13 medical students named 2024 Gold Student Summer Fellows

Gold Foundation selects 7 summer projects designed to support humanistic care in underserved communities

The Arnold P. Gold Foundation is delighted to announce that 13 medical students have been selected as 2024 Gold Student Summer Fellows. They will be spearheading summer projects that amplify humanistic healthcare and help address health inequities through service and research projects that involve direct interaction with patients and community members.

This year’s projects touch upon a vast array of topics, including:

  • Expanding health literacy by establishing a strong partnership between Penn State College of Medicine and volunteers at Mid-State Literacy Council, a program located in State College, PA, that serves adult basic literacy and English language learners
  • Developing and evaluating a training program for emotional resilience for care partners of people who are living with dementia and who are experiencing significant mental and physical health challenges
  • Establishing and disseminating resources to enhance mental healthcare available to patients with Hidradenitis Suppurativa, an inflammatory skin disease with a higher prevalence in historically underserved populations
  • Addressing the need for increased health literacy to improve access to reproductive healthcare and increase utilization of women’s health services through the EmpowHER Bracelet Workshops
  • Tackling barriers to healthcare services and resources faced by migrant farm workers in Hammonton, New Jersey
  • Developing strategies to support people experiencing homelessness in North Carolina with ongoing care that addresses their evolving needs
  • Supporting justice-involved adolescent males ages 15-17 in an exploration of possible healthcare careers during a weeklong collaboration between Educators for Education (E4E) and Drexel University’s College of Medicine

The Gold Foundation offers Gold Student Summer Fellowships annually to provide opportunities for medical students to deepen their understanding of health inequities, to advance culturally responsive care, and to direct attention toward community health needs. These research and service projects train students to become discerning and human-centered physicians while also answering the call for public health initiatives in underserved populations. The Gold Foundation is grateful to the Mellam Family Foundation for its support of this program.

“Gold Student Summer Fellowships offer medical students the opportunity to explore healthcare beyond the hospital walls,” said Elizabeth Cleek, PsyD, Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President of the Gold Foundation. “This year, we are delighted to fund seven excellent, student-designed projects that foster human-centered care and incorporate the essential voices of patients and community members.  Each project will not only make a tangible difference, but will inform the ways in which Summer Fellows will impact healthcare for the better as they move forward in their careers.”

The 13 Gold Student Summer Fellows this year hail from seven medical schools:

Molly Stegman, M2
Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine

Building Health Literacy Bridges: Enhancing English Language Learner Programming with Healthcare Collaboration

This service project, led by medical student Molly Stegman, will focus on limited health literacy, which is defined as an individual’s difficulty in finding, understanding, and using information and services to inform health-related decisions. Limited health literacy poses a major public health concern as it restricts a patient’s self-care practices while increasing their risk of hospitalizations, greater use of emergency care, and poorer health status. Certain populations are at an increased risk for low levels of health literacy, including refugee, immigrant, and non-English speaking patient populations.  Ms. Stegman’s project will seek to establish a strong partnership between Penn State College of Medicine and Mid-State Literacy Council, a program in State College, Pennsylvania that serves adult basic literacy and English language learners. Ms. Stegman will utilize her experiences as a medical student and former English Language Learner instructor to build a health literacy curriculum for instructors.

Delaney Metcalf, M3
Augusta University, Medical College of Georgia

Emotional Resilience Training to Support Care Partners of Patients Living with Dementia

This research project, led by medical student Delaney Metcalf, will address the significantly higher levels of stress, anxiety, depression, and physical health struggles reported by care partners of people living with dementia as compared to non-caregivers. To address these issues, Ms. Metcalf will design and implement a training program for emotional resilience, composed of three sessions, at a monthly local care partner support group. The program will combine both emotional regulation techniques and heart-focused breathing for care partners of people living with dementia. Often viewed as the “invisible patient,” care partners bear significant mental and physical health challenges that often go unnoticed by physicians.

