VP&S Hosts Regional Conference for Student-Run Clinics

Columbia’s student-run clinics hosted this year’s New York Student-Run Free Clinics Regional Conference. More than 120 students from 10 medical schools participated in the January event, the theme of which was“Free Clinics as Safe Spaces for Vulnerable Populations.” 

The annual conference brings together students from medical schools in the NYC metro area to promote connections between the clinics by allowing students to facilitate discussions, showcase their research, and share information about clinic programing, innovations, and resources. The conference gives the participating students an opportunity to network, learn about free clinics at other schools, and address unique or shared challenges. By learning from each other, the students can improve their clinics’ ability to better serve their respective communities.  

Columbia has five student-run clinics: the Human Rights Initiative Asylum Clinic, Columbia-Harlem Homeless Medical Partnership (CHHMP), Columbia Student Medical Outreach (CoSMO), Columbia University Harm Reduction Clinic (CUHR), and Q Clinic: Primary Care for the LGBTQ Community.

Danny Neghassi’11, who volunteered with CHHMP as a medical student, was the keynote speaker at the event. Now a family physician at Hudson River HealthCare and instructor in clinical medicine in the Center for Family and Community Medicine at VP&S, Dr. Neghassi continues to volunteer with CHHMP as an attending physician. In 2018, Dr. Neghassi received the Emerging Leader Award from the Family Medicine Education Consortium and the Health Justice Award from Physicians for a National Health Program NY Metro Chapter.

Breakout sessions covered such topics as strategic planning, research collaborations, domestic violence, taking a sexual history, and conducting a needs assessment. Participants presented 18 poster sessions on topics related to the work of the students at the clinics, including depression screening, STI testing, domestic violence, electronic medical records, fundraising, and interdisciplinary interactions. 

Other medical schools that participated in the conference were Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Weill Cornell Medical College, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Stony Brook Medicine, SUNY Downstate Medical School, the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, NYU, and SUNY Downstate Medical School.

Danny Neghassi’11 visits a poster session. Credit: Lillian Liao’22