Congrats to Ben Simons for receiving Tufts Civic Engagement Funds this year!

Spring 2011 Civic Engagement Fund recipients announced

Recently, Tisch College announced the Spring 2011 recipients of the Civic Engagement Fund (CEF). Open  to all Tufts students, CEF provides advising support and seed funding for innovative active citizenship projects.

This semester, CEF is supporting eleven student projects from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, the School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Medicine and the School of Dental Medicine. This round of CEF projects also expect to engage 135 Tufts students as participants.

“The Civic Engagement Fund is one of the primary ways in which we are able to support student active citizenship across the university,” said Rachel Szyman, Tisch College Program Coordinator. “In this round, it was especially exciting to fund projects at every school of Tufts, and to see so many graduate and professional students applying their knowledge and professional training to issues in our host communities.”

The Spring 2011 Civic Engagement Fund Projects are:

Tufts Sharewood Expansion and Improvement
Daniel Slate, Biology, 2011
Matthew Shepard, Medicine 2013
Michael Hemond, Medicine 2013
Molly Jaffe, Medicine 2013
Belal Hakim, Biology-Psychology, 2012

The Sharewood Project is a free healthcare organization run by Tufts medical students, volunteer physicians, and Tufts undergraduates. Sharewood opens its doors to the public every Tuesday night from 6:30 to 9 at the First Church of Malden and offers healthcare services to individuals from underserved communities in the Greater Boston area free of charge. The Sharewood Project consists of a general medical clinic and a sexual health clinic. Eye exams and dental screenings are provided one week each month, as well as case management services. Sharewood’s mission is not only to treat our patients’ immediate ills but to improve their overall quality of life by connecting them with primary care physicians, health insurance, and any other social services that may need.

Tufts Sharewood Dental Clinic
Danielle Currier, Dentistry, 2013
Ross Icyda, Dentistry, 2011
Hubert Park, Dentistry, 2011

The goal of the Sharewood Project is to expand the health services at Sharewood, providing for the first time dental health screenings and oral health education to individuals who do not have adequate access to care. The primary target population is, although not limited to, the “Lost Generation” of people between their 20’s and 50’s, many of whom are underserved by dental community health projects and safety net programs.

Somerville Maple Syrup Project
Benjamin Simons, Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, 2012
The Somerville Maple Syrup Project is a joint project of Groundwork Somerville, the Friends of the Community Growing Center, Somerville Public Schools and Tufts University.  Every February, maple trees in Somerville are tapped and the collected sap is stored for a public boil-down event in March.  Throughout the season, Groundwork Somerville staff and Tufts students teach a 4-week, standards-based arts and science curriculum to 2nd graders in Somerville’s public schools.  High school students working in their metal shop provide annual maintenance on the wood stove and evaporator pan they made in 2005.  The syrup produced is given as thank you gifts to key partners and sold at Groundwork Somerville’s booth at the Union Square Farmer’s Market.

Building Healthcare Capacity in Southern Sudan

Colin Robinson, Medicine, 2011
Maithri Ameresekere, Medicine, 2011

As part of the Southern Sudan Medical Education Collaborative (SSMEC), fourth year medical students will be traveling to Juba as visiting faculty members, serving as primary instructors to medical students.  They will cover preclinical topics such as biochemistry, anatomy, histology, embryology, and physiology, and neuroscience. There are two to three additional Sudanese faculty members visiting from Khartoum at any given point in time. As the students will be the most permanent instructional staff during their tenure, they will provide continuity between subjects.

Tufts in Haiti
Spencer Rittner, Medicine, 2014
Alex Landy, Medicine, 2014

While many areas in Haiti lack the physical and human infrastructure to support an emergency response system, Hospital Sacre Coeur, which helped aid 49,161 patients in 2009, is not one of them. While the hospital has three functioning ambulances, an intensive care unit and a designated emergency room, they lack trained EMTs and a process for successfully transporting patients from their homes to the hospital in emergency situations.  With these resources at hand, the medical students will work to train the correct personnel and organize a system to successfully respond to emergency scenarios in Milot Valley in Northern Haiti.  Initially, the service will be limited to pediatric and maternal emergencies but over time it will expand to the entire population.  Over the coming year, the medical students will be providing training and curriculum for the community health nurses to teach the community health agents (who are situated in the outlying villages) to recognize emergencies that require transport to Sacre Coeur. This represents an initial stage of a larger project to implement a text-message based ambulance response system that will be carried out over the summer.

