CUIMC Opens Office of Professionalism

Columbia University Irving Medical Center has launched the CUIMC Office of Professionalism to help build an organizational culture and climate of excellence, empathy, accountability, respect, and diversity for all members of the medical center community.

The launch was announced by Anne Taylor, MD, senior vice president for faculty affairs and career development at CUIMC and vice dean for academic affairs at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. The office was established in response to recommendations by two large CUIMC task forces: the Faculty Liaison Network to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine's Action Collaborative on Preventing Sexual Harassment in Higher Education and the CUIMC Task Force for Addressing Structural Racism.

The overarching mission of the CUIMC Office of Professionalism is to promote the values and behaviors associated with an organizational climate and culture of respect, support, and positive career growth.

Dena Goffman

Dena Goffman

Dena Goffman, MD, the Ellen Jacobson Levine and Eugene Jacobson Professor of Women's Health in Obstetrics & Gynecology, has been appointed CUIMC’s inaugural associate dean for professionalism. “The office will offer conflict resolution mediation and training for issues that involve faculty or researchers that fall outside of other formal university processes such as the Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Office (EOAA), Research Misconduct, and Human Resources,” says Goffman. Goffman also is chief of obstetrics for the Sloane Hospital for Women, vice chair for quality & patient safety in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, and associate chief quality officer for obstetrics at NewYork-Presbyterian.

In her role as associate dean, Goffman will communicate cultural values and expectations, lead the office team in developing standardized reporting processes and procedures, and design interventional approaches to conflict management that are impartial and proportionate to behaviors/incidents using restorative practices that promote positive growth and change.

The Office of Professionalism has established strategic alliances with CUIMC Human Resources, the EOAA Office, the Ombuds Office, deans of students at all CUIMC schools, the NYP Office of Respect, and CUIMC Public Safety to optimize conflict resolution and to encourage positive growth and professional success for all members of the CUIMC community. The office will create reporting and training plans and leverage a wide range of resources to support members of the community.

At the center of the Office of Professionalism’s work is CUIMC CARES, the medical center’s code of values. CUIMC CARES articulates the commitment to a shared culture that encourages civility, acceptance of differences, respect for all, ethical behavior, a supportive environment, and professional growth and success for all.

Dionida Ryce

Dionida Ryce

Dionida X. Ryce, MBA, assistant vice president for academic appointments and professionalism, and Spencer Bennett, MEd, director of compliance and training, will work with Goffman to achieve the office’s goals.

Ryce has led the Office of Faculty Affairs since 2017. She spearheaded the implementation of measures that have increased the office’s operational efficiency. Before joining Faculty Affairs, Ryce served for 10 years in the physiology and pharmacology departments as DA and CFO and subsequently as vice chair for administration. As part of her role in Faculty Affairs, Ryce collaborates with EOAA, Office of General Counsel, HR, and NYP to lead and support investigations related to academic personnel grievances and allegations of disrespect, abuse, and policy violations. She has counseled CUIMC administrators and chairs on faculty performance and separation matters. “She is a valued administrator who brings experience in investigations, conflict resolution, remediation, and institutional policy to the Office of Professionalism and will provide administrative leadership to the office,” says Taylor.

Spencer Bennett

Spencer Bennett

Bennett joined the Office of Professionalism team in September 2021 after six years on the Morningside campus. Most recently, he served Columbia University as director of student conduct and community standards. He comes to the Office of Professionalism with a background in behavioral conduct administration, training, and facilitation. His experience in the use of restorative practices will help the office focus on positive organizational climate change. Outside of Columbia, he serves as a co-lead facilitator for the LeaderShape Institute, a leadership development program rooted in social justice teachings.

“Our new Office of Professionalism operationalizes and puts significant resources behind our commitment to building a culture of excellence, empathy, accountability, respect, and diversity for all members of the medical center community,” says Anil Rustgi, MD, Interim Executive Vice President and Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine. “We have a truly outstanding team in place to drive this critical work forward.”


To connect with the Office of Professionalism email or reach out directly to the office leadership: