Community Service Program

In accordance with the philosophy that service and medicine are intrinsically linked, community service forms a rich component of student life at Weill Cornell Medical College. The array of community service activities is almost entirely created and coordinated by students. Some student groups have community service as their primary purpose, while others coordinate community service activities in combination with other activities related to a particular subject/field of interest. Students who complete particularly comprehensive community service projects may apply for an MD with Honors in Service in their fourth year.

The Community Service Program provides administrative and other support for students, while the Community Service Advisory Committee offers mentorship via meetings held twice a year. Additionally, each class elects a student Community Service Representative who encourages service in their class. Following is a list of current service activities with brief descriptions and relevant links.

Contact Information:
Sahira Torres
Weill Cornell Medical College
Office of Community Service
445 East 69th Street, Room 208
New York, NY 10021
212-746-3390
sjt2003@med.cornell.edu

Service-Focused Groups
Big Buddies
Camp Phoenix
Cornell Kids
Grand Central Shelter Clinic
Health for Life
Health Professions Recruitment and Exposure Program (HPREP)
Kids in Cancer Support
Little Chemists
Motivating Action through Community Health Outreach (MAChO)
Weill Cornell Center for Human Rights (WCCHR)
Weill Cornell Community Clinic (WCCC)
Weill Cornell Youth Scholars Program (WCYSP)

Groups With Service Activities
American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA)
Cornell LGBT People in Medicine/Q!
Geriatric Interest Group
Internal Medicine Interest Group
Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA)
Medical Students for Choice/Reproductive Health Initiative
Minority Association of Pre-Health Students (MAPS)
Ophthalmology Interest Group
Pediatric Interest Group (PedIG)
Sports Medicine Interest Group
Students for Equal Opportunity in Medicine (SEOM)
Student National Medical Association (SNMA)

Service-Focused Groups

Big Buddies
The Big Buddies program matches individual Weill Cornell medical students with a child or teenager from New York City Community. While the children may have ongoing medical needs, the focus of the program is for the medical student to serve as role model and mentor, rather than as a physician-in-training or counselor. It gives the children and teens an opportunity to see the students without their white coats and stethoscopes and the medical students the chance to see their Little Buddies as individuals rather than patients. Big Buddies have the opportunity to spend one-on-one time with their Little Buddies or participate in group events. The program is designed to be guided by the Big Buddy/Little Buddy pair, with the two having the opportunity to do activities that meet their unique interests. This allows the relationship to develop over the year, as Big Buddies keep in contact with their Little Buddies by e-mail and over the phone, meeting with them about once a month for an activity. Past events have included Halloween and Thanksgiving parties, trips to sporting events or the zoo, picnics, skating in Central Park, and trips to the movies. Both partners come away with more than just a good time once a month at the park or theatre; the Little Buddies benefit from having a caring adult to look up to and confide in, as well as someone to share their love (or loathing) of the Yankees, their passion for Pokemon, or their dislike of algebra. As much of medicine is taught through a mentor/mentee system, with those who have less experience learning from those with more, the Big Buddies program provides a fun opportunity to practice being a mentor, to learn to listen carefully, and be a sounding board for a young person’s ideas, while also providing guidance and support. It is a chance to put down the textbooks and connect with others, establishing relationship that can leave a lasting impression on all involved.

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Camp Phoenix
Camp Phoenix was founded in 2000 by WCMC students and is sponsored by WCMC, the New York City Firefighters Burn Center Foundation (NYFBCF), and the Burn Center of New York Presbyterian- Weill Cornell Medical Center. The mission of Camp Phoenix is to enrich the lives of pediatric burn survivors and their siblings by creating camping experiences that are memorable, exciting, fun, and physically safe, all while training future physicians in the art of compassionate and empathetic care. Within this environment, campers build a support community based on sharing their stories and overcoming their disabilities. The Camp organizes three one-day events held on Saturdays in November, February and May, and one weekend-long trip in June of each year, where campers are divided into age specific groups and encouraged to design team logos and team cheers. Other activities include rope course challenges, archery, canoeing and hiking. The experience ends with the annual Camp Phoenix Messy Olympics. http://weill.cornell.edu/education/admissions/camp_phoenix.html

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Cornell Kids
Cornell Kids is an interactive science learning and mentoring project in which the members of the Student National Medical Association teach a group of 30-45 sixth to seventh grade students from the East Harlem School in Manhattan about the basic functioning of the body. Teaching sessions are held once a month on Friday afternoons, from January through May. The students are taught basic physiology, pathology, and anatomy of the various organ systems. Topics include the circulatory, respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems. They also participate in an Anatomy lab where they can apply what they learned in class and hear about the needs and value of medical research. After each topic, the Kids are given a quiz to assess their knowledge.

