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Ashley Acevedo, School of Dental Medicine
Elizabeth Casserly, School of Pharmacy
Emma Cizek, School of Nursing
Christine Crawford, School of Medicine, Class of 2014
Brenna Czudak, School of Nursing
Sarah Dougherty, School of Medicine, Class of 2014
Background: Vancouver, Canada native. Raised in Los Angeles and Tucson. University of Arizona graduate with a degree in molecular and cellular biology, and a minor in women's studies.
Related Experience: Literacy coach. Clinical volunteer at the Arizona Cancer Center, with lab work focusing on women's cancer. Intern at the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
"As a clinical volunteer in a chronically underserved county, I saw the effects of physician shortages on patients from bordering areas, on Native American reservations and on urban settings right outside the hospital. I also witnessed how economic concerns and language barriers hamper patient care. I hope this opportunity with UST will give me the tools and experience I need to promote women's health in underserved populations."
Christine Fisher, School of Pharmacy, Class of 2013
I was born in York, Pennsylvania, and raised in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, all in the same county! I am in my 3rd year of pharmacy school (5th year overall), with a Bachelor’s Degree in Pharmacy Studies.
What drew me to Urban Service Track was the opportunity for service, because I could tell everyone was doing it for the right reasons. Ever since I was little, my family has taught me to seek every opportunity to help those who needed it, whether it was volunteering at the soup kitchen, or creatively finding ways to pay our recently laid-off neighbor help us around the house. More importantly, I've always known that it's never let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Service is not about the credit. It's not to flaunt or brag or put on your resume or CV. It's about the connections you make with people and the lives that are changed for the better. With Urban Service Track, I have found a perfect way to integrate my love for people, my passion for healthcare, and the need for better, smarter team medicine for those who need it the most. I have been so fortunate to learn about other healthcare professionals and appreciate their knowledge and contributions to patient care. My goal in pharmacy is to always put the patient first. Through UST, I have found a way to do that, and to make lasting friendships along the way. Every time I see my fellow UST members and go to events, I just feel like this is how it?s supposed to be. I'm trying to soak up every moment of the teamwork and passion and take it into my profession in the future.
Elizabeth Flatley, School of Pharmacy, Class of 2013
From Townsend, Massachusetts
Bachelors of Pharmacy and Minor in Spanish - May 2011
Volunteer and work experience: Volunteer Big Brothers Big Sisters Program at UConn 2007-2008 Pharmacy Technician Nashoba Valley Hospital 2010-present PharmD Research Grant: University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy 2010-2011.
I was quickly drawn to the Urban Service Track so that I could learn more about how to overcome barriers to care, especially regarding diverse populations. I knew that my experiences as part of this group would allow me to better use my education to make a difference for patients. My career goals include working effectively with patients to help them receive the best possible care and to make great care more accessible. UST is wonderful in that it has helped me to be comfortable and confident in all kinds of situations while developing my skills.
Lanting Fuh, School of Pharmacy, Class of 2013
Born in Hartford, CT and raised in Glastonbury, CT.
Related Experience: SNPhA-related screenings and fairs, Gear Up, SOP Diversity Committee, alternative spring break for MFWs and hurricane victims, volunteer and work experience at Saint Francis Hospital, internship at CVS Hartford.
Though I have always had the privilege of having easy access to top-notch care, I am still fully connected with the fact that a large population of America’s residents do not. Particularly after joining the Student National Pharmaceutical Association, an organization whose mission is to "serve the underserved," I have realized that doing such is the only way to create a sustainable healthcare system. As soon as I heard about the UST opportunity to provide the local urban underserved with collaborative clinical care, I wanted to play a role in this revolutionary way of thinking.
Sean Ghassem-Zadeh, School of Dental Medicine, Class of 2014
Lauren Grandpre, School of Medicine
Gina Guinta, School of Pharmacy, Class of 2012
I was born in Fayetteville, NC to a military family. Being an army brat I was blessed with the opportunity to travel and live in various places such as Italy and Alabama. Despite being so young, I found that with every army base and country I visited, I became interested in cultures and welcomed diversity. My experiences from the military as well as my ethnic background have influenced me to pursue a career in healthcare. Unfortunately, in healthcare there exist many disparities, including those related to race and ethnicity. Being a Dominican American, I have been given the gift of being bilingual. Healthcare, specifically pharmacy, has afforded me the opportunity to work with the disadvantaged, underrepresented Latin community and give them the healthcare they deserve. I chose to join Urban Service Track because the organization allowed me to bridge the healthcare gap. Working with other passionate students on an interdisciplinary team, we are able to bring quality healthcare to those most in need.
