Email this page to a friend
News
 
  Public Health Dean Rosenfield to step down
  A gala dinner was held in honor of Allan Rosenfield on June 7. With Rosenfield are his wife Clare Stein Rosenfield ’65GSAS, ’89SW (from left), Diana Taylor ’80BUS, the state superintendent of banks, and actor and AIDS activist Richard Gere.

Allan Rosenfield, dean of the Mailman School of Public Health since 1986, has asked the University to begin a search for a new dean. Although suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Rosenfield says that “health permitting,” he will remain as dean until the University chooses his successor, and that he will stay on as a professor.

An obstetrician-gynecologist by training, Rosenfield ’59CC is renowned for his work in the field of women’s reproductive health, family planning, and maternal mortality, particularly in resource-poor communities, both in the United States and abroad. Rosenfield has also developed innovative programs to treat HIV-infected adults and children, and, in Lee Bollinger’s words, “has relentlessly advocated for increasing health-care access and human rights around the world.” Under his stewardship, the Mailman School has grown to become the third largest school of public health in the United States, and the second largest school in the University in terms of enrollment and budget.

On June 8, a Columbia University World Leaders Forum symposium entitled “Taking a Stand: Challenges and Controversies in Reproductive Health, Maternal Mortality, and HIV/AIDS” was held in Rosenfield’s honor. The keynote address was given by Bill Clinton. Other speakers included Mary Robinson, SIPA professor, former president of Ireland, and UN high commissioner for human rights; Jeffrey Sachs, director of Columbia’s Earth Institute; Stephen Lewis, a UN special envoy for HIV/AIDS; and William Foege, an epidemiologist and human rights activist. The previous evening, Rosenfield was honored with a gala dinner hosted by Bollinger. Speakers included UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, actor and AIDS activist Richard Gere, and Phyllis Mailman, widow of Joseph L. Mailman, for whom the Mailman School is named. On June 7, Bollinger announced that the main building of the Mailman School, at 722 West 168th Street, will be named in Rosenfield’s honor.

“All of that is very moving, very emotional, and very much appreciated,” Rosenfield says. “I have tremendous respect and admiration for my colleagues in many areas of public health and the organizations they work for, and it’s very special that so many have chosen to honor my work and that of the school.”

Looking back on his 30-year career at Columbia, Rosenfield says that he is proudest of his role in moving the Mailman School into the “top ranks” of public health schools, along with his ongoing work on public health issues, especially that involving the health and well-being of women, domestically and globally. When Rosenfield became dean, the Mailman School’s budget was about $12 million; today it is $160 million. He attributes much of the school’s success to the “outstanding faculty we’ve been able to recruit.”

But Rosenfield is looking ahead as well. Among the challenges facing public health in the foreseeable future, he cites health-care reform in the United States as a top priority: “We need to see the advent of a single-payer system, which will save administrative costs and provide care for all people.” Globally, “our work must continue to improve women’s reproductive health, including family planning, decreasing unsafe abortions, and reducing the number of women dying of complications from pregnancy, and dealing with the tragic impact of HIV/AIDS on women,” says Rosenfield, who is well known for his advocacy on all these issues, as well as for education on the use of condoms and other forms of birth control, and the importance of raising the social status of women in developing nations. “Women in many countries are at a great disadvantage,” he says, “and we must continue to give special attention to their needs.”
 


 
 
Lee Bollinger (left) and Lee Goldman.  
UCSF epidemiologist Lee Goldman tapped to lead Medical Center

Lee Goldman, an internationally recognized epidemiologist and cardiologist, will join Columbia on August 1 as the executive vice president for health and biomedical sciences and dean of the faculties of health sciences and medicine. He will head the Columbia University Medical Center, with its four professional schools: the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the College of Dental Medicine, the School of Nursing, and the Mailman School of Public Health. Goldman succeeds Gerald D. Fischbach, who announced this spring he would step down in June.

Currently the associate dean for clinical affairs at the University of California in San Francisco (UCSF), Goldman is a pioneer in the application of statistical analysis in clinical care, having developed innovative predictive models used by health researchers and clinicians around the world. The most popular of these models are the so-called Goldman index for assessing the cardiac risk in surgeries unrelated to the heart and the Goldman criteria for helping determine if patients with chest pain require hospital admission. Among Goldman’s more than 400 publications are 20 first- or senior-authored articles in the New England Journal of Medicine.

At UCSF, Goldman chairs the medicine department, which receives more financing in grants and contracts from the National Institutes of Health than any other academic department in the nation.

