Episode 11: Gold Student Summer Fellowship: Virtual Reality Training for CNAs Caring for Patients with Dementia

The Gold Connection is produced by the Gold Humanism Honor Society, a program of The Arnold P. Gold Foundation. Listen above or at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Anchor, Overcast, RadioPublic, and many other podcast platforms. Visit the full podcast list.

Note: The application period for the 2024 Gold Student Summer Fellowships is now open! Learn more and apply by March 18.

In Episode 11, we continue our series of conversations with Gold Student Summer Fellows who each embarked on a summer research or service project to magnify humanism in healthcare and help address health inequities. These are fascinating projects created by medical students to make a difference and grow their skills as future compassionate, relationship-centered physicians.

In this next conversation in our Gold Student Summer Fellows series, Gold Assistant Director of Program Initiatives Michelle Sloane interviews Johanna Balas, who is a 2022 Gold Student Summer Fellow and a medical student at the Rush University. Her service project, titled “Implementing a Virtual Reality Training Program for CNAs Providing Care for Persons with Dementia,” integrated a virtual reality (VR)-based online and in-person hybrid curriculum in the training of certified nursing assistants (CNAs) from Chicago Methodist Senior Services, a nonprofit offering memory care and long-term skilled nursing for older adults. More than 50% of residents in long-term care facilities have some form of dementia or cognitive impairment.

Johanna Balas, 2022 Gold Student Summer Fellow and medical student at Rush Medical College in Chicago, Illinois. Johanna graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor of Science in economics and biology. She has a strong interest in healthcare advocacy and has been working on improving the training that certified nursing assistants receive for the last three years in order to enhance working conditions and quality of care for people with dementia. After graduating from medical school, Johanna would like to pursue a career in internal medicine in the hopes of becoming a hematologist-oncologist.

Show notes

Gold Student Summer Fellowships

How to Apply for a 2024 Gold Student Summer Fellowship Deadline is March 18 for 2024 applications.

17 medical students named 2022 Gold Student Summer Fellows

Rush University Medical College

Transcript coming soon!