Initiatives by Penn Chapter of GHHS
NEIGHBORS: Neighboring, Engaged and Intentional- Gold Humanism Bolstering the Overlap of Relationships and Service
Community engagement among medical students helps them understand the patients they live amongst and serve, and PSOM's community partnerships could be strengthened beyond occasional service events to more intensive engagement with the daily lives of those we care for. Therefore, the NEIGHBORS program seeks to take a small group of students passionate about community engagement and expose them with regularity to the communities around Philadelphia. The hope is to augment the intentionality of community engagement, build an understanding of the community through relationships, and facilitate the practice of genuinely understanding communities.
Penn 2022 GHHS Solidarity Month
In 2022, Penn GHHS organized a Solidarity Month to highlight and uplift the voices of various Philadelphia communities (especially West Philadelphia) and their experiences throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We planned several events to learn about West Philadelphia and Penn's relationship to it and to reflect on how we can stand in solidarity with one another and with our West Philadelphia community.
Addressing Our Patient's Social Needs: An Interprofessional Panel with Social Workers
To encourage attention to patients' social needs, which are as important and health-defining as their medical needs, we organized an interprofessional panel with our social worker colleagues for second-year medical students about to begin their clerkship year. Several of our GHHS members participated in the panel, which was held in January 2022, to share their own experiences of collaborating with social workers and addressing the social needs of their patients. Community resources and referral tools will be shared with students during the panel to equip them to actively engage in addressing their patients' social needs.
"Introduction to the Clerkship": A GHHS/MedEd Club Initiative
During the clerkship preparation week for second-year medical students in December, GHHS and the Medical Education Club come together to host four "Introduction to the Clerkship" sessions on each of the different clerkship blocks. During these sessions, which are led by several fourth-year medical students, we discussed life as a clerkship student on the wards, provided the MS2's with useful information on note-writing and presenting, and provided a safe student-centered space to ask questions. We also used these sessions as a means of addressing the fears and concerns associated with starting clerkship year, while also discussing the joy and privilege of caring for patients.
Challenges Among Us: Failure in Medical School
In collaboration with the Academic Resilience Team, we organized a panel in November 2021 for the first-year medical students where several upperclassmen had the opportunity to share their experiences with academic challenges and overcoming failure in medical school. Through this panel, we created a space where students could share their stories of vulnerability and resilience, share in the highs and lows of medical school, and appreciate where the medical school journey has taken them. In doing so, they had the opportunity to normalize, destigmatize, and re-contextualize "failures" in medical school for the first-year medical students.
Community Engagement Panel for MS1's and Peer-mentoring for Community Clinic Volunteers
To facilitate patient-centered and socially conscious student volunteering in community clinics, we organized and participated in a panel on community engagement during Orientation for the first-year medical students in August 2021. Several GHHS members volunteered to be peer mentors for first-year medical students who would begin volunteering in community clinics, to provide guidance on caring for patients and addressing their social needs.
Penn 2021 GHHS Solidarity Month
Anti-Discrimination in Surgery Conference 2021
The Anti-Discrimination in Surgery Virtual Conference is an event meant to foster discussion and strategies for mitigating health inequities in surgical care and enhance diversity, equity and inclusion in surgical fields. Penn GHHS co-sponsored the 2021 conference and provided financial and promotional support.
Tales from the Wards - a collaboration with apenndx
Gold Humanism Honor Society, MSG, and apenndx, Penn Med's student-run magazine, compiled Tales from the Wards, an unfiltered, crowd-sourced collection of quotes and stories from the MS3 class from the past year. Tales from the Wards provides students with an entire spectrum of the clerkship experience, from the hilarious to the sad to the truly wonderful moments that help shape them into the doctors that they will ultimately become. Our hope is that this will provide a collective moment of reflection for all clinical students and the clerkship experience they've just come out of.
GHHS Wellness Initiative
GHHS has been working on two major wellness initiatives both developed to streamline and target medical student-specific mental health needs. The first is a collaboration with COBALT to create a medical school section of the platform where resources exclusively available to the medical school can be more easily navigated by the student body. To inform the development of this section, GHHS conducted surveys of the student body to identify current gaps in the available mental health resources. Secondly, GHHS has been promoting and working to formalize a program developed by MS3 Danielle Zamalin, called the Penn School of Medicine Online Peer Support (POPS) Chatline. This is an anonymous, online, peer-to-peer chatline to discuss the stresses and successes of medical school. Using a web-based platform, students will be able to launch a completely anonymous instant message chat with a Peer Support Volunteer. The goal of these wellness projects is to ensure that all medical students have the support they need to thrive throughout their medical school journey. Currently, both projects are in development with the Dean of Student Wellness and the COBALT leadership team.
Health Disparities and Anti-Racist Curriculum Initiatives
The inequality curriculum group is working, in collaboration with SNMA and LMSA, to develop and incorporate information about healthcare disparities and possible approaches to mitigating disparities throughout the Mod 2 preclinical lectures. Our hope is, that by incorporating this information directly into core Mod 2 courses, we can encourage medical students to see these disparities as equally central to the health of our patients as a good understanding of physiology is. We are also hoping that this project can complement the important work being done by SNMA, LMSA, and StORM to implement broader anti-racist curricular changes at Penn Med.
In 2020, GHHS worked directly with the preclinical cardiology course leadership to systematically review and update slides to incorporate evidence-based language around race and ethnicity as well as include several exam questions around healthcare disparities. This work was reviewed by cardiologists who are health equity experts.
Penn Med Votes
Penn Med Votes is an interdepartmental, student-run organization that provides emergency absentee ballots to hospitalized patients. For the 2018 mid-term elections, GHHS partnered with the organization to help expand their efforts to Presbyterian Hospital and HUP. This resulted in nearly 100 patients casting their vote while in the hospital.
GHHS Get Out the Vote
GHHS's get out the vote team worked to support Penn Med Votes and VotER in their projects to help Penn patients register to vote and get access to emergency ballots during the presidential election of 2020. The team also advocated with the administration for protected time off for medical students to vote and engage in election day volunteering efforts, distributed votER badges (contains QR code to easily help patients register to vote) to physicians at Penn Family Care, recruited volunteers to staff voter registration booths at CHOP primary care locations, and sent weekly email updates (called Road to the Election updates) to all medical students in the months leading up to the election. These emails contained important election-related news as well as three things to do, two things to listen to, and one thing to read to engage with the upcoming presidential election.
Student Clinicians Ceremony
The Student Clinicians Ceremony, founded by GHHS nationally, is held annually for second-year medical students at the Perelman School of Medicine in December prior to their transition to their clinical year. The ceremony provides a space for students to celebrate their transition from "pre-clinical" students to Student Clinicians, and to re-state their values and intentions as they begin their lifelong journeys of caring for patients.
Penn: Then & Now
Inspired by the Penn & Slavery Project, Penn: Then & Now is a project dedicated to bringing to light Penn Med’s institutional history and responsibility. GHHS writes monthly bulletins on people, places, and events in Penn Med history to help students understand the complicated relationship Penn has with the surrounding community and what role they may play in that legacy. By also suggesting local businesses, projects, and political organizations for students to support, the project emphasizes practical ways of contributing meaningfully to the Philadelphia community.