Look Back: First SCHA Cohort Makes Meaningful Connections Through Service

By Destiny Henning

In 2022, a group of first-year Pritzker students received the Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) Honor Medical Society's Medical Student Service Leadership Project (MSSLP) Grant to develop a service leadership program at the school. After building up the infrastructure of the Southside Community Health Advocates (SCHA) program, the first cohort of SCHA students collaborated with South Side organizations to find avenues to develop their passions while serving the community. The goal of SCHA--led and designed by current M3s Amani Allen, Chibueze Agwu, David Fenton, Kofi Acheampong, Ifeoma Ikedionwu, Idris Ayantoye, and Destiny Henning--is to increase direct community involvement amongst medical students. The following projects were carried out in the 2022-2023 school year.

Students: Megha Prasad and Nora Spandoni
Faculty: Dr. Fuad Baroody, Department of Surgery, Section of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery
Community Partner: EveryMom Chicago
Project Area: Maternal Health
Project: Megha and Nora partnered with EveryMom Chicago, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing baby kits to expectant mothers in underserved communities. Each EveryMom kit contains newborn, postpartum, and breastfeeding essentials as well as local resources for families. Nora and Megha were inspired by EveryMom’s ability to bridge the gap in prenatal resources and postpartum assistance. Over the academic year, they organized a fundraiser and donation drive to purchase much needed items, such as newborn thermometers. They collected dozens of supplies that will now be part of EveryMom kits. Donations and volunteer efforts drive the work EveryMom is able to do on the South Side of Chicago to address maternal and infant disparities.

Students: Jasmine Rios and Vincent Buckman
Faculty: Dr. Bryan Smith, Department of Medicine, Section of Cardiology
Community Partner: South Side Free Clinic
Project Area: Health Literacy and Immigrant Health
Project: Vincent and Jasmine were the Community Outreach Chairs for Pritzker’s new South Side Free Clinic (SSFC). They focused on the importance of connecting with current pillars in community to expand the efforts already being done. They started the year by growing SSFC’s list of partnerships and facilitating discussions on how to increase the awareness of SSFC. Their largest project was a health and resource fair that provided more than 100 community members with health screening, 1-on-1 contact with physicians, vaccines, and fresh produce to take home.

Students: Tosin Oniyde and Danielle Gaskin
Faculty: Dr. Sonia Oyola, Department of Family Medicine
Community Partner: City Elementary
Project Area: Nutrition/Education
Project: Danielle and Tosin partnered with a local elementary school focused on educating students who are neurodiverse. To address the related health disparities in our local community, they hosted nutritious cooking lessons with students using the Health Meets Food curriculum. They recognized that neurodiverse children can have sensory or other health needs that can lead to a complicated relationship with food, especially among children who have less interaction with the medical community. Tosin and Danielle sought to create an opportunity for students to develop their own health relationship with food.

Students: Jess Wang and Victoria Ogunniyi
Faculty: Dr. Stephen Estime, Department of Anesthesia & Critical Care
Community Partner: Prison + Neighborhood Arts Project
Project Area: Carceral Health
Project: Victoria and Jess partnered with Prison + Neighborhood Arts Project, an organization that believes that art is a fundamental human right that has the power to transform people, systems, and futures. For their project, they hosted a publication launch for 15 students currently experiencing incarceration; the class was on violence prevention and trauma healing. To accomplish this, Jess and Victoria collaborated with the teachers of the class, India Hilty (Pritzker M2) and Professor Darnell Lane, who created a safe space for students to create their work. Their goal was to amplify the voices of those currently incarcerated and foster a larger conversation about violence prevention and trauma healing.

If you are interested in donating, volunteering, or connecting to any of the above organizations, please follow the links below:

EveryMom Chicago


Health Meets Food

Prison + Neighborhood Arts Project