Advisory Council to Promote Local Partnerships

Dr. Olajide A. Williams, Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr, Dr. Rafael A. Lantigua, and Dr. Melissa Begg. (Columbia)

This spring, the University created a Community Advisory Council to promote new collaborations between academics and local community leaders and organizations in Harlem and Upper Manhattan.

The initiative was conceived as part of the University’s Antiracism Task Force, which aims to advance Columbia’s longstanding commitment to addressing the entrenched consequences of racism in the US. It will support new and existing Columbia programs that serve local residents in areas such as health care, education, small-business development, affordable housing, and climate adaptation. The council is led by social-work dean Melissa Begg and three physicians with extensive experience planning public-outreach projects: Wafaa El-Sadr ’91PH, Rafael A. Lantigua, and Olajide A. Williams ’04PH.

“Columbia has an enduring commitment to strengthening our neighboring communities and improving the lives of those who reside here,” says President Lee C. Bollinger. “To fulfill that commitment, we must adapt to changes in society, listen to the needs expressed by our neighbors, and be alert to the sweep of history.”