College of Medicine and Life Sciences News

Med students complete summer community health project

Students pose for a photo at the reflection picnic held Aug. 13 at Providence Dam Metropark in Grand Rapids.

Students pose for a photo at the reflection picnic held Aug. 13 at Providence Dam Metropark in Grand Rapids, Ohio.

This summer, medical students spent more than 4,500 combined hours of service in the community.

Rising second-year medical students were part of the eight-week Waite Brand Community Health Project, a summer work-study program that pairs medical students between their first and second years with local social service agencies.

For medical students, it’s their last free summer of college before they begin year-round clinical rotations and they could spend it doing anything they want.

From May to July, these 15 students spent roughly 300 hours each at one of 11 sites throughout Northwest Ohio. They were Reynolds Elementary School, The Sight Center of Northwest Ohio, The Ability Center of Greater Toledo, ProMedica, Feed Lucas County Children, Cherry Street Mission, YWCA of Northwest Ohio, Prescribed Pediatric Center, Mercy Health, UT CommunityCare Clinics and The University Church Garden.

“Many students began their summer unsure of what to expect from their internship but by the end, after jumping in to serve with these organizations, they learned a tremendous amount,” said Sam Ivan, second-year medical student and this year’s director of the program. “Students saw firsthand barriers to health that many of us would never consider.”

CHP Intern Jessica Ickes with several students at Reynolds Elementary.

CHP Intern Jessica Ickes with several students at Reynolds Elementary.

Established in 1993, the Community Health Project (CHP) provides medical students with a deeper and broader understanding of the socioeconomic, cultural and environmental factors that contribute to an individual’s health status.

“The best part was seeing students build relationships,” Ivan said. “We have several students who continue to volunteer with their organization because of relationships they made there.”

Students also had the opportunity to visit other sites within the program, engage in small group discussions and craft a proposal to address a local need of their choosing.  This resulted in seven unique student-made proposals, many of which will be considered for implementation.

Interns were second-year medical students Omar Badawi, Danielle Bozek, Josh Hall, Jessica Ickes, Veronika Kholodovych, Kevin Litzenberg, Kayla Lockhart, Saloni Mathur, Amira Najjar, David Quan, Danielle Smith, Joseph Silvestri, Natasha Sinai Hede, Talya Spivak and Sonita Tem.

Learn more about the Waite Brand Community Health Project.

is Web and Digital Media Specialist for the College of Medicine and Life Sciences.
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