Passing of Herbert Pardes, MD

Dear Colleagues,

We are deeply saddened to share the news of the passing of Herbert Pardes, MD. For a span of four decades, Dr. Pardes was a towering figure in medicine and health care, providing reliably effective leadership not only at Columbia and NewYork-Presbyterian, but also in critically important posts he held at the national level. A generation of Columbia colleagues knew him as vice president for health sciences at Columbia University, dean of what is now Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, and then leader of NewYork-Presbyterian after the merger of Presbyterian Hospital and New York Hospital.

Dr. Pardes, professor of psychiatry at Columbia for 40 years, served as dean of the medical school and leader of the medical center from 1989 through 1999. He made significant contributions to the medical center and VP&S and also had a national role as an advocate for education, health care reimbursement reform, and support of biomedical research. He was director of the National Institute of Mental Health from 1978 until 1984, when he joined Columbia as chair of the Department of Psychiatry. In his role as chair, he also served as director of the New York State Psychiatric Institute. During his tenure as chair, he supported creation of a major center for AIDS research and expanded programs in schizophrenia, child psychiatric disorders, and geriatric disorders. The New York State Office of Mental Health renamed the main building at the New York State Psychiatric Institute the Herbert Pardes Building.

In 2000, Dr. Pardes assumed the role of president and CEO of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and NewYork-Presbyterian Healthcare System. Later in his career, he served as executive vice chair of the board of trustees for NewYork-Presbyterian.

In his role at the NIMH and as chair of psychiatry at Columbia, Dr. Pardes became a national figure in psychiatry and served as president of the American Psychiatric Association. As dean of VP&S, he was a leader in the Association of American Medical Colleges and became a national spokesperson for academic medicine. Other leadership roles included chair of the Healthcare Association of New York State, the Greater New York Hospital Association, and the New York Association of Medical Schools.

He also served as U.S. Assistant Surgeon General during the administrations of Presidents Carter and Reagan. He was appointed by Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton to serve on health policy commissions, including the Commission on Systemic Interoperability and the Presidential Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Healthcare Industry.

He was an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and recently was inducted into the Health Care Hall of Fame.

We offer our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and many colleagues at Columbia.


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