Anneliese Sitarz Papers, Archives & Special Collections, Columbia University Health Sciences Library.
Processed by Jennifer Ulrich June-July 2017. Files were re-foldered; duplicates discarded.
Gift of Anneliese Sitarz in 2006-2007, 2009 (accessions #2006.02.02; 2007.06.13; 2009.9.25).
Open for research.
Columbia University records are closed to researchers for 25 years from date of creation.
Born in 1928 in Medellín, Colombia to Hans Sitarz and Elisabeth (née Knoll), Anneliese Lotte Sitarz moved to the United States as a child and later attended Bryn Mawr College (AB 1950) and Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons (MD 1954). She interned at Children’s Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts (1954-1955) and held her residency in pediatrics at Babies Hospital (1955-1957) – later known as New York- Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital – an affiliate of the Department of Pediatrics at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons (P&S). Sitarz had a distinguished career in pediatric oncology with much of her clinical work based at Babies Hospital, while also consulting at Overlook and Harlem Hospitals.
She was a founding investigator of the Children’s Cancer Study Group (CCG or CCSG), a cooperative group established by the National Institutes of Health to study childhood cancers. Sitarz was awarded a Fellowship in pediatric hematology by the NIH (1957-1961) with a focus in childhood leukemia treatments. She was subsequently awarded an Advanced Clinical Fellowship by the American Cancer Society (1962-1965). According to her personal papers, she was an investigator for the CCG for many years (1960-1990s) and was appointed in 1996 to the study committee for the CCG-3005 study, “Minimal therapy of disseminated low and intermediate risk NBL for infants, 12 months.”
On April 25, 1986, Michael Katz, Director of the Pediatric Service and Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics, wrote to Sitarz informing her of changes in her duties as a clinical professor and physician, stripping her of some of her clinical responsibilities. This included her removal as an attending physician and status change to private practitioner of pediatric hematology and oncology – a decision made in consultation with Dr. Sergio Piomelli, Director for the Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, Presbyterian Hospital.
Although Sitarz contested her case internally and via legal action, her status was not reinstated. Regardless, she continued to contribute to the fields of pediatric oncology and hematology and treated patients for the duration of her career. She received tenure as Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics in 1973 and as full professor in 1983.
Sitarz died in Maplewood, New Jersey on October 3, 2015 at the age of 87.
Correspondence, patient records, meeting minutes, grant applications, legal documents, photographs, membership records, flyers, clippings, academic papers and reprints authored by Sitarz and others, along with other material documenting the career of Annaliese Sitarz. The bulk consists of correspondence from her work as a physician in the Department of Pediatrics, Columbia Presbyterian Hospital; Babies Hospital; and the Overlook Hospital. In addition there is much relating to her personnel grievance and legal challenge as tenured Associate Professor of (Clinical) Pediatrics for the Department of Medicine, College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Her work at Babies Hospital is documented in collected printed material, announcements, and other mementos, such as the scripts from the hospital’s Christmas shows (1955-1961). Records from the Babies Hospital Alumni Association reflect Sitarz’s role as Treasurer (2001-2005).
Correspondence labeled “Politics” by Sitarz documents her relationship with the Department of Pediatrics and may overlap in topic with folders arranged under “Personnel complaint.” The latter contains affidavits, legal briefs, patient records, notes, and additional correspondence between Sitarz; her attorneys Vladeck, Waldman, Elias & Engelhard, P.C.; the Department of Pediatrics, College of Physicians and Surgeons; and Presbyterian Hospital. These documents were arranged by Sitarz and directly relate to the grievance filed with administrators at Columbia University.
Letters written by patient’s parents endorsing Sitarz as a physician are arranged chronologically as “correspondence: patients” but some correspondence can be found with patient records and other documents within her “personnel complaint” files, specifically addressing patient cases under scrutiny by Dr. Piomelli and the Pediatrics Division. The bulk of correspondence from patients (or the parents of) are personal in nature, containing greeting and holiday cards, newspaper clippings, family photographs, wedding invitations, funeral announcements, and some handmade cards from children. One folder contains a Bar Mitzvah yarmulke.
Research is documented in grant applications and tumor study reports (1961-1965), academic papers, and the Children’s Cancer Group, referred as the CC Study Group (1957-1969). Flyers, articles, correspondence, minutes and other material document her involvement with Parents Caring for Children with Cancer Group.
Material documenting her role as professor is lacking but for one folder of teaching and studentrelated materials and correspondence relating to her lectures given to the Continuing Medical Education (CME) program at the Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center.
Writings consist primarily of reprints of journal articles authored by Sitarz and others, with some manuscripts and notes. Professional organization files also include abstracts and publications, in addition to membership records.
There is one folder of photographs depicting Sitarz and group portraits. Photographic prints and negatives used for illustrations also accompany some journal articles.