A team of students from the Pritzker School of Medicine brought home first place in the American Medical Association’s 2022 Accelerating Change in Medical Education Health Systems Science Student, Resident and Fellow Impact Challenge for their submission on the Southside Free Clinic Initiative.
For the third straight year, UChicago made an impressive showing in the challenge. In addition to the top prize, UChicago medical students, residents, and fellows accounted for the second most submissions by an institution in this year’s contest. That follows back-to-back years in which UChicago had the most submissions, including one Honorable Mention abstract that placed among the top six entries in 2021.
The team of current third-year student Theodore Lang and second-year students David Fenton, Amani Allen, Chibueze Agwu, and Kofi Acheampong submitted the winning abstract detailing the Southside Free Clinic Initiative, a student-led effort to develop a student-run free clinic offering primary care services to the Black adult population on the South Side of Chicago. The clinic, funded primarily by a substantial grant from the University of Chicago Women’s Board, is set to open later this year under the supervision of UChicago Medicine physicians.
“The need for physicians to work as community leaders has never been more significant as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spotlight health inequities that disproportionately burden underserved communities,” the abstract read. “This is especially true on the Southside of Chicago, home to stark disparities in access to medical care, prognoses, and patient outcomes in its Black adult population.”
The Southside Free Clinic (SSFC) initiative originated in Pritzker’s chapter of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA), and second-year student Idris Ayantoye and fourth-year student Cierra Howard are also part of the effort. Dr. Jim Woodruff, Pritzker’s Dean of Students, and Dr. Wei Wei Lee, Pritzker’s Associate Dean of Students and Professional Development, served as mentors to the group. The group partnered with Project H.O.O.D, a community organization on the South Side, to understand the community’s needs and experiences with health care.
Among the other accepted submissions from UChicago was an abstract from second-year Pritzker student Tony Dagher, “Cultivating Future Leaders in Health Care Delivery Science Through a Longitudinal, Immersive Learning-Focused Curricular Thread.” On a team that included third-year student Robert Hight and Drs. Irsk Anderson, Jeanne Farnan, and Julie Oyler, Dagher led an effort to examine the impact of the VISTA program – a longitudinal series of didactic sessions and standardized patient simulations training students in value of care, improvement science, safety of patients, team training, and advocacy – on medical students’ understanding of health care delivery science (HDS).
“We set out to implement and evaluate a longitudinal, skills-based, immersive learning curriculum in HDS to provide medical students with the skills to advocate for a better health care system for patients,” the abstract read. “Qualitative analysis revealed that VISTA graduates possessed a more thorough understanding of HDS and craved more nuanced knowledge.”
Dr. Kyra Nicholson, a PGY-2 resident in the University of Chicago General Surgery residency program, led the project “Standardized Metric to Track Physician-Nurse Patient Centered Touch Bases,” teaming with fellow General Surgery resident Dr. Hunter Whitmer (PGY-3), research coordinator Aviva Klein, and nurse William Marsack. Under the mentorship of Dr. Vineet Arora, Pritzker’s Dean for Medical Education, the team undertook two projects to encourage physician-nurse interaction.