CUIMC Update - June 1, 2021

CUIMC Update is a weekly e-newsletter featuring medical center news and the accomplishments of our faculty, staff, and trainees. Please send your news, honors, and awards to Grants are provided by the Sponsored Projects Administration office.


2021 VP&S State of the School
Anil K. Rustgi, MD, Interim Executive Vice President and Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine, will update the medical school's community on highlights of the 2020-2021 academic year at a virtual State of the School event on June 30 at 4 p.m. Register here

Christine Hsu Rohde to Lead Plastic Surgery
Christine Hsu Rohde, MD, has been appointed chief of the Division of Plastic Surgery at VP&S and NYP/CUIMC. She is the first Asian American woman to lead a plastic surgery division at a medical center in the United States. Read more

CUIMC IT Reduces Success of Phishing Attacks 
To help prevent security issues and raise awareness of phishing, CUIMC conducts simulated phishing campaigns in which emails are sent to mimic real-world phishing scenarios. Over the past five months, these CUIMC IT campaigns have resulted in a reduction of almost 80% in clicks to links that simulate attacks. Read more.  

VP&S Study Examines How to Motivate Health Workers to Seek Mental Health Care 
Research from the Department of Psychiatry at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons finds that a short video of an ICU nurse talking about her own mental health challenges increased intention to seek mental health care among health care workers who watched the video. Read more

School of Nursing Launches Center for Healthcare Delivery Research and Innovations 
The new center will support cutting-edge research on health care systems in the United States and internationally, with the goal of expanding access to high-quality, safe health care. Read more.  

Cervical Cancer Screening Tests Often Overused, Finds VP&S Study
New research from the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center finds that nearly two-thirds of women received unnecessary tests for cervical cancer in the three-year period between recommended screenings. Read more

Telomere Length, a Longevity Marker, May Be Determined Early in Life, Finds Mailman Study
How long we live may be partly determined at an early age. A new Mailman study finds telomeres shorten rapidly from birth to age 3, potentially driven by exposure to pollutants. Read more.

Jennifer Schlecht Memorial Scholarship Fund Established at Mailman to Support Careers in Sexual and Reproductive Health
The new scholarship will help train students to be passionate public health leaders committed to championing the field of sexual and reproductive health justice. Read more



Julian Abrams, MD, Medicine, will receive $2,540,315 over four years from the National Cancer Institute for “The Role of the Microbiome and Notch Signaling in Esophageal Adenocarcinoma.”

Angela Christiano, PhD, Dermatology, will receive $599,999 over one year from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases for “Clinical Trials in a Dish Using a Personalized Multi-Tissue Platform for Atopic Dermatitis.”

Brian Fallon, MD, Psychiatry, will receive $6,000,000 over four years from the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation for “Columbia University Center for Lyme & Tick-Borne Disease Treatment and Research.”

Adam David Griesemer, MD, Surgery, will receive $861,395 over one year from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for “Immune Response and Tolerance to Liver Transplants in NHP.”

Elizabeth Oelsner, MD, and R. Graham Barr, MD, Medicine, will receive $17,664,376 over two years from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute for a subaward of “ACTIV Integration of Host-targeting Therapies for COVID-19 Administrative Coordinating Center.”

Anne-Catrin Uhlemann, MD, Medicine, and Kartik Chandran, PhD, Earth & Environmental Engineering, will receive $4,752,331 over one year from the National Institute on Drug Abuse for “Optimizing SARS-CoV-2 Wastewater-Based Surveillance in Urban and University Campus Settings.” Read more

Shirley ShiDu Yan, MD, Surgery, will receive $2,979,455 over five years from the National Institute on Aging for “Mitochondria Modulate Tau Pathology and Neuroinflammation.”

Xin Zhang, PhD, Ophthalmology, will receive $1,458,000 over four years from the National Eye Institute for “Lens Ectoderm-Derived Wnt Signaling Regulates Eye Development.”



