Lee Goldman to Step Down After 2019-20 Academic Year

May 29, 2019
Photo of Lee Goldman, a man in a dark suit.

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:

I write to share the news that Lee Goldman, MD, MPH, Harold and Margaret Hatch Professor, Executive Vice President and Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine, and Chief Executive of Columbia University Irving Medical Center, will be stepping down from his senior executive positions on June 30, 2020. Dr. Goldman will remain on the faculties of the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Mailman School of Public Health.

When he arrived at Columbia 13 years ago to lead the University’s medical center, Lee Goldman was already a deeply admired figure in the world of academic medicine. He had been a professor and senior administrator at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center and before then, at Harvard University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. His name was associated with diagnostic approaches he developed for predicting the cardiac risk of non-cardiac surgery and for determining which patients with chest pain require hospitalization, and he was at the forefront of creating the modern concept of hospitalists—innovations that transformed the delivery of medical care.

Dr. Goldman’s time leading the Columbia University Irving Medical Center has been marked by a host of initiatives that have strengthened CUIMC on every conceivable front. Through a mix of disciplined financial management and determined fundraising—resulting in more than $2.5 billion in donations during his time as CUIMC Chief Executive—Dr. Goldman reversed the annual deficits that the medical center had been incurring, while instilling a culture of greater transparency. Under his stewardship, the medical center’s intellectual leadership in emerging fields of biomedical research became a source of great pride. A notable example was the launch of the Precision Medicine Initiative in 2014, resulting in the subsequent creation of the Institute for Genomic Medicine.  

Dr. Goldman’s impact on the medical center’s faculty will be felt for many years to come. He committed $55 million to the hiring of women and underrepresented minorities, and facilitated the establishment of the Virginia Kneeland Frantz Society for Women Faculty and the Kenneth A. Forde Diversity Alliance. He oversaw the formation of new departments of Neuroscience, Systems Biology, Emergency Medicine, and Medical Humanities and Ethics.

The legacy he leaves at the newly named Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons is an enduring one.  From the opening of the spectacular new Roy and Diana Vagelos Education Center, to the adoption of an innovative curriculum and state-of-the-art simulation training, and on to the replacement of need-based loans with the scholarships essential to assembling a diverse student body, the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons is transformed. On the clinical front, Dr. Goldman’s tenure saw the creation of a modern Faculty Practice Organization, expansion to Westchester, New York, and other parts of Manhattan, and enhancement of our collaboration with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. During the past decade, the increase in funding provided by the National Institutes of Health to the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons is currently the greatest among all U.S. medical schools, a testament to this progress.

Dr. Goldman’s time at the helm of Columbia University Irving Medical Center will long be remembered, for it has coincided not only with major strides in the institution’s development, but also with lasting advances in the patient care, teaching, and scientific research for which CUIMC is renowned. There will be many opportunities to celebrate Dr. Goldman in the days and months ahead, but, until then, please join me in thanking him for his unparalleled service to this University.


Lee C. Bollinger