Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Our Mission

The Division of General Medicine at Columbia University Irving Medical Center has a rich and long-standing commitment to deliver world-class care to otherwise underserved and vulnerable patient populations primarily from Harlem, Washington Heights, and the Bronx; to foster an inclusive community for our trainees, faculty and staff; and to generate internationally-recognized research emphasizing social determinants of health and health disparities in multi-ethnic studies.

The Division’s core mission includes recruitment and retention of under-represented minority (URM) faculty, mentorship for URM students, residents and faculty, and community outreach to promote transparency and support of the patients we serve, many of whom are affected by racism in medicine. We see these activities as critical to providing stellar patient care, effective teaching, impactful research and significant community service and to reducing inequities within our diverse patient population and the healthcare workforce.

Currently, the Division has strong and growing minority representation in its faculty, with 50% of full professors being URM faculty. The Division runs the largest primary care practice in Northern Manhattan, which serves patients whose first language is primarily Spanish.

Leaders in our Division include:

Monica Lypson MD MHPE is the Rolf H. Scholdager Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Irving Medical Center and the Vice Dean for Medical Education.  She is also the current President of the Society of General Internal Medicine (2021-2022). She previously served as a professor, Vice-Chair of Medicine and Division Director of General Internal Medicine at The George Washington University School of Medical and Health Sciences.  Her work focuses on innovations and improvements in health professions education and assessment, health equity, workforce diversity, faculty development, medical care delivery, and provider communication skills.  Dr. Lypson prior role in government included services as the Director for Medical and Dental Education for the Veterans Health Administration, where she oversaw undergraduate and graduate medical education across the nation within the Department of Veteran Affairs. Dr. Lypson has held many national roles focused on health professions education, including with the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education, the Association of American Medical Colleges, and the National Board of Medical Examiners.

She is a board-certified general internist with significant leadership experience in clinical, educational, and administrative arenas. She is a clinician educator and has published over 100 peer-reviewed publications in top-tier medical education journals in the areas of resident assessment, communication skills, cultural competency education, workforce diversity and faculty development.

Dr. Lypson graduated from Brown University and received her medical degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. She completed her graduate medical training at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Internal Medicine - Primary Care, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School. Subsequently, she went on to complete a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars program at the University of Chicago and a master’s in Health Professions Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

 
Headshot of Rafael Lantigua.

Rafael Lantigua MD is Professor of Medicine and Dean’s Special Advisor for Community Affairs. He is a member of the Admission Committee of Columbia University Medical School and member of the Internal Medicine Residency Selection Committee. Since 1995, he has represented Columbia University at the American Medical Association (AMA) Section on Medical Schools. In 2010 he served on the AMA Executive Committee. From 2005-10 he served as a member of the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Institute on Aging (NIA).

He has been actively involved in research on issues that affect the quality of life in minority populations. From 1988-94 he served as co-investigator in a large- scale community-based New York State Department of Health Program at Columbia to promote awareness and education of cardio-vascular disease in the Washington Heights-Inwood community. From 1998-2008 he served as the principal investigator in the National Institute of Aging-funded Columbia Center for Active Life of Minority Elders (Resource Center for Minority Aging Research). Since 1999 Dr. Lantigua has served as Deputy Director of the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain, Columbia University. He has published more than 100 medical articles in peer-reviewed journals.

Dr. Lantigua is co-founder and previously was Chairperson of the Board of Alianza Dominicana, Inc., the major community-based organization serving the Dominican Community in the United States. He is Co-founder and former Chairperson of the Board of the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrants Rights. He has served in multiple Boards of non-for-profit organizations such as the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund, Puerto Rican/Hispanic Institute for the Elderly, the Latino Commission on AIDS, and National Hispanic Leadership Agenda. Dr. Lantigua cares for patients from our community as a practicing physician in AIM.

 
Jose Luchsinger headshot

Jose Luchsinger MD MS has been a faculty member since 1999, when he completed our General Medicine fellowship program and an MS at Mailman School of Public Health.  He is Professor of Medicine and of Epidemiology, and is Vice-Chair of the Department of Medicine for Clinical and Epidemiologic Research.  His research has focused on the relation of vascular, metabolic, and dietary on aging outcomes, primarily cognition, in diverse populations. He conducts cohort studies and clinical trials. He is the director of the Center on Aging and Health Disparities (CAHD) in the Division of General Medicine. The CAHD is the home for the Northern Manhattan Center of Excellence in Minority Health and Health Disparities at Columbia University, funded by NIMHD, and various research projects in aging, minority health, and health disparities.

 
Headshot of Ariel Pablos-Mendez.

Ariel Pablos-Mendez MD MS is Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Irving Medical Center.   He received his MD from the University of Guadalajara's School of Medicine and completed our General Medicine fellowship  and at MPH from Columbia University. He worked on multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDRTB) in New York and around the world. He also worked as Director of Knowledge Management at WHO (Geneva, CH) and Managing Director for International Health at The Rockefeller Foundation (New York, NY). In 2011, Dr. Pablos was appointed by President Obama (with US Senate consent) to lead USAID’s bureau for Global Health. Dr. Pablos is a board-certified internist with over 100 publications, and has served in various boards and international commissions. Dr. Pablos-Mendez teaches residents and medical students and sees patients at the outpatient AIM practice.

