MLK Semester of Service Student Awards support local health projects

By Ellie Castano

UMass Medical School Communications

January 16, 2012
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Students from UMass Medical School will partner with Worcester community organizations to give vulnerable children something to hold onto, help local free medical clinics manage medication inventory and streamline patient recordkeeping and provide free complementary and integrative medicine services to local oncology patients, thanks to funding from the 2012 Martin Luther King Semester of Service Student Awards.

The Building on the Promise: Learn and Serve UMass program at UMMS, which is in its final year of funding, has chosen four projects to receive the 2012 MLK Semester of Service Student Awards, a community service initiative designed to support  student-driven community-responsive service and service-learning projects in the communities that surround the Worcester campus.

Each of the four project teams funded will receive $500 to support implementation of their proposals, which require the students to partner with existing community organizations. The recipients will be recognized by Chancellor Michael F. Collins at the UMMS MLK Day celebration on Monday, Jan. 23.

School of Medicine students Anne Barnard, Heather Busick, Alison Little, Scott Pascal, Anna Plourde and Aubrey Samost will partner with UMass Memorial Medical Center to provide backpacks filled with age-and gender-appropriate items on demand for children transitioning from the hospital into state custody; medical student Reza Hosseini Ghomi will work with MD/PhD student Jennifer MacDonald, who founded and coordinates the Worcester Free Medical Programs Coalition, to purchase laptops or netbooks to streamline recordkeeping—including electronic medical records—for the Worcester Free Medical Programs; medical student Christopher Perrone will also partner with Worcester Free Medical Programs to implement a system to organize and track medications across the programs; and medical students Megan Furnari and Vincent Mitchell III will work with fellow nursing and medical students in the UMass Memorial Cancer Center of Excellence to offer complementary and integrative medicine to oncology patients.

The projects are designed to strengthen existing relationships with the community; address community needs and student learning objectives; and provide opportunities for members of the UMMS community to work together and engage with the larger community. An important component of each project is the opportunity for the students to analyze and reflect on their work. In addition, they will prepare a brief final report that documents how the funds were used and highlights the project outcomes and the lessons learned. Finally, these students must obtain systematic feedback from fellow volunteers and those they served.

Kelley Backpack Project

Students: Anne Barnard, SOM ’14 Heather Busick, SOM ’12 Alison Little, SOM ’14 Scott Pascal, SOM ’14 Anna Plourde, SOM ’12 Aubrey Samost, SOM ’14

Community Organization: UMass Memorial Medical Center

Project: to prepare and deliver backpacks filled with age and gender appropriate items to children who will be transitioning from the hospital into the custody of the Department of Family Services

The Complementary and Integrative Medicine Oncology Initiative

Students: Megan E. Furnari, SOM ’13 Vincent J. Mitchell III, SOM ’13

Community Organization: UMass Memorial Cancer Center of Excellence

Project: to provide free complementary and integrative medicine services to patients by medical and nursing students with significant complementary and integrative medicine training and supervision from UMMS faculty

Free Clinic Laptop Project

Students: Reza Hosseini Ghomi, SOM ’14 Jennifer MacDonald, MD/PhD ’14

Community Organization: Worcester Free Clinics

Project: to purchase laptops/netbooks to begin converting the clinics’ files and process to utilize electronic medical records.

Free Clinic Medication Project

Student: Christopher Perrone, SOM ’14

Community Organization: Worcester Free Clinics

Project:
to implement a system to organize and track medications across the Worcester free medical programs

For additional information about the MLK Semester of Services Awards, including a list of last year’s projects and this year’s judges, visit the Learn and Serve UMass website.

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