Michael Hann, Quinnipiac Physician Assistant
Megan Iagrossi, School of Nursing
Joe Jiruisitcul, School of Pharmacy, Class of 2013
Born in Rockford, IL and largely raised in Milford, CT, I studied English here at UConn where I graduated in 2009 with a degree. There, I developed a serious passion for social justice which led me to seek out work in healthcare. This past summer I went to Guatemala for two months, interning for a nonprofit company focused on economic development through social entrepreneurship. We worked with the various indigenous populations figuring out how to tailor broader public initiatives into the products they sold--how to communicate the effectiveness of prevention inherent in water filters and early infant vitamin supplements. Much of that work reflects what I'd like to do as a part of UST and beyond--to have the skills to make an impact on the large disparities in healthcare and work with whole communities, all while being the greatest asset I can be to an interdisciplinary healthcare team.
Elizabeth Kaminsky, School of Dental Medicine
Mi Hye Kim, School of Pharmacy, Class of 2012
Gina Lopez, School of Nursing
Alyssa Meier, School of Pharmacy, Class of 2013
Born in New York, and moved to Connecticut at age 9 so a little bit of being raised in each state. Attended University of Connecticut, and has a BS in Pharmacy Studies from UConn.
Related Experience: Volunteering with the elderly in daytime activities, assimilating new and varied students to college life, and working in underserved community pharmacies with diverse patient populations.
Through working in several pharmacies in urban areas along the shore of Connecticut, I have seen the disparity in care, as well as the knowledge in what care and resources are available to people from cities. After working with and trying to assist, educate, and offer whatever help I can to these patients, I knew I wanted to continue providing what I can to people who are underserved.
Christine Ogonowski, School of Nursing
Sarah Orkin, School of Medicine, Class of 2014
Background: Born in Hartford, and raised in West Hartford, CT. Wesleyan University graduate with a degree in molecular biology and biochemistry.
Related Experience: Intern at Manhattan's Bellevue Hospital Center, principally as patient advocate and also as a participant in an HIV/AIDS outreach program.
"At Bellevue, I worked with a patient population comprised of prisoners, the homeless, the uninsured and the destitute often the most disadvantaged people of New York City. There I saw that the collaborative efforts among doctors, HIV counselors, social workers, nurses and other personnel resulted in an enriched environment that was beneficial to patients and healthcare providers alike. Those experiences have inspired me to consider a career in emergency medicine. I believe the knowledge and skills acquired from the UST will have an invaluable potential to help countless people in an urban emergency room catering to the underserved."
Amy Pavelchak, School of Nursing
Kristen Pepin, School of Medicine, Class of 2014
Background: CT native. Attended George Washington University majoring in exercise science, with a minor in dance.
Related Experience: Children's National Medical Center working with Project Health, providing volunteer social work to families. Also with NIH's MobileMed Cardiology Clinic for uninsured patients requiring cardiac evaluation.
"Through Project Health, I learned about the challenges that families face in obtaining healthcare for their children. It also made me realize that I wanted to pursue a career in medicine working with underserved populations. All of my combined experiences have taught me that underserved populations need extra support to get the resources to foster a healthy lifestyle. Through the UST, I hope to learn from other health professionals, of all disciplines, how to provide the best possible care to the underserved."
Mallory Perry, School of Nursing
Michelle Pheng, School of Pharmacy, Class of 2013
Born in Thailand, Raised in California, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. Obtained a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy Studies.
Related Experience: Pharmacy Student Volunteer at New Britain Hospital, Volunteer at St. Vincent de Paul Soup Kitchen, Work Experience at CVS Pharmacy as a Pharmacy Intern.
