Faculty Advisory Deans
The Office for Faculty Professional Development, Diversity and Inclusion is pleased to announce the appointment of the Faculty Advisory Deans. Their responsibilities will be focused on providing career guidance, resources and information to faculty in each academic track with an emphasis on the needs of women and diverse faculty. The advisory deans are highly accomplished senior faculty with substantial experience in each of the academic missions of the VP&S, and thus are well positioned to provide advice and resources to faculty in each academic career path.
Please contact the deans directly to arrange appointments at your mutual convenience. For addition questions regarding the program please contact the VP&S Office for Women and Diverse Faculty: Clara Lapiner and Amanda Paredes.
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Joan M. Bathon, MD
Advisory Dean for Clinician Scientist Faculty
Professor of Medicine
Joan M. Bathon, MD is a rheumatologist, Professor of Medicine, and Chief of the Division of Rheumatology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Bathon’s career has focused on understanding the pathogenesis and functional consequences of inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Her group is particularly interested in understanding the effects of chronic rheumatoid inflammation on the extraarticular phenotype of RA, as manifested by accelerated atherosclerosis, myocardial dysfunction and adverse body composition. Current work focuses on defining prevalence and risk factors associated with altered left ventricular structure and function in RA. Additional work focuses on defining genetic, protein and cellular biomarkers to identify RA patients at highest risk for cardiovascular disease. Her work has consistently been funded by NIH-NIAMS, the Rheumatology Research Foundation, and other sources.
Dr. Bathon has had an intense and consistent commitment to mentoring trainees and junior faculty throughout her career. Her mentees have spanned a number of disciplines including rheumatology, geriatrics, pulmonology, psychiatry, psychology, molecular medicine, and biomedical engineering. Most of the trainees have gone on to academic careers, many of them in investigative tracks. Her dedication to advancing the careers of women faculty and trainees is reflected by her past roles while at Johns Hopkins as Director of the Dean’s Office of Women in Science and Medicine, Co-Chair of the Women’s Leadership Council, and former Chair of the Department of Medicine’s Task Force on Academic Careers of Women in Medicine. Since coming to Columbia University in 2010 as Chief of the Division of Rheumatology at Columbia, she has recruited a cadre of talented junior women faculty and revamped and expanded the fellowship training program to attract the most talented candidates. She meets regularly with fellows and junior faculty to ensure that they are meeting milestones for successful careers. As a previous Editor-in-Chief of a medical journal, she also coaches them on scientific writing skills. As a member of her Departmental Promotions Committee and a recent member of Columbia’s University-wide Tenure Advisory Committee (and a Tenured Professor herself), she is well versed on milestones of a successful academic career. As a longstanding recipient of NIH funding, a member of multiple NIH study sections, and a current member of the NIAMS Advisory Council, she is also well versed in funding opportunities within the Institute and regularly update fellows and junior faculty of these opportunities.
Angela M. Christiano, PhD
Advisory Dean for Basic Scientist Faculty
Richard and Mildred Rhodebeck Professor of Dermatology and Professor of Genetics and Development
Angela M. Christiano, PhD, is the Richard and Mildred Rhodebeck Professor of Dermatology and Professor of Genetics and Development at Columbia University Medical Center. She is also the Vice Chair of Research in the Department of Dermatology at CUMC. For the past 20 years, Dr. Christiano's research has focused on understanding the molecular processes that lead to inherited skin and hair disorders in humans. Her research career began with the discovery of genetic mutations associated with epidermolysis bullosa, a skin disease that causes severe blistering. Dr. Christiano’s recent work has focused on the investigation of the underlying genetic causes of and identification of potential therapies for alopecia areata, an autoimmune form of hair loss. She has published more than 350 papers in peer-reviewed journals and has trained more than 50 postdoctoral researchers and clinical fellows at Columbia University. Dr. Christiano has received numerous awards, including the New York City Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Science and Technology – Young Investigator’s Award, Columbia University’s Harold and Golden Lamport Research Award for Excellence in Clinical Sciences, the CERIES Research Award, and the North American Hair Research Society’s award for Outstanding Paper of the Year, the Montagna Award from the Society for Investigative Dermatology, and the Ebling Award from the European Hair Research Society. Dr. Christiano is a Past President of the Society for Investigative Dermatology, and served as Deputy Editor of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology for ten years. Dr. Christiano is a prolific inventor and serial entrepreneur, having filed numerous patents on her discoveries, and successfully moved technologies from the academic setting into the commercial sector. She earned her MS and PhD degrees in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics from Rutgers University. In 2020, Dr. Christiano was elected to the National Academy of Science.
Laura Lennihan, MD
Advisory Dean for Clinician Educator Faculty
Professor of Neurology at CUMC
Laura Lennihan, MD is Vice Chair of the Department of Neurology, Chief of the Division of Critical Care and Hospitalist Neurology, and Professor of Neurology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC). A specialist in the neurological care of inpatient populations, Dr. Lennihan oversees the Neurology Consult and Neurohospitalist Services at the NewYork-Presbyterian (NYP) Milstein Hospital, where she is an Attending Physician. She also oversees Neurohospitalist Services at the NYP Allen and Lawrence Hospitals.
