Terence Cardinal Cooke

Applications for this internship are now closed for this summer. Please check again next spring for updates on next summer’s internship. Thank you!

Summer Clinical Based Internship for Pre-

Medical Students

The Columbia University Center for the Study of Science and Religion offers four research internship positions to motivated undergraduate students such that they may have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the field of medicine. In addition to shadowing clinicians and following patients, students have the opportunity to develop a project of interest at the Terence Cardinal Cooke Health Care Center — a long-term care skilled nursing facility sponsored by the Archdiocese of New York and affiliated with New York Medical College.

The CSSR-TCC Clinical-Based Internship for Pre-Medical Students is a full-time (40 hours/week), 10-week summer internship from the beginning of June through the beginning of August at a local skilled nursing facility, Terence Cardinal Cooke Health Care Center. Interns engage in experiential learning and perform quality of care and/or clinical research projects related to the care of the dying (palliative care). The internship places focus on learning through adopting and following the cases of individual patients, as well as through communicating with different levels of clinical staff. Throughout their time at TCC interns will learn about how palliative care is distinct from end of life care. Students conduct independent study projects under the guidance of medical staff and their fellow interns. All interns are required to write a final report and to present their work to the CSSR. Interns receive a stipend of $3000. Housing is not included.

ELIGIBILITY: You may apply if you are currently a pre-med sophomore or junior student in Columbia College, Barnard College, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, or the School of General Studies. Post-baccalaureate students at the School of General Studies and the School of Continuing Education are also eligible to apply, although priority for selection will be given to the aforementioned undergraduates. You must have a particular interest in working with people during the last few weeks or months of life. An interest in bioethics would be expected, but is not required. The internship iscompetitive, with awards based on grades, previous experience, a personal statement, and volunteering experiences. The most competitive applicants will be invited for a personal interview. No previous research experience is necessary and all majors are welcome to apply. Students are expected to work full-time for the duration of the program, so participation in CSSR-TCC is not compatible with taking summer courses or working at another job.

WHERE: Students will be immersed in day-to-day life at the Terence Cardinal Cooke Health Care Center (TCC) at 1249 Fifth Avenue between 105th and 106th Streets. This is a long-term care skilled nursing facility sponsored by ArchCare, the health ministry of the Archdiocese of New York, and affiliated with New York Medical College. It provides care for patients with advanced HIV/AIDS, Huntington’s disease, as well as those with cancer and other diseases that typically affect the elderly.

WHEN: Students will be working Mondays through Fridays from June 2nd
to August 8th, 2014.


1. Education: You’ll read about treatment of the medical and psychosocial conditions of patients whose care is considered palliative (patients that require heightened attention to relieve physical and psycho-social suffering) and end-of-life (patients with a terminal prognosis who are likely to live less than 6 months). You will become familiar with the TCC End Of Life documentation, including what needs to be approved by which caregivers before a resident becomes officially “Hospice” or “End of Life”. You will learn about the different levels of care provided to different types of residents. You will do computer searches on assigned topics, make periodic presentations and work with the staff in following and evaluating palliative patients. For a preview of the literature with which you will engage, please click on the “The Library of Dr. Anthony Lechich” tab at the top of this page.

2. Clinical: Interns will have the opportunity to participate in some clinical aspects of the programs at TCC including going on rounds with attending physicians, adopting a floor in order to fully understand life at TCC, and interviewing palliative care patients. Interns will be expected to monitor the cases of several patients during the course of the internship. In addition, you will be able to follow recreational, pet and music therapists, social workers, dieticians, chaplains, nurses and CNAs (Certified Nursing Assistants) to better appreciate the role that each plays in care of the dying.

3. Research: You will be expected to perform a research project during the internship. Most of the research activities are measures of patient palliative symptoms and needs, the quality of care provided and outcomes. You will be guided in developing a protocol and learning some of the basics of research methodology. At the end of the summer, you will complete a written research paper summarizing your results and will present your findings to TCC staff and CSSR affiliates. For examples of past intern research projects, please click on “The Interns & Their Work” tab at the top of this page.

4. Blog: In order to give your thoughts clarity and to report on your progress, you will periodically record your experiences on the CSSR-TCC blog. For past CSSR-TCC intern blog entries, please click on the “Summer Intern Impressions” tab at the top of this page.

5. Variable: Dr. Anthony Lechich, the medical director of TCC, has varied needs that fluctuate with the unpredictable nature of palliative care. He may require assistance with any number of projects ranging from grant proposals to patient record audits to surveys, to gathering/creating educational materials, etc. You will have the opportunity to assist him in some or all of these institutional-improvement projects, as well as gain an appreciation for the responsibilities of a medical director from an outstanding physician.

QUESTIONS? Please email Program Coordinator Kerstin Nolan(kpn2104@columbia.edu).


TO APPLY: Please send all materials in a single word document saved “Last Name, First Name_CSSRTCC2013 Application.docx” as an email to Program Coordinator Kerstin Nolan (kpn2104@columbia.edu) by the application deadline Friday, February 28th, 2014.

A complete application consists of the following:

1. Resume: Please emphasize experiences that demonstrate strong interpersonal skills, patience and interaction with the elderly/infirm if applicable.

2. Previous clinical exposure and or research experience: Please provide a short summary of the analytic and research skills and methodologies in which you have been trained in previous research experiences (laboratory or clinical), i.e. literature review, experiment design, formulating hypotheses, designing surveys and/or questionnaires, statistical data analysis, conducting interviews, writing grant proposals, and any special skills not aforementioned that may assist you in your work at TCC. Additionally include patient care and experience with the elderly if applicable.

3. Personal statement: The personal statement is the most illustrative component of the application. Please write a 1-2 page, single spaced personal statement that describes your academic interests, career goals and why you would like to participate in the CSSR-TCC program. Please address the following prompts in your personal statement:

1) Please discuss past experiences that lead you to apply for the CSSR-TCC internship.

2) How would your participation in the CSSR-TCC internship inform your views on medicine, healthcare?

3) What do you hope to learn and/or explore about yourself and your future career path through the CSSR-TCC internship?

4) What do you enjoy about working with patients?

4. An unofficial copy of transcript (copy and paste from SSOL)

Please send all materials in a single word document saved “Last Name, First Name_CSSRTCC2013 Application.docx” as an email to Program Coordinator Kerstin Nolan (kpn2104@columbia.edu).

You will receive an e-mail confirmation when all components of your application are received by the deadline.

The most competitive applicants will be invited by e-mail for an in-person interview to take place at Columbia University on March 7th, 2014.