At Columbia, Goldman will be the Harold and Margaret Hatch Professor of the University, professor of medicine at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, and professor of epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health.

President Lee Bollinger calls Goldman “an extraordinary leader” and praises him for “ably bringing together the highest quality medical care for patients, pathbreaking research, a commitment to the wider community, as well as management skills that are absolutely essential to the success of a large academic medical complex.”
As head of the Columbia University Medical Center, Goldman will oversee more than 2000 full-time faculty in 86 departments and programs, 64 centers and institutes, 40 biomedical research and treatment centers, affiliations with two dozen hospitals, and an annual operating budget of $1.2 billion.

 “My responsibility is to create a diverse environment where the best clinicians, researchers, teachers, and students can have the resources and institutional support to expand the frontiers of scientific knowledge, improve health care for our society, and train the next generation to sustain and enhance this mission,” says Goldman. “It’s an enormous challenge and a wonderful opportunity.” Goldman is president of the Association of Professors of Medicine, lead editor of the Cecil Textbook of Medicine, and coeditor of Hospital Medicine and Primary Cardiology. He is married to Jill S. Goldman, who has been a genetics counselor in the UCSF neurology department and an assistant clinical professor in the UCSF school of nursing.
  


 
 
The cat's out of the bag

Columbia’s fundraisers are not yet in official campaign mode, but they took a step closer in June when the Trustees passed a resolution authorizing a $4 billion University-wide campaign to launch publicly in the fall. It has been no secret that the University is in the planning or “silent” phase of what promises to be a historic seven-year fundraising effort. In fact, on May 21, The New York Times ran an article outlining the effort, which involves faculty participation as never before and sets specific goals for advancing alumni relations as well as targets for giving. “It’s a great article,” says Susan Feagin, executive vice president for development and alumni relations. “Though it puts us in the rather unusual position of appearing in the Times before we’ve formally announced to our alumni and friends.” So much for the quiet phase.

To read the Times story, visit http://alumni.columbia.edu/nytimes_campaign.pdf.


 
 
This child’s drawing of war in Sudan is one of several being preserved at Columbia as part of the Human Rights Watch archive. View the gallery online at hrw.org/photos/2005/darfur/
drawings/index.htm
.
 
 
With new acquisitions, library to open human rights documentation center

For more than four decades, Amnesty International has been the world’s eyes on political oppression and human rights abuse. The organization’s American affiliate, Amnesty International USA, now wants Columbia to preserve all it has witnessed.

Earlier this year, Amnesty International USA sent its archive to Columbia to be housed at the new Center for Human Rights Documentation and Research (CHRDR). The collection consists of research reports, case files, and oral histories, as well as photographs, videos, DVDs, posters, banners, T-shirts, and newspaper clippings dating back to Amnesty International USA’s founding in New York City in the early 1960s. The organization plans to add material to the collection on an ongoing basis.

Scholars who dig into the archive can discover “how international human rights advocacy works, and when and why it does not,” says J. Paul Martin, executive director of Columbia’s Center for the Study of Human Rights.

The Amnesty acquisition adds to a rapidly growing archive at CHRDR, which will make its collections partially open to researchers this fall. Human Rights Watch, the largest organization of its type based in the United States, selected Columbia as its depository two years ago; that donation effectively launched CHRDR, which was established last summer and is administered by Columbia’s Rare Books and Manuscripts Library. The University is now in conversation with Human Rights First, Physicians for Human Rights, and the Committee of Concerned Scientists to acquire those organizations’ papers. News about the archive has also prompted former Human Rights Watch advocates to send their personal collections.

Csaba Szilagyi, a curator at CHRDR, hopes that the archive will prompt more activists to hold onto materials. “Until recently, I think, most human rights workers didn’t realize that their documentation was important,” he says.

The holdings, in fact, demonstrate that today’s advocacy is tomorrow’s history. Consider one faded photograph of a bearded man seated with a young boy, perhaps his son, standing over his shoulder. On the back of the photo is scribbled “Zisels.” A quick search on a Columbia database identifies him as Joseph Samuilovich Zissels, a Ukrainian man imprisoned several times for political activism under the Soviets and now a prominent leader in his country’s Jewish community. The photo was shot around 1980 and brought to the United States by Jeri Laber, a founder of Human Rights Watch. Such photos were often smuggled out of the Soviet Union by friends of dissidents, Laber says, in order to bring attention to their plight, if only by attaching a face to a name.

