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Medical students helping patients

Students Serve the Community Through Diversity Grants

Student-led initiatives to overcome language barriers among Hispanic patients; to decrease the high infant mortality rate in Stark County and Cleveland; and to partner with Health Professions Affinity Community (HPAC) programs to teach high school students better nutrition are among 11 student proposals selected for Diversity Initiatives Grants by NEOMED’s Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Equity.

The goal of the grant program is to assist students and student organizations in implementing research projects or diversity and inclusion initiatives that support student development while making an impact on underrepresented communities in Northeast Ohio.

Andre Burton, Executive Director of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, said, “Through this mini-grant program, we hope to generate ideas, foster initiatives and stimulate educational efforts that are tailored to the needs of the various colleges and constituencies at NEOMED.” He added that the program seeks to engage the NEOMED community in being locally responsive and regionally engaged.

The following proposals have been granted amounts up to $3,000:

Anthony Dao, Jackie Graham, Jheel Shah – “Medical Spanish Proficiency Program”

The Hispanic population in Ohio has been rapidly increasing, with Spanish now the primary language in many homes. Language barriers can create miscommunications between physicians and patients, preventing appropriate patient care. The proposed program will improve communications by familiarizing medical and pharmacy students with health care-related Spanish vocabulary. Through improved communications among physicians, pharmacists and Hispanic patients, these patients will receive improved care.

Danielle Beltz – “Providing Access to Care and Health-Related Education to the Underserved in Rural Portage County”

OutReach, Northeast Ohio’s Student Outreach to the Underserved Community, seeks to improve the health of underserved communities by addressing the serious health problems that plague them.  With one out of seven Portage County residents uninsured, OutReach wants to fill the need by opening a free medical clinic that provides primary care to uninsured citizens. In partnership with NEOMED, the OutReach Portage Free Medical Clinic would continue NEOMED’s mission of  community service.

Neha Chavali and Haley Coleman– “Obesity in Women of the Hispanic Migrant Community in Hartville”

Obesity is prevalent in the migrant farmworker community. The women in these communities are often tasked with buying and preparing the food for the family, therefore they hold the most influence over dietary behaviors and beliefs. The study will look at beliefs, behaviors, and health understanding of women at the Medical Clinic at Hartville Migrant Ministry in Hartville and assess how these contribute to obesity in the migrant community. The results from a needs assessment will help create a plan for a future intervention to be designed and tested in this population.

Katie Coffman and Michelle Chyatte, Ph.D. – “Using Community-Based Participatory Research to Reduce Infant Mortality”

The World Health Organization has reported that an infant in Ohio is more likely to die before his or her first birthday than an infant in any other industrialized nation. Stark County leads Northeast Ohio with the highest overall infant mortality rate. In coordination with the Stark County THRIVE Centering Pregnancy program, this project will educate high-risk, pregnant women about choosing health-promoting behaviors. Participants will also be provided with an “Infant Phone Book” where mothers will be able to document their child’s health records and find care services available to them.

Elaine Kunzler – “Blasting Hepatitis B from Northeast Ohio”

Hepatitis B is a dangerous virus that can have devastating complications. Many immigrants and those of poor socioeconomic status don’t have access to basic education and resources regarding the virus. The goal of this program is to partner with a local agency that hosts health fairs and can provide basic screening tests to people of lower socioeconomic status and minorities, including but not limited to Chinese, Burmese, Hmong and Hispanics.

Paula Rote – “Akron Community Health Fair and Family Day”

For the past several years, the Hispanic Community Outreach Group at NEOMED has been organizing a health fair for the Spanish-speaking community in Akron. The goal is to boost attendance at the event. A partnership between the Hispanic Community Outreach Group and the Urban Health Interest Group will open the doors to a wider community of English and Spanish speakers in Akron. The event will educate attendees about exercise, diseases and importance of health screenings.

Chandni Goel and Sarah Hill – “Factors Contributing to Non-Compliance and Their Effect on Infant Mortality Rates Among Races in Cleveland, Ohio”

In 2011 it was reported that Ohio’s infant mortality rate was almost 30 percent higher than the national average. Today, Cleveland has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the state. This study will examine the impact of race and the barriers that impede parents’ ability to take their infants to physician appointments. The results from the study will later be applied to an intervention plan to help educate parents and improve the health care system in Cleveland.

Devika Gandhi – “Nutrition-Focused Education Outreach at Local High Schools in Conjunction with HPAC Schools”

In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that nearly 20.5 percent of children in the U.S. ages 12–19 were obese. Adolescence is the time where habits are formed, and it’s important for students to be aware of the unhealthy eating habits they may be forming. This proposed community program would be started in conjunction with the Health Professions Affinity Community (HPAC) and would teach high school students in the surrounding community about healthy eating, through a highly interactive lesson plan.

Frances Shuk Kwan Fu – “Educate High School Students and the Community About the Negative Impacts of Substance Abuse on One’s Self and the Subsequent Generations – A Diversity and Multi-Disciplinary Project”

In 2013 the CDC found that 9.4 percent of U.S. people 12 years old and over had engaged in illicit drug use in the past month. The purpose of this project is to educate high school students and community members about the negative impact of substance abuse. The project also seeks to open a dialogue between teenagers and their parents about substance abuse. By researching the needs of the community and hosting educational sessions for high school students and community members, the project hopes to decrease substance abuse Northeast Ohio.

Kyle Samblanet – “Family Medicine Interest Group’s College Prep and Medical Interest Workshop”

This project aims to increase participation in NEOMED’s annual College Prep and Medical Interest Workshop. The event has students move from station to station, learning various medical tests and procedures. The goal is to increase student interest in attending college and becoming physicians, specifically physicians that practice family medicine.

Lauren Carlozzi – “Leading Ladies Mentorship Program”

The NEOMED chapters of the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) is starting a program that will introduce girls to STEM and medicine opportunities as well as build their confidence and leadership skills. The Leading Ladies Mentorship Program (LLMP) is a three-phase pipeline program to guide young women through high school, introduce them to medical opportunities and integrate undergraduate or post-baccalaureate experiences with the medical school experience.