Reflections and stories from the past and today.
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Human Trafficking: Stand By or Stand Up

Dr. Kanani Titchen

I noticed my first human trafficking patient when I was in medical school during an ObGyn rotation. The moment passed in a flash. We undraped the woman to begin her surgery, and there they were: branding tattoos on her lower abdomen and inner thighs. These tattoos informed us all that the body we were repairing was for sale, although I didn’t recognize this at the time. Shortly after this encounter, I watched the film “The Whistleblower” about the Bosnian sex trafficking ring facilitated by UN Peacekeepers from DynCorp in 1999. I thought the film was overblown hyperbole, so I started reading. I was dismayed to find it largely accurate. I kept reading. I read that sex trafficking occurs not only in foreign countries – in Latin America, Southeast Asia, the Eastern Bloc, Africa – but here in the U.S., too. I read about red flags for sex trafficking: repeated sexually transmitted infections, repeated pregnancy and/or abortion, vaginal injuries, branding tattoos… I remembered our patient. My gut twisted, and a dreadful, sinking feeling set in. We removed her fibroids, but we left the plague that was killing her: human trafficking.

In reality, I probably had seen patients who were victims of human trafficking during previous rotations in medical school and even while volunteering in the emergency department in NYC as a Columbia postbac premed student. If you’re working in Emergency Medicine, ObGyn, Pediatrics, Adolescent Medicine or Family Medicine, you’ve likely seen patients who are victims of human trafficking. If you’re a radiologist, you’ve likely looked at their broken bones, and if you’re an orthopedic or maxillofacial surgeon, you’ve probably set their bones. As an ENT or dentist, you’ve probably noted and treated their injuries. As a therapist, you’ve likely helped them with their addictions, suicidality, overdoses, or PTSD. As humans, we buy the fruit and vegetables they pick and eat the fish they catch. Similar to the #MeToo movement, the movement to increase awareness about human trafficking will open our eyes to injustice. We will see that “they” are part of “us.” And our defining moment will occur in a flash when we decide to stand by or stand up.

For information about free training in human trafficking awareness, go to the Events tab at   

CME credit is available. Additionally, check out free educational videos for CME credit at

Dr. John Scudder and the First Western Medical Centre in South Asia

Dr. and Mrs. John Scudder

By Dr. D.C. Ambalavanar, Visiting Lecturer in Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Jaffna, October 29, 2017

On October 18th a public function was held by the Church of the American Ceylon Mission in the village of Pandatherippu in Northern Sri Lanka. This was the final event of several held over the past year to celebrate and commemorate the arrival of the first American missionaries to Jaffna in October 1816. During this function which was attended by public officials, members of the medical profession and church members, a postage stamp and first day cover honoring Dr. John Scudder was officially released by the Sri Lankan Postal Department.

Who was this John Scudder who was being so singularly honored by a community and country so far from his own? What had brought him thousands of miles to this little village in Jaffna? His story begins on 3 September 1793 in Freehold in New Jersey in the fledgling nation of the United States of America where he was born. He graduated from Princeton University in 1811, and the New York College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1813. He practiced successfully in New York City in the early stages of his career earning a very good income. The path in life that individuals set out on is often not what they had envisaged for themselves and a dramatic change may be often brought about by chance. It was just such an occurrence that resulted in thousands of people in two faraway lands benefiting from the teaching and healing prowess of this man and his descendants.

One night while visiting a patient in New York, John Scudder’s attention was caught by the title of a pamphlet lying on the table. “The conversion of the world or the claims of 600,000,000 and the Ability and Duty of the Churches Respecting Them”.  As he read through it the thought came to him, “Why doesn’t someone do something about this?” He asked himself, and immediately the reply flashed into his mind; “Why shouldn’t I?” He felt he was being called upon to “Go heal the sick and preach the Gospel to those who have never heard of Christ”. He was 25 years old then.

After consulting his wife Harriet Scudder, he approached the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions and offered to be sent out as a missionary. The opportunity he asked for was to serve as both physician and minister in a land where there was none of the former and few of the latter. It was a unique undertaking. Unfortunately John’s father Joseph Scudder could not reconcile himself to this decision and disinherited him when he left.

At the age of 26 Dr. John Scudder accompanied by his wife Harriet, three year old daughter Maria and their maid Amy embarked on the ship ‘Indus’ at Boston docks on a journey that was to alter the destiny of thousands in two very distant lands. The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions was sending forth the first American Medical Missionary (and one of the first from the western world) on a missionary endeavor.

Read the full article below.

DocTalks: Unraveling the Mysteries of Mind and Brain


On Tuesday, October 24, P&S partners and friends filled the Harold Pratt House for a special DocTalks program exploring the state of psychiatric and neurological care today and possibilities for the future. Columbia experts discussed ways to use precision medicine techniques to better understand the brain and improve care in neuroscience and psychiatry. Hosted by Dean Lee Goldman and moderated by Richard Mayeux, M.D., M.Sc., the panel included Jeffrey A. Lieberman, M.D., David Goldstein, Ph.D., Christine Ann Denny, Ph.D., and Philip De Jager, M.D., Ph.D. Watch the video.

