The Columbia University IFAP Global Health Program

The Pincus Family Foundation provides major funding for the Columbia University IFAP Global Health Program’s mission to support patient care, education and training, and research across a world-wide spectrum of poverty.

IFAP was founded in 1999 to introduce to the Dominican Republic (D.R.) the first AIDS treatment to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission.  The initial start-up funding for this work was provided by David and Gerry Pincus, Harold and Lynne Honickman, and Sy and Lynn Syms.    

IFAP played a central role in assisting the D.R. Ministry of Health to create a national AIDS program.   During the past 15 years, the D.R.’s national rate of mother-to-child HIV transmission has decreased 84%.   In 2003, in the province of La Romana, IFAP started Clínica de Familia La Romana, the country’s first family AIDS clinic and lowered the transmission rate to zero for the past three years.

One of the first AIDS-free babies born in the Dominican Republic in 1999 as part of IFAP’s program to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission.

One of the first AIDS-free babies born in the Dominican Republic in 1999 as part of IFAP’s program to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission.

At CFLR  |  A dental exam; A mother and baby at the MAMI prenatal clinic for pregnant teens; CFLR’s staff.

Supporting patient care.  Today Clínica de Familia La Romana (CFLR) remains closely affiliated with and financially supported by Columbia University, but it is now a free-standing community-based organization, licensed by the Dominican Ministry of Health and directed by an all-Dominican board of directors.  HIV care and support remain central to the program, but its activities have broadened to include general child and adolescent health; prenatal care for pregnant teenagers; reproductive health services; young men’s health; primary care and risk reduction for commercial sex workers; and chronic care for children, adolescents and adults with obesity, hypertension, or diabetes.  In 2015, over 40,000 patient care visits were provided by the clinic’s multiple programs and a staff of over 90 health care providers.

In Uganda, the leading cause of death for pregnant women and children under the age of five is falciparum malaria.

In Uganda, the leading cause of death for pregnant women and children under the age of five is falciparum malaria. While conducting a mosquito net sale in the rural village of Bugigiri, we asked the crowd to raise their hand if they had contracted malaria in the past year. This image humanizes the statistics that are often difficult to comprehend.

Although IFAP’s primary focus has been and continues to be the D.R., it has supported work in Haiti, South Africa, and Russia during the past 15 years and more recently has sponsored projects in Peru, Brazil, El Salvador, Mexico, Botswana, Ethiopia, Senegal, Kenya, Uganda, India, Sri Lanka and China.

Since 2002, the IFAP Global Health Program has provided structured, mentored global health education, training, and field experiences for over 500 students in medicine, public health, nursing and dentistry. 

Supporting education, training and research.  The Columbia University IFAP Global Health Program seeks to give students of  medicine, public health, nursing, and dentistry the education, skills, and real-life experiences  they need to embark on careers in global health.  This is accomplished through global health courses, summer 8-week clinical or research internships (internationally via our IFAP Abroad Program and domestically via our Global is Local Program), our medical student Scholarly Project Global Health Track, and our new MD-Master of Biomedical Sciences – Global Health Focus dual degree program, which includes a year of international research.  Whenever possible, we seek to link students’ experiences to efforts to improve the health care of immigrants in the United States.