Systematic Review Of Patient Portal Use Study, Led By MD-PhD Student Lisa Grossman, Earns Editor’s Choice Distinction In Latest JAMIA

Lisa Grossman served as lead author for the JAMIA Editor’s Choice honoree “Interventions to increase patient portal use in vulnerable populations: a systematic review”

The growing popularity of patient portals requires deeper research into identifying and fixing the inequities that limit use among a range of populations. Lead author Lisa Grossman, a MD-PhD student at Columbia, served as lead author for “Interventions to increase patient portal use in vulnerable populations: a systematic review,” which became available Aug. 19 on JAMIA and has been designated as an Editor’s Choice.

The paper is listed on the cover of the August/September double issue of JAMIA, which focused on health equity; it is available for free download via the JAMIA web site for 30 days.

Grossman et al. highlighted the growing use of patient portals, which has more than doubled in recent years, but also noted that more than 100 studies show significant disparities in portal use. Certain populations, including but not limited to the elderly, racial minorities, and those with low socioeconomic status, use patient portals less. The research team found 18 published interventions focused on reducing such disparities in portal use, and then systematically analyzed each intervention to determine its effectiveness.

The findings highlight the potential for inequities to hinder the growth and effectiveness of patient portals across all populations. While there is significant research on the disparities in use across various portals, the research team calls for greater studies on how to overcome such disparities for vulnerable populations, as well as more interventions focused on external areas like the organization and environment, as opposed to the individual.

DBMI is well-represented in the August/September double issue of JAMIA. Lead author and 2018 PhD graduate Fernanda Polubriaginof collaborated with several Columbia faculty members on “Challenges with quality of race and ethnicity data in observational databases,” which is also available for a free download.


From Informatics To Social Research, Dr. Mollie McKillop Took All-Encompassing Approach To Study Endometriosis

Mollie McKillop, PhD

Dr. Mollie McKillop knew little about endometriosis before beginning her PhD journey at the Columbia Department of Biomedical Informatics (DBMI). By the end, she had immersed herself in enough areas of the disorder that thesis committee members asked just how many PhD degrees she was actually pursuing.

McKillop earned her PhD this past spring, the completion of a process that was “difficult, but amazing.” Her decision to work in endometriosis — a prevalent painful condition in which tissue similar to the one that lines the inside of the uterus (the endometrium) grows outside the uterus — allowed her to broaden the scope of her work.

“There are a lot of interesting scientific questions about the disease that are unanswered, but there are also social questions as well,” McKillop said. “It’s one of the reasons I was drawn to it, there was so much opportunity in it.”

“Getting a PhD has actually taught me how little I know,” she added. “When you try to understand a problem further, you realize how many unanswered questions there actually are. For an area that is so under-researched, once I answered one question, I came up with another as a result of it.”

From an informatics perspective, McKillop worked on designing the Phendo app, which collects data via a self-tracking system for women with endometriosis for the sake of phenotyping the disease. The app, first introduced during the fall of 2016, also allows those affected to self-monitor their own experiences to potentially help manage the disease. McKillop, together with colleagues from her lab, used machine learning techniques to identify potential subgroups of patients.

The Phendo app was developed as part of the Citizen Endo project, a Columbia research project led by DBMI. Noémie Elhadad, PhD, the principal investigator for Citizen Endo, served as McKillop’s advisor.

Mollie McKillop (left) stands with advisor Noémie Elhadad.

“It was rewarding to mentor Mollie on this project in particular,” Elhadad said. “We quickly realized that in order to make a meaningful contribution to a patient-centered view of endometriosis, we would have to tackle many research questions at once, which had very different set of skills required to address them, but at the same time, made what informatics is at its core: a truly inter-disciplinary field of work. Mollie didn’t shy away from this challenge, and she became fluent at a range of skills, from conducting focus groups with patients to create a mobile app to conducting network-wide observational study with OHDSI [Observational Health Data Sciences and Informatics].”

McKillop, a NLM Training Fellow who earned the Top Clinical Poster award at the 2018 OHDSI Symposium (Endometriosis Phenotype Development, Validation, and Characterization), also enjoyed the social component of her research, as described in her published work in the SIG CHI proceedings in 2018.

“I was able to interact directly with patients, so I could see the impact that the work was having,” she said. “Using informatics, I was able to collaborate with excellent people, including endo experts and technology experts. I worked with all of these people in different areas.”

