2021 Class Members

  • Luz Aguirre, DDS

    Through her community work at the DentCare Program and the National Health Service Corps, Dr. Aguirre is committed to helping underserved communities and dedicating herself to reducing oral health disparities by service and education. Dr. Aguirre instills in her students the importance of volunteering and participating in organized dentistry as tools to bridge the gaps in oral health care.

  • George Jenkins, DMD

    Dr. Jenkins proudly serves as Associate Dean for Access Equity and Inclusion and serves on multiple administrative committees at Columbia University. Dr. Jenkins oversees The Three Doctors Foundation which is a New Jersey based non-profit dedicated to health outreach, educational excellence, and youth mentoring. Throughout his career, Dr. Jenkins has dedicated himself to inspire others to pursue higher education, to encourage an interest in medicine and dental careers, and to achieve one’s goals through strength and perseverance.

  • Dennis Mitchell, DDS, MPH

    Dr. Mitchell is committed to the oral health needs of underserved populations in the communities surrounding our university. As Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement at Columbia and Senior Associate Dean for Diversity of the College of Dental Medicine, Dr. Mitchell works to enhance the diversity of our faculty and works to evaluate and strengthen diversity initiatives. Dr. Mitchell has also focused on and served as the Co-Principal Investigator of Columbia University’s programs to diversify the health professions such as the Summer Health Professions Education Program and the Summer Public Health Scholars Program.

  • David Bell, MD, MPH

    Dr. Bell has dedicated his career to community service locally, nationally, and internationally. Through his work as the medical director of the Young Men's Clinic, President of the President of the Society of Adolescent Health and Medicine, and as a member of NYC’s Sexual Health Education Task Force, Dr. Bell has delivered primary care to adolescent and young adult males and advocated for the right of young men to have access to high quality and respectful services.

  • Alwyn Cohall, MD

    Dr. Cohall is a native son of the Northern Manhattan community. Throughout his career, Dr. Cohall has focused on improving health outcomes for adolescents and young adults in our local community. Dr. Cohall supports and serves as director of several community-based programs including, among many others, Project Stay (Services to Assist Youth), which provides confidential health services to young people affected by or infected with HIV/AIDS.

  • Julie Herbstman, PhD, Sc.M

    As the Director of the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health, Dr. Herbstman leads efforts to recruit, follow, and study mothers and their children who live in Washington Heights, Harlem, and the Bronx.  Dr. Herbstman has worked with local community partners including WE ACT for Environmental Justice to ensure that research is bi-directional: that we are informing local communities about the results of our research, and we are addressing research questions that are of concern to the local community. 

  • Maura Abbott, PhD

    Dr. Abbott promotes community health and health care issues in both her academic and clinical work. Through her service and involvement in the Oncology Nursing Club, Ambulatory Care Network’s Cancer Center Screening Services, and the New York State Cancer Consortium Survivorship Action Team, Dr. Abbott’s work has focused on increasing cancer screening and on improving our community’s understanding of cancer.

  • Adena Bargad, PhD

    Dr. Bargad is a nationally recognized trainer in contraceptive methods and counseling as a consultant trainer for The National Title X Clinical Training Center for Family Planning and Envision Sexual and Reproductive Health. She has devoted her career to community health. Dr. Bargad also serves as volunteer faculty for Promoting Health in Haiti, a non-profit organization that established the first advanced practice nursing program for nurses in Haiti.

  • Kellie Bryant, DNP

    Dr. Bryant is an expert in the field of simulation through her experience with designing simulation centers and implementing simulation programs. Dr. Bryant utilizes the simulation center as a resource for implementing community service projects that promote health equality through programs like the opioid overdose prevention trainings, community CPR classes, health fairs, and COVID-19 vaccinations.