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Grand Central Shelter Clinic
The Grand Central Shelter Clinic is part of the Grand Central Neighborhood Social Services Corporation (GSNSSC) and primarily serves transient men. A team of Weill Cornell students visits the shelter once a week throughout the academic year. A fourth year student, two second-year and two first-year students team up to take vital signs (blood pressure, temperature and pulse) to obtain the medical history. We also dress wounds, dispense healthcare products, address the medical concerns of the clients, and educate them on preventive care such as hygiene, safe sex and maintenance of current treatments. The fourth year students provide any necessary referrals to a licensed physician.

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Health for Life
Health for Life is a program run by the NYPH Department of Pediatrics that works with overweight children. A team of pediatricians, physical therapists, social workers, nutritionists, and medical student volunteers help children and teens’ ages 9 – 18 learn about how to lead a healthier life. The 10-week program has 2 major components: exercise and nutrition. During the exercise sessions, participants discover fun new ways to incorporate physical activity into their lives. As part of this, all participants receive pedometers that they carry around for the duration of the program. The nutrition sessions focus on learning about which foods are healthy and which ones should be eaten only rarely, and how to changes dishes you like. Each medical student volunteer is paired with a program participant. In addition to attending the weekly nutrition sessions, mentors help their mentees stay on track with the program by offering encouragement and advice through weekly phone conversations between sessions. In return, volunteers get to be role models and make an impact on a child’s life, and have a great time! http://nyp.org/komansky/patient_care/centers_programs/community/health_for_life.html

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Health Professions Recruitment and Exposure Program (HPREP)
HPREP consists of ten two-and-a-half hour sessions held on Friday afternoons from January to March. Students attend lectures given by physicians at Weill Medical College; they will also participate in small group workshops led by Weill Cornell medical participate in small group workshops led by Weill Cornell medical students. All participants submit a research paper on an approved topic of interest in medicine at the conclusion of the program. http://www.med.cornell.edu/education/student/min_stu_nat.html

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Kids in Cancer Support
Kids in Cancer Support is a student-run program designed to provide children and adolescents in the hematology-oncology service an opportunity to form a close, consistent relationship with someone outside of their treatment team. The pediatric oncology team interviews medical students and personally matches them with patients interested in having a buddy. Once a patient is matched, the student will make the initial contact with the patient during a clinic visit. The student will primarily keep the patient company during their clinic visits and inpatient stays by, but not limited to, hanging out, chatting, playing games, and watching movies. The family and patient can determine the student’s level of involvement. In addition, the KICS program also organizes occasional parties during clinic hours for all patients to enjoy.

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Little Chemists
The goal of this group is to bring science to children in the hospitals and elementary/junior high schools. I actually had a group similar to this back at college where we did interactive experiments with the children. Some of the experiments we did were the following: Quick freeze cream in five minutes made from scratch, Magic Ghost Bouncing bubbles made with glycerol and dry ice, making gak with Elmer's glue, water/oil lamps run by Alka seltzer, Mentos fountains... just to name a few. The children loved our experiments and it brightened many of their faces. This will be a rewarding experience for the children and you.

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The Motivating Action through Community Health Outreach (MAChO)
The Motivating Action through Community Health Outreach (MAChO) is a grassroots obesity prevention program targeting young adolescents, ages 10 to 14, in disadvantaged communities. A confluence of stressors at this critical stage of development makes it an ideal time to teach life skills. The program aims tackle the epidemic one kid at a time through behavioral modification, by equipping participants with tools to take personal leadership in their lives. The program is anchored around three tenets – nutrition, exercise and education – bound together by a central theme of personal leadership. The multi-dimensional, grassroots approach of MAChO, along with its flexible design, incorporating the specific strengths and needs of a given participant in a given community allows for maximal engagement and behavioral modification. The program was designed by the Weill Cornell chapter of the SNMA in collaboration with Settlement Health, a federally qualified community health center aimed at providing primary healthcare services to the underserved. http://www.facebook.com/pages/MAChO/159390904077690?sk=info

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Weill Cornell Center for Human Rights (WCCHR)
Weill Cornell Center for Human Rights (WCCHR) is a medical student-run human rights clinic dedicated to providing forensic evaluations to survivors of persecution seeking asylum in the United States. Founded in 2010 through a partnership with Physicians for Human Rights, WCCHR is the first student-run asylum clinic at a U.S. medical school and has been heralded as a model for future asylum evaluation programs. Our organization is comprised of a diverse and growing team of volunteer clinicians and medical students committed to serving asylum seekers and educating the medical community and the general public about the asylum process.