McKillop will remain in New York City — where she walked, hiked and played intramural soccer to balance the PhD challenges — to work as a scientist for IBM Watson Health. She also credits her five years at DBMI for providing a wide-ranging foundation of methods and core knowledge to provide her a variety of professional options.

With such a wide breadth of research, McKillop — a native Californian who earned her Master’s in biostatistics at Columbia — believes she found the perfect home for the PhD.

“Columbia is the leader in informatics,” she said. “The level of experts who are recognized leaders in their respective field is really amazing. We have expertise in almost every area of informatics. We are in the hospital, so there is very good collaboration between academia and people who will actually apply what you are thinking about or developing.”

“If you are interested in doing rigorous theoretical research, but you also want to make an impact, I think we’re a good place to join,” she added.

You can find Dr. McKillop’s thesis here.

Former DBMI Chair Ted Shortliffe, Vimla Patel Provide Addresses At 2019 ICAIH

Ted Shortliffe, MD, PhD, and Vimla Patel, PhD, DSc, FRSC, both provided addresses at the 2nd International Conference of AI in Healthcare (ICAIH), held July 19-21 in Alhambra, Calif.

Ted Shortliffe provided one of the keynote addresses at the 2019 International Conference on AI in Healthcare (ICAIH).

The theme of the 2019 ICAIH was ‘AI in Quality and Patient Safety,’ and it welcomed top experts from around the world during a comprehensive agenda that included speeches, panel discussions, poster displays and more.

Dr. Shortliffe, the former chair of the Columbia Department of Biomedical Informatics (DBMI) and a current adjunct professor in the department, provided one of the keynote addresses during the event. His speech was on ‘Clinical Decision Support in the Era of Artificial Intelligence,’ which built on his December 2018 publication in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Vimla Patel gave an invited address at the 2019 ICIAH, and then shared the stage with Ted Shortliffe during the final panel discussion.

Dr. Patel, also an adjunct professor at DBMI, is the Senior Research Scientist and Director at the Center for Cognitive Studies in Medicine and Public Health at The New York Academy of Medicine, gave an invited speech on ‘The Role of Cognitive Science in Developing Safe and Acceptable Clinical Technologies.’

Dr. Patel’s invited talk was a plea for the science of cognition for understanding patient safety when interacting with artificial intelligence tools. She argued that intelligent decision support systems, as intelligent as they may be, seldom align with the mental processes underlying clinical decisions by healthcare professionals. These systems should augment human intelligence, in the context of social-cultural factors that may influence the patient care decisions.

Both Dr. Shortliffe and Dr. Patel shared in the final panel discussion of the conference, entitled ‘The Impact of AI on the Workforce.’

Sarah Collins Rossetti Earns 2019 PECASE

Sarah Collins Rossetti is a 2019 PECASE honoree.

Sarah Collins Rossetti, an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Informatics and Nursing at Columbia, was named a 2019 recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).

Dr. Rossetti’s research is focused on identifying and intervening on system-level weaknesses – particularly those related to poor communication and care coordination – that increase patient risk for harm within the healthcare system by applying computation tools to mine and extract value from electronic health record (EHR) data and leveraging user-centered design of patient-centered and collaborative decision support tools.

Dr. Rossetti is an experienced critical care nurse and holds a PhD in Nursing Informatics from Columbia University School of Nursing. She was a National Library of Medicine Post-Doctoral Research Fellow within the Columbia Department of Biomedical Informatics. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Pennsylvania, where she minored in Health Care Management. Dr. Rossetti was selected as one of MedTech Boston’s 40 Under 40 Healthcare Innovators in 2017. Her research has been recognized and awarded by the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) and the International Congress on Nursing Informatics. She serves on the Board of Directors for AMIA and as Policy Coordinator for the Alliance for Nursing Informatics.

Dr. Rossetti is a Multi-PI of the National Institutes of Nursing Research (NINR) funded study: Communicating Narrative Concerns Entered by RNs (CONCERN) Clinical Decision Support (CDS) system. This study is funded by Grant 5R01NR016941-03. For further details, you can visit the web site

The PECASE is the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government to outstanding scientists and engineers who are beginning their independent research careers and who show exceptional promise for leadership in science and technology.

