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Caring for Communities Award

The Caring for Communities award recognizes and supports the work of PAs and PA students making a difference in the lives of people struggling with a variety of healthcare and social issues. Each year, a charity is selected to receive the Caring for Communities Award and an accompanying grant to support its work. The recipient must be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides needed services to disadvantaged individuals and offers an important educational opportunity and impactful experience to PA students, PAs and other volunteers.

The Caring for Communities Award is supported by contributions from PAs, PA program student societies and other partnering organizations. Make your contribution here.

Caring for Communities Award Recipients

2015 — Our World Outreach, Rochester, New York

Our World Outreach_LogoOur World Outreach is committed to improving the health, education, living conditions and self-sufficiency of disadvantaged individuals locally, across the United States, and in developing countries. Led by John Oliphant, PA-C, assistant professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology PA Program, Our World Outreach is raising funds to ensure that healthcare workers in Liberia have ongoing access to the personal protective equipment they require to protect themselves and others from Ebola virus disease (EVD), help contain the current West Africa EVD outbreak, and minimize the risk and severity of future outbreaks of EVD and related diseases in Liberia. PA students in Liberia are being held back from clinical rotations due to Ebola, so their education is on hold indefinitely.

2014 — Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, Boston, Massachusetts

logobhchp-stackBoston Health Care for the Homeless Program (BHCHP) provides or assures access to the highest quality healthcare for all homeless men, women and children in the greater Boston area. BHCHP’s integrated care model unites physicians, PAs, nurse practitioners, nurses, case managers and behavioral health professionals in a close collaboration. They follow patients together and separately in a variety of settings: on the street, in medical respite care, in outpatient clinics and in shelters and housing. BHCHP’s senior staff members include Melinda Thomas, PA-C, associate medical director, and Carole Hohl, PA-C, director of HIV services. In 2013, BHCHP served more than 12,000 patients in more than 90,000 outpatient medical, oral health and behavioral health encounters.

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2013 — Bread for the City, Washington, DC

Bread for the City provides comprehensive services to vulnerable residents of the District of Columbia, including food, clothing, medical care, and legal and social services, in an atmosphere of dignity and respect. The nonprofit’s medical clinic has provided free primary care to uninsured and low-income children and adults since 1974. Its four fulltime healthcare providers include Jennifer Vaupel, PA-C, whose relationship with the clinic began in 2007 with two rotations while pursuing her master’s in physician assistant studies and public health at George Washington University. Vaupel and the clinic’s director have implemented a patient-centered medical home model at the clinic. Its more than 2,600 clients include patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities who reside in group homes.

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2012 — Second Harvest, Toronto, Ontario

Second Harvest

Second Harvest is the largest food rescue program in Canada. Its mission is to help feed hungry people by picking up and preparing excess fresh food from restaurants, growers, wholesalers, and grocery stores that would otherwise go to waste and delivering it to social service agencies in Toronto. Second Harvest provides fresh and frozen foods for more than 18,000 meals every day to community centers, homeless and domestic violence shelters, breakfast programs and other community organizations. The clients served include at-risk children, seniors on fixed incomes, women fleeing domestic abuse, homeless persons, psychiatric patients and thousands of others who have fallen on hard times. Through its partners, Second Harvest’s clients also receive healthcare and social services that they might not have sought on their own.

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2011 — Stallman Touro Health Clinic at The Shade Tree, Las Vegas, Nevada

Second Harvest

The Stallman Touro Clinic provides basic healthcare services for residents at The Shade Tree, a shelter for homeless and abused women and children in crisis in Las Vegas. The free clinic opened in June 2009 and is the first of its kind in Nevada to be located inside a homeless shelter. The Shade Tree, the largest facility of its kind in southern Nevada, provides emergency shelter and transitional housing to approximately 327 women and children nightly and 3,500 annually. The clinic is staffed almost entirely by volunteers — faculty and students at the Touro University Nevada PA program and members of the local medical community. The clinic provides adult healthcare, preventive and sick call; women’s healthcare; and pediatric well checks and sick call. Volunteering at the clinic provides a great opportunity for PA students to hone their history-taking and physical examination skills, exposes them to administering to the medically underserved, and reinforces why they decided to become a PA.

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2010 — South Georgia Farmworker Health Project

Second Harvest

Each year, the South Georgia Farmworker Health Project provides free outpatient care to as many as 1,700 migrant and seasonal farmworkers and their families during the summer agricultural season. Working under the direction of physicians from the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at the Emory School of Medicine and PA faculty from the Emory PA program, PA students set up mobile clinics right in the fields and migrant camps. Students and faculty are joined on the project by local volunteers, interpreters, nurses, physical therapy and medical students, pediatricians and family practice physicians. The project seeks to not only provide care to a medically underserved and economically important population, but to also increase awareness and competency of healthcare providers and students in working with this population.

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