Eight medical students chosen as 2019 Gold Student Summer Fellows

From California to Zambia, Gold fellows will be working with underserved populations through humanistic-based projects

by Louisa Tvito

The Arnold P. Gold Foundation is pleased to announce that eight medical students have been selected to be 2019 Gold Student Summer Fellows, each embarking on a summer project related to community health.

This year’s projects include examining how interpreter formats, such as in-person or video, affect the experience of emergency department patients; assessing long-term medication adherence for people now in supportive housing programs; launching a photography and story-telling program to help individuals re-enter society after incarceration; and providing elementary students with role models and mentors in various science fields who mirror their own diversity.

Projects will occur both within the United States and beyond, including Illinois, Florida, California, Michigan, Zambia, and India.

The Gold Student Summer Fellowship program offers medical students an opportunity to embark on either a research or service fellowship, both of which have a focus on the underserved and humanism in medicine, including relationship-centered care and compassion.  Projects must be focused on understanding and/or enhancing culturally competent practice, developing skills to become patient and relationship-centered physicians, and addressing a public health need in an underserved community or population.

The 2019 Gold Student Summer Fellows are:

Cassidy Muir
Loyola University Chicago, M1
Determining Efficacy of Different Interpretation Modalities Among Limited English Proficient Patients in the Emergency Department:

This project will assess satisfaction and overall comprehension of discharge diagnosis when using different interpreter modalities (in-person, video, phone, or family member) during visits with patients who have limited English proficiency (LEP) at the Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC) Emergency Department. The purpose of this research study is to determine the effectiveness and overall patient satisfaction among patients with LEP presenting to the ED based on interpretation modality. In addition, Ms. Muir hopes to determine whether there are significant enough differences between the interpretation modalities to justify the need for extended coverage of ED-specific in-person interpreters.

Ashish Bibireddy
The University of Central Florida, M1
A Case for Supportive Housing Programs: Assessing Longitudinal Blood Pressure Readings, PHQ-9 Scores, and Medication Adherence in Individuals experiencing Chronic Homelessness:

This study examines how the first 100 participants in Central Florida’s Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) Program are progressing with their health, specifically medication adherence over three years. Individuals with histories of chronic homelessness  were selected using a Vulnerability Index designed to identify the most vulnerable homeless individuals in the Central Florida region.

Katherine Ku
Touro University, California, M2
Participatory Photography and Storytelling to Explore Community Health and Social Action with the Reentry Population in Solano County, CA:

This project will use Photovoice, a program that allows participants to use photography and story-telling in order to identify and represent complex health and social issues that are important to the community. Ms. Ku hopes to enable participants who are re-entering the community following incarceration to express and reflect on their experience and develop a plan of social action to improve community conditions. This in turn can lead to more meaningful efforts for policy change and to more effectively connect this population with needed health services.

Virginia Ju
University of Michigan Medical School, M1
Scientific Enrichment to Empower Developing Students (SEED):

The Scientific Enrichment to Empower Developing Students (SEEDS) is a student-run program created as a partnership between the University of Michigan Medical School and the Ypsilanti School District to address the disparity that exists between children who come from different socioeconomic classes.  This project will expose elementary students from a lower resourced community to mentors who are actively pursuing degrees in science-related fields. This program aims to bring together undergraduates, medical students, and eventually students from other health professions in an interprofessional effort to engage elementary school students in Ypsilanti with role models who mirror the students’ diversity.

Aparna Nutakki
Rush University, M2
Patient Perceptions of Patient-Centered Healthcare in Zambia:

This project aims to determine patients’ perceptions of the physician-patient relationship in the recently improved neurology training program at The University of Zambia and its associated hospital, the University Teaching Hospital (UTH), by using the Patient-Professional Interaction Questionnaire (PPIQ). A second aim is to determine the neurology trainees’ perception of their own performance in patient-physician relationships using the PPIQ. Finally, Ms. Nutakki plans to compare the aspects of the physician-patient relationships rated most highly by Zambian patients to those previously established in resource-ample settings.

Pooja Shah
Wake Forest University, M1
Knowledge, attitudes, and HPV vaccine intention among women in South India: a cross-sectional study:

Using survey data and focus group discussions, this study will assess knowledge and attitudes toward HPV and factors associated with intention to receive the HPV vaccine among women ages 18-45 years in Mangalore, South India.


Rebekah Boyd and Angela Chang, M2
Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons
Interdisciplinary Refugee Partnership in Health

Through service-based learning, Ms. Boyd and Ms. Chang hope to provide preprofessional students with cross-cultural patient encounters to increase cultural sensitivity and awareness of humanism in medicine, specifically the psychosocial impacts on health. The project also intends to promote interprofessional collaboration between medical, social work, and nursing students in a longitudinal setting to foster effective teamwork, understanding of different roles, and efficacy of patient care. A final goal of this work is to improve health outcomes for refugee families by increasing health literacy to foster integration into the United States.