Rafael A. Lantigua, MD

Associate Director

Dr. Rafael Lantigua attended the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (Autonomous University of Santo Domingo), graduating from medical school in 1972.  He then moved to New York City, trained in Internal Medicine at Lincoln Hospital from 1973-1976, and Endocrinology at the University of Rochester from 1977-1980. He has been at Columbia University since 1980, initially as an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the College of Physicians and Surgeons and an Assistant Attending at the New York Presbyterian Hospital. He is currently Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, and is the Dean’s Special Advisor for Community Health Affairs. He has been in the leadership of the Division of General Medicine of the Department of Medicine, been the Medical director of Associates in Internal Medicine at the New York Presbyterian Hospital, and a member of both the Admission Committee of Columbia University Medical School, and the Internal Medicine Residency Committee.

He has been actively involved in research on issues regarding quality of life, and minority populations. He has served as an investigator in a New York State Department of Health Program on cardiovascular disease in the minority community, in a National Institute on Aging study on quality of life in the minority elderly, and in a study of the Genetics of Alzheimer’s Disease in Latino Families. He was Director from 1998-2008 of the Columbia Center for Active Life of Minority Elders (an NIA Resource Center for Minority Aging Research of Aging). Since 1999, he has served as Deputy Director of the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s disease and the Aging Brain.

Dr. Lantigua was co-founder and past Chairperson of the Board of both Alianza Dominicana, Inc. and the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrants Rights.  He has served on boards of other non-profit organizations, including the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund, Puerto Rican/Hispanic Institute for the Elderly, the Latino Commission on AIDS, National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, ARC Fort Washington Senior Center, the Isabella Nursing Home, and the Dominican Medical Society, of which he was the president in 1996.  From 1988 to 1997 he served as a member of the New York State Board of Professional Medical Conduct. He was Grand Marshall of the Dominican Parade in 1983, and has been granted honorary professor degrees from the Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo and from the Universidad Technologica de Santiago, Dominican Republic, and a Doctor Honoris Causa degree in Social Medicine by the Spanish University of America.  He received the Arnold Gold Award in Humanism at Columbia University Medical School in 1998, and the Ewig Clinical Scholar Award at Columbia in 2010, in recognition of outstanding teaching. He has received the Key of the City of Miami and has received commendations from the Bronx, Queens and Manhattan Borough Presidents, the New York City Comptroller, the Office of the Mayor of Newark (NJ), the City Council of New York, the New York City State Senate, and the U.S. Congress.