Students for Equal Opportunity in Medicine (SEOM) is an umbrella organization for medical students from minority cultural or racial backgrounds. The many activities of SEOM include an annual regional pre–medical conference for middle school, high school and college students; hosting underrepresented minority medical school applicants when they are interviewing at WCM and during the revisit weekend, serving as a liaison throughout the admissions process, coordination of social and networking events throughout the school year, sponsoring a minority mentoring program, and sponsoring the Fourth Year “Toast” which is an annual event held in collaboration with the Office of Student Affairs to celebrate the accomplishments of graduating URiM students.
The Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) maintains an active presence within the regional and national organization and has sent representatives to the LMSA-Northeast Regional Executive Council since 2012. Representatives also attend the National Hispanic Medical Association conference. Of note, the WCM chapter of LMSA was recognized as the “chapter-of-the-year” by the national leadership for four years in a row from 2012 to 2015. The LMSA hosts numerous events, including the Heart to Heart Bilingual Volunteer program, and the 2014 LMSA-Northeast regional conference, with over 300 participants.
The Student National Medical Association (SNMA) is the oldest and largest national organization focused on students of color. The 2012 WCM chapter won the co-chapter of the year for Region IX with Albert Einstein in recognition of its excellence. That year, the WCM chapter also won an SNMA Pipeline Mentoring Institute grant: the Science and Medicine Enhancement Program (SMEP) won 1st place ($2,600), and the Health Professions Recruitment and Exposure Program (HPREP) won 3rd place ($1000). SNMA originated both of these programs at WCM (see pipeline programs 3.3b). SNMA also sponsors events for students and faculty, hosting the Region IX Networking Mixer and Fundraiser (2012), developing a Board Prep Booklet: Step 1 Study Guide (2013), and creating a Black History Month alumni roundtable discussion (2015).
The Association of Native American Medical Students (ANAMS) This interest group hopes to build a supportive community on campus, to work with WCM diversity initiatives to help recruit more Native American medical students, and to raise awareness about the many health issues that Indian Country faces. ANAMS also collaborates with Native American students at other NYC medical colleges, Native American organizations throughout NYC, and the national Association of Native American Medical Students organization.
The Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association (APAMSA) is a national organization with the purpose of engaging medical students in the health of the Asian (and Pacific Islander) American community. The WCM chapter organizes educational, community–oriented, and social activities which are open to all members of the WCM community. Dr. Michael Sein (Rehabilitation Medicine) serves as faculty advisor.
Q! Queer Health Alliance is a WCM medical student group devoted to exploring LGBT issues in medicine. The aims of this group include creating and fostering an open and accepting environment for LGBT students at WCM, as well as holding events that provide forums for discussion of sexual orientation and identity in the medical context. The group organizes educational programs and has worked both to increase LGBT visibility and to incorporate lectures on LGBT health issues in the curriculum.
White Coats for Black Lives is a national organization dedicated to eliminating racial bias in medical practice and education. This organization serves to coordinate national protests/discussions that are simultaneously conducted at medical schools across the country. The WCM chapter was formed in 2014 and has participated in several events since its inception, including the 2014 Die-In, the 2015 medstudents4mizzou, and the 2016 Speak Out brainstorming session.
PEOPLE (Peers Educating Our Peers: Learning from Each other) was founded in 2015 by two medical students as a student-run discussion forum with the goal of combatting bias and negative stereotyping within medical education. PEOPLE provides a safe space and opportunity for all students of any background to speak openly about uncomfortable topics in a way that raises consciousness, acknowledges diversity of experience, and encourages the discovery and implementation of positive change by improving cultural sensitivity among the next generation of physicians.
Women in Medicine (WIM) provides a platform for women students and faculty to discuss unique challenges that women face in medicine. The aim of this group is to inspire and enable female students to realize their professional and personal goals through events such as forums, discussion groups, and regional conferences, while also fostering their own abilities as teachers and mentors through community outreach programs. WIM currently consists of three core components: an Interest Group, Mentorship Program, and High School Outreach Program, each offering a distinct perspective about the importance of peer and formal mentorship during all stages of training. Dr. Yoon Kang, Associate Dean of Program Development and Operations, Medical Education serves as the advisor. WIM received funding from Medical Education through the Medical Student Executive Council (MSEC).
Female Association of Clinicians, Educators and Scientists (FACES) is a mentoring group for female physician-scientists. Activities of this group range from professional development workshops, mentoring activities, social activities and recruitment of female MD-PhD students into the MD-PhD Program. FACES holds multiple educational and social events throughout the year as well as an active list serve to exchange ideas, articles of interest and opportunities. The organizational locus is the MD-PhD Program.
Community Perspectives in Medicine (CPIM) is a student-run elective for first year medical students. In a series of six sessions per year, the class of sixteen students meets with a variety of community-based organizations to discuss topics related to health-care disparities, and to address community concerns regarding patient-doctor and community-doctor relationships. The course was published this fall by the AAMC’s MedEd Portal and was presented as a poster for both the AAMC’s New England Group on Academic Affairs Annual Conference and the Building the Next Generation of Academic Physician’s Health Workforce Conference, where CPIM won the award for Best Education Poster. CPIM receives funding from WCM, the WCM Alumni Association, and a grant from Engaged Cornell. Personnel dedicated to this activity are WCM medical students under the supervision from the Associate Dean of Diversity. The organizational locus of the CPIM is the ODI.
The Clinical Skills Series (CSS) provides a forum for Phase 2 medical school students to interact with physicians from a variety of community-based organizations. The focus of the conversations centers on the social determinants of health and health disparities and how to address it within the medical setting. Topics include substance use and abuse, sexual assault and female genital mutilation, integration of alternative medicine, and healthcare for previously incarcerated individuals. The format of CSS is similar to the Community Perspectives in Medicine foundational curriculum. The Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion is the faculty advisor for the series and the organizational locus is the ODI.
The Weill Cornell Community Clinic (WCCC) (www.weill.cornell.edu/wccc) is a student-led initiative that provides high quality, equitable health care to the uninsured. The 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 the clinic. Patients are seen during weekly clinic hours and students serve on the advisory board. Three faculty directors, one each from the Departments of Medicine, Obstetrics-Gynecology and Psychiatry, receive part-time salary support from their departments. The Clinic receives further support from the Office of Medical Education, NewYork Presbyterian Hospital, the Weill Cornell Physicians Organization, and student-led fundraisers. Additional information can be found in Element 6.6.
The Weill Cornell Center for Human Rights (WCCHR) (www.wcchr.com) is a medical student-run human rights clinic that provides medical evaluations for persons 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. The organization is comprised of a diverse and growing team of volunteer clinicians and medical students committed to serving asylum seekers and to educating the medical community and the general public about the asylum process. Evaluations made by the Center form the basis for a medico-legal affidavit that may be used in court. The medical directors are Drs. Thomas Kalman (Psychiatry) and Joseph Shin (Medicine) with two students serving as co-executive directors. All work is provided pro bono, supported by financing from the medical college and philanthropic sources. Fundraising parties were held in 2016 and 2017 to support their efforts. Additional information can be found in Element 6.6.
Other Special Programs
There are many special programs including one-day conferences, lectures and mentorship programs that contribute to the diversity efforts of the institution. The speakers at these events represent a tapestry of people and opportunities while providing role models and motivation to our students.