The first half of 2020 has brought along waves of change that no one had foreseen. As students, faculty and staff enter the next academic year, everyone is responsible for taking the time to critically reflect in light of the current global pandemic and ongoing racial injustices. Similarly, the Medical Student Service-learning Group (MSSG) has taken steps over the summer to introspect as an organization.
Leaders of the organization would like to make a promise to colleagues to focus on becoming anti-racist and inclusive within the organization as well as in the communities the organization serves.
From here onward, the organization is phasing out the name MSSG and reestablishing as the Service Learning Coalition, a branch of the Medical Student Council (MSC) and partner organization to Wellness Coalition.
Service Learning Coalition leaders hope this will make the organization's function as facilitators of service-learning experience for medical students more transparent and accessible to all.
To achieve these goals, the Service Learning Coalition plans to do the following:
Analyze the current demographic makeup of project leaders and participants. This will allow the Service Learning Coalition to identify areas of growth and opportunity to create a more inclusive atmosphere for students of color (particularly our Black peers), LGBTQ+ students, students who are underrepresented in medicine, and those at the intersection of these identities.
Establish a Correctional Medicine project to facilitate clinical opportunities within Indiana correctional facilities and emphasize the broader structural, socioeconomic, and political context that affects populations experiencing incarceration.
In anticipation of these changes, the Service Learning Coalition has already:
Expanded the board to include campus representatives who will facilitate connecting students to service opportunities at each campus. By doing this, the Service Learning Coalition hopes to create a more cohesive service-learning experience statewide.
Designated new board positions for Alternative Break Chairs, Event Chair, Cluster Chairs, Mentoring Network Chair, and Community Leadership Mentoring Program (CLMP) Chairs. These positions will help the organization continue to expand potential and help individuals become well-rounded and service-oriented future physicians.
These changes reflect the Service Learning Coalition’s mission to foster and develop strong community relationships across Indiana and a commitment to ending systemic barriers for our minority students.
If students have any ideas for new service projects or points of improvement for current projects, please reach out to the new organization email at email@example.com or to any of the board members listed below!
Having grown up in several different parts of the Greater Indianapolis area, I view service as a way to give back to the community that gave me so many opportunities. I am passionate about facilitating opportunities for IU School of Medicine students to get involved with service projects around the state.
I am the VP of service, acting as the liaison between Service Learning Coalition and Medical Student Council. I am passionate about helping students across the state create and implement service-learning projects that have a lasting impact on the communities they serve. We recently expanded our board to include representatives from the different campuses, and I am excited to better coordinate our service learning projects across the state.
I am excited to work with our new Chair positions through my role as VP of Project Affairs. In this position, I am excited to hear what students are passionate about and help them connect with community partners to get their projects started. I also look forward to working with already existing projects to help them continue to grow while also adapting to the many changes we may see this upcoming year.
It is very important to me that our service projects feel connected with each other and have all the support they need from the school. Our peers do so much amazing work on and off campus, and I hope to share their achievements with the IU School of Medicine community to celebrate them and encourage other students who are interested in service-learning. One of the ways I am hoping to accomplish this is via our Instagram (follow us @iumedservice) and Facebook page (IUSM Service- Learning Coalition)!
As the VP of Finance, my role is to assist our organizations receive the funds they need for their events, projects, and meetings. One of my goals is to expand our financial assistance to the regional campuses with the help of our new Regional Chairs.
As Events Chair, I will help connect students with service projects at call-out fairs and recognize extraordinary student leaders. I believe service-learning helps us find the pulse of the neighborhoods we live in, understand how it is changing, and better the health of its members.
As future medical professionals, we will have the opportunity to work with external partners to provide holistic support to our patients and neighbors. It is my goal to facilitate active partnerships between nonprofit organizations and our medical student body to provide early opportunities for community outreach and service learning. These experiences provide exposure to the great work being done in our communities and platforms for future leadership roles beyond the immediate healthcare structure.
I am excited to get medical students interested and involved in the community. At its core medicine is a public service, so hopefully we can make IU physicians known for involvement in health and wellness projects far outside the hospital.
