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Rural health scholars making a difference on Martha’s Vineyard

Medical and nursing students address community’s health needs

By Sandra Gray

UMass Medical School Communications

octubre 30, 2013
   Rural Health Scholars
  Rural health scholars who were featured in the Vineyard Gazette on Oct. 28 for their work to improve community health in Martha’s Vineyard, are (from left) Ismael Rivera, Jeremy Malin, Molly Cook, Kelli Paice, Rachel Erdil, Jacob Koshy, Arianne Baker, Kathryn Bailey, Malgorzata Smas and Caroline Royer.

UMass Medical School students put their interest in rural health into action during a recent stay on Martha’s Vineyard, which is federally designated as a medically underserved rural region. Their efforts to improve the health of island residents of all ages were featured in a story in the Oct. 28 Vineyard Gazette.


Medical students Arianne Baker, Kelli Paice, Caroline Royer, Ismael Rivera and GSN student Malgorzata Smas focused on what senior citizens who reside on the island year-round need in order to age in place.

The students are Rural Health Scholars who were participating in UMass Medical School’s annual Population Health Clerkship. The clerkship is a required two-week field experience in which they are introduced to public health and conduct community-informed research into a particular population’s unmet health needs.

The group that focused on healthy aging of year-round Martha’s Vineyard residents presented their findings, culled from interviews with 33 island organizations, to strengthen elder infrastructures on Martha’s Vineyard.

“We’re hoping that the recommendations we’ve presented give you an idea of what we think the path forward is—an island where it’s healthier and safer and more enjoyable to grow old,” said Smas, one of the students quoted in the article. “There are a lot of people on the Island who are eager to make these solutions happen.”

The projects were supported with grants from Martha’s Vineyard Hospital; the federally funded Massachusetts Area Health Education Centers Network run by UMass Medical School; and the Mass in Motion initiative of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health on which the Medical School is a collaborator.

Read the full Vineyard Gazette story here.

Related links on UMassMedNow:
Rural Health Scholars join forces at regional conference: Medical and nursing students committed to rural health care
Medical and nursing students focus on veterans: Military population has specific health care needs