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What's New
2007


Learn more about the surgeons of Columbia University Medical Center by viewing clips of recent news coverage, referencing their contributions to the professional literature, noting awards they've received, and reading the consumer and professional newsletters published by the Department of Surgery.

View What's New archive by year:

Family and Friends of Muzzi Mirza Support Pancreas Center with $2M Gift

Family and friends of the late Muzzi Mirza, have made gifts and pledges totaling more than $2 million in support of the Muzzi Mirza Pancreatic Cancer Prevention & Genetics Program at the Columbia University Pancreas Center. The campaign that established the program was led by Mr. Mirza's wife, Susan, and his former business associates, Stephen Berger, Paul Barnett, Douglas Hitchner, William Hopkins, Brian Kwait, and Douglas Rotatori.

Muzzi Mirza, an investment banking entrepreneur who emigrated to the U.S. from Lahore, Pakistan in 1958, succumbed to pancreatic cancer in 2007.

Dr. Rose Appointed to the National Biodefense Science Board

Eric A. Rose, MD
Eric A. Rose, MD

Eric A. Rose, MD, has been appointed to serve on the National Biodefense Science Board (NBSB) of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). The NBSB will provide expert advice and guidance to the Secretary of Health and Human Services regarding scientific, technical and other matters of special interest to the HHS in preventing, preparing for and responding to public health emergencies connected to chemical, biological, nuclear and radiological agents.

Read the HHS press release.

New Book Follows Cardiac Surgery Team for Six Months

New Book Follows Cardiac Surgery Team for Six Months The Columbia cardiac surgery team was featured in the book The Surgeons: Life and Death in a Top Heart Center, by Charles R. Morris, published in October, 2007. To research the book, the author "embedded" himself with the Section of Cardiac Surgery at NYP/Columbia, observing surgeries, as well as daily activities of surgeons in the section. Vignettes in the book include meetings of Columbia surgeons where surgeons relentlessly criticize their own performance, a "harvest run" to secure an organ, a successful heart transplant in a five-day-old baby with a major heart malformation, as well as a failed heart transplant in a four-year-old. Drs. Smith and Oz figure prominently in the book's narrative. The book also documents research, innovation, and finances of the field, submitting a perspective on the state of the U.S. health care system today. The book was reviewed by Publishers Weekly (July, 2007), New York Times (October 29, 2007), and Bloomberg News (November 5, 2007), as well as the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, and AMEDnews.com.

Results Lead Hospital To Expand Multiple-Organ Transplant Program

Researchers at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center are studying methods for improving outcomes in multiple-organ transplant procedures, including heart–kidney and liver–kidney transplantations.

Hospital Researchers Create New Esophageal Disorders Program

Esophageal cancer rates have risen 600% since 1975, with the American Cancer Society predicting that 15,560 people will be diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 2007. To address this crucial public health need, physicians at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital have collaborated to create the new Esophageal Disorders Center.

Dr. Rose is 2007 William W. L. Glenn Lecturer

Eric A. Rose, MD, was selected as the 2007 William W. L. Glenn Lecturer by the American Heart Association's Council on Cardiovascular Surgery and Anesthesia. Dr. Rose was honored at the AHA Scientific Sessions in Orlando, Florida, in November 2007.

Dr. Amory Appointed to Named Professorship

Spencer E. Amory, MD, has been named José M. Ferrer Clinical Professor of Surgery.


Study Confirms Safety and Effectiveness of Treatment for Lower Extremity
Vascular Disease

Minimally invasive catheter-based interventions have been increasingly used to treat patients with severe blood-vessel blockages in their legs, a painful condition known as lower extremity vascular disease (also known as claudification). An estimated eight million Americans suffer from the condition. A study led by faculty from the Division of Vascular Surgery including K. Craig Kent, MD (lead author), James F. McKinsey, MD, John Karwowski, MD, Nicholas J. Morrissey, MD, Harry L. Bush, MD, Roman Nowygrod, MD, and has shown the approach is safe and effective and may now be considered a first-line intervention for all patients-even those with the severe form of the disease associated with risk for amputation. The study's Principal Investigator is former Vascular Division fellow Dr. Brian G. De Rubertis, who is currently on the faculty of the UCLA Department of Surgery. The study was published in the September 2007 Annals of Surgery. An article summarizing the findings and their significance ran on medicexchange.com on October 25, 2007.

