Leadership Transition: CUIMC Office of Communications

Dear Colleagues:

I am writing to inform you about changes in the CUIMC Office of Communications and steps we are taking to continue that office’s services in seamless fashion. After more than 20 months as our chief communications officer, Scott Schell is retiring from Columbia and is looking forward to spending more time with his family. Since 2010, Scott has been providing communications counsel to the leadership and faculty of the university and medical center, guiding us through countless public issues. In his current role, Scott has successfully led the CUIMC Office of Communications, which delivers digital and web services across the medical center, produces the CUIMC Newsroom, works with the news media on press coverage, and oversees many other initiatives that share with internal and external audiences the impact of our work in research, patient care, education, and community engagement.

This transition gives us an opportunity to build on some of the organizational changes that were initiated in the Office of Communications last year and to further align the office with our institutional goals. As we engage in a planning process to ensure the future success of our communications enterprise, I am grateful that two outstanding leaders will be assuming key leadership roles in this transition period. Ed Doherty, the Executive Director for Digital Strategy and Web Services, will continue to oversee these critical areas and now report to VP&S Senior Vice Dean for Clinical Affairs James McKiernan, MD, positioning this unit to better market and support our patient care and clinical mission. During this transition period, a strategic communications unit, including an editorial group dedicated to promoting our research enterprise, will be overseen on an interim basis by Vanita Gowda, the Associate Dean and Chief Communications Officer of the Mailman School of Public Health. Over the next few months, Vanita and Ed will work with me and the leadership of the four schools at CUIMC to ensure that we have the optimal structure for advancing our communications strategy moving forward. I have no doubt that redoubling our commitment to this critically important component of our campus is critical for our success and am deeply grateful to both Ed and Vanita for their leadership at this important time.

Please join me in thanking Scott for his extraordinary service to our campus and to Columbia. I look forward to working closely with Vanita and Ed to ensure that our communications enterprise continues to thrive as we move forward.

All my best,

Katrina Armstrong, MD
Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons
Executive Vice President for Health and Biomedical Sciences, Columbia University