Amidst the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, students worldwide have struggled to volunteer in their communities and their communities have felt the repercussions of this lack of service. Despite the difficulties of volunteering during this pandemic however, our MHP students have come up with innovative ways to continue their service and restore a sense of normalcy and wellbeing in society. With our MHP student’s diverse range of interests and passions, so too is there a diverse range of organizations in which our students have committed themselves to. From language and academic tutoring to serving in different healthcare settings, MHP students have truly demonstrated their desire to give back to their community.
Ever since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, we, as a nation, have witnessed our schools, universities, and other teaching centers scramble to find different ways to foster an adequate learning environment. With a switch to remote learning, we can recognize that many students have been able to effectively continue their education, while others are struggling to learn in a way which caters to their needs. With the goal of addressing this disparity in remote learning during COVID-19, some of our MHP students have committed themselves to either academic or language tutoring so that they may help students learn, in ways that best suit them. For example, one of our MHP students volunteered with Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID) as a college application coach, helping each student convey their individual story through their personal statements. Another one of our students volunteered with Fast Forward Language Tutoring to help international students develop a familiarity for the English language. In a time in which mentoring is challenging, both of these amazing student teachers have taken the time to host individual one-on-one sessions with their students, in order to ensure that learners are receiving the attention and care that they need to succeed.
In addition to education, our MHP students have also committed themselves to service in various healthcare settings. As we know, COVID-19 has been a catalyst for patient loneliness in hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare settings. With this heightened sense of isolation in our population due to COVID-19, our MHP students have fought to establish a sense of comfort for all of our patients, during these trying times. For example, our MHP students have either volunteered with the Child Advocacy Center (CAC), Streetlight Shands Program, or the Gainesville Community Hospice Center in order to serve as a support system for these patients during their treatment. Likewise, MHP students have made it a priority to spend quality time and form lasting friendships with all of the patients across these different programs, in order to foster a greater sense of security and care for them.
Overall, we would like to applaud all of our current MHP students for their dedication to their community as a whole. They have demonstrated a desire to give back to their community in some capacity and we are excited to see how each of them continues to demonstrate their love of service, in medical school and beyond.