Content warning: This article discusses the death of a student.
Matthew Avila, who was a first-year in the School of General Studies, passed away last month, Dean Lisa Rosen-Metsch wrote in an email to the General Studies community Thursday.
Before enrolling in General Studies, Avila graduated with honors with a degree in human development from Cornell University. Between graduating from Cornell in 2018 and beginning the Postbac Premed Program at the school of General Studies last fall, Avila was a research associate at Columbia Mailman School of Public Health as well as a clinical research coordinator at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. Avila, who Rosen-Metsch described as a “determined and driven student,” was also the founder of Mana, a digital health company that utilized data science and innovative technology to create accessible, community-based resources for mental health care.
Avila had plans to attend medical school in the 2022-23 cycle. His professional interests ranged from community mental health to pharmacogenomics. During his first year in General Studies, Avila was a programming fellow for the Coalition Against Sexual Violence and a health educator with the Peer Health Exchange.
“Words alone cannot fully capture the complexities of a student, but I hope that this glimpse into the life of Matthew Avila will help our community in the healing process,” Rosen-Metsch wrote. “I also want to remind all of us that we are not alone in dealing with loss. The entire staff at Columbia GS, as well as our colleagues throughout the campus, are available to offer continued support to GS students.”
Information about Columbia’s Counseling and Psychological Services can be found here, and about Barnard’s Rosemary Furman Counseling Center here. Students on- and off-campus may contact the CPS clinician-on-call, available 24/7, at (212) 854-2878. Columbia Nightline provides free, anonymous peer listening services and can be reached at 212-854-7777. A full list of Columbia’s health and well-being resources can be found here.