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Welcome to Lisa Metsch!

The Mailman School of Public Health is delighted to welcome public health scholar and medical sociologist, Dr. Lisa Metsch, as the new Chair of the Sociomedical Sciences Department (SMS) and the first Stephen Smith Professor of Sociomedical Sciences. Dr. Metsch is an internationally recognized leader in the field of HIV prevention, particularly among vulnerable populations. Throughout her distinguished career, Dr. Metsch has applied a sociological lens to the HIV/AIDS epidemic which includes tackling the problem from a cultural, economic, and political context.

In addition to leading the Sociomecial Sciences Department, Dr. Metsch is also collaborating on several innovative research projects. Currently, she is being funded by the National Institute on Dental and Craniofacial Research to explore the possibility of providing HIV testing in dental care facilities. Similarly, she is teaming up with the SMS Department's Center for the Psychosocial Study of Illness to launch a qualitative study on HIV-positive patients who have been out of care for at least six months.

Dr. Metsch received her undergraduate degree in sociology from Columbia University. She earned her PhD in medical sociology from the University of Florida.

To read more about Dr. Lisa Metsch, click here.

Fourth Annual Alumni Summit for Public Health Leadership

Mailman School alumni and friends gathered for the 4th Annual Alumni Summit on June 7. The program began with a compelling panel discussion, titled Obesity: A Complex Systems Problem, which  analyzed the obesity epidemic from a wide range of perspectives
in order to make recommendations for effective solutions to this global threat. The panel was comprised of Mailman School faculty  Andrew Rundle, DrPH, MPH, Heather Greenlee, PhD, MPH, Claire Wang, ScD, MD, Tiffany L. Gary Webb, PhD, MS, and alumna Mariana Cotlear, MPH. The discussion was moderated by Florence Irving Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine at the Columbia University School of Physicians and Surgeons, Judith Korner, MD, PhD.

The evening culminated in the presentation of the Allan Rosenfield Alumni Award for Excellence to Dr. David Michaels, MPH '81, PhD '87. Dr. Michaels was honored for his work as Assistant Secretary of Labor, at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. In this role, Dr. Michaels oversees the workplace health and safety of over 130 million Americans. Prior to this, Dr. Michaels served as the Department of Energy's Assistant Secretary for Environment, Safety and Health, where he collaborated on workplace safety mandates and key policy legislation. For over 30 years, Dr. Michaels has been a renowned public health figure, professor, and author.

2012 Graduating Students Reception
On May 14, Dean Linda P. Fried, family, and friends attended the annual Graduating Students Reception in Bard Hall Lounge. The occasion served as a celebration of the completion of their graduate studies as part of the Mailman School of Public Health's commencement festivities. In addition to Dean Fried's remarks, Alumni Association member Kavita Bali, MPH '01  expressed her warm wishes in welcoming the newest members into the Mailman School Alumni. 

World Economic Forum Global Fellows Receive One-Day Course on Public Health

As part of an intense three- year educational curriculum, Master's students in the prestigious Global Fellows program, received a one day course introduction to public health led by Dean Fried and Mailman School faculty including John Rowe, MD, Wafaa El-Sadr, MD, MPH, and Thomas Farley, MD, MPH. For the first time since 2010, the Mailman School joined the Earth Institute and the School of the Arts in supplementing the Global Fellows business-oriented curriculum.

The day's program included specialized sessions on pertinent public health issues such as societal myths on aging, ethical issues related to global economic disparities, and obesity prevention. As Dean Fried stated, "The complex problems of the 21st century that affect the health of all-and especially the most vulnerable among us-will only be solved through sustained and committed leadership across all sectors."

To read more about this, visit the Mailman School website.


Get Involved 

American Public Health Association Annual Meeting & Exposition
October 27-31, 2012
San Francisco, CA

 Join your fellow public health professionals at the American Public Health Association's 140th Annual Meeting & Exposition. The APHA meeting will take place in San Francisco's Moscone Convention Center. This year's theme, Prevention and Wellness Across the Life Span, will closely examine a wide range of factors that affect human health from gestation onward. Leaders in the field of public health will discuss how behavior learned in early childhood affects the remaining life stages from a variety of sociological and cultural perspectives. In conjunction with the APHA's convention, the Mailman School of Public Health will host the annual Alumni and Friends Reception on Monday, October 29 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at B Restaurant and Bar.

Please visit the APHA's website for registration information, preliminary program, and highlights from prior annual meetings.

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Make the Mailman School part of your day-to-day! "Like" us on Facebook for the most up-to-date information on alumni and faculty activities, and to stay connected to the Columbia public health community. Our page also provides a forum for discussion on the latest news and developments in the field. Contact us with stories that you would like to share.







