Occupational Health

If you are enrolled in the Student Health Service (SHS), we are your primary resource for health issues related to your work in hospitals, clinics, laboratories, and other healthcare sites during your time at CUIMC. This process begins with the immunizations required for your registration as a new student. Your required immunizations, health evaluation, and other requirements are then updated annually.

  • We offer the influenza vaccine annually beginning in September, and strongly encourage all students to be vaccinated. Participation in the influenza vaccination program is mandatory for all clinical students. The vaccine is provided at no cost to enrolled students in SHS. We also provide a number of "flu fairs" where we bring the vaccine to you. Keep your eyes open for announcements and emails in the early fall.
Occupational Exposure
  • We treat any body fluid exposures or occupational injuries. Remember, body fluid exposures are a medical emergency. If you sustain an occupational exposure, come to the Student Health Service immediately. If we are closed, contact the SHS clinician on call (212) 305-3400 and go to the nearest emergency room. If prophylaxis is indicated, the goal is to start within 1-2 hours of the exposure. You must also file an incident report at your clinical site for any body fluid exposure or injury.
    • A blood-borne pathogen exposure is not JUST a needle stick, but the exposure of non-intact skin or any mucosal surface to blood or other potentially infectious body fluids (e.g., semen, vaginal secretions, breast milk, CSF, peritoneal or pericardial fluid, saliva in dental procedures, or any fluid contaminated by blood).
    • Follow these steps immediately:
      • Cleanse the injury (soap and water).
      • Notify your resident, preceptor or attending to arrange for prompt counseling and testing of the source patient for HIV, Hepatitis C and Hepatitis B. Getting the source patient tested can potentially save you a month of prophylaxis, drug side effects, and many months of anxiety.
      • Seek medical attention immediately.
      • Notify SHS.
Insurance Considerations - Occupational Exposure

As a preventive measure, all clinical students enrolled on the Columbia University Student Health Insurance Plan, regardless of plan level, will be enrolled in an annual supplemental plan to cover blood borne pathogen exposures. The annual premium for this plan is $28 and the fees will be assessed per semester, $11 for fall 2019 and $17 for spring/summer 2020.  Incoming summer students are billed $11 for only the summer 2020 term.

The supplemental insurance plan will minimize your out-of-pocket costs, should you require treatment related to any blood borne pathogen exposure in the course of your clinical experience. 

For questions about reimbursements or procedures, please contact shsinsurance@cumc.columbia.edu.