Miami Students Without Borders Leadership Program Gets Funding to Expand Global Reach

A project led by third-year medical students Christine Bokman and Arash Sayari has received the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Student Service Leadership Project award to help promote physician leaders in local and global communities most in need.

The project, “Miami Students Without Borders Leadership Program,” is in synch with the Miller School’s wide-ranging efforts to serve the diverse and indigent patient populations in South Florida and abroad. With regular trips to Haiti, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, and Central and South America long-established at the Miller School, the program will provide yet another avenue for medical students to carry out novel global leadership service projects. In addition to developing and transitioning countries, the program also encourages students to lead service projects within indigent populations in Miami-Dade County, home to the largest number of residents without health insurance in the state.

“This is a unique student-driven initiative aimed at preparing students to become true global health leaders,” said Alex J. Mechaber, M.D., Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education, who, along with Julie Kornfeld, Ph.D., M.P.H., Assistant Dean for Public Health, served as a faculty mentor on the project.

The program will provide 10-15 students a longitudinal four-year curriculum focused on global health and social justice leadership, professional responsibility, socio-cultural awareness, communication and teamwork management, and knowledge of global health issues.

“Here at the Miller School, we are passionate about the need to improve the health of populations in South Florida and around the globe.” said Kornfeld. “This student-led program will link other UM faculty and programs engaged in global health research, education and service, and will serve as valuable preparation for future student leadership opportunities.”

Funding for the program also will support experiential learning and include interactive discussions, presentations, simulations, fieldwork and a service project.

Other student team members include Yuliya Tipograf, Amir Sharim and Julia Amundson.

Lead faculty members for the program are Stephen Symes, M.D., associate professor of medicine and Assistant Dean for Diversity and Multicultural Affairs; David J. Birnbach, M.D., M.P.H., Senior Associate Dean for Quality, Safety and Risk and Director of the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital Center for Patient Safety; and Michael A. Kolber, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine, Director of the Comprehensive AIDS Program and Clinical Director of the Adult HIV Section for Infectious Diseases.

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