 
 
 

Will Turner MD is a practicing hospitalist and Associate Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he completed his undergraduate studies in Black Studies and Biology at Amherst College and received his medical degree from Mount Sinai Medical School in New York City. After completing his residency and chief residency in internal medicine at Columbia University in 2002, Dr. Turner joined the faculty of Columbia University's Vagelos School of Physicians and Surgeons where he is an Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and has clinical and research interests in medical education and diversity in medicine, serving among other roles as Key Faculty Advisor to the residency program and faculty sponsor of the Lindenbaum-Thomson Society and as Vice Chief for Diversity and Equity for the Division of General Medicine.

 
 
 
 

Brenda Aiken MD is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine of Columbia University Medical Center College of Physicians & Surgeons. She completed her Internship and Residency training in the Department of Medicine at Harlem Hospital Center. She received her M.D. degree from Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons and her B.A. from Barnard College. She is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians.

In 2000, after serving as a physician to the Harlem community for nearly two decades as a faculty member at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and teaching at the Montefiore Hospital Residency Program in Social Medicine in the South Bronx, Dr. Aiken joined the staff of Columbia Health, Columbia University Student Health Services. From 2011 to the present, she has served as Director of the Medical Service for the Morningside Campus. Dr. Aiken also teaches residents and students in the ambulatory curriculum at the AIM practice.

 
Headshot of Nathalie Moise.

Natalie Moise MD MS is Associate Director of the Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring Service and Director of Implementation Science Research, Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health.  Dr. Moise received her undergraduate degree from Princeton University and completed medical school at Mount Sinai School of Medicine before completing her residency at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital – Columbia University Irving Medical Center. She completed our General Medicine fellowship and an MS in epidemiology from Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University and a Certificate in Implementation Science from UCSF. She is currently a physician scientist at the Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health and PI several grants, including two R01s (NIH/AHRQ) focused on using informatics approaches to improve the implementation of team based care at the intersection of chronic cardiovascular disease and mental illness. Dr. Moise also teaches and sees patients at the outpatient AIM practice.

 

Maria de Miguel MD MPH completed medical school at the University of Maryland and trained in internal medicine at Columbia, where she was also a Chief Resident. After residency, Maria became faculty at the Associates in Internal Medicine practice, the primary training site for the Columbia Internal Medicine Residency, where she teaches and sees patients. She completed a Masters in Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health, and directs the Generalist-Primary Care Pathway of the Internal Medicine Residency Program, providing support and mentoring to residents interested in general medicine careers. Since 2016, Maria is the Associate Program Director for Ambulatory Education for the Internal Medicine Residency Program, designing and evaluating the ambulatory curriculum for the medicine residency. Maria's interests are in caring for vulnerable populations, health literacy, medical education, and motivational interviewing.

 

Julia Iyasere MD MBA brings more than a decade of experience in medicine to her new role as Head of the Dalio Center for Health Justice. She was previously the Associate Chief Medical Officer for Service Lines, the Co-Director of the Care Team Office and Director of the Leadership Education and Development for Physicians (LEAD) Academy and Associate Designated Institutional Official for Graduate Medical Education at NYPH. She was also an Associate Program Director of the Columbia Internal Medicine Residency Training Program. An Assistant Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, Dr. Iyasere continues to see patients as an internist in the Section for Hospital Medicine.

 

Yvonne Covin MD MEHP is an Assistant Professor and medical educator. Dr. Covin completed her residency in Internal Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center. During her General Internal Medicine fellowship at University of Texas Southwestern, she completed a Master of Education in the Health Professions at Johns Hopkins University. As an Assistant Professor at UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, Dr. Covin studied patient-physician communication during the diagnostic process in primary care in Practice Based Research Network (PBRN) clinics. She is a recipient of a 2019 CTSA pilot grant award and NCATS Diversity Supplement to create a patient-centered research agenda in diagnostic safety. She has mentored more than 70 junior faculty, residents, medical students, and Master of Education students in six years. Her academic interests include undergraduate medical education, faculty development, and curriculum development. She is a supervising physician in the Associates in Internal Medicine (AIM) practice and Director of Faculty Development in the Division of General Medicine.

 

Fostering a Diverse and Inclusive Health Workforce

The Visiting Scholars in Hospital Medicine Program is a funded program designed to give fourth-year medical students from diverse backgrounds a four-week away rotation on our hospitalist service. This program is in collaboration with the medical school’s Black and Latino Student Organization (BALSO) to serve as mentors and sponsors for the Summer Health Professions Education Program, the Kenneth A. Forde Diversity Alliance, and the Gerald E. Thomson Undergraduate Pre-medical Program (GET-UPP).

Columbia Black Men in Medicine (CBMIM) was cofounded by physicians in the Division of General Medicine to address the decreasing number of Black, male matriculants in US medical schools and in academic medicine (more specifically, at levels last seen in the 1940s) and to maximize healthcare equity and community through the mobilization, education, and support of Black men at Columbia Medical Center. Three different arms of Black male students, residents, and faculty meet to increase fellowship, optimize recruitment and retention, and give back to the community-at-large.

The Casco Alston, Jr MD, Society for Black Internists (CASBI), named in honor of Dr. Alston, who is believed to be the first African-American faculty member in the Department of Medicine, in 1952, was founded to increase fellowship, communion, and mentorship of faculty members who identify as Black in the DOM. 

The Lindenbaum-Thomson Society (LTS) for URM Medical Houseofficers provides faculty and peer mentoring and support to URM housestaff during residency.

The Generalist-Primary Care Pathway supports residents interested in primary care and other general medicine careers, many of whom are members of URM groups and/or pursue careers in care for the underserved.