Helping Hands - Our Students and Residents Bring Compassion and Idealism to our Communities

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A group of PRIME students on a walk through Chinatown. Highlighted in the story below are Adali Martinez (middle), Daniela Brissett (middle right) and Walid Hamud (back row left.) Photo: Elisabeth Fall

By Karin Fleming

As we celebrate the season of giving, let's give a shout-out to our amazing students and residents who go beyond their training to help others. The following highlights are only a sample of the many initiatives that help bring care and advance health equity for patients and communities, locally and globally.

Fourth-year medical student Daniela Brissett is enrolled in the Program in Medical Education for the Urban Underserved (PRIME-US) at UCSF. She took a research gap year studying pediatric health (including the Zika virus and breastfeeding practices) in Roatán, Honduras. Engaging her long-standing passion for youth and the underserved, Daniela worked alongside her Honduran counterparts to cofound the Roatán Peer-Health Exchange to teach island youth about reproductive health, and empower them with knowledge to reduce teenage pregnancy and HIV or other sexually transmitted infections.

She is the lead student researcher for Transdisciplinary Immersion in Global Health Research and Education (TIGRE), a multicampus global health lab for interprofessional health training and research on Roatán Island, Honduras. She was among the students selected to attend the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) University meeting in October.Walid Hamud-Ahmed (MD 2017) was presented with the 2017 Gold-Headed Cane in recognition of qualities that “best represent those qualities of scholarship and devotion to the interests of patients, which characterize the true physician.”

His training focused on the study of gun violence, the communities it affects, and ways in which healthcare professionals and community members can intervene and prevent gun injury.
His recent focus has been on raising aid for the victims of cholera and starvation in Yemen, and he is serving as the medical consultant for Yemen Aid and co-chair of the Yemen Relief Project. Originally from Fresno, he returned to the region to complete his training as a resident in emergency medicine at UCSF-Fresno.

Derek Smith, a third-year medical student, received this year’s American Medical Association (AMA) Excellence in Medicine Minority Scholars Award in recognition of his dedication and efforts in pediatrics and initiatives to help deliver more equitable care to underserved pediatric populations.

Since matriculating at UCSF in 2014, Derek has established himself as a student leader. He volunteers with and coordinated the student-run Clínica Martín-Baró, which serves San Francisco’s medically underserved Latino community, and taught clinical skills to first-year students in the UCSF School of Medicine’s Clinical Microsystems Clerkship, and served on UCSF's admission committee. He is currently conducting research with the Pediatric Device Consortium at UCSF, overseeing a clinical trial of a new pain management technique. Smith also received a 2016 Sinkler Miller Medical Association Scholarship.

Fourth-year student Adali Martinez is completing her final year of the PRIME program, and conducted community engagement work with the organization Mission Girls, an after-school program for girls in grades 3-8 in San Francisco’s Mission district. “My PRIME class, PRIME faculty, and staff are extraordinarily compassionate people who devote much of their limited free time to the advancement of others,” says Martinez.

“PRIME students are amazing: many have been leading national movements, protests, rallies, and legislative visits. They've been serving as mentors for at-risk youth, they've been creating partnerships with community organizations. And they've been making great strides within the UCSF medical education community to advance diversity and equity.”

Voices of Our 2017 Graduates

“Having grown up in a community where healthcare disparities were so clear, and often heartbreaking at times, it’s an incredible opportunity to be an advocate for those in need. I’m so grateful to the people in my community and to UCSF who helped me achieve this goal. It’s a gift to pay it forward.”
Alekist Quach, resident, internal medicine, UCSF

“PRIME gathers like-minded students and gives us unconditional support to help provide more equitable care. Having a personal experience and connection to patients in vulnerable or underserved communities and understanding to bridge the gap between medicine and communities that have traditionally been disenfranchised from us – that’s the mission we embody here.”
Hai Pham, resident, anesthesiology, UCSF

“Day in and day out at UCSF, faculty and peers have taught me to love without borders in the way we care for patients. With a full heart, we can make a change and an impact.”
Onur Yenigun, resident, emergency medicine, Stanford