Around the nation: Columbia University med school receives $250M gift to eliminate student debt

Bite-sized hospital and health industry news

P. Roy Vagelos, the former president, CEO, and chair of Merck, and his wife, Diana, have donated $250 million to Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons to eliminate student debt for future students, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from California, New Jersey, and New York.

  • California: Officials in Los Angeles have opened up a hygiene center in a downtown area known as "Skid Row"—where roughly 1,800 homeless people live—to combat a hepatitis A outbreak in the area. Officials said the center provides access to clean toilets and showers, which can help stem a virus that is frequently spread by contact with fecal matter (Zimmerman, Becker's Clinical Leadership & Infection Control, 12/5).

  • New Jersey: Hackensack Meridian Health Palisades Medical Center has named Anthony Passannante as its permanent president. Passannante has been serving as Hackensack's acting president since July and has previously served in other leadership roles at Palisades Medical Center and Saint Peters University Hospital (Vaidya, Becker's Hospital Review, 12/5).

  • New York: P. Roy Vagelos, the former president, CEO, and chair of Merck, and his wife, Diana, have donated $250 million to Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons to eliminate student debt for future students. According to university officials, $150 million of the donation will go toward underwriting the school's financial aid program, while the remaining $100 million will go toward funding medical programs, research, and a professorship. In honor of the donation, Columbia University President Lee Bollinger said the medical school will be renamed the Columbia University Roy and Diana Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons (Rege, Becker's Hospital Review, 12/5; Otterman, New York Times, 12/4).

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