Academy of Community and Public Service Inducts 10 CUIMC Faculty Members

Ten faculty members from Columbia University Irving Medical Center were inducted into the Academy of Community and Public Service on Jan. 30 in recognition of their community and public service efforts. The ACPS honors faculty members from the medical center’s four schools—the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, the School of Nursing, the Mailman School of Public Health, and the College of Dental Medicine—who have gone above and beyond to promote health, well-being, and overall quality of life in the Washington Heights community and around the world. The new class is the fourth to be inducted into ACPS.

“The beauty of this country has always been found in ordinary people doing extraordinary things, inspiring us to be greater than our component parts and making us one out of many,” said Olajide Williams, vice dean for community health, research, and engagement and co-chair of ACPS. “The work and dedication to community and public service of the people here today are nothing short of inspiring. I’m a big believer in inspiration, because inspiration is what sparks imagination, and imagination sparks innovation. And it’s innovation that is truly going to move us to a place where we can finally say, ‘out of many, we are one.’”

Dean Katrina Armstrong gave remarks at the ACPS induction ceremony on Jan. 30, 2024.

In her keynote address at the event, Katrina Armstrong, MD, CEO of CUIMC and dean of VP&S, reflected on the reasons people are drawn to careers in medicine and health and how forming a connection with patient communities can be as much a critical part of those journeys as science and research.

“As we move forward in this era of remarkable advances in medicine, these personal connections create an even clearer sense of the gaps we have still to fill,” said Armstrong. “We can create all the best health care in the world, but alongside that we must walk the journeys with our patients and understand what actually matters to them, recognize that we may do harm just as we do good, and care for everyone in a way that elevates them.”

ACPS, which has inducted more than 50 CUIMC faculty members, is one of the first faculty academies among health science institutions in the United States to recognize community and public service efforts. The academy is led by co-chairs Williams and Rafael Lantigua, MD, professor of medicine and associate dean for community service in VP&S, and an executive committee of six ACPS members.

Rafael Lantigua spoke at the ACPS induction ceremony on Jan. 30, 2024.

“You continue to embrace our community in Harlem, Washington Heights, Inwood, and the West Bronx,” Lantigua said to the academy members present. “You believe in this, and together we will work to do more and show more for these communities.”

Diana Hernández, PhD, associate professor of sociomedical sciences at Mailman and one of the evening’s ACPS inductees, delivered the closing remarks. Hernández spoke about her childhood growing up in Section 8 housing in the South Bronx, and how her experiences inform her work on housing as a determinant of health.

“Part of why I work on housing as a determinant of health is because I believe that places can be modified, and people are worthy investments,” Hernández said. “It’s not people that are the problem, it’s not me or my neighbors or family members, it’s the structures that need to be modified. When I wake up and dedicate my very being to this work, it’s because I’d like to see a day when those structures that shape our lives serve all populations and serve us well.”

Academy of Community and Public Service Inductees

College of Dental Medicine

  • Marc W. Michalowicz, DDS
    Assistant Professor

Mailman School of Public Health

  • Diana Hernández, PhD
    Associate Professor, Sociomedical Sciences
  • Parisa Tehranifar, DrPH
    Associate Professor, Epidemiology

School of Nursing

  • Heidi Hahn-Schroeder, DNP
    Assistant Professor
  • Latisha Marie Hanson, DNP
    Assistant Professor

Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons

  • Nancy Chang, MD
    Associate Professor, Medicine
  • Julie Choi, MD
    Assistant Professor, Radiation Oncology
  • Denise Leung, MD
    Associate Professor, Psychiatry
  • James Noble, MD
    Associate Professor, Neurology (in the Taub Institute and the Sergievsky Center)
  • Lucille Torres-Deas, MD
    Associate Professor, Medicine