January 12, 2017
Area(s) of Interest: Medical School Physician Leadership
When Kelley Butler first began medical school at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine, she asked herself: “How can I impact my community beyond the classroom?” Upon arriving in Orange County, Kelley was surprised to learn that the county did not have a needle exchange program, which have been shown to be effective as a harm reduction tool for intravenous drug users.
She reached out to colleagues and got involved in the medical student-led effort to launch the Orange County Needle Exchange Program (OCNEP). The California Medical Association (CMA) Foundation was the first organization to provide funding for OCNEP through its Medical Student Community Leadership Grant Program.
Within its first eight months in operation, OCNEP has utilized CMA Foundation grant funding to:
- See 5,000 client visits;
- Exchange over 300,000 syringes;
- Distribute over 371,000 clean syringes; and
- Reverse 315 overdoses.
To medical students interested in getting involved, Kelley stresses that, “You are in an incredibly powerful and privileged position to make real community impacts. If you actively seek ways to solve problems that you care about, it will become a passion rather than work.”
Kelley is proud to be working as part of a multi-disciplinary team to improve her community’s health and she encourages other students to get out of the classroom to do the same. For Kelley, and other California medical students, this would not be possible without the CMA Foundation and the generosity of its donors.
"Medical students have a special ear-to-the-ground grassroots perspective of current issues in society; a level of intellect and problem-solving seen among health care professionals like us; and technological prowess that makes our initiatives and programming that much more powerful. What better way to invest in your communities than to invest in the medical students that serve them and could be their doctors someday?" says Kelley. "The CMA Foundation's medical student grant program helped bring the first needle exchange program to Orange County. A program spearheaded and currently maintained by medical students. This grant program is not just something to throw money at. It's a program that molds culturally competent future health care professionals with a love for social justice."
Read more about Kelley and her contributions to OCNEP in Orange Coast Magazine, "UCI Medical Student Kelley Butler on Helping Drug Users Stay Disease-Free."
CMA Foundation Medical Student Grant Program
The CMA Foundation proudly provides grants to California medical student organizations in support of health- related educational, advocacy, community service, and other outreach programs that enhance the well-being of California communities. Grants for a one-year project range in amounts from $250-$1,000.
Grant applications are reviewed on a bi-annual basis. Applications for the next grant cycle are due May 31, 2017.
More information about the Medical Student Community Leadership Grant program/.
If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to help the CMA Foundation continue to build the Medical Student Community Leadership Grant Program endowment, you can do so online at https://www.phcdocs.org/Support-PHC/Donate.
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