The University of Colorado Medical Alumni Association and the Medical Student Council (MSC) have collaborated to create a new endowment to support innovative student community project submissions. Not only do these projects have a huge impact on the community, but they also are fostering activism and leadership in our students. Click here to make a gift to projects like these.
Paris Elementary – $2000 (full budget)
Students for Immigrant Health and Rights – $1087 (full budget)
Warren Village Community Garden – $1350 (partial budget)
Cost Cards – $900 (partial budget)
Naloxone Training – $616.50 (full budget)
We are seeking grant funding to create a new branch of our existing project, Crawford Future Scientists, at Paris Elementary School. For the past four years, medical students from Anschutz Medical Campus have coordinated and taught a grant-funded, after-school program called Crawford Future Scientists. By teaching 3rd and 4th graders about the scientific method and organizing weekly experiments, we have provided our students with hands-on experiences in science education. As a Title 1 school, Crawford Elementary primarily serves students from disadvantaged backgrounds, and 95% of Crawford’s students identify as a racial or ethnic minority. This program, therefore, provides a unique pathway for medical students to serve as positive role models in STEM for elementary students, to ignite a passion for life-long learning in underserved youth, and to address the deficit of diverse representation in STEM through mentorship.
We were approached by Paris Elementary School with a request to implement a similar curriculum, and together, we hope to provide this same experience to their students.
Paris Elementary School represents a particularly valuable opportunity for outreach and community engagement on the part of Anschutz Medical Campus. Paris has 356 students, only 10% of whom meet state standards for English proficiency, a number which falls to 4% for mathematics. The poverty rate among its student population is the highest in the Aurora School District, with 91% of students receiving free or reduced-fee lunches. 30% of students speak English as their primary language at home, while 60.4% speak Spanish. 10% of students are first-generation immigrants; 2.2% of students identify as white. As the only chemistry and biology-focused after-school program at Paris, Paris Future Scientists will provide science education and academic enrichment to a large number and broad array of diverse, underserved, and/or at-risk youth.
While poverty and minority status are correlated with lower education attainment and continued low socioeconomic status, these factors are significantly reduced when adequate social support systems are in place, especially when interventions take place in the early stages of psychosocial development. The innovative model being implemented at Paris is based on the principles of restorative justice, mindfulness, character education, and student mentorship which provide a framework in which to implement an integrated instruction model, which utilizes collaborative planning and community engagement to foster the growth of students into compassionate intellectuals. Paris Future Scientists will function, alongside existing programs, as a means of early intervention in the lives of students, and empowering existing leadership in the community.
We view our goals as representatives of Anschutz Medical Campus as being aligned with those of Paris Elementary: To be “an equitable community where all students collaborate to reach their potential through the power of innovations and culturally responsive teaching and become international leaders, risk-takers, and critical thinkers who follow their dreams.”
Previous literature indicates that in order to improve the healthcare outcomes of low-income communities, it is important to address the social determinants of health (Lucyk & McLaren, 2017). One way to address this is by changing health behaviors. Both in past and present studies, horticulture therapy and gardening have been used to positively shape health behaviors to improve one’s mental health status, social interactions, eating habits, etc. (Lee et al., 2013; Soga, Gaston, & Yamaura, 2017). Our goal is to improve Warren Village’s infrastructure by creating a community garden. The community garden project will build on a long-standing community partnership with Warren Village, a residence for low-income single-parent families. Many residents of Warren Village have faced significant obstacles in their lives and this project serves as a way to empower residents while improving health behaviors. Warren Village is one of the few transitional living programs that serves low-income families in the greater Denver area.
The goal of creating the community garden at Warren Village is to empower residents by building a garden for the community to use. The aim of the project is five-fold:
This project has a multipronged approach that not only benefits the community but also other health professions students. A major problem facing healthcare professionals is burnout. The community garden will offer a means to promote a nonhealthcare related activity that gives students a means to relax and destress. A secondary goal of the project is to promote inter- professionalism among the health profession students. Students will also learn various dishes from Warren Village residents, as the cooking aspect of the project is meant to be a skill exchange.
In summary, the community garden project will be an interdisciplinary project meant to promote friendships and collaborations across the schools while giving back to the community.
Addressing diversity of the healthcare workforce has been a multi-year project across the nation. In hopes of addressing this diversity, we are working with students of Mitchell High School, a Title IX school in Colorado Springs, Colorado with students under-represented in medicine. The goal of this project is to engage students in science and healthcare experiences to empower and inspire them to pursue careers in healthcare. This project fits in the CUSOM mission of endorsing and supporting diversity in medicine, as these students come from diverse and underserved ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. This project impacts the community surrounding the School of Medicine in Colorado Springs by providing high school students opportunities and exposure to the health sciences that they may otherwise lack. This project aligns with programs that have exhibited success in augmenting knowledge and interest in healthcare careers through partnerships between high schools, health professionals, health profession students, and pipeline programs.1,2,3
This year a group of three MS3s (Colton Leavitt, Sanju Garimella, and Megan Kunkel) have coordinated with two Mitchell High School teachers and have planned multiple events with a group of 25 high school students in the Health Occupations Students of America club at Mitchell. Thus far, students have participated in a history collecting social event, and in October we are holding an event at the El Paso county Coroner’s Office to expose students to forensic pathology and public health. In November we are engaging our students in a “Day in the Life of a Health Professional Student” at the Anschutz Medical Campus by attending a health professions school lecture, learning in the anatomy lab, and attending a PBL session of MS2s. In the remaining months, we will host a Virtual Reality Day with CSU’s Anatomy Virtual Reality program, hold an Emergency Medicine Skills Night teaching splinting and suture skills, teach the core physical exam, host a BLS course, and assist in dissections of the heart and brain.
