Student Profile: Zahrah Taufique Serves Those in Need at Home and Abroad

Zahrah Taufique is a champion for underserved communities wherever they exist; from Columbia’s campus to the world at large. When she sees a problem, Taufique delivers a solution—whether it’s creating a women’s squash team, founding a free clinic for refugees, or pursuing a field of study that will enable her to help those who need it most.
Zahrah Taufique on campus October 2014
“With an emphasis on patient care, my understanding of systems-based practice in concert with a deep interest in improving the health of communities will hopefully allow me to be a positive force in healthcare,” Taufique said.
A 2009 Columbia College graduate with a B.A. in Political Science, Taufique now pursues an MD/MBA in the College of Physicians and Surgeons, and represents P&S in the University Senate. She was born in Florida, grew up in Maryland, and later moved to Hong Kong with her family where she attended a German-Swiss international high school.
In her first year at Columbia, Taufique co-founded the Women’s Squash Club, which was promoted to Varsity status in 2010. Through the squash team, she volunteered once a week with StreetSquash— a Harlem-based urban youth enrichment program—and sits on the Squash Advisory Board, a group of alumni who spearhead fundraising, recruiting, and outreach to support programs like StreetSquash. 
Taufique also acts as President of the Health Tech Assembly, whose mission is to foster an environment of collaboration between clinicians, engineers, and entrepreneurs across the two Columbia campuses to foster health-focused entrepreneurship.
“I got involved because I'm interested in the intersection of technology, health, innovation and entrepreneurship,” she said of Health Tech Assembly.
Taufique’s leadership experience translated to new roles within her field, and in a larger community. Recognizing a need for a free clinic for refugees, Taufique founded the local P&S Columbia Chapter of the Asylum Clinic, which enables students to perform free medical exams on patients seeking asylum in the United States.
“These gaps in systems and unaddressed needs in medical communities intrigue and inspire me,” Taufique said. And it was an inspiration that led to an interest in otolaryngology.
While living in India for two months on medical rotations in Tamil Nadu, Taufique was exposed to immeasurable facial traumas, late stage tumors, cleft lip and palate deformities, and hearing impairment. 
“This further inspired me to pursue otolaryngology and train in a specialty where there is so much need, at home and abroad,” she said.
Taufique currently works as a Research Assistant at the New York-Presbyterian Department of Otolaryngology, and credits her Columbia education for helping her reach her goals.
“I have loved being at Columbia,” she said. “I had the most amazing opportunities and was able to follow all my dreams and achieve them.”
By Jamie Nash
Monday, December 15, 2014


Available Date(s): 
Monday, December 15, 2014 to Friday, January 16, 2015