“It’s wonderful to think that these documents will be kept alive,” she says. “Each one of those people is a story unto himself.” (Columbia has agreed that some material in its archive, such as correspondence with dissidents who may still face retribution, will remain off-limits for viewing indefinitely.)

The Amnesty and Human Rights Watch collections have been moved to Columbia from the University of Colorado, Boulder, where they had remained unsorted since 1994. The University of Colorado discontinued its human rights documentation program in 1999. Amnesty and Human Rights Watch chose Columbia as the home for their collections because of the University’s academic strengths in human rights and its libraries’ strong programs in archive preservation, digital library development, and electronic publishing.

The collections could take more than a decade to catalog. The Human Rights Watch archive alone includes 1300 boxes the size of filing cabinet drawers, stuffed with field notes, interviews with alleged victims of human rights violations, videotapes and audiotapes, posters, and photographs. The first materials that are to be cataloged — those documenting the Human Rights Watch’s founding, as Helsinki Watch, in 1978 — should be available in the fall semester. Columbia researchers and members of the public can then access the materials, upon request, at CHRDR, located temporarily at the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library on the sixth floor of Butler Library. Library administrators are currently searching for a permanent campus home for the Center.

Eventually, CHRDR will host public events such as film screenings and exhibitions and make its archive catalog available online.

“We don’t want this to become a dead place with dusty papers,” says Szilagyi. For more information about the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library, visit columbia.edu/cu/lweb/indiv/rbml/index.html.


 
  Ed reform expert Susan Fuhrman named president of Teachers College
  Susan Fuhrman

“I learned everything I needed to know at Teachers College,” says Susan Fuhrman ’77TC. Now, she’s bringing that knowledge back as the College’s tenth president. She is the first woman to hold the position.

Fuhrman made her mark as an education policy expert in the 1980s, when she was among the first proponents of establishing tough statewide standards for the nation’s schools. An authority on education reform, school accountability, and the government’s role in shaping education, she has been dean of the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education for the past 11 years.

Fuhrman joins Teachers College on August 1, succeeding Arthur E. Levine, who announced in December that he would step down as president after 12 years to direct the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation in Princeton, N. J. Fuhrman earned her PhD at Teachers College, where she was mentored by future U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala, then a TC professor.

At Penn, Fuhrman is credited with having elevated the national stature of the education school in part by developing its urban and international education programs. She also boosted externally funded research, expanded the faculty, and launched partnerships with several underserved public schools in West Philadelphia. Fuhrman is known for setting rigorous standards for scholarly research.

“Teachers College and all education schools need to focus course work and research on questions in the field,” she says. “In particular, we must focus on instruction and other aspects of what goes on in classrooms to determine what truly works best with students.”
A former public school social studies teacher, Fuhrman is the founding leader of the Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE), a venture among five universities that studies how education policy plays out in classrooms. Fuhrman hopes to involve TC faculty and students in the consortium’s work.

“I’d like to see TC become a much bigger presence,” she says. “I’d like us to engage in much more holistic, concerted, comprehensive efforts to help city schools and, to the extent that New York City is willing, be a partner. We have an enormous amount to offer and an enormous amount to learn.”
 


 
 
College Dean Austin Quigley (from left) chats with former CC Alumni Association Chair Jerry Sherwin ’55CC and Art Garfunkel ’62CC, ’65GSAS on the occasion of the 112th Varsity Show April 29.  
Art's diamonds

The Varsity Show has lampooned life at Columbia since 1894, but it was no joke when this year’s organizers presented Art Garfunkel ’62CC, ’65GSAS with the third annual I.A.L. Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts. The prize is named for Isidore A. L. Diamond ’41CC, who wrote four Varsity Shows and went on to write screenplays for Some Like It Hot and The Apartment. It wasn’t the first Diamond award won by Garfunkel, who studied art history here before attaining fame in the 1960s with his smooth countertenor. In 2003, his and Paul Simon’s album Simon and Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits received the Diamond award from the Recording Industry Association of America, a distinction for records that sell ten million copies. “Art has been awarded two very prestigious titles, similarly named but different in origin and meaning,” says Grace Parra ’06CC, producer of the Varsity Show. In his speech at the April 29 reception, Garfunkel recalled “many sweet memories” from his days at Columbia, such as long conversations about books with classmates over dinner. “I thought that was fabulous,” he said.
 


 
  Still left behind

The economic boom of the 1990s benefited nearly every segment of American society: employment rates and earnings among the poor increased, and even large numbers of young single mothers rose out of poverty, assisted by $50 billion spent on job training programs, earning subsidies, and other efforts to decrease welfare rolls.

