Sharing the VP&S Strategic Plan

Dear Colleagues,

The Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons is a thriving institution, setting national and global standards for advancing biomedical research, patient care, and medical education, while embracing the northern Manhattan neighborhoods that define our identity and shared values. VP&S draws brilliant, socially minded students, skilled clinicians, ambitious scientists, and outstanding employees who believe in our larger calling. We are blessed with dedicated leaders and visionary benefactors, led by Roy and Diana Vagelos, whose generosity has elevated our aspirations across our missions. Our partnership with NewYork-Presbyterian is growing stronger daily because of productive collaboration and mutual respect. There is much to celebrate on 168th Street. 

And yet, we must do more to seize the very real opportunities before us. This imperative is not simply a matter of every great institution needing to constantly evolve to meet the demands of a rapidly changing society—though that is true for us and for all involved in health care in 2024. I have recognized, since the day I arrived, that the faculty, staff and students of VP&S are our greatest asset. My top priority has been to create an environment that imposes no limits on their ability to succeed at the work they love. We are a large and diverse workforce comprised both of newcomers and those who have spent long and storied careers in Washington Heights. Across this diversity, we come together in our determination to address the needs of the world around us in a culture of authenticity, excellence and respect. The desire to achieve our full potential individually and collectively is widespread and deeply felt. 

This is the setting in which the VP&S Strategic Plan has been developed. The plan represents the best of us: the product of concentrated effort by hundreds of faculty and staff across VP&S. It comes at a time when new challenges are emerging, even as the searing hardships of the pandemic have begun to recede into the past. It was developed for a medical school possessing talent and resources that are the envy of our peers. And it comes at a moment at VP&S when the desire for change and continued growth is palpable.

To be sure, it would be a mistake to think of the announcement of this strategic plan as the starting bell for efforts to advance our missions and realize our goals. That work is ongoing and is happening today just as it has been happening here for decades. The purposes of the strategic plan are to propose new ideas, reestablish priorities for building our future, energize institutional initiatives, and create mechanisms for accountability. In these pages, you will see both a roadmap for achieving our goals and a sampling of efforts already underway and deserving of recognition and continued support.

There is no more important professional endeavor than the work you do each day at VP&S. Succeeding at this work demands a unique combination of confidence and humility, idealism and practicality, optimism and acceptance. I am constantly inspired by how you embody these attributes and am certain that together we will achieve the goals set out in this plan. I am excited to join you in this work.

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