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University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center
Publish Date: 07/28/00
Media Contact: AHC Public Relations, (513) 558-4553
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Academic Health Students Participate in Urban Health Project

Cincinnati--For 15 years, students from the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine have had an opportunity to learn valuable lessons working with patient populations who are medically underserved. The Urban Health Project, a student-run summer program, is celebrating its 15th anniversary and its largest year of student participation this summer.

Twenty-six medical students are devoting 8 weeks of their summer as interns at nonprofit social service and clinical agencies in Cincinnati. The Urban Health Project is comprised of students who have completed their first year of medical school and are interested in gaining experience in a social service atmosphere.

"Medicine is more than just science," said Yvette Neirouz, student director of the Urban Health Project. "By interacting with underserved populations, the interns are learning how to work with people who come from many different social situations."

Twenty-three local nonprofit organizations, such as Crossroad Health Center, Joseph House and LightHouse Crisis Center, gain free assistance from medical student interns in exchange for the opportunity to gain hands-on knowledge in a social service or clinical agency. For example, Thomas Hair, first-year medical student and career army officer, works at Joseph House with homeless veterans. Hair has learned about pharmacology and drug response through his internship. Amanda Kalan, an intern at Welcome House Shelter, has gained an understanding of how social security and Medicare affect the women and children who come to Welcome House. At Crossroad Health Center, a medical clinic serving low-income and uninsured people, interns work as medical assistants who check vital signs and assist with patient follow-up.

"Every year the Urban Health Project has given us the opportunity to continue serving the community," said Sally Stewart, executive director of Crossroad Health Center. "We have been able to establish relationships with UC medical students, and two of the previous interns have even come back to volunteer." She said Crossroad has been involved with the Urban Health Project for the past five years and continues to look forward to UC medical students to help keep their center running smoothly.

Interns are compensated with a summer stipend from the Urban Health Project grant funded by contributions and donations from public and private organizations.

As the director, Neirouz is planning to raise at least $60,000 for next summer's program and will arrange an Urban Health Project lecture series throughout the upcoming school year, which will include lunchtime speakers and possible workshops.

"I hope this experience influences the interns throughout medical school and their entire medical careers," Neirouz said of the valuable learning experience gained by participating in the Urban Health Project.

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