Docs On The Move: Innovative Cancer Researcher Takes the Reins at Columbia 

Madeleine Haase

January 31, 2022

Columbia University Medical Center is getting a new CEO: Katrina Armstrong, MD, noted for her work in cancer, genomics, and healthcare disparities, will take that top responsibility on March 1.

For two decades, Armstrong's innovative research has helped transform the understanding of cancer, genomics, and healthcare disparities, according to Lee Bollinger, Columbia University president. Her notable work has established new ways to improve cancer care through the use of observational data, modeling, and personalized medicine. Armstrong's work has also analyzed the roles that segregation, discrimination, and distrust play in the health of marginalized patient populations.

While at Massachusetts General in Boston, Armstrong founded the Center for Educational Innovation and Scholarship to develop and study new approaches to medical education. She also created a training program in rural health leadership. 

In a statement, Bollinger said that now is the ideal time at Columbia for Armstrong's leadership. "Dr. Armstrong is the best leader for this era. I, along with all of us, congratulate her on this appointment and welcome her to Columbia," he said in an announcement.

More Medical Moves

For over two decades, Laura Iavicoli, MD, has been an emergency medicine physician at NYC Health + Hospitals, the largest public health system in the US. Now, she has been named deputy CMO of the Elmhurst division. Iavicoli will accept this role after her years of service as the sexual assault response team director for NYC Health + Hospitals-Queens and a member of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. 

As one door closes, another opens. David Silvestri, MD, will succeed Iavicoli as assistant vice president of emergency management for the health system. An emergency medicine physician for NYC Health + Hospitals-Lincoln, Silvestri has held leadership roles in the office of quality and safety and office of ambulatory care since joining the organization in 2019.

An internationally recognized leader in the field of brain tumors and molecular targeted therapy, John F. de Groot, MD, is moving to the West Coast. The University of California San Francisco's Department of Neurological Surgery is welcoming de Groot as division chief of its Neuro-Oncology Division. After specializing in the treatment of adults with brain tumors, including glioblastomas and other gliomas, one of the first trials de Groot will be developing at UCSF will involve focused ultrasound that disrupts the blood–brain barrier in combination with immunotherapies. 

Stepping into a leadership role in the middle of a global pandemic is not an easy task. However, after serving as interim CMO since June, Jill Owens, MD, has been appointed CMO and vice president of quality at Upper Allegheny Health System's Bradford (Pa.) Regional Medical Center and Olean (N.Y.) General Hospital."[Dr Owens'] tireless work during the pandemic has been extraordinary," Mary LaRowe, the health system's CEO, said. "Her expertise and leadership will be invaluable to our health system now and well into the future."

Greg Hall, MD, continues his good work at Cleveland-based University Hospitals as the Cutler Center for Men's first medical director. Hall spent 30 years as a public health advocate, including serving as a governor-appointed member of the Ohio Commission on Minority Health and establishing the National Institute for African American Health. Lee Ponsky, MD, executive director of the UH Cutler Center for Men, said "[Dr Hall's] leadership in the community and his clinical background will help to shape the UH network of providers as well as our partnerships and outreach." 

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