Big October for OUWB medical students as they volunteer throughout the community
An OUWB student with a community member
Brandon Phan, M2, provides a basic health screening to a member of the community during the Pontiac Health Fair organized by Street Medicine Oakland.

Medical students from OUWB have had a busy October, volunteering throughout the community to help the school work toward achieving a primary goal outlined in its foundations for success.

The goal?

“To develop compassionate physicians who are dedicated to improving the health of their communities” — the first part of OUWB’s recently updated mission statement.

In October alone, students have worked toward the goal in various ways: organizing a community health fair in Pontiac; participating in a community baby shower in Detroit, helping clean up garbage off the street; raising money for breast cancer education and support; and more.

They’re not done either: the school’s Make a Difference Day is set for Oct. 22, and students will be volunteering with organizations throughout metro Detroit.

Trixy Hall, coordinator of graduate programs and community outreach, OUWB, said such opportunities are integral to a medical student’s education.

“As future physicians, these settings allow for one-on-one conversations and interactions that help develop a better understanding of how people are living and the challenges they may be facing when it comes to their health,” said Hall. 

“Physicians serve a very diverse group of people,” she added. “It is our goal to connect our students with as many communities as possible to become familiar with different cultures and ethnicities that will help frame the care they will give as they launch their careers.”

Here is a breakdown of some of the activities that have happened so far this month:

Light the Path: Fundraiser for Beaumont Sharing & Caring

An image of OUWB students setting up luminaries
Emily Babcock and Madison Romanski put the finishing touches on the set-up of luminaries on Oct. 13.

This event was a partnership between two student organizations at OUWB — American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) and Oncology Interest Group (OncIG). Between the Light the Path event and a trivia night fundraiser, the groups that raised more than $1,000 for Beaumont Sharing & Caring breast cancer education and support.

For the Light the Path event, the groups teamed up to sell personalized luminaries that were placed by Oakland University’s Elliott Tower at dusk on Oct. 13.

Luminaries were sold for $6 each via the Beaumont Sharing & Caring website. Those who purchased luminaries were able to add messages via the site. Medical students from OUWB took the messages and wrote them on the luminaries prior to placing them by the tower.

Many of the messages were from people who had been affected by breast cancer.

 “We want to show the impact in the community and this is a really good, visual way to do that,” said Madison Romanski, M2, community service and finance chair, AMWA.

Emily Babcock, M2, president, AMWA, shared similar feelings.

“It brings a lot of humanity to the cancer experience, and it reminds that this is something people face for their entire livelihood and not just when they are in the hospital,” she said.


AMWA Women’s Rights Gathering – In Memoriam

An image of people at the AMWA gathering
The gathering acknowledged the legacy of an Iranian woman who died after being detained and beaten by Iran’s “morality police.”

On Oct. 12, OUWB’s AMWA chapter hosted another event — a gathering to acknowledge the legacy of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman who died after being detained and beaten by Iran’s “morality police” for allegedly violating hijab laws.

The gathering was held at noon at Oakland University’s Elliott Tower. About a dozen OUWB students, staff, and faculty attended.

Babcock noted how women in Iran “are facing so much oppression.”

“They are fighting for so many basic rights, like the rights to even use social media. It’s all being pushed down,” she said.

Babcock said those who are able need to speak out and “continue to uplift them.”

“As a medical community we are always wanting to promote our own humanity and promote the humanity of students,” said Babcock.

Inaya Hajj Hussein, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Foundational Medical Studies

“As a woman from the Middle East, I support what we are doing here today. They have morality police for women and not morality police for men. That is very, very biased.”


WIN Network: Detroit Community Baby Shower

An image of volunteers at the community baby shower
Ekaterina Lavroushina Clark, M2, (second from left) with other volunteers at the community baby shower.

The OUWB American Medical Association collaborated with Women-Inspired Neighborhood (WIN) Network: Detroit of Henry Ford Health for the Detroit Community Baby Shower on Oct. 8.

Ekaterina Lavroushina Clark, M2, community service chair, AMA, said she met with representatives of WIN Network to plan a community baby shower for women in their longitudinal prenatal program.

Key components of the event were distributing resources and information, as well as critical items needed to care for their baby.

“I wanted to specifically recruit Detroit-based organizations to provide education on key topics, so that the women in the prenatal care program felt that they had longitudinal support within their community,” said Clark.

Participating community organizations were: Infant Safe Sleep, Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association (BMBA), Southeast Michigan IBCLC’s of Color, Children's Special Health Care Services, Brilliant Detroit, Cradle Me Care Maternal Infant Health Program (MIHP), and COVID Ends Here. Virginia Uhley, Ph.D., associate professor in OUWB’s Department of Foundational Medical Studies, presented on nutrition.

Through her role as director of community service with the Michigan State Medical Society, Clark recruited 14 medical students from OUWB and Wayne State University School of Medicine.

Additionally, funding was received from the AMA Section Involvement Grant, Oakland County Medical Society, OUWB Compass, and Target. About $1,650 worth of items like car seats and diapers were purchased with grant monies.

“It was gratifying to see how much practical impact this event had on the lives of the women in the prenatal care program and their families,” said Clark. “I strived to ensure that this event was guided by the specific needs of the community and provided the women with a longitudinal link to organizations that are easily accessible. They were able to get the resources and items they needed for their baby, while connecting with each other.”


SMO hosts Pontiac Health Fair

Building on its commitment to serving the Pontiac community, Street Medicine Oakland hosted the Pontiac Health Fair on Oct. 7 at the Baldwin Center. (The event occurred two weeks after SMO teamed with the Emergency Medicine Interest Group (EMIG) to clean up trash in the downtown Pontiac area.)

More from OUWB

OUWB’s Street Medicine Oakland leads clean-up campaign in downtown area

Day of Service 2022: OUWB students step up to volunteer, give back to community

Chaldean American Medical Student Association helps with local health fair

The event was held both indoors and outdoors and featured five OUWB student organizations and five groups from outside the OUWB community. Visitors could get flu/Covid vaccines from the Oakland County Health Department, participate in basic health screenings, learn more about nutrition, how to handle health emergencies, and more.

A total of 28 community members took advantage of the health fair.

Meaghan Race, M2, co-leader, Street Medicine, said planning started in the summer but the idea for the health fair had been in the works for much longer.

She said the overall goal was “to fill the gap of areas of demonstrated needs and wants.”

Syliva Kashat, M2, president, EMIG, said her organization was doing Narcan training, teaching people about how to use an EpiPen, and handing out drug disposal kits.

“When you’re living in certain conditions, you’re not given the proper education about how to be able to protect yourself,” she said. “What we’re here for is to help protect the community and make sure that they aren’t getting injured.”

Race said those kinds of goals are exactly why the health fair represents an extension of the Street Medicine Oakland services.

“It really opens dialogue with the community,” she said. “Getting out there and talking to people about what is actually impacting their health. For example, instead of throwing a diabetes medicine at someone, we might be able to determine problems are being caused by diet.”

“It’s all about awareness and education,” she added.

For more information, contact Andrew Dietderich, marketing writer, OUWB, at [email protected].

To request an interview, visit the OUWB Communications & Marketing webpage.

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