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Student Highlights

Capstone Presentations relevant to Humanism in Medicine
The Capstone Scholarship and Discovery Presentation is the culmination of a required four year course for medical students, in which each student completes an individualized scholarly project building on a personal passion as it relates to medicine. These topics range from patient advocacy, medical instruction or farm-to-table systems to pathogenesis of disease and were represented as short talks or posters on March 7, 2016. During Solidarity Week for Compassionate Care (Feb 15-19), which aimed to celebrate humanism in medicine, there were capstones identified as incorporating some element of promoting humanism in medicine. Take a look at the excellent work these students have accomplished!

A Youth Program for Worcester Refugees (with the Worcester Refugee Assistance Project, WRAP)WRAP
Created by Courtney Temple, Mark Fusunyan, and Alyse Wheelock

The Worcester Refugee Assistance Project (WRAP) is a local non profit that helps locally resettled Burmese refugees achieve sustainable self reliance. The goal of this capstone was to establish weekly youth programming for the teens of WRAP to promote inclusive assimilation, adaptation, and exposure to opportunities for social and academic growth. Weekly youth group sessions are focused on health and wellness education, STEM career exposure and speciality projects like youth citizenship courses. Other activities including hiking, museum visits, storytelling, sports games, and seasonal events like apple picking. A mentoring program (WRAP TMP) was developed and aimed at promoting 1:1 relationships between the youth and UMass Chan Medical School medical, nursing and graduate students, as well as college students throughout Worcester. The students learn about unique challenges of the Burmese refugee teen population in Worcester while providing social and academic support and guidance. Some mentors have been integral to their teen’s successful college application process, attended engineering and robotics camps, and assisted with career exploration that would not otherwise have been available to the youth.


Exploring Integrative Oncology through Research and Serviceintegrative oncology
Created by Jim Doolin

Integrative Medicine is the idea of using non-traditional ways of healing alongside conventional medicine. This Capstone project included interviews with 21 patients who decided to forego conventional cancer treatment to understand about their experiences with conventional physicians and non-traditional medicine. In addition, the student volunteered at UMass Medical Center with the Integrative Medicine Oncology Initiative, leading weekly wellness classes and participating in the volunteer Hand Massage Service. These volunteer opportunities gave a deeper understanding of how patients receive and respond to integrative medicine services.


The Healer's Art
Created by Ben Adler

The Healer's Art is an elective for medical students designed to promote humanism and reduce burnout during training. Faculty physicians help support caring instincts and encourage students to feel more comfortable with healing others even when a cure may not be possible.


Albanian Immigrants’ Experience and Attitude Toward Health Care in Albania Versus the USAalbanian
Created by Aida Shkreta

Effective patient-doctor communication and establishing trust are essential to optimal care. Albanian immigrant patients have a deep-seated distrust toward health care professionals from their experience with an underfunded and corrupt health care system in Albania which can impact the patient-doctor relationship with USA health care professionals. This Capstone project included a one-time survey administered at the Albanian Festival in Worcester which was held at St. Mary’s Assumption Albanian Orthodox Church June 5-7, 2015. The results showed that Albanian Immigrants have an overwhelming positive experience and attitude toward the USA health care system in all categories including comfort seeking care, care being worth the money, having good communication with the doctor, trusting the doctors, receiving preventative care, and liking care received in the USA. In the open-ended comments section, some subjects cited negative aspects of the USA health care system and some recommendations can be made to USA health care providers about how to best approach Albanian immigrant patients.


The Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) and Imported Medications by Brazilians in Massachusetts
Created by Adriana Negrini and Renata Dalla Costa

Brazilian immigrants, who are part of the Latin American community in the United States, often take medications imported from their home country and use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). This Capstone project consisted of a survey questionnaire that explored participants’ use of CAM products and imported pharmaceuticals, patient disclosure of use to physicians, patient use of health care, and sociodemographic characteristics.


Retinoblastoma Screening in Guatemalan ChildrenRETINOBLASTOMA
Created by Nitin Shrivastava

The aim of this program is to improve access to early detection and screening services for children with signs of retinoblastoma in high-risk areas of Guatemala. By educating primary care providers about protocols to screen for retinoblastoma in the rural setting along with improving the referral system for patients with suspected cancer, we hope to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with retinoblastoma in Guatemala.