MLK Jr Semester of Service Awards: A Spark to Ignite Students' Motivation to Serve

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Three student service projects received Baystate's 4th Annual MLK Jr. Semester of Service Student Awards at "It Starts with Me," Baystate Health's virtual event commemorating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on January 14, 2022.

The award-winning projects were announced by Sarah Perez McAdoo MD, MPH, Director of Health Equity Education & Practice, who explained that the award is designed to support student service and build long term educational partnerships with the community.

"Service is built into our health professions education," said McAdoo. "Students come into our programs eager and motivated to serve the communities they care for. That motivation needs to be nurtured and cultivated to develop health professionals who can transform healthcare, especially for those suffering most."

2022 MLK Semester of Service Student Award Projects

Youth Health Education Program

To address the need for educational attainment and workforce development as a priority determinant of health in Springfield and Hampden County youth, Baystate Springfield Educational Partnership students will take a course developed for them by the WOW bus team, then plan and implement a career fair introducing a range of health professions careers to Baystate Academy Charter Public School students.

Students: High school students enrolled in BSEP for the Spring 2022 semester

Gardening the Community

To support GTC's efforts to address food insecurity and unequal access to healthy foods fueled by food apartheid, residential segregation, and structural racism, a Spring Kickoff Event will be held to encourage the local Springfield community to learn about gardening, food justice, sustainability, access to healthy food, and healthy eating.

Student: Calvin Schaffer, Class of 2023; Sarah Lee and Akanksha Nagarkar, Class of 2023

Martin Luther King Jr Food Justice Fair

This project continues and builds upon past food justice fairs (2019-2021) by offering another fair in February as well as July, and providing additional education, activity, and resource booths to address food insecurity, socioeconomic strain, housing insecurity, and lack of healthcare access experienced by food pantry clients.

Student: Ryan Marano, Erica Dean, and Anam Furrukh, Class of 2025

About Baystate Health's Martin Luther King Jr. Semester of Service Award

The award is open to all students enrolled in a health professions school or certification program who matriculate at a Baystate Health site for their education.

Projects must address a priority health need, as identified in Baystate Health’s community health needs assessments, social determinant(s) of health, as defined by the MA Department of Public Health, or a health disparity or inequity.

Awardees are selected by a panel comprising members of Baystate Community Faculty, Baystate Community Benefits Advisory Council, and Baystate Business Resource Groups. Funding for these awards is provided by the Offices of Government and Community Relations, Diversity and Inclusion, and by UMass Chan Medical School-Baystate.

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