also quoted in the New York Times and Albany Times Union and was on ABC World News to discuss the recent expansion of the F.D.A.’s suicide warnings for antidepressant drugs.


EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS

New Biostatistics Class for Clinical Investigation Program

Madhu Mazumdar, Ph.D.
Madhu Mazumdar, Ph.D.
This spring Madhu Mazumdar, Ph.D., Chief of the Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, and Heejung Bang, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Public Health, have initiated a new elective course for the Masters Degree Program in Clinical Investigation. The class is called Statistical Methods for Observational Studies and it is being taught by Drs. Mazumdar and Bang.

Heejung Bang, Ph.D.
Heejung Bang, Ph.D.
The course objectives are for participants to understand the value of observational study and the background for causal inference, to be able to rigorously design and write an analysis plan for an observational study, to be able to analyze data with multiple regression analyses to adjust for confounders, to be introduced to the literature related to large databases to learn how future studies can be planned, and to be introduced to the concept of meta-analysis for observational studies and their reporting standards.

 

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.

Paul J. Christos, M.S., M.P.H.
Paul J. Christos, M.S., M.P.H.

June 7, 3 – 4 p.m.
Biostatistics and Epidemiology Research Seminar
Paul J. Christos, M.S., M.P.H.
Lecturer in Public Health
Biostatistician, Clinical Research Methodology Core
“Quality of Life and Return to Work Data for Esophageal Cancer”

 

 

Michael K. Gusmano, Ph.D.
Michael K. Gusmano, Ph.D.

June 19, 12– 1 p.m.
Public Health Grand Rounds
Michael K. Gusmano, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Management
Columbia University School of Public Health
“Health Care in World Cities”


CONTACT US

  • Chairman's Office
    402 East 67th Street
    New York, NY 10065
    (646) 962-8009
  • 425 East 61st Street
    New York, NY 10065
    (646) 962-9409
More

Top of page