Student Organizes Community Event in Honor of Her Late MotherAugust 11, 2023
On Saturday, July 22, thirty PCOM Georgia medical and graduate students hosted the Sophia G. Facey Back to-School Community
Bash at Bethesda Park in Lawrenceville to help underserved families prepare for the
new school year. In addition to handing out 230 backpacks with school supplies, student
volunteers offered blood pressure checks and hygiene kits, and led fun physical activities.
Members of Nett Church, headquartered in Lawrenceville, supported the event by grilling
and serving food throughout the day, and the Atlanta Food Bank was also in attendance.
The initiative, which students now hope to make an annual event, was introduced by
Akili Jabulani (MS/Biomed '24). She was inspired by her mom, Sophia G. Facey, an accomplished
and beloved nurse, known for spearheading similar projects in her community.
“I had the idea because I did it growing up in Spartanburg, South Carolina,” said
Jabulani. Volunteering alongside her mom, who passed away when Jabulani was 16, Jabulani
added, “She was always giving back and caring. She was hardworking but had a light
and bubbly personality. Always smiling, she'd light up the room. Her presence communicated
‘I'm here to be of assistance’.”
Following in her mom's footsteps, Jabulani chose a healthcare path (she plans to become
a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine) and joined Sisters in Medicine, an initiative piloted by the Office of Diversity and Community Relations to support Black women in medical and graduate school.
As the faculty advisor for Sisters in Medicine, Assistant Director of Diversity and
Community Partnerships Christy Finley, EdD, stated that the group, which is new on
campus, “has been successful in doing two to three events each month since they started.”
To make the most impact, Cochairs J'Nae Taylor (MS/Biomed '24) and Alani Gauthier
(MS/Biomed '24) held their first strategy meeting in March of 2023 to gather suggestions
from members. That's when Jabulani presented her vision for a back-to-school project
in her mom's memory.
The hands-on work began in May. With Dr. Finley's assistance, Sisters in Medicine
received partial funding from the Community Wellness Initiative (CWI). To boost donations, Dr. Finley said, “We had boxes on campus where students and
faculty could drop off school supplies.” Likewise, she added, “Akili was speaking
to student organizations on campus about the drive, and they were eager to give back.”
Kianna Anderson (MS/Biomed '23) served as Akili's co-chair. Nysia Wise (DO '26), a
member of Sisters in Medicine as well as Advocacy of Medical Students for Families,
inspired the latter group to sponsor the book bags.
While Dr. Finley was somewhat concerned about mustering a good turnout in summer,
a typically quiet part of the year, she printed 100 promotional flyers for Jabulani,
event co-chair Kianna Anderson (MS/Biomed '23), her team to distribute in the community.
As Dr. Finley pointed out, “They did targeted marketing!” Nett Church leaders also
visited certain neighborhoods to spread the word.
Jabulani was “amazed” by the number of people who showed up. “We ran out of school
supplies in the first hour and a half,” she said. “Hopefully, next year, it's 400
backpacks. The more we have, the more we can give.”
The food and games, nonetheless, were enjoyed all day, and this year's event succeeded
in performing about 300 blood pressure checks. “We're looking to expand our services
next year to include glucose checks and have pharmacy students speak to people about
medications,” said Jabulani. She also wants to broaden families' knowledge of the
many ongoing community resources available to them.
Despite being a well-educated nurse, Facey passed away from a pulmonary embolism.
Widowed, she had been a single mother. “She was focused on her job and taking care
of my little sister and me,” Jabulani said. Concerned about the stress that so many
individuals and families face today, she said, “The goal is to get people involved
With that in mind, Dr. Finley revealed, “We have a calendar planned for Sisters in
Medicine through next July. They're talented, creative students who want to do a lot
for the community at PCOM and beyond.”
Affiliation Agreement to Benefit DO and PharmD StudentsYoung Harris College Pathway Program Bridges the Gap for DPT StudentsJoy Zarandy, DO '13 - Women in Medicine Month
About Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Founded in 1899, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) has trained thousands
of highly competent, caring physicians, health practitioners and behavioral scientists
who practice a “whole person” approach to care—treating people, not just symptoms.
PCOM operates three campuses (PCOM, PCOM Georgia and PCOM South Georgia) and offers doctoral degrees in clinical psychology, educational psychology, osteopathic
medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy and school psychology, and graduate degrees in
applied behavior analysis, applied positive psychology, biomedical sciences, forensic
medicine, medical laboratory science, mental health counseling, non profit leadership
and population health management, organizational development and leadership, physician
assistant studies, school psychology, and public health management and administration.
PCOM students learn the importance of health promotion, research, education and service
to the community. Through its community-based Healthcare Centers, PCOM provides care
to medically underserved populations. For more information, visit pcom.edu or call 215-871-6100.
For more information, contact:
Associate Director, News and Media Relations
Office: 215-871-6304 | Cell: