Community Service

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.

In addition to the student organizations listed on this page, there are numerous other groups that include a service component. They include:

Advisory Board (2014-2015)
Annual Report 2011-2014

Contact Information
Sahira Torres
Weill Cornell Medical College
Office of Community Service
445 East 69th Street, Room 208
New York, NY 10021

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.

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. More information can be found here.

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.

Chemistry for Kids

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.

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 to 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! For more information, please visit the program website.

Health Professions Recruitment and Exposure Program (HPREP)

The Health Professions Recruitment and Exposure Program (HPREP) was developed in 1989 by the Weill Cornell chapter of the SNMA. It is now a national program addressing the issues of declining enrollment rates of underrepresented minorities, specifically in medicine and generally in the health professions. The program exposes high school sophomores and juniors to science-related activities. HPREP also teaches students about specific career fields and the steps needed to become a physician or other health care provider.

HPREP consists of ten two-and-a-half hour sessions held on Friday afternoons from January to March, during which students are exposed to physicians and health care professional from minority groups. Physicians from Weill Cornell Medical college give lectures on a broad range of topics and, in addition, the students participate in small group workshops led by medical students. The participants are also required to submit a short research paper on a pre-approved subject at the conclusion of the program.

For further information on these activities at Weill Cornell, please contact our chapter's coordinators at

Application Packet

Heart to Heart

The Heart-to-Heart Community Outreach Campaign is a free health screening program carried out in New York City’s underserved and minority communities by the Weill Cornell Medical College, Clinical and Translational Science Center and the Hunter School of Nursing. Our goal is to mobilize a primary care infrastructure and "bring the clinic to the community" to actively find new cases of undiagnosed and undertreated CVD, and then transition those participants to more permanent health care solutions. By using innovative tools, strategies, and immediate on-site personal consultations by healthcare professionals to reach those most in need, the program empowers participants to make beneficial lifestyle changes based on personal CVD risk. The Heart-to-Heart Campaign aims to transform the community into a partner in health by providing a model for community health engagement initiatives that leverages existing infrastructure to cast wider the net of health promotion and education. For more information please visit

Kids in Chronic Support

Kids in Chronic Support is a student–run program designed to provide children and adolescents in the undergoing chronic care at NewYork Presbyterian Hospital an opportunity to form a close, consistent relationship with someone outside of their treatment team. A pediatric 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.

Medical Student Homeless Outreach Program (MSHOP)

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.

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. For more information, please visit the program’s Facebook page

Science and Medicine Enhancement Program (SMEP)

The Science and Medicine Enhancement Program (SMEP) provides sixth – eighth grade students an opportunity to learn about health and diseases interactively and through a multi–disciplinary approach. The students are from the Science and Medline Middle School in Canarsie, New York paired with medical students in small groups to learn about different systems in the body and how it relates to prevalent health issues. Sixth graders learn about the circulatory system, seventh graders learn about the digestive system, and eighth graders learn about the nervous system. During the program, the students will learn the material through research, clinical skill sessions, reading, writing, and presentations.

Weill Cornell Center for Human Rights (WCCHR)

The Weill Cornell Center for Human Rights (WCCHR) is a medical student–run human rights clinic dedicated to providing forensic medical 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 the 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 health professionals and the general public about the asylum process.

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. For more information, please visit the WCCC’s website.

Weill Cornell Youth Scholars Program (WCYSP)

Weill Cornell Youth Scholars Program is a three-week summer enrichment program targeting current underprivileged and underrepresented high school juniors 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 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 medical ethics, organ systems biology, nutrition, infectious disease, embryology, disease pathogenesis, immunology, and chronic conditions. The WCYSP starts on the first Tuesday of July and runs four days a week, from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm.

For further information on these activities at Weill Cornell, please contact our chapter's coordinator at

Application Packet

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