Seven medical students selected as 2018 Gold Student Summer Fellows

A map which shows where the seven 2018 Gold Student Summer Fellows will be embarking on their fellowships

The Arnold P. Gold Foundation is pleased to announce that seven medical students have been chosen to be 2018 Gold Student Summer Fellows, each embarking on a summer project related to community health. The 2018 projects include developing health workshops for refugees in Phoenix, studying the healthcare needs of transgender homeless youth in San Francisco, and researching the role of technology in coordinating care of children with complex medical issues in Los Angeles.

Projects will occur both within the United States and beyond, including Illinois, Arizona, California, Florida and Haiti.

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.  This year, four of the seven fellowships are research-based; the remaining three fellowships are clinical service projects.

“This program provides students with an opportunity to expand their focus and apply humanistic practice principles in real world settings,” said Elizabeth Cleek, PsyD, Chief Program Officer at the Gold Foundation. “This year’s group reflects a wonderful array of projects that will be implemented by an incredible group of students.  I’m so pleased that we’re able to support their work.”

The 2018 Gold Student Summer Fellows have designed a variety of projects:

Tiffany Ku, from Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, will be working with the largest free clinic in the U.S., CommunityHealth in Chicago, to explore how free clinics can screen for and address social needs. Her project, “Assessing the feasibility and value of a social needs screening in free health clinics,” seeks to determine the extent of social needs data monitoring within Illinois’ free clinics and to identify barriers to collecting such data. She plans to create a collection strategy for social needs and then to present her findings to other free clinics at an annual conference and through a webinar.

Michael Sarvi, from the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine, will be embarking on a 10-week service fellowship, “Improving Health Outcomes of Phoenix’s Refugee Population through Educational Workshops,” to design and implement health education and health system literacy workshops for refugees in Phoenix, Arizona. More than 82,000 refugees have resettled in Arizona since 1980 after fleeing war, religious and ethnic persecution, and other forms of violence and immediate danger in their countries of origin.  A coalition of medical students and pre-health professions students called R.E.A.C.T. (Refugee Education and Clinical Team) from Mayo Clinic School of Medicine and Arizona State University will partner with the Refugee Women’s Health Clinic to help refugees access the resources of the U.S. healthcare system and better care for themselves.

Lee Lemus Hustedler, from the UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program, will be completing the fellowship “Transgender Youth Homelessness: Healthcare Needs and Health Disparities.” With great disparities in morbidity and mortality rates shown separately for transgender populations and for homeless youth, Lee hopes to explore the health and healthcare needs of the transgender homeless youth, a population that has been overlooked in peer-reviewed research. Lee plans a cross-sectional qualitative study in the San Francisco Bay area to discover the major factors influencing this population’s health disparities and to yield recommendations for clinics and other organizations to better meet their health needs.

Bernadette Lim, from the UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program, will be completing a service project titled “’We Are the Ones We’ve Been Waiting For’: A Health Education and Social Justice Art Initiative for Southeast Asian Young Women Engaged In or At-Risk Of Sexual Exploitation in Oakland.” The project will provide 15-20 underserved Asian-American young women from Oakland, California, a safe, supportive space to learn about key health education topics. Participants will then have an opportunity to discover ways to express and interpret one life’s experiences in hopes of improving the well-being of those impacted by physical or sexual assault.

Gabriel Paul, from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, will be headed to Jérémie, Haiti, for his research project, “Men’s Health-Seeking Behavior, Cancer Knowledge and Awareness, and Willingness to Support Female Partners.” Haiti has a relative fatality rate for breast cancer that is twice that of the United States, and studies have found that Haitian women are less likely to recognize symptoms of breast cancer.  Given that spousal support can greatly influence the decision to seek early medical care, Gabriel seeks to understand the role of Haitian men in household decision-making and general health behaviors by analyzing interviews of 120 men identified through local churches.

Hardik Patel, from University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, is undertaking the fellowship “Implementing patient navigators to expand services and improve follow up care at a student-run wound care clinic,” in Miami, Florida, where the opioid epidemic is at critical levels. The project aims to incorporate nursing students into the clinical team at the IDEA Clinic, a wound care clinic associated with IDEA Exchange, Florida’s first and only syringe exchange program. Nursing students working in the new patient navigation program, or PNP, would guide patients to the appropriate community resources and follow up weekly via phone or in the clinic. These future health care professionals will be exposed to the humanistic side of substance abuse and addiction and to the structural difficulties of navigating the healthcare system that members of socially and culturally marginalized populations often face.

Angela Judd, from the University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine, will be completing a research fellowship titled “The Current and Potential Role of Technology in the Coordinated Care of Children with Medical Complexity.” This project will examine how parents of children with medical complexity, many of whom often have one or more chronic conditions and frequent or extended hospital stays, use technology to track their children’s care.  Angela will be surveying parents at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, as well as interviewing nurses, to understand what technologies they use and what could be helpful. The goal of the project is to ultimately design an application that will allow parents and care-providers to better monitor their children’s needs, including medication schedule, appointments and much more.

Two additional students, Shae Jansen and Carly Chappel, both from the Indiana University School of Medicine, were also selected to serve as 2018 Gold Student Summer fellows; however, their projects have been unfortunately postponed due to unsafe conditions in the project region. We hope to revisit these projects in the future.

Follow along as our summer fellows embark on their projects through the hashtag #GoldSSF on Instagram and Twitter.