Established in 1996, the PECASE acknowledges the contributions scientists and engineers have made to the advancement of science, technology, education, and mathematics (STEM) education and to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education, and community outreach. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy coordinates the PECASE with participating departments and agencies.

For more information, read the official White House release of the PECASE announcement.

Non-Traditional Thinking Leads Nick Tatonetti, Ph.D., To Important Advancements In Health, Healthcare

Nick Tatonetti, Ph.D.

Nick Tatonetti solves problems. He has always enjoyed it, and as the informatics community has discovered, he is both creative and proficient in his methods.

Tatonetti, who was recently awarded tenure and promoted to the rank of Associate Professor in the Columbia Department of Biomedical Informatics (DBMI), focuses on the use of advanced data science methods, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, to investigate medicine safety. Using emerging resources, such as electronic health records (EHR) and genomics databases, his lab is working to identify for whom these drugs will be safe and effective and for whom they will not.

His path to DBMI wasn’t a traditional one, but that fits his work. Since joining the department in 2012, Tatonetti has used non-traditional thinking to benefit both health and healthcare.

Data Mining To Save Lives

Utilizing both data mining of medical records and prospective lab experiments, Tatonetti created a methodology for both finding and validating adverse drug reactions and drug-drug interactions. During a two-year collaboration with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sam Roe of the Chicago Tribune, Tatonetti discovered that the drugs ceftriaxone and lansoprazole, when taken together, induces an arrhythmia in the heart.

The data mining identified adverse effects, while the lab experiments established causality. Tatonetti wasn’t specifically looking for a negative reaction of those particular drugs; he had no reason to suspect them.

“We are able to find things that nobody expects to happen because the world of hypotheses we consider is basically everything,” he said. “We consider every possible combination, a type of analysis that would be impossible without a huge data set and significant computational power.”

The work was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology in 2016, while Roe’s Tribune feature on it was a 2017 Pulitzer finalist in Public Service.

“Working with Nick was one of the highlights of my career,” Roe said. “Obviously, he is a first-rate, pioneering scientist; his brain-power is off the charts. But what really impressed me was his generosity, enthusiasm and heart. He was extremely encouraging and open-minded about new ideas and not afraid to aim high and say, ‘Let’s go for it!’”

From Emergency (Contact Forms) To Heritability

While Tatonetti’s validated findings in the drug-drug interaction study answered a critical medical issue, his recent findings published in Cell provides a foundation for future research questions.

The Tatonetti Lab invented a method for inferring familial relationships from EHR through emergency contact forms; his findings were published in Cell. (Photos courtesy of Health Research Symposium 2019, The Government of the Hong Kong SAR)

His lab invented a method for inferring familial relationships from EHR through emergency contact forms. Using these, he conducted the largest systematic study of disease heritability to that point and found significant heritability for 500 phenotypes, the vast majority of which have never been studied before.

“We leveraged the electronic health record data set in a way that had not been done before to study the genetic mechanisms of disease without having any genetic data available,” Tatonetti said. “It’s a starting point for further research, and it opens an avenue of research that wasn’t available before. Multiple papers have been published off of those results and my collaborators are looking at screening rates of disease. Before now, the hospital did not have a way to assess whether or not they were screening people effectively.”

One example is the screening methods for celiac disease. He explained that hospitals are advised to screen all first-degree relatives with celiac symptoms, but there was no way to know the relationships between all patients. Tatonetti’s study indicated that only 50% of potential celiac patients were being screened. His lab is also using this method to study other diseases, such as breast cancer.

Journey To Columbia

Tatonetti couldn’t have predicted these accomplishments, and several others, while growing up on a horse farm in northeast Ohio. He may have been a junior national champion rider in his youth — he excelled in reining then, and he recently rediscovered that joy as a jumper — but college itself wasn’t an early motivator for him.

It wasn’t until he tested other professions and studies, including car insurance sales and film school, that he focused on his scientific passion at Arizona State.

Nick Tatonetti continues to investigate ways to partner science and medicine for the benefit of healthcare.

He earned both his master’s and Ph.D. in biomedical informatics at Stanford, where he found his passion for data mining, observational data analysis and machine learning. Technology was always a passion for him, but now instead of designing background image apps for early iPhones — ‘DockSwap’ and ‘Customize’ were two of his more popular creations — he was ready to study medicine safety.