Grand Rounds
New York State Commissioner of Public Health, Nirav R. Shah, MD, MPH

Wednesday, September 19,  4:00pm – 5:30pm
8th Floor Auditorium, 722 West 168th Street, New York, NY

For the first lecture of the Fall Grand Rounds series, New York State Commissioner of Public Health, Nirav R. Shah, MD, MPH will join Dean Fried to discuss the critical need to build a robust health ecosystem that connects public health with health care delivery and addresses behavioral factors and the social determinants of health to shape policies and programs. In addition, the talk will highlight how the State's historic Medicaid redesign initiative is laying the foundation for a 21st century health ecosystem that will help advance the health status and well-being of the most vulnerable New Yorkers. Space is limited. If you are interested, please email

Click here for more information on the Grand Rounds lecture series.


Alumni Reception for the Fund for Public Health Leadership
October 2012












Alumni Highlights 

Aletha Maybank, MD, MPH '96 named one of The Network Journal's 40 under 40 Honorees
Dr. Aletha Maybank was recognized as one of the annual 40 under 40 honorees by The Network Journal.  For the past 15 years, the New York based magazine for black businesses and professionals has acknowledged leaders across all business fields. Dr. Maybank currently serves as an assistant commissioner in the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.  In addition to being a pediatrician, Dr. Maybank is also on the executive committee of Empire State Medical Association, a leading organization for New York's black doctors, and was the founding director of the Office of Minority Health at the Suffolk County Department of Health. Dr. Maybank received her undergraduate degree in natural sciences from Johns Hopkins University and earned her medical degree from Temple University School of Medicine.

Three Mailman School Alumni Help Bring Farmers' Market to Washington Heights Community
In an effort to promote healthy eating habits on campus, there is now a weekly farmers' market located in front of the Armand Hammer building from July until early November. The credit is due in large part to three Mailman School alumni who have organized the "Vive tu Vida/Live your Life" campaign as part of the CHALK (Choosing Healthy & Active Lifestyles for Kids) initiative. This program, sponsored by New York-Presbyterian and Columbia University Medical Center, and led by Stephanie Pitsirilos-Boquin, MPH '02, Patricia Hametz, MD '95, MPH '08, and Kelly Schunk, MPH '09, partners with local businesses and organizations to provide opportunities for healthy lifestyle programs. In addition to the farmers' market, the CHALK programs have included after-school programs and a Google Map of Fitness resources available throughout the neighborhood. 

To learn more about the Chalk Center and their programs, please click here.

Pardis Mahdavi, M.Phil '05, PhD '06, among the Recipients of the Pomona College 2012 Wig Distinguished Professor Award

Professor Pardis Mahdavi was among the seven outstanding professors who received the 2012 Wig Distinguished Professor Award for Excellence in Teaching from Pomona College. This is the highest honor bestowed on Pomona faculty and is determined by exceptional teaching, positive student response, and service to the College and the community. Professor Mahdavi, an associate professor of anthropology has been at Pomona since 2006. In addition to teaching several anthropology courses, she is also working on a book titled Passionate Uprisings: Iran's Sexual Revolution. Professor Mahdavi received her BA in diplomacy and world affairs at Occidental College. She received a PhD, a MIA and M.Phil from Columbia University.

Brian Lehrer, MPH '96 hosts Dean Fried on the NPR Syndicated Program, The Brian Lehrer Show
On the July 16 episode of the Peabody Award-winning, The Brian Lehrer Show, Dean Fried joined the panel to discuss her work in the field of aging and obesity prevention. The Dean gave insight into the dramatic gains in life expectancy and why this trend has to change current perceptions toward aging populations. Similarly, she discussed the timely issue of soda restriction and the important role that this can play in the fight against obesity.

Brian Lehrer, MPH '96, is an award-winning broadcaster, journalist, and documentary producer with a career that spans over 20 years. Lehrer is most known for his work on The Brian Lehrer Show, which features interviews with  leading experts in the fields of current events and social issues.

Click here to listen to Dean Fried's entire segment on The Brian Lehrer Show.


Support the School 

The Fund for Public Health Leadership

Thank You Mailman School Alumni and Friends! 
Thank you for supporting our School's annual fund, The Fund for Public Health Leadership. This past year we realized the highest alumni and friends participation rate since the inception of the Fund. Our success in raising $1.5 million over the past decade to assist students in attaining a first-class public health education was made possible because of your generosity. Thank you!

A Decade of Impact: A Legacy of Leadership
This year our community will celebrate a decade of support for The Fund for Public Health Leadership. The Fund has assisted numerous students, and thanks to you, this past year ten percent more alumni and friends participated, a very significant increase. Please consider a gift of any amount this year knowing that your entire contribution will go directly to scholarship aid. Your investment is not only in a student's future, but also in our professional field, and in better health for all. You can make a gift easily and securely here:


Contact Us 

Meet the Alumni Affairs Team!

Tiffany Basdekis, Associate Director of Alumni Affairs and Annual Fund

Jason Rizzi, Development Officer, Fund for Public Health Leadership

Iralba Castillo, Administrative Assistant for Alumni Affairs

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Office of Alumni Affairs
Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health
722 West 168th Street, 14th Floor
New York, NY 10032

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