Tara Chute, SOM ’11, was named one of 29 graduates from the state’s public higher education campuses to receive “29 Who Shine” awards from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education. Chute and the other award winners were nominated by faculty and staff at each campus.
The Northborough native previously receive a prestigious Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, a highly sought-after year-long fellowship awarded to those who show potential as leaders in service and use dedication and skills to influence and inspire others.
For her Schweitzer fellowship, Chute developed a service project with the Family Health Center, a full-service health center whose mission is to improve the health and well-being of traditionally underserved and culturally diverse populations in the greater Worcester area. The goal of the project was to increase access to free exercise options for patients to improve three specific areas of health concern: diabetes, obesity and depression. Chute also organized a weekly walking group to encourage physical activity in the community.
Chute was instrumental in coordinating the annual International Craft Fair, which grew out of the UMMS Pathway on Serving Multicultural and Underserved Populations, a program for students that fosters international and domestic medical outreach to populations reflective of recent immigrants to the United States. Students travel abroad to gain insight into the health needs of various populations and enhance their understanding of the role of primary care and public health in the community.
As part of their Pathways projects, students use a $50 stipend to purchase crafts by artisans in the communities they visit, and proceeds from the craft sale held on campus are donated back to those communities.
Chute was also a leader of the St. Anne’s Free Health Clinic in Worcester. This free clinic, open once weekly, provides health care to the underserved, particularly those without health insurance.
“I am honored to be able to use the skills and knowledge obtained throughout my education toward improving health care in underserved populations,” said Chute. “What a privilege to be involved in the lives of those I’ve served, but even still a greater privilege for the positive influence they have had on my life.”
Following graduation from UMMS this June, Tara will begin her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester.