Columbia University Medical Center has received a $5 million gift from Edward S. Reiner to establish the Reiner Center for Behavioral and Psychosomatic Medicine, the only center of its kind in New York City.
“We are excited about the opportunities this unique gift presents for better understanding the connections between the mind and the body and the role these connections play in the onset, progression and management of disease,” says Gerald D. Fischbach, executive vice president for health and biomedical sciences and dean of the faculty of medicine at Columbia University. “In the next half century, great universities will be judged by how much they contribute to our understanding of the human mind. Columbia University Medical Center is committed to fostering this area of research.”
The Reiner Center for Behavioral and Psychosomatic Medicine seeks to promote excellence in exploring the influence of psychiatric, psychological, behavioral, and genetic factors in the development and treatment of medical illnesses. Reiner Center faculty are engaged in a number of novel research initiatives, including how psychological risk factors such as hostility, depression, and anxiety contribute to the risk of heart disease; how gender differences contribute to the effect of exercise to prevent heart disease; how expectant mothers’ mood states affect fetal and infant development; and how treatment for cancer may increase risk for cognitive dysfunction.
“I am proud to lend my support to help advance this important area of research,” says Mr. Reiner. “The stellar group of scientists at the Reiner Center are sure to contribute immensely to our understanding of mind-body connections as they relate to disease.”
“Our research has shown important links between psychological and behavioral factors and disease – an association that has received too little attention in the past,” says Ralph Wharton, M.D., clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University. “The establishment of the Reiner Center will enable us to continue to expand our research beyond the cellular level by comparing psychological and behavioral factors with molecular changes and gene expression. Brain changes are continuous throughout the lifespan. We are very excited about the possibilities this presents.” Dr. Wharton will co-direct the Reiner Center with Richard Sloan, Ph.D., professor of behavioral medicine in the Department of Psychiatry and director of the Behavioral Medicine Program at Columbia University Medical Center.
The Reiner Center will support the Nathaniel Wharton Professor of Behavioral and Psychosomatic Medicine, the Herbert H. and Ruth S. Reiner Fellowship Fund, and the Edward S. Reiner Fund.