Especially for Students of Color

A warm welcome to our Black, Latinx, Native American, Asian, South Asian, Pacific Islander, and Middle Eastern students … and to our many students with intersecting backgrounds and identities. We’re glad you are here!

You are a member of the Cornell community because you are intelligent, capable, and have worked hard to get here, and the many strengths and skills you have already honed will likely serve you well while you’re here.   

However, research also shows that many students of color experience unique stressors, and come to college having experienced health disparities, as a result of historical and systemic racism and bias. Additionally, higher percentages of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) students identify as low-income and/or first-generation college students than do their white classmates. These added stressors can have a significant impact on a student’s mental, physical, and emotional health. 

At Cornell Health, we strive to deliver high-quality, culturally sensitive care that helps all students thrive both academically and personally. Our staff participate in ongoing trainings to dismantle unconsious bias, and embrace the social justice imperatives inherent in the work we do with a steadfast commitment to inclusion, respect, and advocacy. 

Mental health care

It is well-documented that Black, Brown, and other POC college students experience higher levels of emotional stress and distress relative to white students, and often have greater levels of unmet mental health needs. For some students, stigma, and the resulting reluctance to seek help for mental health concerns, and/or mistrust of mental health professionals are barriers to seeking care.

Our Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) staff members recognize that many factors – including culture, racial/ethnic identities, socioeconomic status, sex, gender, sexual orientation, political viewpoints, religious/spiritual and/or philosophical beliefs, and physical and cognitive abilities – are salient in students' lives, and we are committed to welcoming all clients with respect and sensitivity. We offer:

Additionally, students can connect privately with someone through one of these recommended hotlines or textlines, including the Steve Fund crisis text line created especially for students of color (text STEVE to 741741).

Medical care

Our physicians, nurses, technicians, and other medical providers strive to deliver culturally sensitive care for Cornell’s diverse student population, using the National CLAS Standards as a model to advance health equity and help eliminate health care disparities in the services we offer.

We know that some students come from communities in which healthcare options have been limited or inaccessible, and from cultures that have experienced historical racism and unjust treatment at the hands of medical providers. Additionally, many students of color come from cultures for whom Western medicine is not the norm or preferred way of receiving care. 

We hope that all students at Cornell come to trust our staff to provide respectful, culturally competent care to support your health and well-being throughout your time at Cornell. Please visit our Primary Care page to learn about the full range of medical support we offer. Students who have questions or concerns can access our 24/7 phone consultation service to speak with a medical provider, any time, day or night.

Our staff 

At Cornell Health, we are committed to continually working to educate ourselves and dismantle our own unconscious biases, and to develop anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-heteronormative services and programs that help all students feel welcome. Our 220+ staff members come from diverse cultural and clinical backgrounds, represent different abilities and identities (related to gender, age, sexual orientation, faith, etc.), and strive to be inclusive of the full spectrum of diversity represented among our patients and clients.

Ways in which we prioritize diversity and inclusion include:

  • Regular staff trainings that promote multi-cultural competency and humility
  • Collaboration with campus partners who serve international students, students of color, members of Cornell’s LGBTQ community, and students with disabilities
  • Targeted programs and outreach efforts to connect with and support underrepresented student populations
  • A language-translation service for students who feel more comfortable communicating about health care concerns in their native language
  • A Patient Advocacy program for patients, clients, and other community members to get assistance regarding questions, needs, concerns, or problems
  • Support services for victims of  sexual harassment, violence, or bias-related incidents
  • Financial assistance for students for whom financial challenges may pose an obstacle to receiving needed health care (link to Insurance
  • Surveys and focus groups to collect patient / client feedback that helps us be more responsive to diverse and emerging student needs

We welcome you to provide us with feedback (anonymously, if you wish) with suggestions or concerns about the services and care we provide. 

Cornell community & identity resources

Student groups

Cornell has hundreds of student groups to explore, a number of which are focused on cultural identify. A great place to start is the African, Latino, Asian, Native American (ALANA) Intercultural Board, which is the umbrella organization for Black Students United, Cornell Asian Pacific Islander Student Union, Las Asociacion Latina, and Native American Students at Cornell. 

Additional resources