Center for Adolescent Bariatric Surgery Completes 28th Lap-Band Surgery in September 2007

Jeffrey Zitsman, MD
Jeffrey Zitsman, MD, Center Director

Begun in 2006, the the NYPH/CUMC multidisciplinary Center for Adolescent Bariatric Surgery has conducted 28 successful surgeries as of October, 2007 and is one of a handful U.S. centers presently approved to offer weight loss surgery to adolescents. Geared toward patients who would be considered good candidates for laparoscopic gastric band surgery, the center includes experts in pediatric gastroenterology, endocrinology, nutrition, psychiatry, surgery, and other specialties. Candidates (obese adolescents who have not lost weight with medical management) are evaluated for several months by members of the multidisciplinary team and are offered surgery if they meet medical criteria and have shown solid compliance and weight loss effort.


Recipients of 2007-2008 Startup Grants Named

Recipients of 2007-2008 Startup Grants Named The Department of Surgery startup grants are awarded to a team of an attending mentor and a junior investigator who can be a resident, fellow, or medical student. The grants are intended to lead to external funding. Results of the most successful of these investigations are presented during the Residents' Research Competition each spring. 2007-08 startup grant recipients are as follows:


Junior InvestigatorMentor
Jason Fisher, MDJessica Kandel, MD
Mary Jo Haley, MDDarrell Yamashiro, MD
T. Alexander Quinn, MDHenry Spotnitz, MD
Rohit Chandwani, MDAndrew Gumbs, MD
Benjamin Pocock, MDKathie-Ann Joseph, MD, MPH
Adam Bograd, MDJonathan Chen, MD
Abbas Rana, MDMark Hardy, MD
Reha Celik, MDFrank D'ovidio, MD, PhD
James Gerson, MDYoshifumi Naka, MD, PhD
Ryan Davies, MDAllan Stewart, MD
Sang-Woo Pak, MDMichael Argenziano, MD
Alejandro Ruiz-Elizalde, MDRobert A. Cowles, MD<
Chris Reverte, MDRoman Nowygrod, MD
George Comas, MDMark Ginsburg, MD
Demetra Spiliotopoulos, MDMathew Williams, MD
David Woodland, MDZhuoro Liu, MD, PhD
Sara Cohen, MDJeffrey Morgan, MD

First Annual $10,000 Kenneth A. Forde Surgical Research Grant Goes to Dr. Wu

The Forde Grant was awarded to June Wu, MD, for research directed at reversing AV malformations in children and entitled, "The role of Notch receptor and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 signaling in hemangioma endothelial cells."

Incisionless Surgery with Natural Orifice Techniques

Incisionless Surgery with Natural Orifice Techniques Natural Orifice Translumenal Endoscopic Surgery, or NOTES, is a new method of performing minimally invasive surgery through the mouth, anus, or vagina. Drs. Marc Bessler, Peter Stevens and Dennis Fowler have successfully performed the first U.S. transvaginal gall bladder removal operation (cholecystectomy) with limited laparoscopic assistance as part of a larger IRB approved study. In addition to transvaginal removal of the gallbladder, the Columbia team is conducting minimally invasive procedures for appendectomy, gastroesophageal reflux, and weight loss surgery.

Read more.

Three-Way Kidney Swap Recipients Meet their Donors

Herbert Pardes, MD, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital CEO (center) with the six transplant recipients and donors.
Herbert Pardes, MD, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital CEO (center) with the six transplant recipients and donors.

On Thursday, September 6, 2007, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital held a press conference that was the setting for the emotional meeting of three kidney transplant recipients with their donors, following a successful three-way kidney swap procedure a week earlier. The multiple transplantations were made possible through the altruism of Long Island volunteer firefighter John Feal. The event was widely covered by media, including WNBC-TV, WABC-TV, WCBS-TV, Fox 5, NY1, WINS Radio, Associated Press, Daily News and Newsday. The New York Post and Houston Chronicle also followed the story.



2007 U.S.News & World Report Hands High Rankings to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and Its Clinical Programs

High Marks for NYPH and Cardiac Surgery from U.S. News NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital ranks first in New York City and sixth in the nation, according to the 2007 U.S.News & World Report "America's Best Hospitals" survey.

NewYork-Presbyterian was ranked in all 16 medical specialties included by U.S. News. Those involving clinical services from the Department of Surgery include:

  • Kidney Disease (#2)
  • Endocrinology (#5)
  • Heart & Heart Surgery (#6)
  • Cancer (#41)
  • Digestive Disorders (#13)
  • Respiratory Disorders (#12)

Read NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital's press release PDF File.