Peter Dimitrion, M3
Wayne State University School of Medicine

Improving Mental Health Outcomes for Patients with Hidradenitis Suppurativa

Medical student Peter Dimitrion is leading a service project that will address the need for more effective mental healthcare for patients diagnosed with Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS), an inflammatory skin disease with a prevalence of 1%-4% nationally and globally. Patients with HS experience significant impacts on their quality of life and have high rates of psychosocial comorbidities. The prevalence of HS is higher in patients from historically underserved populations, including those who are African American and Hispanic/Latino, and has a strong female bias. Patients with HS reporting higher rates of mental health issues, substance abuse, and suicide, and in a global survey study, patients identified mental healthcare as a significant unmet need. Mr. Dimitrion will seek to address the importance of more effective mental healthcare for patients with HS by better defining patient needs, developing resources for patients and mental healthcare specialists, and connecting patients with specialists who have been trained with key resources.

Annesha Datta, M1, and Neha Maddali, M1
Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

EmpowHER Bracelet Workshop: Increasing Sexual and Reproductive Health Literacy to Advance Women’s Health

This service project, led by medical students Annesha Datta and Neha Maddali, will address the need for expanded health literacy to improve access to reproductive healthcare and women’s health services in New Jersey. Low health literacy rates are associated with poorer sexual and reproductive health (SRH) outcomes. This barrier can often exacerbate existing disparities in SRH care. In response, the fellows will implement the EmpowHER Bracelet Workshops, developed in collaboration with the Cyclo 360 Family Planning Center, which serves a traditionally underserved population, at risk for poor health outcomes. The workshops will pair an engaging bracelet-making activity with women’s health education in a non-stigmatized environment that supports questions about sexual health. The bracelets feature a color-coded bead system that non-invasively tracks menstrual and fertility cycles. Participants who are interested in seeking longitudinal reproductive care will be referred to Cyclo 360, which provides low or no cost SRH services.

Mahhum Naqvi, M4, Justin Stout, M4, Colton Spencer, M4, and Bijan Roghanchi, M4
Rowan-Virtua School of Osteopathic Medicine

Health Screening Event for Migrant Farm Workers Facing Barriers to Healthcare

Medical students Mahhum Naqvi, Justin Stout, Colton Spencer, and Bijan Roghanchi are spearheading a service project to address barriers faced by migrant farm workers in Hammonton, New Jersey, in accessing healthcare services and resources. The students will organize health screening events at various local farms. Through a needs assessment, research, strategizing, and collaboration with stakeholders, they plan to create a sustainable model for connecting migrant farm workers and their families with healthcare resources, while also screening for chronic health conditions.

Anahita Gupta, M1, and Esther Lee, M1
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine

Improving Care Coordination for Patients Experiencing Homelessness at UNC Health

Medical students Anahita Gupta and Esther Lee will be addressing the unique challenges of accessing the healthcare system for people experiencing homelessness. Often, a more cohesive system for coordinating care for people who are homeless following hospitalization is needed to ensure follow-up care and supportive community resources. The goal of this project is to enhance care coordination for patients at UNC Health who are experiencing homelessness by addressing gaps in communication. In partnership with the Orange County Partnership to End Homelessness, a North Carolina-based coalition of service providers, local governments, and community members, this project will propose strategies to link patients who are homeless with community-based case managers while patients are still in the hospital. The project will foster a patient-centered approach and direct engagement through interviews with people who are experiencing homelessness.

Doger Norceide, M1, and Vikki Rueda, M1
Drexel University College of Medicine

Career Development and Health Awareness Program

Led by medical students Doger Norceide and Vikki Rueda, this service project aims to provide adolescent males with a week-long immersion in career development and exposure to healthcare careers as part of a justice diversion program. The goal is to educate participants on the health disparities present in their communities while also equipping them with the early framework necessary to make a positive impact and advance their career development. This initiative will be a collaborative effort between Educators for Education (E4E) and Drexel University’s College of Medicine. E4E is an organization dedicated to serving communities by offering educational services, professional development/training, advocacy and social support.

Learn more about Gold Student Summer Fellowships. If you are interested in supporting or endowing a fellowship, please reach out to Major Gifts and Planned Giving Officer Pia Pyne Miller at pmiller@gold-foundation.org.

Irene Zampetoulas, MPA

Communications Associate

Supports the Foundation's marketing and communications initiatives, including writing stories, updating social media, crafting our messages, and more.