A Call for Help With the Coronavirus Response

March 19, 2020

Public health students are eager to contribute to the COVID-19 response, and opportunities to do so are now available, remotely, to foster social distancing and tap the skills of students learning from a distance. 

“So many of you have reached out to offer your assistance with the rapidly escalating COVID-19 situation—a true testament to the compassionate and generous community of students at Mailman,” Marina Catallozzi, a faculty member in pediatrics and population and family health, and Heather Krasna, director of Career Services, wrote in an email to students.

A range of remote volunteer opportunities are available through the COVID-19 Student Service Corps (CSSC), a new service-learning initiative created by students and faculty across the Columbia University Irving Medical Center, including Catallozzi. Students are invited to assist with hospital hotlines, promote student and healthcare provider wellness, and develop and disseminate health literacy and information to members of the Medical Center and the larger community. Additional volunteer opportunities are already being developed. More than 300 Columbia Mailman students have signed up. Interested students can email Stephanie Grilo to learn more.

CSCC and one of its student co-founders, David Edelman, a dual-degree MD-MPH student, were spotlighted in a story in a New York Times report. The article notes that CSCC members are coordinating with medical students nationwide to establish other chapters. 

Graduating students may also find jobs related to the coronavirus response. The annual Columbia Mailman Career Fair will include at least 10 employers who have indicated an interest in hiring public health specialists for the COVID-19 response. The event will take place online on March 27. Employers include the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, as well as several hospitals. Other employers will take part to recruit for traditional public health careers. During the fair, registered students can chat with employers via the Career Fair website. 

Additional community-based volunteer and staff opportunities are posted on Mailman CareerLink. Organizations wishing to recruit volunteers may submit opportunities by email.

Samuel Meyer, a second-year health policy and management student, wants to do whatever he can in this moment of crisis. “The chance to be able to help out right now is so important,” he said. “We’re facing a global public health emergency. As a public health student, I have skills that can be put to good use. We can’t stay on the sidelines. Put me in coach, tell me what to do!”