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Weill Cornell Community Clinic (WCCC)
The Weill Cornell Community Clinic (WCCC) is a student-led initiative aimed at providing high-quality and equitable health care to uninsured individuals in New York City. Run by medical students working with volunteer physicians, WCCC offers comprehensive primary healthcare services, including preventive care, treatment for acute and chronic conditions, and referrals to appropriate and affordable specialty services. Students are involved in all aspects of running the Clinic, from seeing patients during weekly clinic hours to serving on the student advisory board. Medical students of all levels are vital for the success of WCCC and are encouraged to be involved. http://weill.cornell.edu/wccc/

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Weill Cornell Youth Scholars Program (WCYSP)
Weill Cornell Youth Scholars Program is a three-week summer enrichment program targeting underprivileged and underrepresented high school juniors and seniors who have an interest in science and medicine and use the vast educational resources available at WCMC and NYPH. The WCYSP embodies the idea that early intervention is critical to shaping a student’s future, and therefore seeks to endow students with the skills and experience necessary to fulfill their vast potential. It is important to expose students early to the rigors of a medical training since it can help develop the necessary attitudes to an education, interpersonal skills, and self-confidence that a students would need to be successful academically. It is also important to inspire students to set academic and professional goals and encourage them to work cooperatively and think critically. The curriculum consists of basic science lectures (primarily given by medical students, residents, and physicians), faculty spotlight sessions, Problem Based Learning sessions, mentor/mentee sessions, and visit to the anatomy lab. The topics discussing during the lectures included medial ethics, organ systems biology, nutrition, infectious disease, embryology, disease pathogenesis, immunology, and chronic conditions. The WCYSP starts on the first Monday of July and runs four days a week, from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm.

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Groups With Service Activities

American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA)
American Medical Women’s Association is a national organization devoted to the concerns of women in medicine. It helps to address issues facing these women, both by providing a support group for them and by addressing social and political issues. As a student chapter, their goal is to serve this function for the community as well as to increase awareness of all Weill Cornell students concerning women’s health issues on a city level. Members attend regional and national meetings where they would hear different speakers and participate in discussion and workshops, film screenings, community outreach, forums, and discussion groups.

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Cornell LGBT People in Medicine/Q!
Over the past several years there has been significant change in this group, particularly with the name of the organization. Formerly known as LGBTO and then Cornell GLAMS, this group is now known as the Cornell LGBT People in Medicine/Q! and is devoted to exploring LGBT issues in medicine. This includes creating and fostering an open and accepting environment for LGBT students at WCMC, as well as holding events that provide forums for discussion of sexual orientation and identity in the medical context. The group organizes social events (i.e. movie nights, lectures, and physician panels) and has also worked with the WCMC administration both to increase LGBT visibility, and to incorporate lectures on LGBT health issues in the curriculum. It is open to everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, and encourages all interested students to be involved in its events.

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Geriatric Interest Group
Geriatric Interest Group aims to stimulate interest in geriatrics and coordinate community service projects related to the elderly. The organization has a threefold vision: lecture series, community service initiatives, and clinical exposure program. Activities in the past have included panel discussions, visits to the Center for the Aging, and discussions on relevant topics such as elder care, elder abuse and hospice care. In collaboration with the American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR), GIG helps to recruit medical students for the Medical Student Training in Aging Research (MSTAR) Program where students meet every 6-8 weeks to discuss topics related to aging.

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Internal Medicine Interest Group
Internal Medicine Interest Group is focused on supporting students interested in going into the Internal Medicine profession through active communication, volunteer opportunities, and mentoring between internal medicine faculty and WCMC students. To this end, IMIG holds a talk in the fall on the various specialties and practice options stemming from Internal Medicine and a discussion in the spring on how to match into the field. It also sponsors discussions relating to current issues in Internal Medicine that are of special interest. In addition, IMIG provides mentoring programs and shadowing opportunities for students.

