It has been a year since Dr. Martin Blaser announced his intention to step down as chair of the Department of Medicine, and I am pleased to announce that Steven B. Abramson, MD, senior vice president and vice dean for education, faculty and academic affairs, professor of medicine and pathology, director of the Division of Rheumatology, will serve as chair on an interim basis as of December 17.
Under Dr. Abramson’s leadership, the Division of Rheumatology’s national ranking rose to number 7 in U.S. News & World Report’s annual “Best Hospitals” issue. Dr. Abramson has extensive experience in both basic science and clinical research in the field of inflammation and arthritis, and has published more than 300 papers on these and related topics. A former member of the Rheumatology Board of the American Board of Internal Medicine, Dr. Abramson is also past president of the Osteoarthritis Research Society International and former chairman of the Arthritis Advisory Committee of the Food and Drug Administration. In 2011, Dr. Abramson was awarded the American College of Rheumatology Distinguished Basic Investigator Award.
I want to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Martin Blaser for his almost 13 years of leadership in the Department of Medicine. Over the past year alone, Dr. Blaser worked with colleagues in the department, school, and hospital to recruit three division chiefs for Gastroenterology, Geriatrics, and Hematology & Oncology; named a new departmental administrator and associate chair for clinical affairs; and grew the Medicine faculty group practice in both primary and subspecialty care. Recruitment efforts for new medical service chiefs at Bellevue and the VA and for the director of the Division of General Internal Medicine continued, and the department had a smooth transition with the creation of the Department of Population Health. In addition, the department’s NIH ranking rose to number 20 this year from number 43 in 2001.
The Department of Medicine has been deeply involved in the response to Hurricane Sandy, beginning with the evacuation and continuing with the re-deployment of our housestaff, students, faculty, and staff to provide clinical care. Education of housestaff and students has continued, and research efforts are beginning to re-emerge.
Dr. Blaser remains actively involved in research as the principal investigator on five peer reviewed grants, including three from the NIH, and serves as chair for the Advisory Board for Clinical Research at the NIH. As the George and Muriel Singer Professor of Medicine and professor of microbiology, Dr. Blaser will lead the Human Microbiome Program at NYU Langone and devote his efforts to the science and teaching that he loves. Dr. Abramson will serve in this role until a permanent successor is named, and Dr. Joseph Zuckerman, chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, will continue to chair the search committee.
We extend our deepest thanks to Marty for his extraordinary commitment and success leading the Department of Medicine. Please join me in wishing him well as he takes on his new responsibilities.
Robert I. Grossman, MD
Dean and CEO