The IFAP Global Health Program seeks to support the emergence of a new generation of global health leaders through research, education, training, and patient care.


Wherever possible, IFAP seeks to link students’ international or domestic global health experiences— whether gained through research, patient care, or the acquisition of cultural insight and language skills— to efforts to improve the health care of immigrant populations in the U.S.

IFAP Faculty and Staff   


  • Stephen W. Nicholas, MD
    Founder and Director
  • Rafael E. Pérez-Figueroa, MD, MPH
    Assistant Director
  • Silvia Cunto-Amesty, MD, MPH, MSEd
    Director of Research
  • Ana I. Esteban-Gonzalez, MD
    Director of Education and Cultural Competency
  • Erin Ferenchick, MD
    Co-Instructor of Global Health Courses and Research Mentor
  • Wilmot James, PhD
    Visiting Professor of (non-clinical) Pediatrics and International Affairs
  • Philip LaRussa, MD
    Professor of Pediatrics at the Columbia University Medical Center
  • Mara Minguez, MD, MS
    Collaborative Investigator and Research Mentor
  • Barbara S. Taylor, MD, MS
    Collaborative Investigator and Research Mentor
  • Lawrence R. Stanberry, MD, PhD
    Reuben S. Carpenter Professor of Pediatrics; Chair, Department of Pediatrics


  • Wanthani Briggs Lopez, MEd
  • Gabriella Flynn, MEd
    Program Coordinator
  • Jennifer Cunha
    Liaison for P&S Medical School Scholarly Projects
  • Palak Bhatnagar
    Program Assistant
  • Ting Chen
    Program Assistant


The Columbia University IFAP Global Health Program was founded by Dr. Stephen W. Nicholas in 1999 to introduce to the Dominican Republic (D.R.) the first AIDS treatment to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission.

IFAP played a central role in assisting the D.R. Ministry of Health to create the national AIDS program in tandem with nation-wide efforts to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission (pMTCT). During the past 15 years, the D.R.‘s national transmission rate has decreased from 25-40% to 4.0%, one of the lowest rates in the developing world. IFAP created the country’s first model of AIDS care for HIV-infected children and their families at the Clínica de Familia La Romana, and since 1999 has overseen the pMTCT program in La Romana province, where the transmission rate has fallen to zero during the past three years.

Originally called the International Family AIDS Program (IFAP), the program was renamed The IFAP Global Health Program to reflect its expanded scope. The program is administered within the Department of Pediatrics at P&S but works closely with multiple clinical departments at P&S & NYPH as well as with the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, Mailman School of Public Health, School of Nursing, School of International and Public Affairs, Institute of Human Nutrition, School of General Studies, and Columbia College.

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