Community Wellness Center

Expanded mental health and stroke awareness programs for West Harlem on Columbia's New Manhattanville Campus.

A specially designed Wellness Center on the ground floor of the Greene Science Center will provide health resources to serve area residents. Physicians from Columbia University Medical Center will host community-based initiatives that train members of the Harlem community and beyond to become health advocates to prevent stroke and promote mental health. The center will also provide free cholesterol and blood pressure screenings.

Stroke Preventiion
The Wellness Center will house the Community Health Worker Stroke Prevention program (CHW), which empowers communities to combat stroke. The program includes 6-week trainings, held throughout the year at the Wellness Center, that give local residents the tools they need to become community health workers. Volunteers learn about various cardiovascular health topics, including motivational interviewing, with a special emphasis on stroke and related risk factors. Alumni of the program serve as health advocates in their communities and at faith-based organizations, with the overall goal of improving stroke outcomes and lowering the prevalence of stroke and related risk factors. The curriculum was developed with the assistance of community focus groups and in consultation with experts in health education. The program, modeled on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s CHW training curriculum, with the addition of culturally tailored multimedia components, is led by Olajide Williams, MD, chief of staff of neurology and associate professor of neurology at Columbia University Medical Center, founder of Hip Hop Public Health, and codirector of the Center for Stroke Disparities Solutions in New York. To learn more, please contact: Harmon Moats,

Mental Health
The Wellness Center will also be a home base to Mental Health First Aid (MHFA), a program dedicated to improving access to quality mental health in Harlem. African Americans and Latinos have the lowest rates of mental health treatment in the United States. To address this disparity, MHFA works with local faith communities, training leaders to identify and respond to signs of depression and other mental illnesses, as well as substance-use disorders like alcoholism. Sidney Hankerson, MD, assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University, College of Physicians & Surgeons and the New York State Psychiatric Institute, founded the program. His team teaches people to combat the stigma often associated with mental health problems and encourages others to seek medical help. MHFA will also provide mental health resources (such as a list of local clinics) onsite at the Wellness Center for the community. To learn more, please contact Faith M. Miller-Sethi, DrPH, MPH, or visit: Community Coalition for Mental Health.

Health Screenings
The Wellness Center will provide free blood pressure readings and cholesterol tests on weekdays and select weekends to all who walk in. Visitors will be given a record of their results, available upon request to their health provider, as well as information on ways they can improve their health. Wellness Center staff will offer information on free and low-cost clinical resources in the neighborhood and within the New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center community.

For General Inquiries

Please contact: