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August 16, 2023

UMass Chan community service fund doles out $160K for student, staff projects

A building with a sign that reads "UMass Chan Medical School" behind two trees PHOTO | Courtesy of UMass Chan Medical School UMass Chan Medical School in Worcester

The Remillard Family Community Service Fund, a UMass Chan Medical School fund financed by a $3 million donation in 2015, has selected 12 student, faculty, and staff-led projects for its 2023 grants.

The funding aids projects that address social determinants of health, healthy equity, housing, the sex trade, and diversity, equity and inclusion in the healthcare workforce, according to a Monday announcement from UMass Chan.

This year’s projects will split $160,500, with individual grants of up to 20,000.

The 12 projects are:

Strengthening relationships and skills to address the social determinants of health: Using community-level data, the curriculum will have students participate in service learning and conduct a survey of their community.

Student-run free clinic for the care and analysis of acute and chronic wounds in the vulnerable population of Worcester and Central Massachusetts: the student-run clinic will provide free wound care and learning opportunities.

Lung cancer diagnosis in Worcester, increasing equitable access to screening: The project will implement outreach protocol to offer free diagnostic screening to vulnerable populations.

Continuing nutrition education for young mothers experiencing housing insecurity in Worcester: UMass Chan Medical School student-run organization Mentors for Young Mothers will deliver nutrition training at You Inc. residential facilities. You Inc. is a Worcester-based behavioral healthcare agency.

Attachment and bonding education for young mothers experiencing housing insecurity in Worcester: Also led by Mentors for Young Mothers, the program will implement a bonding curriculum for new mothers through education sessions.

Increasing physical activity in high school students at Holyoke High School-North Campus: Student-run organization M.E.A.L. (My Education, Action and Lifestyle), will work to increase participation in physical education classes to promote health.

Diversity, equity and inclusion in surgery initiative: The project will work to expose populations to surgical specialities to diversity the specialty.

Device-assisted exercise interventions and lifestyle changes in individuals with serious mental illness: The initiative will support the preexisting Genesis Club, which aims to help those with serious mental illness become more active, by providing them with smart devices such as Fitbits to monitor activity.

Expanding community health worker workforce development within the African community in Worcester: The project will engage with the African community in Worcester to help individuals better navigate the healthcare system.

Decreasing vaccine pain and anxiety for babies, children and teens at the Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center: The project will provide training at the Kennedy Community Health Center on the use of numbing sprays and other tools to reduce pain from injections.

Improving postpartum and breastfeeding education among medical trainees for provision of high-quality breastfeeding medical care to the Worcester population: The project will provide lactation consultations to healthcare workers who directly engage with recently postpartum individuals.

Breaking barriers through advocacy for Worcester survivors of commercial sexual exploitation: The project will develop a program to provide trauma-informed approaches for soon-to-be healthcare workers who will interact with victims.

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