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Faculty & Staff Honors

Faculty & Staff Honors

Columbia Professor Receives $10.3 Million Grant from Manhattan District Attorney’s Office to Create Youth Opportunity Hub

Dr. Alwyn T. Cohall, professor of Sociomedical Sciences and Population and Family Health at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, and director of the Harlem Health Promotion Center, co-led an interdisciplinary team of investigators and community partners which received a grant from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Criminal Justice Investment Initiative. The 4-year award of $10.3 million through the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia will be used to create a Youth Opportunity Hub in Northern Manhattan. The Hub grants provide wraparound support and opportunities to youth and young adults in target neighborhoods through well- coordinated partnerships among community-based organizations to reduce involvement in the criminal justice system.

[Photo: Dr. Alwyn T. Cohall]

Dr. Cohall, who is also a professor of Pediatrics at Columbia University Medical Center, was honored, along with his colleagues, at a kick-off event on Monday, February 27th led by Manhattan District Attorney Mr. Cyrus Vance Jr.

“I am delighted to accept this grant which will help build upon our work on incarceration and public health — particularly as it relates to prevention — creating an “urban sanctuary” for high-risk youth to reduce their involvement in the criminal justice system,” said Dr. Cohall. “The award represents a concrete example of interdisciplinary collaboration among faculty at NewYork-Presbyterian, New York State Psychiatric Institute, and the Mailman School of Public Health, along with a network of community-based organizations. Additionally, I envision this project as an extraordinary opportunity for student involvement across our campus.”  Dr. Cohall’s co-principal investigator on the project is Erica Chin in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center.

Dr. Cohall’s areas of research include adolescent health; reproductive health; violence; access to healthcare, particularly for young men of color; and health communication/health promotion. A board-certified pediatrician and adolescent medicine physician, Dr. Cohall also serves as the director of Project Stay (Services to Assist Youth), a New York State Department of Health funded program that provides confidential health services to young people affected by or infected with HIV/AIDS. He is also the medical director of the New York STD Prevention Training Center, one of eight centers funded by the Centers for Disease Control to enhance the skills of health providers in managing patients with sexually transmitted infections.

Additionally, he is co-director, along with his wife Mrs. Renee Cohall LCSW, of BeWell, a unique health and wellness initiative supporting young people involved in BridgeUP – an academic enrichment program housed in five New York Public Library sites.

“We are truly grateful to the Manhattan District’s Attorney’s Office to be selected for this generous grant,” said Dr. Lisa Metsch, chair and Stephen Smith Professor of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia. “This investment will go a long way in helping us expand our efforts in support of at-risk youth and their families in the underserved neighborhoods where Columbia is located. Through Dr. Alwyn Cohall’s leadership of such vital initiatives as the Harlem Health Promotion Center and Project STAY, we will continue to serve and further our programs for local teens, young adults, and their families and succeed in achieving healthier communities for all.”