Published August 4, 2017
UB HEALS, the street medicine program founded by students at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, captured the prestigious Medical Student Service Leadership Project Award from the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society.
Alpha Omega Alpha presents just two Medical Student Leadership Project Awards each year, which are worth $9,000 each. There were 14 applications this year from among its 121 chapters.
The award includes three years of funding: $5,000 the first year, $3,000 the second year and $1,000 the third year.
UB HEALS also won the top prize of $5,000 in Pitch 10, in which small, young or millennial-focused non-profit organizations pitched their projects or ideas in a competition developed and hosted by Next Generation United, an initiative of the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County.
UB HEALS beat out nine other finalists to capture the Pitch 10 event.
UB HEALS (Homeless health, Education, Awareness and Leadership in Street medicine) is a program in which medical students make twice-weekly tours of areas where homeless people are known to frequent.
The students, who are accompanied by a faculty physician, talk to the homeless, inquire about their health, address any immediate health concerns with the medical supplies they carry and attempt to steer them to housing options and clinics, if necessary.
They also provide basic care on the scene and simple gifts, like socks and gloves. The mission is to improve the health of the homeless population and provide hands-on education for the students.
“We say we do house calls to those who don't have a home,” says Moudi Hubeishy, the third-year medical student who started UB HEALS after seeing a similar program in his hometown of Rochester, New York.
Hubeishy, program director for UB HEALS, credits the support he and his classmates receive from the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
David A. Milling, MD, senior associate dean for student and academic affairs, who is an associate professor of medicine, is the mentor leader for the group.
Other mentors include:
“Everything we've been able to accomplish is because of the amazing support we have received from the faculty,” says Hubeishy. “We have the faculty at our school and community who have reached great heights in their careers, and they are looking to train the next set of leaders. To me, it really means that through our efforts with UB HEALS and the development of the leadership curriculum, we are making JSMBS the place to come and learn compassionate leadership, which is exactly what the medical community really needs.”
Milling says UB HEALS has provided such a huge benefit to the homeless population served and to the students that he expects it to be around a long time.
“The students learn a lot. They learn that there is such a thin line between one day being housed and a stable member of what we think of as regular business, and the next day being homeless,” says Milling. “They learn that there is still a lot of inefficiency and a lack of coordination in the medical system to take care of some of our most vulnerable members.”