Postbac Premed student Matthew Avila has passed away, according to an email sent to GS students at 4:07 pm on April 1. 

Editor’s Warning: Student Death

In an email to General Studies students today, Dean Rosen-Metsch revealed that Postbac Premed student Matthew Avila passed away. Avila had worked as a research associate at the Mailman School of Public Health, a clinical research coordinator at the Irving Medical Center, and had founded Mana, a “digital health company committed to creating accessible community-based mental healthcare using innovative technology and data science for those who need it most.” The cause of death was not provided.

We at Bwog extend our deepest sympathies to Matthew Avila’s family and friends.

The email in full and campus resources are provided below.

Email from Dean Lisa Rosen-Metsch to General Studies Students, sent on April 1 at 4:07 pm:

Dear Students,

I am deeply saddened to inform you of the passing last month of Postbac Premed student Matthew Avila, who enrolled in the Postbac Premed Program in fall of last year, having graduated in 2018 with honors with a degree in human development from Cornell University, where he received multiple awards for his scholarship.

Matthew was already a member of the Columbia community before enrolling in the Postbac Premed Program, having worked as a research associate at Columbia Mailman School of Public Health and as a clinical research coordinator at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. He was also the founder of Mana, which he described as a digital health company committed to creating accessible community-based mental healthcare using innovative technology and data science for those who need it most. Matthew was a determined and driven student and researcher who loved travelling and was passionate about becoming a doctor and helping others.

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. 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. 

The Dean of Students Office will have regular walk-in hours and Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) is available via the number below. As always, you can reach out to your academic advisor directly, and the staff at CPS and members of the Office of the University Chaplain are all available to provide you with additional support. I have listed contact information and additional resources below. 

With deepest sympathy,

Lisa Rosen-Metsch


Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Wellbeing, Amber Griffiths

Dean Griffiths is available to offer support and guidance through the Dean of Students Office at GS.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS)

CPS provides 24/7 phone support available through on-call service, which is accessed by calling (212) 854-2878 and following the recorded directions.

Center for Religious Life

The Earl Hall Center for Religious Life may be reached for spiritual counseling at (646) 906-5913 (Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. ET and by appointment after hours and during the weekends). For those on campus, Earl Hall and Saint Paul’s Chapel are open from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, for prayer and reflection.

Live Well | Learn Well

Office of University Life

Columbia Resources:

GS Dean of Students Office: (212) 854-2881

Counseling and Psychological Services: 5th and 8th Floor Lerner Hall, (212) 854-2878

Office of the University Chaplain: 212-854-1493

Live Well | Learn Well:

Office of University Life:

Nightline: Call this anonymous peer listening service at 212-854-7777, 10:00 p.m.–3:00 a.m.

Barnard Resources:

Dean of Studies Office: 105 Milbank Hall, (212) 854-2024

Furman Counseling Center: 100 Hewitt Hall, (212) 854-2092

After-hours psychological emergency line: (855) 622-1903

After-hours clinician on-call: (855) 622-1903

International SOS for those students who are abroad can contact +1-215-942-8478

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