Community Outreach

Raising Awareness of Organ Donation

S4GIFT—Students for Growing Interest For Transplantation—is a student movement in New York calling for greater awareness of organ donation among health professionals and education for individuals so they can make more informed decisions about donation.

Participants in the 2012 5K Donor Dash to benefit organ transplantation, from left: Michael Steinhaus’15, Ross Ehmke’15, Rosa Cui’15, and Stephen Segadlo, a representative of the New York Organ Donor Network

Our mission is to provide a platform at health care schools that gives students a chance to learn about organ donation and bone marrow donation and a chance to sign up on the registries. Ultimately, this movement will move students outside the bounds of the schools to engage with their local communities.

S4GIFT at Columbia hosts a lecture/training series put on by the nonprofit Delete Blood Cancer DKMS and the New York Organ Donor Network to educate students from the CUMC schools about the practices of organ and bone marrow transplantation. (The acronym used in the name of the nonprofit, Delete Blood Cancer DKMS, translates into German Bone Marrow Donor Center.) In addition to hosting the educational lecture series, S4GIFT functions as a student interest group for CUMC students interested in careers in transplantation, connecting students with transplant clinicians and researchers. We also host an annual 5K Donor Dash to benefit organ transplantation organizations (NY Organ Donor Network and DKMS) and raise awareness. This year’s event was in April, but support for DKMS and the organ donor network is still being accepted by Yi Cai’16 at

— Joshua Chalif’16

Health for the Homeless

Since 2007, P&S students have tended to the health needs of the homeless, the uninsured, and the local community of West Harlem through the Columbia-Harlem Homeless Medical Partnership—CHHMP. The clinic, held every Tuesday night from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the basement of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, is staffed by a dedicated group of 10 first-year medical students alongside second-, third-, and fourth-year medical student-clinician mentors and under the guidance of James Spears, MD.

In addition to volunteering at the clinic each week, the same 10 first-year students make up CHHMP’s administration. In 2012, the students converted the clinic to operate using electronic medical records and spearheaded an initiative to provide HIV testing. In 2013, students hope to expand their collaborations beyond the already existing relationship with Columbia’s College of Dental Medicine (which runs a free, biweekly dental clinic at CHHMP) and recruit nursing and social work students to provide on-site lab services and establish a better system of referrals to community resources.

CHHMP students recently participated in New York City’s Department of Homeless Services HOPE Survey and hosted six Chinese medical students from a student-run clinic at Peking University as they shadowed students at CHHMP and gave a presentation at CUMC.

More information about CHHMP is available at the program’s website,, or by sending email to

— Katie Hatch’16