Pathology Faculty Members Support the International Collaboration and Exchange Program Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

ICE program 2020

70 students from 12 universities across the world—including 16 medical, dental, and premedical students from Columbia University—shared their COVID-19 experiences virtually via the “International Collaboration and Exchange Program – Preparing Global Leaders for Healthcare”.

The exchange program launched in 2014 in the Columbia University Department of Pathology & Cell Biology to offer medical, dental, and premedical students early international experiences throughout the school year. During the fall, Columbia students meet with their counterparts at universities in Austria, Canada, Japan, Taiwan, and other countries, for online small group discussions and presentations, followed by summer travel for international networking and basic science research experiences.

This summer, an online program served as a substitute for in person student exchange, given the current travel restrictions for students. The eight-week online summer exchange program aims to enhance intercultural competency and leadership skills in students. Content focused on COVID-19, especially as it relates to research. In addition, small and large international student group discussions covered themes involving international health systems, ethics, and law, and included an interchange about the students’ personal experiences during the pandemic.

Scientific lectures covering COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 basic science and clinical research topics were given by expert faculty members from Columbia University, New York, USA, University of Cambridge, UK, and the National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan. Gunnar Hargus, MD, PhD, assistant professor of pathology & cell biology at CUMC, and Mahesh Mansukhani, MD, associate professor of pathology & cell biology at CUMC and director of Columbia University Laboratory of Personalized Genomic Medicine, were among the faculty members who gave or will give presentations regarding their most current research. These weekend faculty lectures, including Q&A’s led by student moderators, brought together a vibrant and diverse community of students from 12 different medical schools and provided them with information on cutting edge research.

“The program provides students with a framework for international peer and faculty networking, and with a rare opportunity to have an international exchange about a global pandemic of historic dimensions,” says Anette Wu, MD, PhD, MPH, director of the exchange program and assistant professor in the Clinical Gross Anatomy course in the Department of Pathology and Cell Biology.

The students’ experiences were also covered in a recent article in the CUIMC Newsroom at: