AAPI Leaders in VP&S History
May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, celebrating Asian and Pacific Islanders who have enriched America's history, society, and culture. The contributions of Columbia’s AAPI alumni, faculty, and staff, past and present, have benefited not only our community but the world at large through scientific and clinical innovation and excellence in teaching and patient care.
Here are a few AAPI graduates and physicians of the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons who helped make the world a better, safer, and healthier place.
Daniel S.J. Choy, MD
Daniel S.J. Choy, MD, a graduate of both Columbia College in 1944 and VP&S in 1949, was a noted clinician-scientist responsible for many breakthrough medical innovations. His most notable invention was Aeroplast, a plastic spray-on dressing for burns and wounds. Other inventions, some in collaboration with colleagues, include laser coronary angioplasty, angiogenesis in the mammalian heart, a left ventricular assist device requiring no thoracotomy, percutaneous laser disc decompression for treating herniated discs, and a treatment for tinnitus. Read more about Choy.
Shih-hsun Ngai, MD
Shih-hsun Ngai, MD, was a professor emeritus of anesthesiology and of pharmacology and the second chair of the Department of Anesthesiology at VP&S. His research, some of which was controversial at the time, studied the interactions of biogenic amines with general anesthetics, as well as narcotics, narcotic antagonists, and the participation of opioid receptors in anesthetic-induced analgesia. During his time at Columbia, he trained nine research fellows, seven of whom remained in the academic practice of anesthesiology. After his retirement in 1988, he became more actively involved in academic medicine in Taiwan, serving as professor of anesthesiology at National Taiwan University in 1990, at Tri-service Hospital in 1992, and at the Veteran's General Hospital in 1994. Read more about Ngai.
Megumi Yamaguchi Shinoda, MD
Megumi Yamaguchi Shinoda, MD, in 1933 was the first Asian American woman to graduate from VP&S. Shinoda was the first person of Japanese ancestry to intern at Los Angeles County General Hospital and served the Little Tokyo-Nihonmachi community in Los Angeles before and after World War II as a general practitioner. During these years, it is estimated that she delivered more than half of the Japanese-American babies in Los Angeles. Later in her career, she became a psychiatrist in Hollywood and retired at the age of 88. Shinoda also was a graduate of Barnard College. Read more about Shinoda.
Clyde Y.C. Wu, MD
Clyde Y.C. Wu, MD, was a clinical professor of medicine emeritus at the Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit and a cardiopulmonary specialist at Oakwood Hospital in Dearborn, Michigan. A 1956 graduate of VP&S, Wu and his wife, Helen, were longtime supporters of the university who helped reestablish the relationship between VP&S and Peking Union Medical College in Beijing. The couple also supported the Sino-American Exchange Program, culminating in the endowment of the Wu Family China Center for Health Initiatives, and endowed the Clyde and Helen Wu Center for Molecular Cardiology, five professorships, and two assistant professorships at VP&S. Read more about Wu.