The Medical Education project returns to the CUIMC

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Last August, after a two-year hiatus, Project Medical Education (PME) returned to Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC). Hosted by the Office of Government and Community Affairs, PME invites local residents, community leaders, policy makers and others to spend the day on campus and learn about the day-to-day operations of CUIMC. The Columbia PME is part of a national effort led by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) to educate elected officials and others about academic medicine.

CUIMC has held similar programs every year since 2011, but this was the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic that the program had returned live to campus. In fact, it was the first in-person program anywhere in the country since 2019. According to the AAMC, Columbia has now hosted more SMEs than any other medical school or teaching hospital in the country.

PME 2022 featured twenty-one guests, about half of whom were from upper Manhattan. In addition, among the group were federal and municipal health care policy experts as well as representatives from several health care organizations. The day began with a welcome from Dean Katrina Armstrong and a brief overview of research and finance at CUIMC. The programming started in earnest with presentations by Dr. Lisa Mellman on medical education and the medical school curriculum and Dr. Rachel Gordon from whom GPE students learned a little about infectious diseases.

A panel of public health experts recount experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic at the Mailman School of Public Health.

Then off to the New York State Psychiatric Institute (PI) for a session on mental health. Linda Rosenfield welcomed the group and provided an overview of PI. Dr. Milton Wainberg then discussed community mental health efforts and was followed by Dr. Yuval Neria and Matthew Ryba who gave a presentation on the Military Family Wellness Center and efforts to develop mental health. best treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder and other conditions affecting veterans.

The Mailman School of Public Health was the site of an in-depth conversation about COVID-19. Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr led a discussion that included Anne Sperling of NewYork-Presbyterian (NYP) and Drs. Robert Fulilove, Christopher Tedeschi, Deborah Theodore on the pandemic and the medical center response. They also discussed ways to prevent and prepare for the next pandemic and the recent Monkey Pox virus.

SME participant Eddie Cuesta, director of Dominicanos USA, tries his hand at pipetting in the Passague Lab.

Several NYP medical students and colleagues joined the group for lunch in Haven Plaza. After a group photo, everyone headed to the Black Building to learn more about the Columbia Stem Cell Initiative and visit Dr. Emmanuelle Passegue’s lab. There, PME participants had the opportunity to try their hand at pipetting and observing zebrafish under the microscope. They also saw some of the latest technology in use at the lab’s central facilities.

Next, we traveled to the College of Dentistry to see the preclinical lab, learn about dental education, research, and how the school serves the community. The last session of the day was held at the School of Nursing where all PME participants learned hands-free CPR and naloxone training to learn how to help someone suffering from an overdose of opioids. The session also included several simulations and AAMC’s Brandon Vaughan participated in a birthing demonstration where he helped deliver a healthy baby dummy.

The day ended with a reception and graduation ceremony. Ross Frommer, Vice President of Government and Community Affairs, congratulated everyone on completing the program and commented on how wonderful it was to reunite with PME. “The PME is a wonderful opportunity for community residents and others to see firsthand what we do here at CUIMC every day. It is also a wonderful opportunity to build relationships between participants and teachers. I already know of a potential collaboration from this year’s program. »

Dean Armstrong said, “It was great to welcome the SMB 2022 attendees to campus. While there have obviously been challenges over the past two and a half years, I want our campus to be as open as possible and everyone, especially our neighbors, to feel welcome here. The more we can educate each other, the more we can talk about important and sometimes difficult issues, the better off we will all be.

Dr. Passegue added, “It was wonderful to see PME visit our labs and technical facilities and learn more about stem cell research at Columbia. Part of our responsibility as scientists is to educate and help people understand stem cell research and regenerative medicine and to help them understand why it is so important.

“Thank you, thank you for inviting me!” I enjoyed this experience. I learned a lot. Looking forward to supporting these efforts in the future,” Tanya Bonner, member of Manhattan Community Board 12.

Erica Froyd, Senior Director of Advocacy and Engagement at AAMC, said, “Project Medical Education (PME) is an essential tool that helps AAMC member medical schools and teaching hospitals educate Congress and their staff, state and local authorities, community members and others. about the academic medicine ecosystem and the medical education process, including the benefits it offers, its complex funding mechanisms, and the importance of strong government support. We are grateful that our member institutions, like Columbia, are reviving GPE programs to highlight the value of academic medicine to communities and patients nationwide.

Feedback from participants was positive. “Thank you, thank you for inviting me!” I enjoyed this experience. I learned a lot. Looking forward to supporting these efforts in the future,” said Manhattan Community Board 12 member Tanya Bonner.

“What amazed me most about the Washington Heights campus was the diversity and quality of the educational programs offered by the university. The scope and depth of research conducted at the various schools was astounding” , noted Eddie Cuesta, National Executive Director, Dominicanos USA.

Gina Bolden-Rivera, Senior Vice President of Commercial Lending with the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone added, “I wasn’t sure what to expect. However, I am extremely happy with my experience.


All SME participants were required to wear masks throughout the day and be vaccinated against COVID-19. No cases of COVID-19 have been reported under the program.

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