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Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA)
Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) is devoted to community service and improving the health of the Latino community. Some of the short-term goals of the organization include: increasing recruitment and admission of Latinos into the health professions; educating LMSA members in areas of concern to Latino communities, which may not be included in the traditional medical curriculum; and involving the community for the purpose of strengthening working relationships as a means of mutual education. Its efforts to promote the recruitment of Latinos into the medical field and to support those already in the field are varied. In conjunction with the Students for Equal Opportunities in Medicine and Student National Medical Association, members of LMSA assist in organizing the Annual Regional Pre-medical Conference and the Students Revisit Weekend. Students also give tours, help with presentations, and discuss projects for the Minority Visiting Professor Program. Along with the aforementioned events, this past academic year LMSA hosted cultural dinners, participated in the Diabetes Walk, and held a screening of “Latino in America”.

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Medical Students for Choice/Reproductive Health Initiative
Medical Students for Choice/Reproductive Health Initiative is a student-led organization dedicated to increasing medical students’ education and awareness regarding current issues in reproductive health through shadowing opportunities, movie screenings, hands-on workshops, and educational lectures on all areas of reproductive health (i.e. pregnancy, perinatology, abortion medicine, and IVF). As future practitioners, they are committed to ensuring that they and their peers are prepared to provide patients with the full range of reproductive health care choices.

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Minority Association of Pre-Health Students (MAPS)
The MAPS organization is nationally implemented by SNMA. Through the MAPS protocol, SNMA members act as mentors to undergraduates during their four years of college in efforts to increase the medical school matriculation rates of underrepresented minorities. Over the past two years, the Cornell chapter of MAPS has been working with the Hunter College chapter by co-sponsoring events. It hosted a mixer to introduce the mentees to their mentors, volunteered at the Settlement Health Fair, and one-on-one events between mentor and mentee.
http://www.med.cornell.edu/education/student/min_stu_nat.html

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Ophthalmology Interest Group
Ophthalmology Interest Group is a community service group run by students where they administer vision screenings at local soup kitchens, senior centers and health fairs. They also take patient histories and perform basic eye exams, organize ophthalmoscope-training sessions, host an introduction to Ophthalmology lecture, glaucoma screenings with ophthalmology residents, operating room and clinic shadowing experiences, cow’s eye suturing workshops, and eyeglass drives.

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Pediatric Interest Group (PedIG)
Pediatric Interest Group is an organization that focuses on recognizing both the medical and psychosocial needs of children. First- and second-year medical students help staff the playroom at the New York Presbyterian Hosp by involving and assisting children with various games and activities. Working with the Burn Unit, medical students read to the pediatric inpatients that are unable to leave their rooms. Volunteers also celebrated Christmas with the patients by organizing and hosting a party. PedIG also invites guest lecturers from various pediatric organizations to speak on relevant subjects to enhance the education of medical students. Medical specialties and/or social and public health issues involving children are topics usually discussed.

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Sports Medicine Interest Group
Sports Medicine Interest Group’s current goals are three fold: to provide health information to the student body about sports injuries, prevention, treatment and care through various lectures and events; to provide information to students about physician opportunities in sports medicine from different specialty areas; and to facilitate research and clinical shadowing experiences for interested students by matching them with mentors in associated areas. In the future, it would like to work with the clinical curriculum department to set up a formal sports medicine rotation as an elective for third- and fourth-year students.

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Students for Equal Opportunity in Medicine (SEOM)
Students for Equal Opportunity in Medicine is the umbrella organization for historically underrepresented minority student groups at Weill Cornell. It currently recognizes local chapters of SNMA and BLHO. The organization primarily functions to support minority students at WCMC, coordinates the Annual Regional Pre-medical Conference along with BLHO and SNMA, host underrepresented minorities when they are interviewing at Weill Cornell and during the Revisit Weekend, and coordinate events during the Revisit Weekend.

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Student National Medical Association (SNMA)
The members of SNMA, the nation’s oldest and largest organization focusing on the needs and concerns of medical students of color, are particularly active in community service. Many of the service initiatives are designed to: increase awareness of the medical profession in the minority community; encourage minority student interest in pursuing careers in medicine; provide social contacts with medical students; and provide exposure to science research. These outreach initiatives were discussed in the following community service projects: Cornell Kids; HPREP; MAPS; Annual Regional Pre-Medical Conference; and a health fair. http://www.med.cornell.edu/education/student/min_stu_nat.html


 
 
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