Columbia Surgeons are New York Magazine 2007 Top Doctors

Sixteen Columbia surgeons have been included in New York Magazine's June 18, 2007 issue, "Best Doctors '07." They include:

Columbia Surgeons are New York Magazine 2007 Top Doctors

From High Mortality to High Survival: Turning the tables on Congenital
Diaphragmatic Hernia

From High Mortality to High Survival: Turning the tables on Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Congenital diaphragmatic hernia, or CDH, is one of the most common birth defects, affecting about one in 3000-4000 newborns today. Among babies with CDH, pulmonary hypertension can lead to heart failure and is the most significant cause of illness and death. Fortunately, medicine has made tremendous progress against pulmonary hypertension during the past 25 years.



Liver Transplantation: Better Preservation of Donor Organs May Enable
More Transplants

James V. Guarrera, MD
James Guarrera, MD

As advanced as the field of organ transplantation has become, several important challenges remain. Of these, the availability of donor organs stands paramount. Among those with end stage liver disease, over 17,000 patients wait for a donated liver every year in the U.S., but fewer than 6000 receive one, and about 1800 people die while on the waiting list. As a result, researchers are avidly working to find ways to safely use as many potential donor organs as possible, including organs that once may have been considered "imperfect."



Dr. Oz Featured in NYP Video Showcase

Mehmet C. Oz, MD, FACS
Mehmet C. Oz, MD, FACS

Dr. Mehmet C. Oz has been featured in a video showcase on NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital's website. In the video, he covers the importance of looking at the whole picture when making surgical decisions, the significance of getting a second opinion, as well as his views on minimally invasive surgery.

Click here to view the video (2 min, 37 seconds).





Vascular Surgeons Present New Research at SVS Meeting

Vascular Surgeons Present New Research at SVS Meeting< Surgeon-scientists from the Department of Surgery Division of Vascular Surgery presented new research at the 2007 Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS) Vascular Annual Meeting (VAM) in Baltimore, June 6-10. Authors included: Leila Mureebe, MD, Roman Nowygrod, MD, James F. McKinsey, MD, Peter L. Faries, MD, K. Craig Kent, MD, Nicholas J. Morrissey, MD, as well as Annetine Gelijns, PhD, from the Department's InChoir Division.

Columbia Physicians Perform First U.S. Transvaginal Cholecystectomy

Marc Bessler, MD
Marc Bessler, MD

On March 20, 2007, Drs. Marc Bessler, Peter Stevens and Dennis Fowler successfully performed the first U.S. transvaginal gall bladder removal operation (cholecystectomy) with limited laparoscopic assistance as part of a larger IRB approved study. The transvaginal surgical approach enables access to the abdominal cavity with minimal or no external incisions or scars. In this first procedure, only three tiny laparoscopic incisions were made as compared to the customary four substantially larger incisions needed for a traditional laparoscopic cholecystectomy. "The patient felt almost no pain on recovery, other than some minor discomfort at one laparoscopic site. We believe this approach will provide patients the benefit of reduced pain, faster recovery time and fewer scars than the traditional laparoscopic alternative," said Dr. Stevens, who is Director of Endoscopy at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. "As we enroll additional patients and gain experience with this technique we expect to reduce the number of laparoscopic ports—with the goal of a true incisionless procedure," said Dr. Bessler.



Non-invasive Vascular Laboratory Receives ICAVL Accreditation

The Non-invasive Vascular Laboratory in the Division of Vascular Surgery has received accreditation from the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Vascular Laboratories (ICAVL). The accreditation serves a means by which noninvasive vascular laboratories can evaluate and demonstrate the level of patient care they provide. The ICAVL Standards define the minimal requirements for vascular laboratories to provide high quality care.

Award for Surgical Programs Presentation Poster

Award for Surgical Programs Presentation Poster
Click here to enlarge image

The Department of Surgery was awarded the 2007 ACHE Best Management Innovation award for a poster detailing the Department's 27 external surgical programs. Presented at the 2007 American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) Annual Congress on Healthcare Administration, which took place March 19-23, the poster was part of an abstract presentation by Department of Surgery staff Larry Beilis, MHA, Cardiothoracic Network Executive Director; Aileen Alapan, MPH, Network Programs and Special Projects Manager; and Solomon A. Torres, LNHA, FACHE, Chief Financial Officer.

Posters were judged on the basis of creativity, scope, impact on the organization, and adaptability to other settings.

Dr. Chen and Team Bring Lifesaving Surgery and Know-How to Dakar

Dr. Chen with a patient and his mother
Dr. Chen with a patient and his mother

Jonathan Chen, MD, has led pediatric cardiac surgery teams on trips to Cambodia, first in 2005 and again in 2006. Embarking again this year, Dr. Chen and his team set their sights on the African continent, traveling to the Fann Cardiovascular Hospital in Dakar, Senegal. There they operated on seven children between March 12 and 16, 2007.