As a Cluster chair, I hope to be able to facilitate service-learning groups with their mission in the community. I hope to connect service-learning groups with similar goals/projects as well as other student groups across all campuses. My second major was sociology and I hope to use the knowledge that I gained about social determinants of health to help different projects.
As a Cluster Chair, I will be a liaison between local organizations and IUSM to help set up service learning experiences for medical students. I hope to create new service learning projects based on student suggestions and areas of interest. I enjoy service because it provides a great opportunity to get to know the members of our local communities!
I am interested in Service Learning because I believe it connects us back to the heart of why we are pursuing medicine – to positively impact the lives of others. Through service we can learn how to be better listeners and advocates for our patients from all walks of life. Indeed, some of the most transformative experiences of my life have occurred on service trips and I hope to help bring similar experiences to my colleagues at IUSM through this position.
Service learning is not only a transformative experience, but it truly gets at the heart of why I want to be a physician. I hope to improve healthcare access in disadvantaged communities and continue to grow as a socially conscious medical provider. I believe that students should not be hindered by lack of adequate service learning opportunity so in my role as the alternative breaks co-chair of MSSG/Service Learning Coalition, I hope to expand local and global service learning opportunities for the IUSM community.
Service learning and mentoring initiatives are two things I have always been passionate about. It stemmed from my four amazing years with my college chapter of College Mentors for Kids. I realized how mentoring transforms lives and the strong impact we can have on our community long term. In my role, I hope to create, promote, and streamline mentoring programs for middle and high schoolers as well as undergraduates to pursue medicine as a career aspiration
Statewide Regional Chairs
As future physicians, I believe that our role is both to our patients and to our community. By helping the community, we can alleviate social burdens that can exacerbate medical conditions. I am beyond excited to connect the Bloomington community and its plethora of service learning opportunities with our medical school campus.
One of my motivations for pursuing a career in medicine is rooted in the passion I have for community engagement. As Fort Wayne Regional Chair, I will have a platform to reach our communities to address pertinent issues. It also allows me to share my creativity and sharpen my leadership skills. One of my favorite projects so far has been organizing a MED-EXPO event that introduced high-school students in the Fort Wayne area to careers in medicine, a project I hope to replicate here in Indianapolis.
As Indianapolis Regional Chair, my job to assist and help promote the active service-learning projects that take place at the Indianapolis campus. My goal for this year is to increase student engagement from all walks of life to create a better Indianapolis. As a first year student, I participated in the Crispus Attucks Service Learning project and the change that we helped to make at that high school has always stayed with me and I hope others get a chance to participate.
I was drawn to service learning because I believe that through dedicating time outside of the exam room to serving patients in the communities in which they reside, physicians can gain valuable insights into the unique challenges facing the populations they serve. In my position, I hope to promote intercampus collaboration in a manner that offers opportunities beneficial and convenient to the Muncie Campus, while assisting my colleagues from across the state in other projects as needed.
The Service Learning Coalition is an excellent way for IUSM students to get involved with volunteer organizations in the Indianapolis area. As the South Bend Regional Chair, I plan to work to expand opportunities to the South Bend campus, and to make sure my peers stay up to date on ways they can volunteer in South Bend and scope out volunteering in Indianapolis if they plan to move for their third and fourth years.
In my role, I hope to help ensure my classmates from the Terre Haute regional campus are able to give their time and participate in service-learning activities organized throughout the school. I am a proud AmeriCorps Alumnus who is dedicated to Service Learning both in the clinical setting and outside the hospital. We as Medical Students have so much compassion and a talent for service; I am so proud and lucky to help work to organize the talents and skills of my fellow classmates.
The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.
Nimisha Kumar is a rising MS4 and President of the Medical Student Service-learning Group. Having grown up in several different parts of the Greater Indianapolis area, she views service as a way to give back to the community that gave her so many opportunities. She is passionate about facilitating opportunities for IU School of Medicine students to get involved with service projects around the state. Outside of medical school, Nimisha enjoys dabbling in different art forms, including cross stitching, weaving, and painting.