Free Weight Club: A Breath of Fresh Air

The storied past of the Free Weight Club offers tales of aspiring physicians performing acts of heroism in the dark, dingy basement of the pre-Depression style citadel that is Bard Hall. What was once a clandestine enterprise has blossomed over the years into a P&S-sanctioned communal club involving all of the graduate schools on the CUMC campus. Though the traditions of our iron-pumping forefathers resonate through time, the character of the club has transformed, necessitating a muscular metamorphosis. 

Thanks to generous donations from alumni, coupled with membership contributions, the Free Weight Club has had the opportunity to invest in its members and in its future. In March 2015, after more than a decade of conservative maintenance, the Free Weight Club was completely refurbished. The gym welcomed P&S custom-decaled Olympic platforms with rubber bumper weights, Olympic lifting barbells, a Glute/Ham Developer, a chalk globe, and a redesigned floor space. Older, unused, and unsafe equipment was removed in the interest of safety. Furthermore, a full-gym speaker system powered by Bose is being installed.

Following these renovations, membership enrollment increased by more than 80 percent, and the Free Weight Club continues to boast the largest membership of any P&S club. Most club members are men, but the number of women has increased about 8 percent over the past year. 

According to members, it is the ideal place to enhance physique while blowing off the stress of classes and clinics. Governed by democratic policy, all members contribute to the evolution of the club. With 24-hour access through our password-protected system, members can relish the aesthetics of the Hudson River at sunset or the illuminated George Washington Bridge after dark. Indeed, an after hours sweat may be the catalyst that inspires the extra several hours needed studying the muscle groups members were destroying all night.

Harry Lightsey’18, Stephen Maier’18, Clark Judge’17,
Daniel Hoesterey’17, David Bray’16, Juan Mejia Munne’16,
and Anthony Gualtieri’16

The organizers of the talk pose with Dr. Vagelos, from left: Michael Henry, Lauren Onofrey, Dr. Vagelos, and Yaagnik Kosuri. 

Global Health: A Conversation with
Roy Vagelos

The CUMC Global Health Organization invited Roy Vagelos’54 to campus Sept. 30 to address nearly 150 students from throughout the medical center. Dr. Vagelos has long been a supporter of CUMC. He recounted stories from his time as CEO of Merck, where he led the company in developing the hepatitis B vaccine and bringing the first statin to market. Perhaps most impressively, Dr. Vagelos was instrumental in Merck’s initiative to distribute more than 1 billion free doses of ivermectin, a philanthropic initiative that has nearly eradicated river blindness in West Africa. Students learned about the power of large corporations under responsible leadership to do great work in global health and discussed current challenges in global health and the pharmaceutical industry. 

 The Global Health Organization (formerly the International Health Organization) is the student-led global health interest group at CUMC. Run by students representing the schools of medicine, nursing, public health, dentistry, and the graduate school, the group plans global health-related speakers, networking opportunities, and advocacy events. For more information, contact copresidents Michael Henry ( or Lauren Onofrey (

Michael Henry’18 and
Lauren Onofrey’1