Dr. Lennihan received her undergraduate degree from Harvard University and her medical doctorate from Cornell University Medical College. After completing residency in internal medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Lennihan came to Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital for residency at the Neurological Institute of New York. She remained at Columbia for fellowship training in both Cerebrovascular Diseases and Neuroepidemiology, and subsequently joined the faculty of the Department of Neurology at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1987. She has served in various clinical, administrative, and leadership capacities at NYP/CUIMC in the time since, while also serving as an Attending Physician (1989-2014), Director of Stroke Rehabilitation (1989-2006), and Chief of Neurology (1994-2006) at Helen Hayes Hospital in New York.
Dr. Lennihan is a current and longstanding member of the CUIMC Ethics Committee. She has been a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Society since 1977 and the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) since 1982, in which she received the formal distinction of Fellow (FAAN) in 1996. Dr. Lennihan has received numerous honors and awards, including the NewYork-Presbyterian Physician of the Year Award (2007), the Stephen Q. Shafer Award for Humanism in Neurology (2009), and the Lewis P. Rowland Teacher of the Year Award (2014).
A longtime advocate for women in academic medicine, Dr. Lennihan sits on multiple university and departmental advisory committees overseeing the recruitment, retention, appointment, and promotion of a diverse faculty. As Vice Chair of the Department of Neurology since 2011, she has worked to cultivate mentoring networks between junior and senior women faculty, including fostering broad participation in the Women of Neurology Seminar Series and the Women Physicians Initiative of NewYork-Presbyterian. Through her unwavering commitment to the creation of academic opportunities for women, Dr. Lennihan has helped steer the growth of the Columbia University Department of Neurology, which is currently ranked #1 in NIH-funded research, and is widely considered a leader in the field in terms of women faculty at each academic rank among neurology programs nationwide.
With her recent appointment as Advisory Dean for Clinician-Educator Faculty for the Office for Women and Diverse Faculty, she looks forward to continuing to provide mentorship and faculty development guidance to VP&S women and minority faculty.
Rini B. Ratan, MD
Advisory Dean for Clinician Educator Faculty
Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at CUMC
Rini Banerjee Ratan, MD is Vice Chair of Education and the Berkowitz Family Associate Professor of Women’s Health in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. She is currently the Residency Program Director and Chair of the Graduate Medical Education Committee of New York Presbyterian Hospital’s Columbia Campus. She also served as medical student Clerkship Director for eleven years. After earning her undergraduate degree at Yale University, she attended Harvard Medical School and completed her residency training at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. Her academic interests include developing innovative methods to enhance the quality of medical education. Dr. Ratan has received the Charles W. Bohmfalk Award for Excellence in Clinical Teaching at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, the APGO Excellence in Teaching Award, and the AMWA Outstanding Female Physician Award. Dr. Ratan is a Fellow of the Virginia Apgar Academy of Medical Educators at CUMC. She has served on numerous committees at the NBME, including Chair of the USMLE Women’s Health Task Force, and currently sits on the Board of the NBME. She also serves as an oral board examiner for the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Dr. Ratan is deeply committed to ensuring that women and diverse faculty are included in leadership positions and scholarly advancement, and are appropriately represented in institutional honors and awards at VP&S. Dr. Ratan became an obstetrician-gynecologist because of a passion for women’s health, and she is equally dedicated to assuring that women faculty have an equal presence in our medical school, and our larger community.
Robert A. Whittington, MD
Assistant Dean for Academic Development, Faculty Diversity and Inclusion
Professor of Anesthesiology at CUMC
Robert Whittington, MD is currently Professor of Anesthesiology and Vice Chair for Faculty Development in the Department of Anesthesiology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC). He is also Assistant Dean for Academic Development, Faculty Diversity, and Inclusion in the Office of Academic Affairs of Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons (VP&S). Dr. Whittington received his MD degree from Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons and completed his residency and research fellowship training at Columbia. From 2005-2017, he served as Associate Program Director of the Anesthesiology Residency Program at Columbia.
Dr. Whittington is a practicing general and neuroanesthesiologist as well as a member of the VP&S Academy of Clinical Excellence. His NIH-funded research has primarily focused on the impact of surgery-induced neuroinflammation and commonly-used anesthetics on tau pathology in Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) as well as postoperative disorders of cognition in the elderly. In collaboration with faculty from the New York State Psychiatric Institute, he currently serves as a co-investigator on FDA- and NIDA-sponsored clinical research related to opioid use disorder. Dr. Whittington is also executive editor for the geriatric anesthesia section of Anesthesia and Analgesia and an active member of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), the International Anesthesia Research Society, the Association of University Anesthesiologists and the Society for Neuroscience. He currently serves on the ASA Brain Health Initiative Expert Panel developing best practice recommendations for the perioperative cognitive health of older adults.
As Assistant Dean for Academic Development, Faculty Diversity, and Inclusion, he is working on programs to assist all faculty at CUIMC to acquire the necessary knowledge and career development tools for academic advancement. Dr. Whittington plays a vital role in the development of mentorship and leadership programs geared specifically towards diverse faculty. He has also worked on developing scholarship metrics to assist with the academic promotion of faculty whose primary academic focus is either clinical patient care or applied public health.