By Simin G. Roward
Being a medical student is challenging: between studying, rotations and research, it seems there isn’t enough time for everything. Often, it’s easy to lose track of why we chose this profession in the first place. Community service and engagement are put on hold amidst other pressing responsibilities. The goal of the AWS National Day of Service is to designate a day on which medical students from all over the country would come together with residents and attendings and make service to others a priority.
The members of AWS are compassionate, humanistic leaders, who chose the field of surgery because of the ability to make lasting improvements in people’s health and to provide a vital service to communities. These positive characteristics were exemplified in last year’s AWS National Day of Service event, where students nationwide provided much needed services and donations to their community. These service events differed from state to state- some schools put on educational sessions with high school and middle school girls to talk about medical school or to provide mentorship to students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Other schools organized clothing drives to provide supplies for shelters helping domestic abuse survivors or immigrant .
Each service event was specific to the needs of the community: in Washington, students raised funds for a local non-profit organization after it had been broken into and vandalized. In Arizona funds were raised to provide pre-employment TB testing to refugee women. In Texas, cookies were baked with the residents of the Ronald McDonald house, and students in North Carolina helped girl scouts earn badges by teaching them First Aid. Students in DC spent the day packing meals at a local food shelter and Boston students volunteered at a clinic for the homeless.
The participating schools should be proud of the events they organized and the important contributions they have made to their communities. The spirit of volunteering and community service are well aligned with the mission of the Association of Women Surgeons. As the AWS day of service will become an annual event, each year will build on the strengths of the previous year. This year’s AWS National Day of Service is September 9th, 2017, please contact us for additional resources or questions about participating!
USUHS put together bags of food donations at Food for ALL
University of Texas Medical Branch hosted a Valentines cookie baking event at Ronald McDonald house
Paul L Foster School of Medicine (Texas Tech-El Paso)-organized a clothing drive for Anunciation house, a migrant shelter
University of Arizona- Fundraising for pre-employment TB testing for Syrian refugees
Boston Chapter-Hosted a game night with patients from their clinic
Simin G. Roward is a recent graduate of University of Arizona college of medicine. She is currently a general surgery intern at University of Texas at San Antonio and she is planning to pursue a career in pediatric surgery. She served as the community service chair for the Association of Women Surgeons during the 2016 school year and began the AWS day of service event. Her interests include global health, running marathons, traveling and participating in community service.
Our blog is a forum for our members to speak, and as such, statements made here represent the opinions of the author and are not necessarily the opinion of the Association of Women Surgeons.