VP&S 2021 Graduation


On May 19, graduating students and their families and friends gathered online to celebrate the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons (VP&S) Class of 2021. The virtual ceremony honored 156 students who received MD degrees from VP&S and 37 students who received PhD degrees from Columbia’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. The graduation address was delivered by Aletha Maybank, MD, MPH’06, senior vice president and chief health equity officer, American Medical Association.

Aletha Maybank

Aletha Maybank

“Whether in ob-gyn, pediatrics, surgery, dermatology, radiology, or any other specialty, we need to be asking and answering critical questions, such as: How do we ensure our efforts, tools, and systems do not discriminate, exacerbate inequities, or deny care? How can we disrupt the beliefs and actions that undermine equity? What kinds of alliances, infrastructure, and systems change are necessary?" said Maybank in her address to graduates. "All of these provide meaningful direction to learn different truths, expose what has been made invisible, and add a sense of humanity to the existing scientific evidence base.”

Columbia’s newest graduates begin their residencies this summer. The most popular residencies for the Class of 2021 are internal medicine, psychiatry, pediatrics, surgery, obstetrics & gynecology, anesthesiology, and orthopedic surgery.

During the virtual graduation ceremony, these faculty members were honored for their service to the medical school:

  • Samuel C. Silverstein, MD, special lecturer in the Department of Physiology & Cellular Biophysics and the John C. Dalton Professor Emeritus of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics: VP&S Distinguished Service Award in Basic Science
  • Ronald E. Drusin, MD, special lecturer in the Department of Medicine and the Rolf H. Scholdager Professor Emeritus of Medicine at CUMC: VP&S Distinguished Service Award in Clinical Science
  • Urmi Desai, MD, assistant professor of medicine (in the Center for Family and Community Medicine) at CUMC: the Charles W. Bohmfalk Award for Pre-Clinical Years
  • Marina Catallozzi, MD, MSCE, associate professor of pediatrics and population and family health at CUMC: the Charles W. Bohmfalk Award for Clinical Years
  • Hetty Cunningham, MD, associate professor of pediatrics at CUMC: Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award
  • Nicholas Arpaia, PhD, assistant professor of microbiology & immunology: Doctor Harold and Golden Lamport Research Award in Basic Sciences
  • Stephanie Lovinsky-Desir, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics: Doctor Harold and Golden Lamport Research Award in Clinical Sciences
  • Rachel J. Gordon, MD, MPH, associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at CUMC: Distinguished Teacher Award given by the Class of 2021

The ceremony marked the centennial of the first women to earn a Columbia MD. The effort to admit women to VP&S was championed by Gulli Lindh Muller, who graduated first in the Class of 1921. She was joined by Susanna Haigh (No. 3 in the class), Emma Corwin (No. 5), Dorothea Curnow, Elizabeth Wright, and May Mayers. 

Read more about students in the Class of 2021.