Velocity Festival and Concert

Velocity Festival and Concert

Velocity riders and volunteers enjoyed the Finish Line Festival and Concert featuring a live performance by the Spin Doctors. See more photos.

Velocity Finish Line

Velocity Ride Finish Line

Velocity riders are cheered on by family, friends, and the Columbia community as they cross the finish line. See more photos.

Velocity Ride Route

Velocity Ride Route

Enthusiastic riders take on the road in Columbia's first ever Velocity Ride to End Cancer. See more photos.

BEAR Saves Lives

Dr. Charles Haviland Mize and Dr. Carolyn Mize

Bhutan Project Receives Medical Humanitarian Award from Boston Biopharma

(Alpharetta, GA, USA) - The Bhutan Emergency Aeromedical Retrieval (BEAR) team has been awarded the Medical Humanitarian Award.  Established and presented by Boston Biopharma, a USA-based pharmaceutical company that specializes in generic medications, the award aims to identify and recognize exceptional new healthcare programs that impact the lives of patients in underserved areas around the globe. The award was presented to Dr. Charles Haviland Mize, P&S '07 and the Bhutan Emergency Aeromedical Retrieval team (BEAR) for their volunteer efforts in helping save lives in Bhutan, on October 2nd 2017. In addition to the award, and in response to the Bhutan Foundation’s campaign for funding, BEAR will be receiving a donation from Boston Biopharma to help further expand the program with much needed medical equipment.

Dr. Mize worked with the Royal Government of Bhutan’s Ministry of Health, Royal Bhutan Helicopter Services and Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) to develop the Bhutan Aeromedical Retrieval Team (BEAR.) The aim of BEAR is to provide cutting-edge resuscitation and critical obstetric care to patients in remote parts of Bhutan including the Himalayas.  The team is trained to respond to emergency evacuations in extreme altitudes using a high-performance helicopter equipped with an intensive care unit to transport patients safely to hospitals.

The idea of BEAR was born in 2016 when the life of a patient with a treatable injury could not be saved because he arrived too late to the hospital. Many such incidences have been occurring throughout the country. Since its inception in May 2017, the program has been an incredible success saving 53 patients across the country. The BEAR team responds to all life-threatening emergencies and provides elite trauma and medical resuscitation to patients in district hospitals or on site as required.

The BEAR team was initially led by Dr. Mize and emergency nurses Lhab Dorji and Kiran Diyali. Three more doctors and two emergency nurses have joined the team led by Dr. Ugyen Tshering and Dr. Sona Pradhan at the JDWNRH emergency department. BEAR could not be possible without the support and collaboration of the Bhutan Foundation, the Emergency Medical Services Division under the Health Ministry and the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH).

Additionally, Dr. Mize will be returning to Bhutan in October 2017 to further develop a high-altitude mountain rescue program for Bhutan. He will continue in his positions as Head of Bhutan Emergency Aeromedical Retrieval and Head of Resuscitation at JDWNRH. The BEAR team will also be ensuring the sustainability of the life-saving program by helping train Bhutanese physicians and nurses.

“Dr. Mize’s efforts represent the selfless dedication to serve patients and save lives,” said Ahmad Hashem, MD, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer at Boston Biopharma. “We are honored to support his work and the Bhutan Foundation to provide needed medical equipment. We are also exploring options to work with the Bhutan Cancer Society to provide anti-cancer medications to the country.”

Dr. Mize is an emergency medicine physician who completed his Emergency Medicine Residency at George Washington University in Washington D.C., his medical degree at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and his undergraduate degree from Yale University.  For the past year, he has volunteered at the Jigme Dorji National Referral Hospital in Thimphu, Bhutan in collaboration with the Bhutan Foundation and Health Volunteers Overseas to help improve emergency medical services in Bhutan.

Boston Biopharma is a US company focused on the development of generic pharmaceuticals, and is dedicated to furthering excellence in healthcare. The company began administering this award with the goal of raising the awareness of healthcare organizations and individuals who go beyond the ordinary in providing care to populations in underserved areas. To date, the company has launched 12 sophisticated oncology products and has operations in America, Europe (Malta), Turkey, Iraq, Algeria, and Ukraine.

Terry Clark, MD

P&S Legacy Dinner 2017

P&S Legacy Dinner 2017

At the P&S Legacy Dinner on Wednesday, September 27 our many alumni and donors who support scholarships for P&S students heard first hand how their generosity is helping students to achieve their dreams in medicine. 

P&S Students perform at Legacy Dinner

P&S students perform at Legacy Dinner

P&S students performed lively ensembles at the reception and program for the annual Legacy Dinner honoring supporters of student financial aid at the College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Autumn Haven Festival

Autumn Haven collage

On September 19, P&S faculty, staff, and students joined with the Washington Heights community for an Autumn Haven Festival including seasonal food and drink, live music, and performances by students and residents in the neighborhood.