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Open Letter to President Lee Bollinger, Dean Lee Goldman,and the Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York

4/12/2011, 5:25 p.m.

We are Harlem's doctors. We have no time for politics. Patient care is our calling. We are loyal not only to the people we are privileged to serve, we are loyal to our University, because we know far better than anyone what will happen to patient care in our community when we are no longer able to find talented young doctors to join Columbia's ranks via Harlem Hospital. It will rapidly deteriorate, and take Harlem back to the horrific days that forced the Health and Hospitals Corporation to turn to us in the first place.

We implore you to stand and fight with us. A weakened "academic affiliation" simply cannot stand up against the power of a multibillion dollar Corporation, but our great University can. Columbia's support of Harlem Hospital has never been more vital than it is today. We can unite to leverage the strengths of the University's medical, nursing, public health, law, and business faculties to develop viable models for accountable care organizations that will serve the public health and the public good for years to come.

Columbia lives and works in the Harlem community we all call home. Harlem has never abandoned our great University, and will never do so, because its citizens realize the tremendous strength and vitality it brings our community. Yet the reverse is no less true. Harlem brings Columbia a richness of society and diversity that exists virtually nowhere else in the City, if not the world, serving as a constant reminder of why it exists at all--to find solutions to the problems that beset humankind, both globally, and locally.

We therefore call upon you to do what is right--help us care for our community, and our University. Columbia faculty at Harlem Hospital, together with colleagues from Washington and Morningside Heights, can and will find ways to provide health care more effectively and efficiently to our community. Do not let the Health and Hospitals Corporation rob Harlem of its most precious healthcare resource-- quality care by physicians and surgeons of the Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons.

Respectfully yours,

Medical/Dental Board of

Harlem Hospital Center