Outreach and 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.



High School Catalyst Program

The High School Catalyst Program (previously the Weill Cornell Medicine High School Immersion Program) is a partnership between the Weill Cornell Graduate School and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Postdoctoral Association. The High School Catalyst program is designed to offer hands-on biomedical research exposure to New York high school students from diverse communities.

More information

Weill Cornell Youth Scholars Program

The main purpose of the Weill Cornell Youth Scholars Program (WCYSP) is to expose underprivileged, underrepresented students, especially from inner city high schools, to the vast educational resources and opportunities at Weill Cornell Medical College and New York Presbyterian Hospital. Many of these high schools have exceptionally high drop out rates that coincide with low percentages of graduates that go on to attend a four-year university. By developing early experiences in medicine, students can develop appropriate attitudes towards their education, interpersonal skills and, more importantly, confidence in themselves to succeed academically. The WCYSP curriculum is designed to educate, inspire and groom participants for personal and professional success. We seek to address some of the weaknesses that prevent many inner-city students from performing well at the college level through an innovative format that emphasizes critical reading and writing. Our daily Problem Based Learning (PBL) sessions provide a forum for youth scholars to interact with one another and build their teamwork abilities. All high school students that completed the program reported that it had a significant impact on their personal motivation to pursue a career in science or medicine and are more motivated to take more challenging courses in high school. Weill Cornell medical students, residents and attending physicians serve as mentors and teachers in the program. Volunteer teachers can choose one or more topics and will be given lecture notes and PowerPoint slides that are already prepared for each topic. The program runs for one month every July from Tuesday to Friday. Typically, each lecturer will give one to two one-hour lectures, but if they choose they can volunteer more of their time. We also recruit new leadership every year to plan the next summer's program under the guidance of leaders from the previous year.

For further information on these activities at Weill Cornell, please contact at wcysp@med.cornell.edu.

Weill Cornell Community Clinic
The Weill Cornell Community Clinic (WCCC) is a student-led initiative that addresses the need for accessible and equitable healthcare for uninsured New York City residents while enhancing the philanthropic spirit of students and faculty at Weill Cornell Medical College. The clinic operates on Monday evenings from 5pm until 8pm. Volunteer positions are available for students to practice taking a medical history and performing a physical examination under the direct supervision of an upperclassman and an attending physician. The WCCC provides students with an excellent introduction to socioeconomic issues confronting the uninsured through its comprehensive care model. In addition to a medical consultation, patients are offered on-site social work services, Medicaid screening interviews, no-charge laboratory services, no-charge medications, and discounted referrals to specialty services. At the beginning of their first year, students are able to apply for WCCC leadership positions. 
The Victim Intervention Program

The Victim Intervention Program’s advocates assist survivors of sexual assault, family and intimate partner violence in the emergency department of New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. As first responders and crucial members of the team, our advocates play a vital role and make tremendous difference in the lives of survivors, family members, and friends in the immediate aftermath of a trauma. Advocates volunteer their time and energy to ensure that survivors’ voices are heard, safety is assured, immediate needs are met, and appropriate linkages to important resources are established. 

Victim Intervention Program Advocates must be able to:

  • Demonstrate a strong commitment to supporting survivors of interpersonal violence.
  • Reach the emergency department of New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell located at 525 E 68th St, within 30 minutes.
  • Complete a free 40-hour training course.
  • Comply with medical clearance standards.
  • Be on-call for at least three shifts per month.
  • Make at least one-year commitment to the program.
qlinic at Weill Cornell Medicine

qlinic at Weill Cornell Medicine is a novel initiative that aims to build a free student-run clinic specifically addressing mental health disparities in LGBTQ communities in New York City. Our clinic will recruit medical student volunteers from Weill Cornell to work with and treat LGBTQ patients living with a variety of mental health disorders, focusing our scope on those with depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. Students will be trained and supervised by attending physician volunteers. We hope that our clinic will address these needs by providing a safe space to seek financially accessible, quality mental health care for LGBTQ patients. At the same time, we hope to create an opportunity for aspiring future physicians to gain experience in working with LGBTQ-identified patients. 

