Alumni News


Marianne Wolff’52, Alumni Editor, and Bonita Eaton Enochs, Editor

Don Syracuse was named Golfer of the Year in a retirement group called the Stroke Savers. The group is comprised of mostly retired cardiovascular surgeons and plays selected courses in northern New Jersey. Don was chief of surgery of Mountainside Hospital in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. He retired five years ago. He remains director emeritus of the New Jersey Society of Thoracic Surgeons, one of the oldest societies of its kind.

After 50 years of solving crossword puzzles and 40 years of practicing interventional radiology, Rich Taus constructed an IR-themed crossword puzzle. “The Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology, which had never published anything light, accepted it and asked for another,” he writes. “A year and a half later, my monthly puzzles have become a popular feature in an otherwise serious academic journal.” Rich continues to practice full time at Cambridge Health Alliance, a safety-net system based at Cambridge Hospital, a Harvard-affiliated community/teaching hospital.

Angela Diaz, who also has PhD and MPH degrees, was named dean for global health, social justice, and human rights at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Angela, the Jean C. and James W. Crystal Professor in Adolescent Health in the Departments of Pediatrics, Global Health and Systems Design, and Environmental Medicine and Public Health, will continue in her roles as chief of the Division of Adolescent Medicine and director of the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center. In her new role, she will partner with governmental and nongovernmental organizations, civil societies, and donor agencies to advance social justice and human rights globally through research, training, advocacy, policy, and technical assistance. 

Joanne Stone is now chair of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive science for the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the Mount Sinai Health System. She previously was director of the maternal-fetal medicine fellowship program for the Mount Sinai Health System, vice chair for diversity and inclusion for the OB/GYN department, and immediate past president of the Faculty Council. She completed her residency in OB/GYN and a fellowship in maternal-fetal medicine at Mount Sinai. She also holds a master’s degree in health care delivery and leadership from Icahn Mount Sinai. She is president of the Society of Maternal Fetal Medicine and associate editor for Expert Review and Current Opinion of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. 

See Alumni in Print to read about a book written by Anthony M. Avellino. Tony, who also has an MBA, is a pediatric neurosurgeon, health care administrator, and ultra-runner. In October 2019 and January 2021, Tony was a deckhand on the F/V Saga, a commercial crab fishing boat profiled on the Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch.” He found the communication and teamwork lessons he learned on these expeditions surprisingly translatable to health care and inspired his commitment to help others achieve a healthier, more purposeful life with optimum performance in mind, body, and spirit. He started his pediatric neurosurgery career at Johns Hopkins University Hospital, where he was Ben Carson’s partner. He is now medical director of pediatric neurosurgery at Valley Children’s Healthcare. His career has included roles as Michigan State University’s assistant vice president for health sciences, chief clinical and medical officer, and interim director of athletic medicine and chief executive officer for OSF HealthCare Illinois Neurological Institute. He also was the first director of the UW Medicine Neurosciences Institute and chief of neurological surgery at the University of Washington. He completed his neurosurgery residency at the University of Washington, which included a year at Atkinson Morley’s Hospital in Wimbledon, England. He also completed a pediatric neurosurgery fellowship at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Sandy J. Falk was named editor-in-chief of the Merck Manuals and the MSD Manuals, a digital medical reference available online and as mobile apps with versions for health care professionals and consumers. Before joining Merck & Co., Sandy was executive editor-in-chief and vice president for digital content at Elsevier Health, where she led an editorial team of physicians, nurses, and allied health professionals to disseminate evidence-based information, including about COVID-19, to provide rapidly evolving clinical decision support. She began her career as an obstetrician/gynecologist at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston and continues to have an active clinical role in the Adult Survivorship Program at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. She is a clinical instructor, part-time, at Harvard Medical School.

The career of Livia Santiago-Rosado took what she calls an interesting turn. In late 2021, she was appointed and confirmed as the health commissioner for Dutchess County, New York. This followed 20 years in emergency medicine and medical education, culminating in her relocation to the Hudson Valley to serve as chair of the EM department and nascent residency program at Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie. She also was adjunct clinical associate professor at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine. As Dutchess County health commissioner, she leads the county’s Department of Behavioral and Community Health, which encompasses public health, mental health programs, social determinants of health, equity issues, community engagement, environmental health, and overall promotion of healthier living. She also is pursuing an MPH at SUNY’s University at Albany. “Wish me luck,” she writes. “Let’s just say I have not been a student since the last millennium.” Livia and her 1999 classmate, Mark Stillman, have been married for 21 years. “Our 14-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son wouldn’t exist were it not for Columbia!”

Michelle McMacken has been appointed executive director of nutrition and lifestyle medicine for the NYC Health + Hospitals (NYC H+H) system, a newly created role in which she will lead system-wide efforts to advance nutrition and lifestyle education for patients and health care professionals and increase patients’ access to nutritious foods and plant-based meals. The work will build on the Plant-Based Lifestyle Medicine Program she launched in 2019 at NYC H+H/Bellevue. In her new role, Michelle will lead the expansion of the lifestyle medicine model to six new NYC H+H sites in all five boroughs of New York City. Michelle will continue to practice in the NYC H+H/Bellevue Adult Primary Care Center, where she also directed the hospital’s Adult Weight Management Program from 2005 to 2022. She is associate professor of medicine at NYU Grossman School of Medicine. 

Brian Bateman became chair of Stanford Medicine’s Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine in October 2021. He joined Stanford from Harvard, where he was chief of obstetric anesthesia and vice chair for faculty development in anesthesiology, perioperative and pain medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and associate professor of anesthesia at Harvard Medical School. Brian’s interest in obstetrics began during medical school when his wife, Stephanie White-Bateman’06, 
gave birth to twin boys in the hospital where he conducted his clinical rounds. “We were in medical school together. I was doing my obstetrics rotation while my wife was a patient. I was experiencing the family perspective while training.” Brian also has a master’s degree in epidemiology from the Harvard University School of Public Health. Stephanie is a psychiatrist who will also join the Stanford faculty.