First Lady Jill Biden and Queen Letizia of Spain Visit CUIMC

September 22, 2022

First Lady Jill Biden and Queen Letizia of Spain visited Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) yesterday to learn about cutting-edge research at the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center (HICCC) and the center’s  collaborations to transform care, improve diversity and access in clinical trials and promote diversity and inclusion in science and medicine. The meetings were held at Columbia’s School of Nursing.

The visiting dignitaries met with medical center leaders, clinicians, community partners, and scientists—including two epidemiologists on the Columbia Mailman School faculty, Jasmine McDonald and Mary Beth Terry.


rry, who directs the Community Outreach and Engagement office at the HICCC, showcased the Cancer Center’s YES in THE HEIGHTS Program, a summer internship for high school and undergraduate students that aims to increase the pool of underrepresented and under-resourced youth entering STEM fields. Terry and McDonald are principal investigators on the National Cancer Center grant that funds the program.

The First Lady and the Queen also met with a group of high school and undergraduate students, from across the five boroughs, who have all participated in YES. Over the course of two years, YES Student Equity Scholars gain hands-on experience in cancer research by working alongside world-renowned researchers and physicians with a focus on cancer.

Just days ahead of World Cancer Research Day, held each year on September 24, the First Lady and Queen Letizia highlighted the importance of patient-centered care and how community and international collaborations are critical in making strides toward a cure.

Said Biden: “None of us can beat cancer alone. It takes all of us, sharing our best ideas and practices, working together to ease the burden on patients and their families, and creating the kind of care that saves lives ... Together, we can give our people the future they deserve, no matter where they call home.”

(Read more about the visit on the HICC website.)