Spirit of Service Award

IMG_0093This week we are excited to spotlight one of our physician volunteers, Dr. Magalie Bruneus! She is being honored at the WCCC’s annual fundraiser – Without A Safety Net – this Thursday evening.

At our celebration, the directors of WCCC will present Dr. Bruneus with the WCCC Spirit of Service Award, which annually recognizes an individual who has gone above and beyond in their dedication to the clinic, our patients, and our mission. As a core member of our volunteer attending team, Dr. Bruneus truly embodies the ethos of the WCCC through her dedication to providing our patients with comprehensive, thorough care while prioritizing teaching and mentoring our student leaders.

We got to know Dr. Bruneus better and learn more about her involvement with the clinic as we prepare to honor her later this week.

Tell us more about yourself

As a medical student at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, I took part in a voluntary evening course in social medicine offered to pre-clinical students where we learned a great deal about the social determinants of health and its impact on the community. I actively participated in the free clinic at the school and community health fairs as the community service liaison for the Student National Medical Association (SNMA).
During my medical training, my experiences in working overseas in Guatemala and Haiti have taught me the value of providing care to those in need in a community. I have had involvement in the global health delivery online community and with Boston based organization that focuses mostly on educating medical providers via an online platform. Most recently, my involvement in the community have been on a local level.
I have volunteered with Heart-to-Heart Community Outreach Program, another WCM student-run organization and I am very pleased to continue to provide outpatient services to patients through the Weill Cornell Community Clinic at the NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell campus, becoming part of its mission while I am currently a practicing Internal Medicine Hospitalist. Overall, I enjoy providing proficient, patient-centered clinical care in a way that fosters the patients’ sense of empowerment and engagement in their own personal care.

How do you believe the clinic impacts our patients/community?
The clinic greatly impacts the patients and the community by providing services to people on a longitudinal basis who otherwise would not be able to have access to healthcare. During my four years of volunteering, we have helped diagnose patients with new malignancies, suicide crises, need for surgical procedures, and a myriad of common medical issues, including prevention. In cases where the clinic is unable to help, we facilitate referral to safety net hospitals. This clinic is a haven to the patients in the community who have no where to go and facilitate the provision of care in a compassionate and supportive environment.

Why do you chose to volunteer?
I feel grateful for all my teachers and mentors who have given me so much and enjoy giving back by contributing to the community at large by precepting the medical students and providing care in a unique way while addressing the medical needs of some of the hardest working New Yorkers in the area – people who serve as the back bone of our busy community and greatly contribute to our working environment, yet can not afford basic medical care.I chose to volunteer because the experience allows me the opportunity to interact with people of different backgrounds, cultures, walks of life, journeys, and stories, who are unable to have access to clinical care due to cost.

How do you think WCCC adds to the medical school curriculum/experience?
I believe that WCCC not only adds to the academic value of the medical school curriculum by allowing students to hone-in their communication and clinical skills, it also fosters an environment for them to truly learn the practice of modern medicine in its actual contemporary form and achieve the domain of practice-based learning.

The clinic allows the students to function in various critical roles such as: being a team member in an interdisciplinary team of social workers, pharmacy students, medical assistants; acting as a patient navigator or patient advocate. For some of the participating senior students who serve as executive clinical board members, they become more familiar with some of the administrative skills required to run a clinic, as a result of active involvement in the function of the clinic, the logistics of following up on a sick and uninsured patient, the focused outreach to challenging patients, and acting as a mentor/guide to their fellow junior clinicians in the clinic. It has also been very rewarding to see the incredible growth of the student from a junior clinician at the clinic to poised and professional house staff.

Thank you so much Dr. Bruneus for all your time and dedication to the Weill Cornell Community Clinic and congratulations on your award!


Lenox Hill Health Fair

Last Friday, volunteers from WCCC attended a Health Fair at Lenox Hill Neighborhood House for their Keeping Families Healthy month. In addition to providing information about the services WCCC provides, volunteers also worked to better educate participants about their health. There were didden sugar demonstrations and discussed healthy alternatives. Participants guessed the amount of added sugar in typical products and were surprised to see the high added amounts. They were also educated on recommended daily allowance for added sugar and healthy alternatives. In addition, WCCC partnered with another Weill Cornell medical student organization Heart to Heart for screenings of blood cholesterol and glucose and provided counseling to the participants on their levels and how to interpret them.