Peers Educating Peers about Sex

Love to teach? Want to make a direct impact on the lives of local teens? Join Peers Educating Peers about Sex (PEPS)! Through this student-run organization, we increase youth knowledge of safe sexual behaviors and personal hygiene. At a local high school, we teach a curriculum that highlights general pelvic anatomy (a great first year review!), female hygiene, healthy relationships, and safe sexual practices. How can you get involved? In the fall, we will be conducting trainings to teach workshops later in the semester. Come to our information session to learn more! 

Motivating Action through Community Health Outreach

MACHO is a holistic and innovative behavioral modification program designed to combat the childhood obesity epidemic at the grassroots level. The program partners with Public School 83 in East Harlem and aims to teach adolescents about nutrition and exercise through the lens of personal responsibility and practical tools for success in life. Although the immediate focus of our program is on healthy choices related to nutrition and exercise, MACHO's participants learn values and skills that can be applied to many other endeavors in life. By empowering our youth to lead healthy lives, we hope they can motivate and inspire others in their community to do the same. 

Health Profession Recruitment/Exposure Program

The Health Professions Recruitment and Exposure Program (HPREP) was created in 1989 by Dr. Daniel Laroche, '92 when he was a medical student to increase the enrollment rate of students who are underrepresented in medicine and provide participants to interact with medical students, faculty, and health professionals. Dr. Laroche had then presented the program to the national Student National Medical Association (SNMA) conference where it was decided that the program should be in other medical schools under SNMA. HPREP is a ten-week program held on Friday afternoons beginning in January. High school students will hear from physicians and other health professionals speak on their path and work in small groups with medical students on write a personal statement, resume, and research paper and during an anatomy lab. In addition, students participate in practical workshops discussing the college application process, how to write a research paper, applying for financial aid, and writing a personal statement. The student with the best research paper and college essay are awarded each a $250 book scholarship for college. Each participant who completes the program receives a letter of recommendation and a certificate of completion.

Please check out our website for instructions on how to apply.

For further information on these activities at Weill Cornell, please contact us at hprep@med.cornell.edu


Eye to Eye (Eye2Eye) is a part of Heart to Heart, the student run organization that provides screenings for various medical conditions though a community outreach program. Eye2Eye student volunteers attend Heart to Heart events and learn to use different diagnostic tools and techniques of the eye exam to screen people for eye problems. Students also have the opportunity to meet members of the WCM Ophthalmology faculty. 

Cornell Water Society

The Cornell Water Society is a student-run organization dedicated to public health outreach via the installation and promotion of clean water solutions in underserved communities in the U.S. and abroad. Our current flagship project, MAJI KWA AFYA ("Water for Health"), is a collaborative effort between current Weill Cornell Medicine students, the ASMK foundation of Shinyanga, W.S. Darley & Company, H2OpenDoors, and Rotary International to bring clean, reliable, and affordable drinking water to the people of the Busiya chiefdom in the Shinyanga region of western Tanzania. Our goal is to ensure sustainability of this and future projects through continued participation from Weill Cornell students, ensuring long-lasting safe drinking water for those who need it most. 

Science and Medicine Enhancement Programs

The Science and Medicine Enhancement Program (SMEP) provides middle school students with hands-on opportunities to learn about health and disease through a multi-subject approach. SMEP students are from the Science and Medicine Middle School, a school serving students from the Canarsie and East Flatbush communities in the Brooklyn, NY. In a series of sessions held at the Weill Cornell Medical College in Manhattan, NY, groups of 3-4 students led by medical students work on hands-on group and individual activities designed to reinforce basic concepts in basic biology, physiology, pathophysiology and healthy living related to the diseases and health conditions that most affect the students' communities. During the program, students also engage with material through reading, research, persuasive writing, presentations and clinical skill sessions. The program culminates with students presenting and leading demonstration tables related to various curricular topics at a Community Health Fair held at the Science and Medicine Middle School. 

