VP&S Equity and Justice Fellowship
The mission of the VP&S Equity and Justice Fellowship is to increase equity and justice through curricular programming. Each year, the fellowship class works with Dr. Hetty Cunningham (Director of Equity and Justice in Curricular Affairs) on a variety of projects determined by the fellowship group, critically applying an anti-racist lens to the VP&S curriculum. Please see below for current and past fellows and ongoing projects.
The VP&S Equity and Justice program was established in 2020 to create a central structure for ongoing work in anti-racist curricular programing. The fellowship was established to engage students in school efforts to create a more equitable and just curriculum at VP&S. By offering these funded fellowships, VP&S seeks to take a step toward countering systemic racism and other unjust power imbalances that continue to oppress large swaths of the population and crucially result in adverse health outcomes and distrust of the medical system.
Some 2023 Equity and Justice Fellowship group projects include:
- Development of a longitudinal anti-racism thread for all 4 years - including sub-threads of carceral care and LQBTQ health
- Development and delivery of annual History of Racism in Medicine lecture
- Development, evaluation, and facilitation of Anti-Racism at the Bedside workshop for rising M2 students
- Launch of month-long Anti-Racist Health Equity Elective
- House staff mentoring program for VP&S students from groups that are underrepresented in medicine
Some past projects include:
- Assisting with an Anti-Racism Curriculum Summit for student and faculty education leaders
- Collaborating with faculty to evaluate medical student assessment in the clinical curriculum
- Assisting with microaggressions training workshop development
Hetty Cunningham, MD
Anne Berhe (VP&S 2026)
Anne Berhe is a medical student in the VP&S Class of 2026. She grew up in Los Angeles, CA and attended Pomona College where she majored in molecular biology. Prior to medical school, Anne spent two years at the National Institutes of Health conducting research on vaccine development for malaria. Anne is passionate about striving for equity in the US and globally. She is currently Co-Director of Columbia’s Asylum Clinic, President of the Global Health Organization, and Vice President of the First-Generation Low-Income Partnership (FLIP). As an Equity and Justice Fellow, Anne is eager to contribute to anti-racist efforts at VP&S and work towards a more just medical system.
Omid Cohensedgh (VP&S 2024)
Omid Cohensedgh is a medical student in the VP&S Class of 2024. He is originally from Long Island, New York, and he pursued his undergraduate studies at Columbia University where he majored in Biology and Middle Eastern Studies. Before medical school, he worked as a counselor at the Gay Health Advocacy Project, where he provided sexual health counseling to the Columbia community. While at VP&S, he helped lead the Lambda Health Alliance LGBTQI+ affinity group and the Dígame Bienvenidos orientation program. He also volunteers for Q Clinic, a student-run free clinic tailored towards the needs of underserved LGBTQI+ patients. As an Equity and Justice Fellow, Omid is excited to work alongside the other Fellows and Dr. Cunningham to develop an anti-racist and just curriculum at VP&S that will prepare future physicians to advocate for their patients and bring about lasting change.
Jennifer Edgebike (VP&S 2024)
Jennifer Egbebike is a current fourth-year medical student at Columbia VP&S. She was born and raised in Miami, Florida, obtained her bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience and Behavior at Columbia University, then went on to spend 2 gap years working in clinical research at the Neuro-intensive Care Unit at Columbia/New York Presbyterian where she was involved in acute brain injury clinical trials and outcomes research. Her cultural background and interest in global health led her to volunteer with a rural mobile health clinic in Enugu, Nigeria throughout her undergraduate career, as well as conduct research with Columbia Global Pop during her first year at VP&S. At VP&S, she also served as Vice President of the Black and Latino Students Organization, President of the Student Interest Group in Neurology and Neuroscience, Co-chair of the Systems, Leadership, Integration, and Management Committee, and member of the Honor Code Committee. She was selected as a member of the 2020 Columbia VP&S Anti-Racism Task Force, as well as co-chair of the Presidential Search Advisory Committee, a committee of student leader representatives across each school of Columbia selected to provide input to the Board of Trustees on the diverse qualities we should be seeking in the next President of Columbia University. Jennifer hopes to continue to spend time during her medical education promoting health equity and a bias-free curriculum to improve future patient outcomes.
Simileoluwa Falako (VP&S 2026)
Simileoluwa (Simi) Falako is a first-year medical student at Columbia VP&S. She is from Saint Louis, Missouri, and graduated from Harvard College in 2020 with a major in Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology and a minor in African-American Studies. Before medical school, she also received her Master of Public Health from the Yale School of Public Health, where she worked as part of the Black Maternal Health Study, exploring the experiences of Black mothers with high-risk conditions in pregnancy, as well as the Community Alliance for Research & Engagement to promote breastfeeding among Black and Latinx mothers in New Haven, Connecticut. At Columbia VP&S, she currently serves as the President of the Black and Latino Student Association, the Recruitment Chair for the Adolescent Pregnancy Program in Washington Heights (APOYO), and the financial aid representative on the Class Council. She is thrilled to join as an Equity and Justice Fellow to work towards promoting equity in the medical school curriculum!
Chidebelum Nnake (VP&S 2026)
Chidebelum Nnake is a medical student in the class of 2026. After immigrating to the United States as a child, he grew up in Manchester, Maryland and eventually attended Johns Hopkins University where he majored in public health studies. During his time at Johns Hopkins, he became very involved in working towards amplifying underrepresented and marginalized voices. He co-founded the Black Student Athlete Association at Johns Hopkins, mentored underrepresented minorities in medicine, worked with a mobile clinic to disperse the COVID-19 vaccine, and collaborated with Organization for Equitable and Responsible Policing to review policies and institute change within departments. He looks forward to continuing this work as a medical student – he is heavily involved with White Coats for Black Lives, the Black and Latino Student Organization, and Love Kitchen. He is excited to join the fellows and continue to explore his passions of providing care for the marginalized specifically in the realm of pain management informed with a public health lens.
- Taiwo Alonge, VP&S 2021
- Laura Benoît, VP&S 2022
- Cameron Clarke VP&S 2024
- Toluwani Dawodu, VP&S 2022
- JD Douchee, VP&S 2025
- Spencer Dunleavy, VP&S 2023
- Lauren Fields, VP&S 2022
- Jessica Ho, VP&S 2023
- Keyanna Jackson, VP&S 2023
- Veronica Kane, VP&S 2023
- Emily McNeill, VP&S 2022
- Ahmed Owda, VP&S 2022
- Grace Pipes, VP&S 2023
- Cassie Tarleton, VP&S 2022
- Gabrielle Wimer, VP&S 2025
Any other questions/comments? Send us an email at EquityandJusticeFellows@cumc.columbia.edu