Jumbo’s Kitchen
Kelly Dumke, Nutrition Communication, 2011
Rachel Zavala, Nutrition Communication, 2011
Catherine Wright, Food Policy and Applied Nutrition, 2011
Renee Reynolds, Dietetic Internship, 2011
Daniel Hatfield, Nutrition Communication, 2011

The purpose of Jumbo’s Kitchen is to introduce an underserved population to basic cooking skills, to promote an understanding of nutrition, and to empower kids to make healthy snacks with a focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Additionally, Jumbo’s Kitchen provides an opportunity for Friedman Nutrition students to apply skills and knowledge learned in the classroom to a real-world environment and gain experience working with children in the surrounding community. Students will also work to build a relationship between Tufts and the underserved community of Dorchester, in line with the Friedman School’s mission of education and dissemination of information.

The Welcome Project

Roxie Salamon-Abrams, American Studies, 2011
The “Unifying Immigrant Parents Initiative” project will bring together a group of new programs at the Welcome Project that aim to help immigrant parents effectively navigate the public school system and become powerful advocates for their children at school and in the community.  As part of this project the student will teach in the Welcome Project’s ESOL class “Helping your child at school”, organize meetings with the parents group focused on the Healey school reorganization and introduce parents to the Welcome Project’s other programs, like the First Generation to College program for high school students and the Mystic Wizards after-school program. The student will serve as a liaison between immigrant parents, ESOL teachers, Tufts student volunteers and the organization as a whole in an effort to better learn from and serve the Welcome Project’s constituents.

Tufts Outreach Nutrition Education (TONE)
Kathleen McKenna, Medicine, 2013
Lauren Szolomayer, Medicine, 2013
Melissa Lichte, Medicine, 2013

The goal of the Tufts Nutrition Outreach & Education (TONE) Program is to create a versatile and ongoing nutrition outreach program that trains Tufts medical students to provide nutrition counseling for medically underserved Boston communities. TONE trains students in advanced counseling techniques building upon the basic nutrition counseling that is currently a component of Tufts’ Foundations of Patient Care course and solicits knowledge from experts. TONE also provides students with opportunities to practice their skills and commit service time to five established community partners. Through ongoing nutrition events at these sites, students will empower Boston’s populations to achieve healthier lifestyles.

The Tufts University Refugee Assistance Program (TU-RAP)

David Sussman, The Fletcher School, 2012
Emily Holland, The Fletcher School, 2012
Cristina Narvaez, The Fletcher School, 2011
Lina Ngo, The Fletcher School, 2011
Emily Paine, Undecided, 2013
Jacqui Pilch, The Fletcher School, 2012
Kealy Sloan, The Fletcher School, 2011
Swetha Sridharan, The Fletcher School, 2011

The Tufts University Refugee Assistance Program (TU-RAP) provides a social support network of volunteers and mentors for recently resettled refugees in the greater Boston area. TU-RAP volunteers connect directly with refugees, positively impacting their ability to build new lives in the United States, and in the process gaining meaningful personal experience. In addition, TU-RAP, in conjunction with other student organizations, will educate the broader Tufts community about topics related to refugees, human rights, and immigration. As of December 2010, a total of 9 groups, consisting of 26 volunteers, have been linked with 49 refugees from Burma, the DRC, Iraq and Somalia.

Girls Values Program

Hyejo Jun, Medicine, 2013
The Girls’ Values Program (GVP) aims to enrich social and emotional development for Asian American girls between the ages of 11 and 16.  These girls face what many Asian American youth face: academic and peer pressure, difficult family relationships, and questions about their own identity.  Less talked about but not uncommon topics include low self-esteem, eating disorders, and sexual development.  The program provides a safe and engaging environment for the girls to gain confidence as individuals, members of their families, and leaders in their community.  Female Asian American students from Tufts University School of Medicine serve as adult mentors to the program. Mentors act as moderators during activities, role-plays, and discussions, but also as positive role models and confidants for the girls to rely on.

Pet Vaccination Clinic
Jessica Brown, Veterinary Medicine, 2013
Alexis Messler, Veterinary Medicine, 2013
Daniela Gilbert, Veterinary Medicine, 2013
Melissa Doolin, Veterinary Medicine, 2013

Access to veterinary care is limited for residents in the Worcester Housing Authority communities. Under the supervision of faculty veterinarians, veterinary students will perform physical examinations and administer Rabies and Distemper vaccines. Becker College, a small coeducational college located in Worcester, will also provide students to assist. This collaboration offers students a unique opportunity to improve their technical and interpersonal skills, while providing a greatly needed service to an underserved community of animals and their owners. In addition, residents will receive information about general pet health and well-being, benefits of spaying and neutering, and where to access regular veterinary care. Veterinary and college students will also provide the opportunity for owners to comply with Worcester city law, by licensing their dogs.