But black men, especially in cities, did not share in the spoils, according to a new collection of research papers edited by Ronald Mincy entitled Black Males Left Behind (Urban Institute, 2006). Mincy, the Maurice V. Russell Professor of Social Policy and Social Work Practice at Columbia’s School of Social Work, reports in his own research in the book that during the 1990s employment rates and real wages declined steadily for African American men ages 18 to 24 who didn’t attend college. Today, almost 50 percent of black men in this age group who have not gone to college are unemployed. The trend coincides with rising incarceration rates and contradicts a long-held belief of many policymakers and social researchers: that sustained economic growth would improve the lives of poor African American men.

Widespread unemployment and underemployment among young black men, according to Black Males Left Behind, results from a decline in public funding for job training programs directed at men; the movement of blue-collar jobs out of cities, where many African Americans live; employers’ disinclination to hire those with criminal records; a lack of participation among black men in on-the-job training; and strict child support laws that often push absentee fathers below the poverty line and discourage them from working altogether.

Also, many black men are reluctant to take low-wage jobs, according to the book, which features contributions from 17 social researchers, including prominent economists Rebecca M. Blank and Harry J. Holzer. “The data indicate that black men and immigrant men don’t compete for the same jobs, except maybe in construction and in California,” Mincy says. “Immigrant men take low-wage jobs that black males wouldn’t take anyway because [black families] are accustomed to a higher standard of living, bolstered by their greater access to welfare. They can’t live with dignity off of the low wages those jobs offer.”

Partly as a result of their employment struggles, young black men rank near the bottom of all standard measures sociologists use to gauge social engagement, such as rates of marriage and the ability to support their children, the book finds. Only 10 percent of young black fathers who don’t attend college live with their children, for instance, and just 39 percent of all black children live with two parents.

Policymakers could help address these problems, according to the research, by increasing funds for job training programs targeted specifically at young men and for social services that improve their marriage and relationship skills.

“We need to do the same thing for less-skilled men that we do for less-skilled women: require and enable them to work and to support their families,” Mincy says. “There is no civic organization in the country whose sole focus is on helping young, less-educated men and boys. As a consequence, we go from decade to decade discovering some new crisis about African American men. We need to build the infrastructure to support research, policy, and practice around the needs of African American men.”
 


 
  Torture's thin line

Torture is banned by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, but what counts as torture is up for debate in the United States. “Torture on Trial,” a panel discussion held at Columbia Law School in cooperation with SIPA’s student-run Human Rights Working Group on April 14, explored the moral and national security implications of the U.S. government’s allowing extreme interrogation practices such as simulated drowning. Jeremy Waldron, a University Professor and Columbia Law School professor, condemned the government’s justification of such practices. He said that laws against torture are meaningful only if they protect against a government’s temptation to bend the rules in times of war.

“Circumstances of emergency change,” he says, “but circumstances of humanity do not…. Torture is a qualitative wrong. Is interrogational torture different from dictatorial torture? Are our coercive tactics different from Saddam’s because ours are a means to a [just] end? … [Broadly defined] prohibition against torture speaks to the hard choices that the government must make.”

Former Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, the highest-ranking officer disciplined in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, provided a firsthand account of the military’s interrogation techniques. In November 2003, she authorized soldiers at Abu Ghraib to frighten detainees with dogs, a method approved by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. But before long, Karpinski said, troops were letting the dogs attack the detainees. “If you move away from [orders] one degree,” she said, “a year later you are 180 degrees from where you first were.” She said that interrogation methods should be reformed in the interest of national security: “Every prisoner you release is your enemy.”
 


 
 
  Juliana Lewis ’09BC, a member of Columbia/Barnard Hillel (from left), and Duha Mohiuddin ’07CC and Andrea Preisz ’07BC, both members of the Muslim Students Association, discuss their religious beliefs April 23.
Breaking bread, moving ahead

Seated together at small tables and picking at a light dinner of falafel, shawarma, and hummus, about 50 Jewish and Muslim students on April 23 took turns politely posing to one another questions scribbled on folded-up pieces of paper. Why do you fast? How do you keep the spirit of your holidays alive throughout the year? What does the concept of pilgrimage mean to you? The conversation quickly turned lighthearted, as the students’ reflections on their faith were peppered with humorous anecdotes about nutty family members, the challenge of balancing religious observance with homework, and keeping up your lacrosse game while fasting. What happens if you mess up a holiday ritual? “Whatever you do, do not drop the Torah, because everybody in the room will have to fast for … a year, I think,” quipped Juliana Lewis ’09CC. “If you’re holding the Torah, you know everybody else is holding their breath.”