Tatonetti considered staying at Stanford, but Columbia had significant advantages that ultimately brought Tatonetti across the country.

“The integration of the department with the hospital and the access to data is just unparalleled,” he said. “The opportunity to get informatics-type work done here is huge. I knew if I came here, almost immediately, I’d be able to do the type of research I wanted to do. The other reason I came here is because of the students. Everyone has diverse backgrounds, but they have a desire to bring informatics methods and data science methods into medicine.”

Looking Ahead

Building on both the drug safety and cell paper research, the Tatonetti Lab is working on several important medical questions presently.

“We are looking at the genetic mechanisms of adverse drug reactions,” he said. “We are studying novel ways to phenotype patients in the EHR, and to identify the genetic differences in those phenotypes. We are creating integrative methods for drug discovery, whether it is new pharmacological pathways to treat diseases or whole new paradigms for how drugs work. We’re also exploring neural networks for their clinical utility. Can they improve the performance of our phenotyping, or our predictive analytics? Basically, we’re looking for anywhere tech and medicine can be combined to advance scientific discovery.”


Dr. Suzanne Bakken Named the Recipient of the 2019 IMIA François Grémy Award of Excellence

Dr. Suzanne Bakken is the first nurse and 10th overall recipient of the IMIA François Grémy Award of Excellence.

The International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA) announced Dr. Suzanne Bakken as the recipient of the 2019 IMIA François Grémy Award of Excellence. IMIA is honoured to recognize the long-lasting contributions Dr. Bakken made through her research, education, development, and application of Biomedical and Nursing informatics and for her outstanding lifetime personal commitment and dedication to the field, both nationally and internationally.

Dr. Christoph Lehmann, the President of IMIA, will present the François Grémy Award of Excellence on Monday, August 25th at the opening ceremonies of MedInfo 2019 in Lyon, France. “It is a momentous occasion for IMIA to recognize Suzanne Bakken as the 2019 recipient of the François Grémy Award,” said Dr. Lehmann. “Dr. Bakken’s tremendous contributions to science and education have made her a leader in our field. Just as importantly, however, honoring Dr. Bakken highlights the importance of nursing informatics to the international community and the International Medical Informatics Association.”

Dr. Bakken is the Alumni Professor of Nursing and Professor of Biomedical Informatics at Columbia University, where she leads an NIH-funded research center and training program. Her research is focused on promoting health and reducing health disparities in underserved populations through application of innovative informatics methods. A major focus of her current grant portfolio is visualization of healthcare data for community members, patients, clinicians, and community-based organizations.

Dr. Bakken is a Fellow and Past-President of the American College of Medical Informatics, a member of the National Academy of Medicine, an inaugural Fellow of IMIA’s International Academy of Health Sciences Informatics, as well as several other prestigious professional bodies with whom she is involved.  She has published over 200 peer reviewed papers, and in 2019, she took the helm as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

“It is an honor and a privilege to be the first nurse and 10th recipient of the François Grémy Award of Excellence. IMIA NI is a vibrant component of the IMIA community with a history of leadership. Participation in IMIA and IMIA NI has enriched my career in biomedical and health informatics for more than 30 years,” said Dr. Bakken. “It is particularly special to be receiving this award in Professor Grémy’s home country of France and at a time when our field is increasingly called upon to advance health and health equity through informatics.”

About the IMIA François Grémy Award of Excellence
The IMIA Medical Informatics Award of Excellence was orginally established in 2001. In 2015, the award was renamed the IMIA François Grémy Award of Excellence to honour Dr. François Grémy for his foundational work in the establishment of IMIA and its predecessors, and his lifelong contribution to health and biomedical informatics in his home country of France, Europe, and the world.

The recipient of this Medical Informatics Award of Excellence is an individual whose personal commitment and dedication to medical informatics has made a lasting contribution to medicine and healthcare through her or his achievements in research, education, development, or application in the field of medical informatics.

For more information visit:

(courtesy of the IMIA press release)

Congratulations To Trio Of DBMI Professors Awarded Tenure, Effective July 2019

Nick Tatonetti

Yufeng Shen

Lena Mamykina

Lena Mamykina, Ph.D., Yufeng Shen, Ph.D., and Nick Tatonetti, Ph.D., were awarded tenure and promoted to the rank of Associate Professor in the Department of Biomedical Informatics at Columbia, effective July 2019.