Sandra Soo-Jin Lee, PhD, Medical Humanities & Ethics, has been appointed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services to the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Human Research Protections.

Anne Taylor, MD, Medicine, has received a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Chicago Medical & Biological Sciences Alumni Association.


The Mailman School of Public Health has awarded Calderone Health Equity Awards to four CUIMC research teams working to address and mitigate health inequities:

  • Silvia Martins, PhD, Epidemiology; Mark Olfson, MD, Psychiatry and Epidemiology; Christine Mauro, MD, Biostatistics; Heidi Allen, PhD, School of Social Work; and Christopher Morrison, PhD, Epidemiology, for “Unemployment Insurance as an Intervention to Reduce Drug-Related Outcomes and Deaths During the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
  • Daniel Malinsky, PhD, Biostatistics, and R. Graham Barr, MD, DrPH, Medicine and Epidemiology, for “A Health Equity Perspective on Data-Driven Treatment Decisions in Cardiovascular Care: Risk Assessments Versus Individualized Treatment Rules.”
  • Kelli Hall, PhD, Population & Family Health, and Julius Chen, PhD, Health Policy & Management, for “COVID-19’s Impact on Disparities in Maternal Morbidity and Mortality Across the U.S.: Piloting an Academic Healthcare-Community Partnership and University-Wide Platform for Interdisciplinary, Innovative Health Equity Research.”
  • Daniel Belsky, PhD, Epidemiology, and Peter Muennig, MD, Health Policy & Management, for "Economic Intervention as a Prescription for Disparities in Healthy Aging: The Paycheck Plus RCT." 

Kiros Berhane, PhD, Biostatistics, was named to a committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine that will consider frameworks to assess causality of health and welfare effects of air pollutants in EPA’s Integrated Science Assessments conducted as part of EPA reviews of National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

Heather Krasna, MS, Career Services, was invited to be a closing plenary speaker for the Public Health Improvement Training conference organized by the National Network of Public Health Institutes. Read more.

Goleen Samari, PhD, Population & Family Health, has been named a William T. Grant Scholar. Samari will explore how recent xenophobic federal and state immigration policies in the United States influence immigrant adolescent and young adult reproductive behaviors, access to reproductive health care, and birth outcomes. Read more.


Walter Bockting, PhD, Psychiatry and Nursing, has received the Distinguished Sexual and Gender Health Revolutionary Award from the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Program in Human Sexuality.

Cindy Veldhuis, PhD, was named a 2021 Health Disparities Research Institute Scholar by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.


Return to Campus Update Forum, June 1, 4 p.m., register here

CUIMC’s African, Black & Caribbean, Asian Pacific Islander, and LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Groups Present: June Workshops

  • Empowerment Self-Defense Workshop, June 1, 4 p.m., register here.
  • Upstander & Allyship Workshop, June 16, 2 p.m., register here

Designing Anti-Racist Case Studies: A Two-Part Workshop Series, June 2 and 16, 8:30-11:30 a.m., register here

School of Nursing’s Masters Direct Entry (MDE) Virtual Information Session, June 2, noon, register here

Expert Panel: Future of Nursing 2020-2030 Report, June 2, 4:30 p.m., register here.

Friday Webinar Series on Leadership: International Nurses Day 2021, June 4-25, 10 a.m., register here

LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group Presents: Drag Queen Bingo, June 8, 4 p.m., register here

Research Ethics and Compliance Film Discussion, "Miss Evers' Boys," June 9, 2 p.m., register here

2021 Depression Research Summit, June 9, 16, 23, register here

CUIMC Disability Employee Resource Group Presents: Best Practices for Disability Inclusion & Awareness, June 15, 1 p.m., register here

CUIMC Women Employee Resource Group Presents: Roundtable Conversation on the Art of Salary Negotiation, June 16, noon, register here

ICAP Grand Rounds Webinar: Addressing Cancer in LMICs – Progress and Plans at the US National Cancer Institute, June 29, 9 a.m., register here

For more events, visit the CUIMC Events listing.