Regardless of a person’s income, social background, or ethnicity, every human being deserves proper adequate healthcare. The UST organization offers valuable experience to aspiring healthcare professionals who long for healthcare equality in our underprivileged communities. UST will provide the tools I require to develop and enhance my skills, knowledge, and overall awareness in terms of serving the underprivileged as well as working with other healthcare professionals.
Julie Quistorff, School of Nursing
Andrew Raisebeck, School of Medicine
Allison Robinson, School of Dental Medicine
Jackeline Rodriguez, School of Medicine
Barbara Ruf, School of Medicine, Class of 2014
Background: CT native. Graduate of Northwestern University with degree in psychology. Post-baccalaureate program, University of Pennsylvania.
Related Experience: Volunteer, Homeless Health Initiative affiliated with Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Work as neuropsychometrist at Thomas Jefferson University conducting evaluations of special-needs, handicapped and minority patients. Psychiatric research assistant, Connecticut Mental Health Center, a treatment facility affiliated with Yale and serving uninsured New Haven-area residents. Volunteer, Children's Memorial Hospital, Chicago.
"My experiences have shown me how life stressors, lack of access to resources and prejudice can affect one's health. I ultimately wish to provide quality mental healthcare to all people, regardless of gender, age, race, religion or economic status. Appropriate treatment and distribution of resources cannot be achieved without understanding the special circumstances and hurdles that characterize underserved populations."
John Paul Shoup, School of Medicine, Class of 2014
Hardeep Singh, School of Medicine, Class of 2014
Nina Sit, School of Nursing
Staceyann Smith, School of Medicine, Class of 2014
Background: Raised in Queens, NY. Graduate of Georgetown University with a B.S. in human science.
Related experience: Intern with the director of community education at Planned Parenthood in Washington, DC. Worked at local pediatric office in New York City.
"Both my work and personal experiences sparked my interest in urban medicine. As a Queens native and child of immigrant parents, I have seen firsthand the healthcare issues that affect patients in disadvantaged communities. As a future physician, it is my hope that individuals in underserved areas can receive quality healthcare and ready access to health education."
Wenhui Sun, School of Dental Medicine
Ankur Talati, School of Dental Medicine
Kimberly Vo, School of Nursing
Bella Vogt, Physician Assistant Program
Danielle Wojtaszek, School of Pharmacy, Class of 2012
Nancy Wong, School of Dental Medicine, Class of 2014
Background: New York native, raised mostly in Manhattan's Chinatown community. Attended University of Maryland but completed degree in biochemistry at Hunter College. Also plans to pursue a master's degree in public health.
Related experience: Migrant farm visits. Various community service projects as member of New York Cares.
"Since I grew up in a community where oral health was under emphasized, one of my goals is to promote oral health awareness in other such communities. Participating in UST is a step toward achieving my professional goals. I will be able to gain experience working with the underserved while developing a more comprehensive view of healthcare as a whole."
Ermir Xhimitiku, School of Pharmacy, Class of 2012
Robert Yau, School of Dental Medicine, Class of 2014
Background: Massachusetts native. Raised in Orlando, FL and CT. UConn graduate with combined B.S.E. and M.S. degrees in chemical engineering, along with minor in molecular and cell biology.
Related Experience: Volunteer, Engineers Without Borders in Thailand and Ethiopia. Service trip to Dominican Republic through Orphanage Outreach, providing education and clinics on oral health for children.
"My involvement with Engineers Without Borders, through which I traveled to rural areas of Thailand and Ethiopia, first motivated me to work with underserved populations. I saw how healthcare in developing countries often responded to the symptoms of poverty, and not to such underlying causes as dirty water, malnutrition, and education, all of which can affect a person's health as significantly as the diseases. My trip to the Dominican Republic through orphanage outreach solidified my decision to pursue dental medicine. These experiences opened my eyes to how life's realities directly affect health. So too, I realized that a clinician has the responsibility to help patients overcome feelings of powerlessness in an unfair healthcare delivery system. By joining UST, I hope to be provided with a collaborative environment, one in which I can draw on the strengths of other disciplines to bridge the gaps in healthcare today."
Rosanna Zuckerman, Quinnipiac Physician Assistant
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