Without A Safety Net

The tripartite mission of the WCCC is to provide high-quality, comprehensive care; serve as an educational space for WCM students, and a place for interdisciplinary interactions with other health professional students; and contribute to our society, including our immediate local community, the City of New York, and the national group made up of our peer organizations. The WCCC is funded through a combination of institutional support and generous gifts from alumni, friends, and family. Without this generous support, the clinic simply could not continue its work. Because all of the people that volunteer with us–including medical students, attending physicians, social workers and social work students, pharmacy doctoral students, and physician assistant students–do so on an entirely volunteer basis, all donations made to the clinic go entirely towards funding patient care operations.

The WCCC will host its annual Without A Safety Net Fundraiser on May 11th, 2017 from 6:30 to 9:30 PM at And & And. The evening will feature cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, live music, and a silent auction. For more information visit our event website. Tickets are available through Eventbrite, and donations can be made through the WCM website.

Published Paper Update!

Megan and Rebecca’s paper, “Insurance Enrollment at a Student-Run Free Clinic After the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” has officially been published! You can read it here:



Board Member Spotlight

Our Board Member spotlight this month is Francesca Coxe, Patient Education Coordinator.

img_0078“As the Patient Education and Community Affairs Coordinator, I initiate events associated with prevention and health promotion. I’m responsible for coordinating with Weill Cornell Imaging to create our annual mammogram event, which includes educating patients on breast cancer screening and general women’s health. I also coordinate with Heart-to-Heart, WCCHR, and various street fairs to increase the community’s awareness of WCCC services. Currently, I’m working on implementing a tobacco cessation initiative for our patients and also creating a tobacco cessation protocol for future patients to best aid them in their quitting process. We have also recently established an exciting partnership with the Registered Dietitians at WCM, to benefit many of our patients in making knowledgable decisions regarding food, exercise, and other lifestyle changes. It will also give the student volunteers exposure to an additional discipline related to their patients’ care.
The Clinic makes a huge impact on the underserved in New York City. It is a great opportunity to do something tangible by working directly with patients and community residents during the pre-clinical years. Also, volunteering with the WCCC encourages collaboration across disciplines, like pharmacy, nutrition, and social work, and allows for early exposure to and appreciation of the teamwork required to deliver high quality medical care.”

WCCC Members Publish!

We are excited to announce two of our board members, Megan McGeehan (the current Women’s Health Clinic Co-Director) and Rebecca DeMaria (the current Clinical Co-Director), have had an article accepted for publication!
Back in 2013, Rebecca, as the patient services coordinator, and Megan, as the insurance enrollment coordinator, set up a new system to help guide patients through insurance enrollment after the roll out of the ACA. Because medical student-run free clinics are an important entry point to the healthcare system, but often do not have a standardized method for navigating enrollment, a project was undertaken by Megan and Rebecca in 2015 to evaluate the WCCC enrollment model. After assessing WCCC enrollment outcomes and comparing with student-run free clinics throughout New York City, they found that WCCC stands out with approximately half of the eligible patients gaining coverage during the study period (October 2013-September 2015), due in part to the more structured approach.
They have presented their findings at the national Student-Run Free Clinic Conference in February of 2015, and the national Society of General Internal Medicine Conference in May 2016, and are publishing in the Journal of Community Health in 2017.

Congratulations Megan and Rebecca, thank you for all your hard work!


Board Member Spotlight

Our first board member spotlight of the year is Eric Zhang, Research and Quality Assurance Chair:

img_0067As one of the two Research and Quality Improvement Coordinators, I am responsible for overseeing all of the research projects here at WCCC. I also work my co-coordinator on assessing patient satisfaction and working on improving quick reference material for the clinicians who work here. I believe WCCC is doing a great service for the uninsured community in the New York City area but like any organization it has room for improvement, and that’s why I wanted this role. I’m very proud that we have a large handful of projects currently ongoing. While we learn in class about the patient perspective and the caretaker’s perspective, for me, working at WCCC has shed so much light on the complexity of providing healthcare as a system and how important it is to coordinate and cooperate with colleagues and other members of the board, as well as our clinicians. I think this is a unique opportunity to view healthcare from that angle.