  • Jennifer Dohrn, DNP

    Dr. Dohrn has integrated her experiences in complex humanitarian emergencies and racial injustice into two decades of teaching midwifery and global health equity. Among other projects, Dr. Dohrn initiated the first freestanding maternity center in an inner city in the United States in the Bronx, worked in Sub-Saharan African countries to expand the role of nurses and midwives in primary and HIV care, led the expansion of global clinical practicum experiences in nursing education, and is now part of an initiative to study the role of nurses in pandemic response. 

  • Stephen Ferrara, DNP, RN

    Dr. Ferrara believes that among the most important considerations in the delivery of care are the decisions and options that patients make within their communities. Dr. Ferrara led the expansion of the CUSON’s Washington Heights primary care faculty practice by engaging with community stakeholders. Dr. Ferrara started the only formalized nurse practitioner house calls practice to deliver primary care to home-bound patients in Washington Heights and Inwood and is working to bring primary palliative care to patients in nearby communities.

  • Marie Carmel Garcon, DNP

    Dr. Garcon works to improve the lives of homebound geriatric patients and has worked effortlessly throughout her career to influence the lives of the people she encounters. She has served the Washington Heights area as a registered nurse, a family nurse practitioner, site surveyor for the Medical Center Neighborhood Fund, and has been a community leader. Her mission extends to charitable work for the community and abroad especially in her native country of Haiti.

  • Beth Maletz, DNP

    Dr. Maletz’ career has been dedicated to caring for those most impacted by disparities and injustices in our world. Through her work as a psychiatric nurse practitioner and her involvement with NewYork-Presbyterian and Citizens’ Committee for Children, Dr. Maletz has worked to provide mental health treatment to children and families impacted by social determinants of health and to improve maternal mental health and early childhood social, emotional, and developmental outcomes around New York City.

  • Joan Bregstein, MD

    Dr. Bregstein’s interests include access to care, narrative medicine, and faculty development. She has spent much of her career focusing on community outreach and access to care on many levels. Throughout her efforts, Dr. Bregstein has spearheaded an Annual Children’s Health Fair for 20 years impacting the lives of more than 10,000 Washington Heights school-aged children; has ran a National CME course for 5 years focusing on pediatric emergency medicine for emergency medicine providers not trained in Pediatrics; and has acted as a liaison between our community and the Pediatric Emergency Department.

  • Ana Cepin, MD

    A native of Washington Heights, Dr. Cepin provides care to patients in our community who are uninsured or underinsured through her role as the medical director of the NY-Presbyterian/Ambulatory Care Network Family Planning Practice.  Dr. Cepin is also engaged in efforts to improve the health outcomes of the women in our community and is committed to advancing health equity in her role as Director of Community Women’s Health and Co-Director of the Ob/Gyn Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

  • Jeanine D'Armiento

    Dr. D’Armiento studies mechanisms that lead to lung destruction. Her interest in global health has led to studies in India documenting the direct dangers of biomass exposure on lung function. Dr. D’Armiento runs one of the largest centers in the country for patients suffering from the rare disease, Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) and for the past 19 years she has directed the Summer Program for Undergraduate Rising Stars (SPURS) at Columbia University – a pipeline training program for students underrepresented in science and medicine. 

  • Adriana Matiz, MD

    Dr. Matiz works to decrease health disparities and to expand the delivery of culturally competent care. Through her work, Dr. Matiz oversees the clinical integration and model development of the Patient Navigator and Community Health Worker programs. Dr Matiz has served as the medical director of WIN for Asthma, a nationally recognized program to strengthen community-wide asthma management for children in Northern Manhattan which later expanded the community health worker model to multiple populations. 

  • Samuel Silverstein, MD

    Dr. Silverstein’s concerns about the quality of secondary science education led him to found Columbia’s Summer Research Program for Secondary Science Teachers in 1990. The program enables science teachers to engage in hands-on laboratory research under the mentorship of Columbia University and NY Stem Cell Foundation. The Program’s educational excellence has been recognized by national, state, and local awards and has catalyzed the formation of three similar New York State programs.