Columbia University in New York City has announced that it will open a new Wellness Center on the university’s new Manhattanville campus. The center will be under the director of Olajide Williams, an associate professor in the department of neurology in the College of Physicians and Surgeons, and Sidney Hankerson, an assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at the medical school.
The new Wellness Center will house the Community Health Worker Stroke Prevention program. The program offers a six-week training program that will give local residents the tools they need to be volunteer community health workers in efforts to prevent stroke. The Wellness Center will also provide free blood pressure readings and cholesterol tests.
Dr. Williams stated that “I don’t think that we, as physicians, will be able to realize the type of outcomes that our local communities desperately need if we do not venture out of the four walls of our hospitals. By extending our work through this new Wellness Center, we’re fulfilling our fundamental responsibility as physicians and healers to our immediate community.”
The Wellness Center also will be a home base for Mental Health First Aid, a program dedicated to improving access to quality mental health services in Upper Manhattan.
Dr. Hankerson, who founded the Mental Health First Aid program, explained that “this is going to be an amazing opportunity for collaborations, for the development of new partnerships between scientists, between physicians, between psychologists, and most importantly members of the West Harlem community to really identify how we can provide the best care delivered in a culturally sensitive way, and how we can positively impact the lives of people in West Harlem.”