Mamykina’s research resides in the areas of informatics, human-computer interaction, ubiquitous and pervasive computing, and computer-supported collaborative work. Her current research focuses on exploring new ways to use patient-generated data and computational intelligence to support health and wellness management. Her recent projects include development of technology-based lifestyle coaching interventions for individuals with diabetes, especially those within the local Washington Heights Community.

Shen studies human biology and diseases using genomic and computational approaches. His interest is in two broad questions: identifying genetic causes of human diseases, and understanding the dynamics of human adaptive immune system. He develops computational and statistical methods to analyze genomic data and interpret genetic variations. Shen has uncovered association of cell-type specific gene expression and regulation to genetic risk in autism and structural birth defects, and extensive connection of mutations in cancer and developmental disorders.

Tatonetti is focused on the use of advanced data science methods, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, to investigate medicine safety. Using emerging resources, such as electronic health records (EHR) and genomics databases, his lab is working to identify for whom these drugs will be safe and effective and for whom they will not. Among his most prominent work was a discovery of a specific dangerous drug interaction for the heart which otherwise would not have been found without using data mining and informatics methods.

Adelman Study Evaluates Safety of Restricting vs Allowing Multiple Records Open in an Electronic Health Record

In Brief

Jason Adelman, MD, MS

The use of electronic health records (EHR) in healthcare increases daily, and so does the importance of understanding the safest and most efficient methods for their utilization. One seemingly simple feature of EHRs under scrutiny pertains to the number of records that should be allowed open by a clinician at the same time, and whether multiple open records would lead to greater error in documentation and care.

Both the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) and the Joint Commission recommended that clinicians should be limited to one open record at a time. Jason Adelman, who holds dual Columbia appointments in both Medicine and the Department of Biomedical Informatics (DBMI), used his own Wrong-Patient Retract-and-Reorder (RAR) Measure to study this question in a recent randomized clinical trial.

His findings, which were shared in the May 14 issue of JAMA, did not line up with the ONC/Joint Commission recommendations. There was no significant difference in errors between clinicians randomly assigned to a group restricted to one open medical record and those assigned to a group allowed to open as many as four at a time.

Other findings did present questions of their own. Both Adelman and Bob Wachter, chairman of the UCSF Department of Medicine, added insight in the issue of JAMA.


The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) funded an earlier Adelman survey that found approximately 40% of hospitals allowed the maximum number of records open for each system, while another 40% limited their clinicians to one open record at a time. Both gave reasonable explanations to their logic, ranging from allowing doctors to multitask to being concerned about wrong-patient errors with multiple open records.

Given that the ONC and Joint Commission recommendations were based on expert opinion, Adelman believed that evidence was critical to study both efficiency and safety in this area of healthcare.

“We wanted to answer the question can doctors safely open multiple records,” said Adelman, whose RAR measure was used with a new EHR system at all sites of a clinical trial. This allowed Adelman and colleagues to track the number of times one or more orders was placed for a patient that were retracted (cancelled) by the same clinician within 10 minutes, and then reordered by the same clinician for a different patient within the next 10 minutes.

What The Study Found

This JAMA abstract highlights the findings from Dr. Adelman and colleagues on restricting concurrently open electronic health records in a randomized clinical trial.

More than 3,300 clinicians were randomized into two groups over a 19-month time period. One group was limited to one open health record (restricted), while the other group could open as many as four at any given time (unrestricted). Nearly 4.49 million order sessions were completed during the study period, and the difference in error rate between the restricted and unrestricted groups was 2.7 per 100,000 orders sessions.

While there was no significant difference between groups overall, there also was no difference broken down by practice settings (emergency department, inpatient, outpatient).

The unrestricted group generated findings that did require greater consideration. The rate of errors generally increased when multiple records were opened, and the majority of orders (66.2%) were placed with one open record at a time, even though clinicians were allowed to open up to four at a time.

“Why are the error numbers going up when you have more records open when we know from the randomized trial that there was no difference?” Adelman said. “The general thinking is that this is what we call ‘confounding,’ and that the problem really isn’t having multiple records open. The problem is that this is often a sign of multitasking. Working on multiple patients at once is the problem, not having multiple records open.”

Why It Matters

As EHRs become central to clinicians’ workflows, further study is needed to determine how to balance efficiency with patient safety.

