CUIMC Update - March 23, 2022

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.


President Signs Bill to Support Health Care Workers  
The Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act was signed into law last week by President Biden. The act provides federal grants for mental health programs to support health care workers and prevent suicide. The new law is named for the late Lorna Breen, MD, an emergency medicine physician and faculty member at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. Read more

Match Day 2022: Columbia Medical Students Celebrate Their Residencies 
On Match Day last week, 146 VP&S students learned where they will start their medical training after graduation and celebrated their residencies with family and friends in person. Read more

Colon Cancer Is Skewing Younger 
March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and Joel Gabre, MD, explains why everyone age 45 and older should get a colon cancer screening test. Read more

Unfinished Business: Columbia Hosts 2nd COVID Vaccine Symposium
On March 28, world leaders and global health experts will gather for Columbia University’s second annual Virtual Symposium on Vaccines and Global Health. Philip LaRussa, MD, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at VP&S and one of the conference’s four organizers, discusses the need for a second symposium and ongoing vaccination efforts. Read more

Simmons Bequest to Fund Columbia Nursing’s First Full Tuition Clinical Scholarship           
Columbia Nursing will soon launch its first full-tuition Master’s Direct Entry/Doctor of Nursing Practice scholarship thanks to a $5.2 million gift from Richard Simmons in memory of his wife, Mary Bleecker Simmons, a class of 1960 graduate. Read more.

Columbia Nursing Offers First Certification in Transgender, Non-Binary Care
Columbia Nursing is launching a professional certificate program, the first of its kind, to prepare nurse practitioners and physician assistants to provide affirming health care to transgender and non-binary individuals. Read more



Nicholas Arpaia, PhD, Microbiology & Immunology, will receive $2,823,136 over five years from the National Cancer Institute for “Treating colon cancer by regulating intestinal immunity through microbial metabolism.”

Anca Askanase, MD, Medicine, will receive $750,000 over three years from the Army Medical Research and Materiel Command for “Validation of SLE Virtual Outcome Measures.”

Randy Auerbach, PhD, Psychiatry, will receive $1,171,172 over five years from the National Institute of Mental Health for a subaward of “Testing a Diathesis-Stress Model of Adolescent Suicide: Dopaminergic, Social, and Inhibitory Mechanisms.”

Sabrina Alves Simoes Spassov, PhD, Taub Institute, will receive $445,500 over two years from the National Institute on Aging for “Endosomal dysfunction, a new source of biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease.” 


Brandon Pearson, PhD, Environmental Health Sciences, will receive $445,500 over two years from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences for “Environmental drivers of trinucleotide repeat instability and Huntington's disease onset.”



Elaine Larson, PhD, has received the Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman Award for 2021. Read more


Columbia University School of Nursing Spring Virtual Employer Week, now through March 25, 8 a.m. - 6 p.m., read more

The David Seegal Alpha Omega Alpha Visiting Professorship Lecture, “From Fragmentation to Collaboration: Interprofessional Teams in Action,” March 23, 4:30 p.m., Alumni Auditorium, attend in person or register to attend virtually on Zoom webinar

Anti-Racism Speaker Series: Dr. Tyran Steward, March 24, 10 a.m., register here.

CUIMC Women Roundtable: Imposter Syndrome at Work, March 24, 12 p.m., register here.

The John Lindenbaum Memorial Lecture: “Diversity among Scientists – How Does it Impact Biomedical Discovery and Patient Care?” March 31, 5 p.m., register here

Institute of Human Nutrition Special Event - A Community Conversation with Hon. Rolando T. Acosta, April 14, 5 p.m., Alumni Auditorium, attend in person or online via Zoom, read more.

Call for Applications: Columbia Global Mental Health Programs 2022-2023 Council Grants Program, through June 1, read more.

For more events, visit the CUIMC Events listing.