Arnold P. Gold Memorial Lecture

Dr. Arnold P. Gold with a young patient

The Arnold P. Gold Memorial Lecture was established in 2018 in honor of the memory and accomplishments of Dr. Arnold Gold, who passed away on January 23, 2018, at the age of 92.

Arnold P. Gold treated patients and taught for more than 50 years at Columbia University Medical Center. He inspired multiple generations of physicians and other medical professionals with his compassionate, patient-centered, and humanistic approach to clinical care. 

Dr. Gold was born in Manhattan but at age 13 was sent to live with an aunt in Galveston, Texas, after his father died. After serving in the Navy during World War II, he finished college at the University of Texas, and then completed a master’s degree at the University of Florida and a medical degree from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. His internship was at the Charity Hospital in New Orleans, where he treated children in iron lungs because of polio. He was chief resident at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, where he worked in the laboratory of Dr. Albert Sabin who was developing the oral polio vaccine. In Cincinnati, he rode horseback for the Frontier Nursing Service to treat patients in rural Kentucky.

Dr. Gold came to Columbia as visiting chief resident and then returned to do a fellowship in child neurology. During his career at Columbia, he published more than 80 articles and contributed to numerous books.

 In 1988, Dr. Gold and his wife Sandra established the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, which has been at the forefront of humanistic healthcare throughout the world, focusing on improving caring and compassion in medicine. The Foundation initiated the White Coat Ceremony, which is now a traditional rite of passage in allopathic and osteopathic medical schools as well as nursing schools in the United States and in 19 other countries. It serves as a welcoming ceremony and an introduction to the importance of patient-centered, compassionate, collaborative, and scientifically excellent care. In addition, the Foundation recognizes and awards health care professionals and trainees for outstanding clinical, teaching, and interpersonal skills. The Foundation also sponsors lectures, educational programs for students and professionals, writing contests, and fellowships, with the goal of improving humanism in medicine.

Most recent 2024 Arnold P. Gold Memorial Lecture

Sunflower Syndrome: a Poorly Understood Epilepsy

Elizabeth A. Thiele, MD, PhD

Elizabeth A. Thiele, MD, PhD

Elizabeth A. Thiele, MD, PhD
Director, Pediatric Epilepsy Program
Director, Herscot Center for TSC
Director, Sunflower Syndrome Comprehensive Clinical Program, Massachusetts General Hospital

Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School

Dr. Thiele directs clinical research efforts in the neurologic aspects of Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC) including epilepsy, autism and mental health issues as well as other manifestations of TSC. She has been principal investigator of several clinical trials in TSC, Dravet Syndrome and Lennox Gastaut Syndrome, and played an important role in the development of cannabidiol in the treatment of refractory epilepsy in these syndromes. She also works on improved dietary therapies for epilepsy, including Low Glycemic Index Treatment. Over the past 5 years her group has also focused on Sunflower syndrome, trying to better characterize this poorly understood reflex photosensitive epilepsy.

Dr. Thiele has received awards for teaching in residency programs at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Longwood Neurology Program, and for research mentoring from the Harvard MIT Health Sciences and Technology program. She also received the Manuel R. Gomez Award from the TSCnAlliance in 2008, the inaugural John M Freeman Award in 2014, the Infantile Spasms Award from the Child Neurology Foundation in 2014 and the Gill Center Transformative Scholar award in 2022.

Dr. Thiele received her A.B., scl from Washington University, St. Louis and her MD and PhD from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She completed a residency in pediatrics at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore and a residency in child neurology with the Longwood Program. She also completed a neuroscience fellowship at Children’s Hospital in Boston. Dr. Thiele is board certified in neurology with a special qualification in child neurology and epilepsy.