Heart to Heart Community Outreach Campaign

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. 

Kids in Chronic Support

The Kids in Chronic Support Program (KICS) is a student-run organization designed to provide children and adolescents undergoing chronic care at New York Presbyterian Hospital an opportunity to form a close, consistent relationship with someone outside of their treatment team. The KICS program works with hematology and oncology patients and this year we expanded to neurosurgery, with plans to become involved with other specialties as well. The medical 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. Student leadership opportunities are also available. 

The Motivating Action through Community Health Outreach

MACHO is a holistic and innovative behavioral modification program designed to combat the childhood obesity epidemic at the grassroots level. The program partners with Public School 83 in East Harlem and aims to teach adolescents about nutrition and exercise through the lens of personal responsibility and practical tools for success in life. Although the immediate focus of our program is on healthy choices related to nutrition and exercise, MACHO's participants learn values and skills that can be applied to many other endeavors in life. By empowering our youth to lead healthy lives, we hope they can motivate and inspire others in their community to do the same. 

Health for Life

Health 4 Life is a group that works with overweight or obese children and their families. Working together with pediatricians, nutritionists, social workers, and medical student volunteers help kids ages 7 - 18 learn how they can lead healthier lifestyles. The program meets for 8 consecutive weeks and consists of two major components: exercise and nutrition. During the exercise portion, kids discover fun new ways to stay in shape, and receive pedometers so that they can track their steps outside of the program. During the nutrition portion, the participants learn about the basics of nutrition and how to make healthy food choices through games and short lessons. Volunteers help with both components of the program, encouraging the kids to keep up the progress they are making, and helping to make the entire experience more enjoyable and entertaining. Volunteers have the opportunity to be role models, learn about great recipes that are easy, healthy, and fun to make, all while having a great time working with the kids. Health 4 Life is a program that asks for minimum commitment and at the same time allows one to make a difference! 

Weill Cornell Center for Human Rights
The Weill Cornell Center for Human Rights (WCCHR) is a faculty-supported, student-run clinic dedicated to providing forensic medical, gynecologic, and mental health evaluations and affidavits to victims of torture, persecution, and abuse. As part of our mission, we offer training to healthcare workers and education to community members on issues relating to torture and abuse. The WCCHR offers its services at no cost and also works to connect our clients to organizations across the city, including the Weill Cornell Community Clinic  (WCCC), that ofeet low-cost or pto bono medical and social services. It has been estimated that there are more than 1.3 million foreign-born torture survivors in the United States with nearly 100,000 residing in the New York metropolitan area. In an asylum proceeding, healthcare professionals are crucial in providing documentation of torture and abuse, yet few medical schools or residency programs have developed a curriculum to educate medical students and residents in evaluating survivors. The WCCHR was founded with the goal of meeting our professional obligations to this vulnerable group by providing much needed medico-legal support and by training medical students, residents, and practicing physicians to recognize and evaluate victims of torture and abuse. 
Camp Phoenix

Camp Phoenix is a student-run group founded in 2000 to provide a free, safe, nurturing, and stimulating environment for children (ages 7-12) who have been discharged from the burn unit of the hospital. We are affiliated with the New York Firefighter Burn Center Foundation and the medical staff of the New York Presbyterian Hospital Burn Center. The treatment and aftermath of surviving a serious burn can often include physical limitations, considerable stress, and diminished self-esteem. Our goal is to provide a setting for children who have survived burn injuries to experience activities that every child rightfully deserves but might not be accessible due to their environment. Positive interactions with other children with similar emotions will help replace a child’s feelings of isolation and resentment with encouragement, understanding, and comfort about their situation. These many benefits will extend outside the walls of our safe camp to help other aspects of a child’s life, including their education, family-life, and even their physical health. We want to give each child an opportunity to normalize their outlook on life and become the person of their dreams without physical or social limitations slowing them down. We believe that the camp environment we will provide is a successful way to offer this chance to the children. 

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