Spotlight on Service
The BSCH Department recently celebrated the first graduating cohort of Pre-Public Health students in the Bachelor’s of Health Science (BHS) Program.
At this celebration, Spotlight on Service, students showcased their volunteer projects that they developed and implemented while completing 105 hours in one semester within the community under the supervision of professors Dr. Mary Ellen Young and Dr. Michael Moorhouse. Students presented their projects and service experiences in a poster session. Following presentations, everyone gathered for a celebration which included an announcement of awards and refreshments.
Three students received awards for their service experience. Alyana Samai received the Pre-Public Health Community Service Award for her service at Streetlight at Shands. Samai has been volunteering with Streetlight for over two years and is currently a Co-Captain for the Streetlight Cancer Team.
At Streetlight, Samai stayed busy doing activities with patients in their rooms or the lounge and organizing “End of Chemotherapy” Parties, among other things. Samai also developed and completed an assessment of volunteers’ skills and interests (e.g., painting, dancing) with the goal of expanding the activities they currently offer to patients.
Most importantly, however, Samai has been a friend to these young patients who are in many cases, facing life threatening illnesses. Samai was recognized at convocation for this award which included a small monetary award for her significant community contribution. When asked to reflect on her service experience, Samai commented,
Almost everyone in this class, including myself, learned to love giving their time to a cause that gives back to the community. When we began this practicum, many of us felt that we would be doing a service for others; in the end, those we served ended up helping us as much as we helped them. I believe that this experience offers students a unique perspective, through experiential learning and real-world interaction, as they embark into their professional lives.
With an interest in combatting health disparities, Samai is planning to get her Master’s Degree in Public Health and later attend Medical School.
Posters were judged by two faculty members and two were selected for awards. Christina Fatolitis, who volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House, received First Place for her poster presentation. Fatolitis developed and implemented a chore card system in which residents of the Ronald McDonald House were able to keep track of their communal chores during their stay. Fatolitis was commended for developing a sustainable project that will continue to be used for years to come. Ronald McDonald employees commented on how much they enjoyed having her as a volunteer and how appreciative they were of her chore card contribution.
Meghan McMullen received Second Place for her poster presentation. McMullen completed her service at Palm Garden. She worked closely with occupational and physical therapists in the Rehabilitation Department. For her project, McMullen created a physical database of therapy exercises for discharged clients to practice at home. Each exercise was organized into boxes by body part and printed on index cards. Activities were focused on range of motion, stretching, and theraband exercises.
“My hope was that therapists could use these to create customizable at-home exercise programs that were specific to each client. I thought it was really important that each client could get a personalized program, because each condition is extremely individualized. One stroke victim might not have the same strengths, weaknesses, and residual effects as another. It’s important to take that into consideration, so that each client has the best chance to succeed after therapy,” said McMullen.
McMullen recently started her Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy at the University of Florida.
The BSCH Department is excited to graduate the first cohort of Pre-Public Health students!