Organized jointly by Columbia/Barnard Hillel and the Muslim Students Association (MSA) to coincide loosely with the end of Passover, the event aimed simply to “create a social venue where people could get to know each other,” says Joshua Goldkind ’07CC, a member of Hillel. “There are a lot of thoughtful educational events on campus, but we wanted to create a comfortable environment where we could just talk and come out of ourselves a little bit.”

The gathering was supported by the Kraft Family Fund for Interfaith and Intercultural Awareness, a $1 million fund created last year through a $500,000 gift from Trustee Emeritus Robert Kraft ’63CC and his wife, Myra Kraft, with a matching contribution from the University. The fund was established, in part, to sponsor student-initiated programs that facilitate understanding among people from diverse backgrounds, especially in light of tensions in 2004 and 2005 between Jewish students and some professors in the Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures department.

“I never experienced any friction with professors or with other students personally, but the general mood on campus last year certainly was tense,” says Goldkind. “The kind of tension that existed could be lessened if people from different ethnic, political, and religious groups talk to each other more. Then, when a tough political issue arises on campus, it could be an interesting thing for everybody to talk about rather than a source of divisiveness.”

MSA President Omar Siddiqi ’07CC agrees: “Everybody wants to understand what the other group is thinking. They’re curious. I want to know what a Jew thinks about a particular topic and why, and Jews want to know what I think. We live next to each other in our dorms, but we never seem to make time to talk through our ideas.”

Siddiqi kicked off the April 23 dinner by recounting the story of Muhammad’s flight from Mecca and his establishing a more liberal society in Medina. The story, Siddiqi said, teaches a lesson similar to that of the Jews’ exodus from Egypt and illustrates shared values of Jews and Muslims. “Muhammad left his home because he was persecuted, and when he was free, he and his followers had to decide whether to become oppressors themselves or to learn from their suffering and create a just society,” he said. “We all must understand the imperative to serve the cause of goodness, whether that means opposing hateful language on campus or any other form of political or religious oppression. I hope we’ll all work together to create just societies like Medina and Canaan.”
 


 
  Bad news bearers

It wasn’t a good day for newshounds when the Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ) recently released its annual State of the News Media study, concluding that while there exist more news outlets today than ever, they’re covering a narrower range of topics, and the coverage is less in-depth than in the past.

The study by PEJ, which is an affiliate of Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism and is funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, examined news in print and on television, radio, and the Internet in the United States on a single day last year, chosen randomly, and found remarkable repetition in the reporting. For example, similar accounts of two dozen news events constituted all of the 14,000 articles accessible during that 24-hour period on Google News, which gathers stories from major news producers around the world.

“As the number of [outlets] delivering news proliferates, the audience for each tends to shrink and the number of journalists in each organization is reduced,” according to the study. Yet, national news organizations all need to cover certain big events, so “we tend to see more accounts of the same handful of stories.… Such concentration of personnel around a few stories, in turn, has aided the efforts of newsmakers to control what the public knows. One of the first things to happen is that the authorities quickly corral the growing throng of correspondents, crews, and paparazzi into press areas” away from the actual news sites.

Big-city metro papers are the big losers in the increasingly saturated news landscape, the PEJ study finds. These newspapers are the organizations “most likely to have the resources and aspirations to act as watchdogs,” yet they “suffered the biggest circulation drops and imposed the largest cutbacks in staff,” reads the report. The New York Times, for example, cut 60 people from its newsroom last year, and the Los Angeles Times let go 85. Meanwhile, bloggers are assembling, editing, and analyzing plenty of news, but doing little firsthand reporting.

The good news? Traditional newspapers are getting more creative with the Web and seeing revenue growth in that area. “The big question is whether the Internet will produce journalism in the 21st century at the level of quality we came to expect in the 20th century,” says PEJ Director Thomas Rosenstiel. “If it doesn’t, then we’re going to have a much lower level of journalism and public knowledge in the future.”

To that end, the report says, look to see whether the traditional news media over the next few months demand that Google and Yahoo!, which cut into their revenue, pay for the content they republish, and whether the online aggregators’ fledgling attempts to produce original content demonstrate “more than rhetorical allegiance to the values of public-interest journalism.”

To read the report, visit stateofthenewsmedia.com/2006.

 

 
 
Submit a letter to the editor // Email this page to a friend