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A Legacy of Leadership

Unsung Heroes

Here are a few of the thousands of Columbia alumni who make a difference in New York City, going about their important work each day with little publicity.

Heather Barr '97L of the Urban Justice Center Mental Health Project obtained temporary relief in a lawsuit against the city for failing to provide post-release treatment plans an adequate services for mentally ill inmates. She also helped found the Nathaniel Project, which places those inmates in carefully monitored treatment programs rather than in prisons.

Elizabeth Benjamin '92L of the Legal Aid Society Health Law Project, Civil Division, spearheads a campaign for the rights of people with disabilities and for quality health coverage for uninsured and low-income New Yorkers.

Susan Dreyer '87C, a leader in second-chance education, high school.

Jennifer Friedman '93C '98L founded and directs the Center program that recruits and trains advocates from nine law schools in the city and eighteen firms to help women and their children secure protection from abuse.

Hans Hageman '83L nurtures innovative curriculum for fifth through eighth graders at East Harlem School (103d Street near Second Avenue), cofounded with his brother Ivan, the school's principal.

Richard Kahan '70L, president of the Urban Assembly, works to restore the city's sports fields as founder of the nonprofit agency, Take the Field, Inc.

Catherine Kassel '89N, community health nurse, union trustee, and activist, writes documentaries for WBAI.

Kathryn Lawler '98M.P.H./M.I.A. directs Health Care Access, an innovative program of the Children's Aid Society, working to ensure that children have access to both preventive and emergency health care.

Kelly Lenz '97E, in the Office of Chief Medical Examiner of the City of New York, researches sudden and unexpected child fatalities.

Sarah Lichtenberg '99SSW gives individual attention to thirty children from 5 to 13 in the free "Art and the Gardens" summer youth program of the Park Association in Central Harlem, providing hands-on projects in art, horticulture, and the environment, field trips, and counseling services.

Alexandra Mitnick '00SPH/SSW is a health educator at the Breast Exam Center of Harlem.

Arvelia Myers '85GS directs the Columbia junior tennis program at Fred Johnson Park in Harlem. The program teaches tennis to 325 inner-city youngsters ages 4 to 15.

Gerard Papa '72C '75L is the founder of the Flames Neighborhood Youth Association.

Luisa Sanchez '96C leads the book club and high school rap session at WOW (Workers of Wonder) after-school program in Washington Heights, a partnership between our Mailman School of Public Health and New York State, aimed at preventing teens from dropping out of school.

Edith Spivack '29BAR '32L has served the City of New York since the LaGuardia administration. She still goes to work in the Office of the Corporation Counsel.

Ernest Tollerson '75J, formerly editor of the editorial page of the now defunct New York Newsday, is a member of the New York Times editorial board and writes anonymous editorials for the Times.

Adam Weinstein '95L, legal director of the Goddard Riverside West Side SRO Project, works to improve living conditions and prevent eviction of low-income single-room occupancy tenants in neighborhoods adjacent to Columbia.

Kiersten Wells '99N volunteers at P.S. 4 in Washington Heights, teaching safety and injury prevention to third graders, and at Babies Hospital, teaching new parents infant CPR in Spanish.

Dr. Barbara Zeller '71P&S delivers the personal care of a small town doctor as medical director of H.E.L.P./Project Samaritan, a residential health care facility in the South Bronx for patients suffering from the double scourge of drugs and AIDS.


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