As this is a community project for the Family Medicine Clerkship, we do not have external funding for food, materials for dissection, splints, and sutures. Our overall budget is detailed in the attached Excel sheet. Of note, the majority of the budget consists of disposable materials that will be used during the experiential events. One exception is the emergency medicine splints and ace wrap bandages, which students will be able to take home to practice their skills.
Through PollEverywhere, we are evaluating students’ beginning and final interest in healthcare and perceived barriers in pursuing a career in healthcare. Further funding has been acquired through Colorado Springs School District 11 and El Paso County to support these activities. By developing a schedule of activities and establishing community partners, we are launching a sustainable platform for future students to build and expand upon while ensuring a smooth transition to next year’s MS3 students in the Colorado Springs branch and in years to come. With our partnership between Colorado Springs School District 11, local health professionals, fellow students, and universities in Colorado, we hope to support this diverse group of high school students in their interest in science while empowering them to pursue healthcare careers.
Over the course of the past year, the ICE facility run by GEO Group in Aurora has made national news concerning adverse healthcare and living conditions in the facility. GEO Group is a private corporation which profits from holding individuals in its prisons.1 The privately run GEO Group ICE processing center in Aurora (will be further referred to as “the GEO facility”), is part of a national issue in which individuals seeking asylum in the United States and immigrants who have been detained by ICE are experiencing a gross violation of their human rights. We have learned that despite being overseen by ICE, the GEO Group is not required to follow regulations and expectations set by the Department of Corrections in regards to healthcare or environmental conditions.2 ,3 This is gravely dangerous for individuals being held in such facilities. Nationally, reports on ICE facilities have revealed overcrowded living conditions, poor hygiene and sanitation, and staff ignoring dietary restrictions of detainees.4 Reporting on the Aurora GEO facility began last year when detainees were quarantined on two separate occasions due to outbreaks of mumps and chickenpox.5 ,6 Additionally, the ACLU of Colorado released a report outlining lapses in health care at the GEO facility, including the cases of:
We are saddened that such atrocities have been occurring not only in our country, but just two miles away from the Anschutz Medical Campus.
As future healthcare professionals, we believe that no one should be subject to such inadequacies in healthcare or substandard living conditions. No matter where one falls in their beliefs about immigration, it is imperative that we, as future providers, stand to uphold the basic human rights of others. The aim of this group is to educate members of the Anschutz community about the migrant experience, to advocate for improved standards of care in ICE facilities, and to serve those in our community who have immigrated from a different country or who have been affected by ICE or GEO. We believe it is of the utmost importance that the Anschutz Medical Campus becomes involved in addressing these issues, as it is part of our obligation as a community of healthcare providers to advocate for those who are experiencing medical neglect in our community, especially as those detained in the GEO facility are experiencing medical neglect on such a gross scale. It is part of the moral fabric of our profession to stand up for those in our community who are experiencing such violations of human rights.8
Through the creation of the Students for Immigrant Health and Rights (SIHR) we hope to connect the Anschutz Medical Campus to some of the most vulnerable members of the Aurora community. We plan to use the three-pronged approach of education, advocacy, and service in order to:
Healthcare spending in the United States is consistently the highest in the world, yet among developed countries patient outcomes in the US are often among the worst. Physicians are estimated to be responsible for up to 80% of national healthcare costs. A majority of US healthcare spending can be related to the inpatient setting with 32% of national healthcare spending coming from hospital care, 20% from physician and clinical services, and 10% from prescription drugs.
The community of Aurora is particularly vulnerable to these elevated cost as both the median per capita and household income in Aurora are lower than in the Denver Metro area, State, and Nation. Additionally, these patients often trust their doctors to only perform testing and procedures that will help their overall outcome. In a recent study published in the Public Library of Science (PLOS ONE) it was discovered that 20% of medical care was not needed. The same study showed that the primary reasons included fear of malpractice (84.9%), pressure from patients (59%), and difficulty accessing previous medical records (38.2%). These unnecessary costs ultimately get passed onto the patient in the form of increased premiums and deductibles, decreasing the overall value of care in our healthcare system. Unfortunately, vulnerable populations like those in the city of Aurora are frequently the ones most impacted by this lower value in health care. The Choosing Wisely Campaign, aimed at promoting cost of care conversations and reducing waste in healthcare, may help patients like those in Aurora to take a more active role in managing the value of their health care.
The University of Colorado second year representatives for the choosing wisely (STARS) campaign will rely on a previously utilized survey and cost-card system to educate individuals attending 9News health fairs on ways that they can discuss costs-of-care with their providers. The project will set out to improve the value of care provided by primary providers in a variety of settings. The aims of this project are:
By implementing and evaluating this project, we will aim to determine the effect of a cost- card- intervention on changing attitudes and participation in CoC conversations in a patient population in Aurora. Currently there is literature on how to promote CoC conversations, however there is none specifically evaluating the effects that a pocket-sized cost-card has on these conversations. Additionally, this research may demonstrate the importance of leveraging health fairs in reaching a large portion of the community.