Fourth-year medical student Rachel Robitz has received a $2,300 "Helping Hands Grant” to continue her outreach at Cincinnati’s Union Bethel "Off the Streets” program—a nonprofit which helps women involved in prostitution move toward safety, recovery, and community reintegration.
The grant comes from the American Psychiatric Foundation, the grant arm of the American Psychiatric Association, and will be used to conduct a 10-week program that serves a two-fold purpose: Educates women in the program about their physical and mental health and also introduces medical students to the challenges and rewards of working with a vulnerable population.
"My hope is that the women who participate will be able to talk back to medical students and develop their own voice and that the students gain from the experience as well,” Robitz says.
The class will be co-led by a medical student and an "Off the Streets” graduate, she says, adding that the funding includes a small stipend for the graduate’s expenses. Robitz has been working with the women's program since 2008.
The encouragement to apply for the grant, she says, came from her faculty advisor, Aurora Bennett, MD, in the department of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience, who was recently appointed to associate dean of student affairs.