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Aiding Those Serving on the Front Lines: Columbia University CSSC (COVID-19 Student Service Corps) Workforce Health & Safety Collaboration Project with New York Presbyterian Healthcare System

Last Updated: May 29, 2020


Columbia University CSSC (COVID-19 Student Service Corps) was established in response to the needs of the New York-Presbyterian (NYP) healthcare system during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City. In particular, the CSSC Workforce Health & Safety Collaboration Project merged student volunteers from four different healthcare-related schools- Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, School of Nursing, College of Dental Medicine and Mailman School of Public Health- with the Workforce Health & Safety division of the New York-Presbyterian Healthcare System. The goal of the project is to assist the Workforce Health & Safety division by managing and staffing a specific hotline call center designed for the staff and providers working within the New York-Presbyterian Healthcare System with information and policy regarding returning to work procedure, symptom questioning, quarantining process, and COVID testing implementation. The collaboration directly aids the healthcare system by receiving calls and following potential cases of COVID-19 among staff and providers. The project provides student volunteers the opportunity to engage in community-based service while promoting workforce procedures and addressing the health concerns of NYP healthcare system employees brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Student volunteers of the CSSC Workforce Health & Safety Collaboration Project have successfully managed a hotline call center that is open from 6 am to 11 pm seven days a week with 3129 hours of student volunteer hours completed on the hotline and 540 total shifts covered as of May 18, 2020. The shift coverage includes both 199 long shifts covered, defined at 8-hour shifts, and 341 short shifts covered, defined as 4-hour shifts. And 92 Columbia student volunteers were onboarded in the project, defined as a student who has volunteered for at least one shift on the WHS hotline. In addition, the average wait time for hotline callers the weekend before student volunteer assistance was 14 minutes, and approximately four weeks into the program the average wait time was reduced to 11 seconds. Furthermore, the Workforce Health & Safety Collaboration Project has engaged in data analysis and data management for New York-Presbyterian that has aided the Workforce Health & Safety division of NYP to analyze call volumes and manage employee COVID-related call records including quarantine, PCR and antibody testing status. The success of the project is led by a collective determination of both students and faculty across multiple schools within Columbia University willing to make consistent adjustments in the service of the healthcare system staff and providers. The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated New York City with some of the highest rates of prevalence in the country and by serving those working every day to provide New Yorkers with necessary medical services, the Work Workforce Health & Safety Collaboration Project is meeting a demand for a humanized, coordinated, and compassionate support of healthcare staff and providers. Contact Columbia University CSSC (COVID-19 Student Service Corps), Columbia University Irving Medical Center.


Andrew Goulian, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health (ajg2253@cumc.columbia.edu)