P&S Pays Tribute to Extraordinary Staff

February 1, 2013

The 2012 P&S Awards for Excellence were presented January 31 in a ceremony at the Faculty Club in front of a crowd of department chairs, faculty, and staff.

"This is one of the best things that happen during the year at P&S," said Martha Hooven, vice dean of administration at P&S. "We're here to celebrate the unsung heroes who are behind the thriving success of their departments, institutes, laboratories, and the entire school."

Leslie-Ann Manganiello, administrative director of the surgery department's practice plan, was presented with the Officer of Administration Award of Excellence. "Leslie-Ann has been at Columbia for only two years, but with her outstanding work ethic and dedication, she has positioned the Department of Surgery as a leader in organizational change and quality improvement," said Craig Smith, MD, chair of the Department of Surgery.

Manganiello attributed her award to her team and to the department's supportive environment. "I charge all of you to stop and think about the last time you highlighted the good in someone else," she said. "If you have not done so already today, what's stopping you?"

The Officer of Research Award of Excellence was presented to Arlene Lawton, RN,  senior staff associate in the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain, where she has been involved in all aspects of research for the past 24 years. She is currently coordinator of the institute's brain donation program.

In presenting the award to Lawton, Michael Shelanski, MD, PhD, chair of the Department of Pathology & Cell Biology, said: "Our Alzheimer's research center has one of the highest brain donation rates in the country, and this is entirely due to one person—Arlene Lawton. Our research is largely dependent on donated brains, and without Arlene, there wouldn't be any research."

The Community Service Award for Excellence was presented to the Columbia Student Medical Outreach (CoSMO) program, a free student-run clinic for the uninsured. "The fact that our students would take what little free time they have and donate that time to provide care for those who need it really speaks to the characters of our medical students," said Ross Frommer, vice president of government and community affairs at CUMC.

New this year, the Diversity Award for Excellence was presented to the Black and Latino Students Organization for its efforts in recruiting a diverse student body to P&S. Those efforts, which have helped make P&S one of the most diverse medical schools in the country, extend all the way to primary schools in the surrounding community.

"Through their 'Young Docs' program, BALSO students go into local third-grade classes—taking their stethoscopes and bag of bones—and encourage the kids to continue to college and, hopefully, medical school," said Hilda Hutcherson, MD, professor of obstetrics and gynecology and associate dean for diversity.

"Medical schools are not judged by their bottom line, but by their impact on people's lives," said Lee Goldman, MD, Executive Vice President for Health & Biomedical Sciences and Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences & Medicine. "I want to thank you, and all the staff members you represent, for helping make the College of Physicians & Surgeons a success."