Update at the Halfway Point

March 2012 Update

Now in its fourth month of development, the P&S Strategic Plan is well on its way to achieving completion by June 2012. The steering committee and task forces have been taking a close look at P&S, noting how we can build upon our strengths and address areas of opportunity.

To gain a better understanding of our shared vision for the future, our strategic planning partner, AMC Strategies, conducted more than 60 interviews with P&S faculty, staff and students. Each was asked to share their vision of P&S — today, and ten years into the future.

It is noteworthy that more than 60 percent of interviewees articulated a common goal: “To be indisputably in the top five schools of medicine and arguably the best.” AMC Strategies pointed out that it is rare to see an institution so unified on leadership vision.
 The many strengths noted by those interviewed include our excellent faculty and students, our world-renowned research, clinical strengths, reputation of the Medical School and Columbia University, as well as NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, as a premier and top-ranked hospital. Interviewees also believe that strong leadership and a commitment to improvement are other strengths.

At the top of everyone’s “to do” list, however, is addressing our aging physical plant and infrastructure. Most interviewees felt that attention to our facilities is critical, either through renovation or by construction of new buildings. Overall campus revitalization was noted as a top goal for the next decade.

At the March 13 steering committee meeting, task forces and subcommittees presented their findings, summarized as follows:

Research Task Force

The Research Task Force discussed several scientific areas to strengthen and foster increased extramural and philanthropic funding at P&S. Potential targeted research programs, coordinated with disease focal points already identified by the Clinical Care Task Force, are under discussion.

Clinical Care Task Force

The Clinical Task Force identified specific strategies for growth, such as strengthening the faculty practice organization and expanding ambulatory capacity and geographic reach. Patient access and service is a top priority. Future topics include the impact of health care reform on the delivery of patient care.

Education Task Force

The Education Task Force noted several opportunities for enhancing the reputation of P&S as one of the top medical schools in the country, including the ongoing review of the new curriculum to ensure quality and consistency. The task force is looking forward to construction of the new Medical and Graduate Education building, which will house classrooms, a state-of-the-art simulation center, auditoriums and space for informal student gatherings. The development of dual degree programs for the medical students is also under discussion. To enhance the reputation of faculty, the task force noted its support of a teaching academy designed to recognize excellent teachers and provide resources for all faculty who teach our medical and graduate students. The academy will recognize education-related scholarship and support pathways for faculty advancement.

Translational Research Subcommittee

The Translational Research Subcommittee identified a need for increasing translational research and developing mechanisms to integrate scientific initiatives from basic science, to clinical science, to population science. Promotion of collaborative research and development of high-functioning and annually reviewed state-of–the art core facilities are priorities of this group.

Campus Life Task Force

Preliminary strategies that the Campus Life Task Force have defined include: increasing the amount and quality of academic research space, improving student housing and recreational space on campus, while finding new ways to enhance and appreciate CUMC’s multi-cultural community. It is the task force’s consensus that partnering with local government and community leaders to enhance our Washington Heights neighborhood will help foster a “best place to work and learn” environment.

Student Life Subcommittee

The student experience is a vital component for quality medical education. The Student Life Subcommittee has recommended ways to revitalize and maximize the use of CUMC’s educational, recreational and study spaces. It has also recognized the need for affordable student housing, a problem not easily solved in New York City. In addition, adding healthier food options and renovating existing student housing were noted as concerns, which were then passed on to the Campus Life Task Force. 


A great deal of work has already been done, but much more is ahead. Committee retreats and the Steering Committee meetings will continue until the plan is completed in early June, after which Dean Goldman will present the findings to the Columbia University Board of Trustees, and subsequently in his June 21 State of the School address. Planning and implementation of the identified priorities will begin shortly thereafter.