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10.23.2012

Community Wellness Coalition Partners with AMSA to Improve Health in Overtown

The Community Wellness Coalition at the Jay Weiss Center for Social Medicine and Health Equity has joined forces with the Miller School’s chapter of the American Medical Students Association (AMSA) to improve health opportunities for Overtown residents.

Founded in 1950, AMSA is a national, student-governed organization committed to representing the concerns of physicians-in-training. AMSA strives to improve health care and health care delivery to all people; promote active improvement in medical education; involve its members in the social, moral and ethical obligations of the profession of medicine; assist in the improvement and understanding of global health problems; and advance the profession of medicine. AMSA encourages its chapters to be actively engaged in the community. As the Miller School’s AMSA Co-President Chanelle Diaz, a second-year M.D./M.P.H. student, said, “That was our goal for our AMSA chapter this year and the reason that we’re partnering with the Community Wellness Coalition.”

This new collaboration brings resources that enable the Community Wellness Coalition (CWC) to expand its community-based programs in Overtown and surrounding neighborhoods. The partnership started when AMSA’s student leaders pledged to fund the “What’s Up Doc?” health education and dinner meetings that occur every month in Overtown. AMSA also purchased advertising materials to expand the reach of “What’s Up Doc?” and helped with staffing needs to coordinate the participation of UM faculty, Overtown residents, and staff from Jefferson Reaves, the only community clinic in Overtown.

AMSA’s input also allows for a host of new initiatives that promote the health and wellness within the Overtown Community, including gardening and nutrition education projects. Building upon the CWC’s relationships with other UM student organizations, such as the Public Health Student Association and the UM chapter of the Student National Medical Association, AMSA’s efforts will further the reach of the CWC’s ongoing work.

“During these economically challenging times, AMSA has emerged as a champion that really helps the Center sustain its commitment to improved health services in Overtown,” said Sonjia Kenya, Ed.D., M.S., M.A., research assistant professor of medicine and Director of the CWC. “We are most grateful for their enthusiasm, financial support, and dedication to helping those in need.”

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