Wachter shared this opinion in his May 14 JAMA editorial:

“While there was evidence suggesting increasing errors with more open records, the comparison with the restricted group suggests that order-error rates were in fact lowest when clinicians exercised the choice of opening 1 record at a time, rather than being restricted to opening only 1 record. Additional research is necessary to identify modifiable factors contributing to this error rate, including clinician workload. Policies that restrict open records should not be enacted without understanding the broad effects of such policies on safety, throughput, and clinician satisfaction.”

Adelman compared earlier calls for restricted EHR usage to a parachute (do we really need to study if parachutes are useful when jumping from a plane?), and this study shows the importance of evaluating EHR usage instead of simply instituting a recommendation based on reason, not data.

For more information, you can read the study by Adelman and his colleagues, or you can read the editorial by Wachter and his colleagues. Wahcter also spoke on the issue on a JAMA podcast.

Dr. Bruce Forman Leads Hospital’s Mentorship Effort With Inwood Early College

Dr. Forman shared some remarks to the 11th grade class at Inwood Early College to open the celebration at the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital Wintergarden plaza.

NewYork-Presbyterian, City University of NY (CUNY), Microsoft, and Inwood Early College (IEC) joined together in 2013 to introduce New York City high school students to information technology in a health care setting. NewYork-Presbyterian recently hosted the IEC 11th graders in the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital Wintergarden to celebrate the successful culmination of three years of mentoring.

“It’s always a pleasure to welcome Inwood Early College students to NewYork-Presbyterian and celebrate the completion of another successful cycle of mentoring,”said Dr. Bruce Forman, Associate Professor of Biomedical Informatics at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, who also oversees NewYork-Presbyterian’s collaboration with IEC. “We hope we’ve been able to give the students some guidance over the last three years, and we’ve very much enjoyed their questions and enthusiasm. We’re happy to open our doors and share in their celebration.”

NewYork-Presbyterian has been a proud industry partner of IEC since the 2013-14 planning year. Forman, an original leader on the NewYork-Presbyterian side of this collaboration, is among the approximately 50 hospital staff who mentor the high school students. One Friday each month, these mentors meet with subsets of students between the ninth and 11th grades to introduce and educate them to the many areas within the health and information technology discipline as well as familiarize them with the nature of work, the workplace, and professionalism.

“What we do, as industry partners, is provide work-based learning for the students,” Forman said. “We have sessions on things like how to write a resumé, how one handles a job interview, and aspects of college preparation and college selection.”

Several mentors shared in the Inwood Early College celebration breakfast recently at NewYork-Presbyterian. L to R: Dr. Bruce Forman, Edwin Melenciano-Lopez, Madelin Mejia, Vladimir Morales, and Kelvin Espinal

The students continuously impress Forman and his colleagues with their curiosity about health and information technology. He admitted that the “mentors were more nervous than anybody” at first, but Forman finds great inspiration from these motivated students.

“The only entrance requirement is that you demonstrate an interest in the theme of the school,” said Forman, who is also a Director in Information Services at NewYork-Presbyterian and a Department of Biomedical Informatics (DBMI) faculty member since 1994. “At this stage in my career, education and training are very important to me.”

This partnership also aligns with the National Library of Medicine (NLM) objective of developing a diverse work force. Forman said that approximately 96% of the IEC population are students of Hispanic/Latino or African-American heritage, many of whom travel from the Bronx to the school located in the uppermost neighborhood (Inwood) of Manhattan.

“There are a number of students who haven’t had the easiest time in life, but this school really provides them opportunity,” said Forman, who specifically praised principal Samona Tait’s leadership at IEC. “They are curious. They ask a million questions. And they’re New Yorkers, so they’re not shy.”

Forman shared recent successful results from IEC, including higher SAT scores, Regent scores, graduating percentage, and amount of college credits accrued than the average high school in either New York City or the state of New York.

Success hasn’t been limited to the students. Forman accepted the 2018 New York City Department of Education Career and Technology Education Partner of the Year Award on behalf of NewYork-Presbyterianin December. He looks forward to building upon the partnership and introducing the health and information technology fields to new classes of interested students in the future.

“Partnership and inspiration are at the center of our strong relationship with CUNY, Microsoft, the IEC staff, and most especially the IEC students,” Forman said. “With a little guidance and direction, there is no limit to the opportunities available to these wonderful young people.”