NIH Awards $3.3M for Spotnitz Biventricular Pacing Research

Henry M. Spotnitz, MD
Henry M. Spotnitz, MD

Henry M. Spotnitz, MD, has received a five-year, $3.3 million grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in support of the study Biventricular Pacing after Cardiopulmonary Bypass, of which he is Principal Investigator. His earlier research has documented substantial improvements in cardiac output among heart surgery patients undergoing biventricular pacing (also known as cardiac resynchronization therapy), which involves installation of pacemakers to fix delays in heart ventricle contractions and keeps the left/right ventricles pumping together.


Kandel Joins ASA

Jessica Kandel, MD, has been elected to membership in the American Surgical Association.


May 4 Transplant Event Makes a Splash

May 4 Transplant Event Makes a SplashOn Friday, May 4, close to 1,000 organ transplantation patients, donors and their families reunited with their medical teams to celebrate a second chance at life. The event, held in the West 168th Street Armory, featured speakers including Sen. Charles Rangel, Dr. Lee Goldman, Dr. Robert Brown, Dr. Sandip Kapur, Dr. Eric Rose, the New York Organ Donor Network's Elaine Berg and two transplant patients. Echoing the thoughts of many, Sen. Rangel spoke about how moved he was by the event, and thanked the Hospital, saying, "I'm so proud to be a part of the NewYork-Presbyterian family." Among media attending were WCBS-TV, Fox 5, My9, NY1, RNN-TV, WCBS Radio, Daily News and the New York Post.

Click here to view photos of the event.


Division of Vascular Surgery Receives ICAVL Accreditation

The Non Invasive Vascular Laboratory in the Division of Vascular Surgery has received accreditation from the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Vascular Laboratories (ICAVL). The accreditation as serves a means by which noninvasive vascular laboratories can evaluate and demonstrate the level of patient care they provide. The ICAVL Standards define the minimal requirements for vascular laboratories to provide high quality care.

Dr. Zitsman Appointment

Jeffrey Zitsman, MD, has been appointed to the Committee on Childhood Obesity of the American Pediatric Surgical Association.

Dr. Amory Honored

Spencer Amory, MD
Spencer Amory, MD

Spencer Amory, MD, received a 2006 Attending Physician of the Year award.

Dr. Amory has also received the 2007 Leonard Tow Award for Humanism in Medicine from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation.






Dr. Kent is PI of Newly Initiated Four-School Pilot Project

K. Craig Kent, MD, has been named recipient of a grant under the new CUMC four-school pilot project to fund innovative research with collaboration of faculty investigators from all four CUMC schools. The study, of which Dr. Kent is Principal Investigator, is titled "The Impact of Social Inequities on the Complex Relationship between Oral Health and Peripheral Vascular Disease: An Interdisciplinary Evaluation." Co-PIs representing all CUMC schools are Bernadette Boden-Albala, DrPH; Annetine Gelijns, PhD; Jeannine K. Giacovelli, MD; James F. McKinsey, MD; Nicholas J. Morrissey, MD; Alan Moskowitz, MD; Panos N. Papapanou, DDS, PhD; Nancy Reame, PhD, FAAN; and Maya Salameh, MD.

Department of Surgery Receives Bronze Telly

James A. Lee, MD
James A. Lee, MD

The Department of Surgery has received a bronze Telly Award for an educational video that will be part of COACH (Comprehensive Online Archived Heuristic), an online surgical training program being developed by James A. Lee, MD and the Department of Surgery.






Dr. Schmidt Is awarded $1.25 Million JDRF Scholar Grant

Ann Marie Schmidt, MD, has been awarded a $1.25 million JDRF Scholar Grant from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in support of her research protocol "Vascular Injury in Type 1 Diabetes—A Failure of Repair: Probing the Liga."

Columbia Pediatric Transplant Team Featured in PBS Special

Jonathan Chen, MD
Jonathan Chen, MD

Pediatric heart transplantation at MSCHONY will be prominently featured in an upcoming PBS special entitled "The Mysterious Human Heart." Dr. Jonathan Chen, pediatric cardiologist, Dr. Linda Addonizio, nurses, social workers and transplant coordinators were interviewed for the story. The special follows the case of one 9-year-old patient throughout the entire transplantation process, from before surgery, including transplant team meetings and retrieval of the donor organ, to the surgery itself and its successful result. The series is scheduled to air in November, 2007.





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