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PCOM Georgia Students Give Back to the Community


December 17, 2021

PCOM Georgia students and faculty interact with the community at Jolly Holly Day in SuwaneeOn a cool Friday evening in December, 15 PCOM Georgia students, along with several faculty members, provided blood pressure checks and distributed educational information to Gwinnett citizens. They showcased the “Simbulance,” a mobile medical unit, and life-sized adult and pediatric mannequins used to train students.

The date was special because it was also Andrea Mann, DO, the dean of Osteopathic Medicine’s birthday, and she was enjoying celebrating with her colleagues, students and husband, Brian Mann, EdD, MS, PA-C, who oversees the Simulation Centers at all three PCOM campuses. They were gathered at the Jolly Holly Day in Suwanee, the medical school’s hometown.

She said, “Giving back to the community is a priority of mine. It is essential to educate our citizens about health concerns like hypertension. Additionally, I am committed to sharing information about the doctorate and master’s level health professional education programs at PCOM Georgia.”

Helping the underserved

The next day in Lawrenceville, the county seat of Gwinnett, several PCOM HEARTS club members volunteered to give flu shots to uninsured citizens at the Lawrenceville Cooperative Ministry. At the request of students, Walgreens provided the immunizations. During the past two years, students have helped to vaccinate about 175 patients. Earlier in the month, they teamed up to provide flu shots at the Neighborhood Cooperative Ministry in Norcross.

Prachi Patel (DO ’24), director of the club, said, “The flu clinic helps us raise awareness about healthy choices and gives us a chance to provide preventative medicine to the uninsured and underserved community members around us.”

PCOM Georgia medical students volunteered to promote PCOM Georgia at Suwanee's Jolly Holly DayThe students are very comfortable volunteering. Every two weeks, about three students help physicians and healthcare professionals at Truth’s Community Clinic in Lawrenceville take vital signs, draw blood and conduct patient physical exams on about 20-30 patients each day.

Chief Campus Officer Bryan Ginn noted, ”PCOM Georgia students are exceedingly public service-minded and their sentiment in this arena shines through each time they collectively or individually commit themselves to service opportunities in our community. Through service, these students add greatly to the quality of life in our community and the region of Northeast Georgia.”

Educating, practicing skills and raising funds

In the meantime, Valerie E. Cadet, PhD, associate professor of Microbiology and Immunology, and Edo-Abasi McGee, PharmD, BCPS, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice, along with a team of students, have been encouraging Gwinnett citizens at church and community events to get vaccinated, even producing a pamphlet about the myths of COVID vaccines. And planning has commenced for the Health Career Collaborative, a partnership between Central Gwinnett High School in Lawrenceville and PCOM Georgia where high school students are taught and mentored by students and faculty from the Suwanee campus.

Pharmacy students volunteer to help administer flu shots in the surrounding communitiesFor the past year, Fabiola Rojas (PharmD ’23) has volunteered to give both COVID and flu shots in a community pharmacy and a local recreation center. Her volunteer duties include everything from paperwork to administration of the vaccine. She said, “Working alongside peers eases the workload and makes the experience much more satisfying.”

During October, 26 students, faculty and staff members walked a mile on the Suwanee campus to raise money to enhance mammography services in Gwinnett County as part of Paint Gwinnett Pink. And a number of students sorted clothing for the Salvation Army of Gwinnett as part of the Gwinnett Great Days of Service.

Students from the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program volunteered to help with an overnight camp for teens and young adults with disabilities, participated in a fundraiser for the Spectrum Autism Support Group, and volunteered at the Center for Movement Challenges with the Boxing for Parkinson’s program.

Among other volunteer work, second year biomedical sciences student Darwin Mendez (MS/Biomed ’22) focuses his attention on first-year students. “Perhaps the most important reason for tutoring these students,” he said, “is getting to meet, interact and hopefully help students along their way towards a future in a health profession.”

Serving the homeless

Jaclyn Zibman (MS/Biomed ’22) makes sack lunches and gives away clothing to homeless people in Atlanta. Last December, with the help of her father, she purchased about 500 pairs of socks and gloves and sought sponsorship donations through the help of social media. The drive far exceeded her expectations. This year, she held an event called Uplift ATL to raise money to supply those living on the streets with warm clothing, food, toiletries and other personal comfort items. In all, she has raised close to $5,000 this year.

She and Mendez also participate on a research team that aims to reduce vaccine hesitancy among the Gwinnett population.

A COVID silver lining

Erica Wong (PharmD ’23) has volunteered with several organizations since becoming a student at PCOM Georgia. Her favorite volunteer job, made possible because of COVID-19, has been judging middle school and college students for The Great Debaters Online. She explained, “When the lockdown happened, many students who were learning online weren't able to get exposure and the opportunity to improve their public speaking skills.”

A New York school developed a program where volunteer judges help students sharpen their skills. “It was something that I really enjoyed doing during the tough times.”

The list goes on. PCOM students, faculty and staff are a giving group. Generosity seems to be in their DNA. And now, with the support of the President's Community Wellness Initiative, PCOM is better equipped to serve its surrounding communities.

As Winston Churchill so famously said, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

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  • PCOM Georgia Hosts Physical Therapy Conference
  • About the Community Wellness Initiative

    With a strong commitment to student volunteer efforts and community wellness, PCOM President and CEO Jay S. Feldstein, DO ‘81, established the Community Wellness Initiative (CWI) to enhance the culture of holistic health and well-being on PCOM’s campuses and in the communities they serve. The CWI aims to promote cross-campus collaboration in educational and health services programming and resources to support the physical, mental, nutritional and environmental wellness of the College’s communities in Philadelphia and in Suwanee and Moultrie, Georgia. Focus areas include direct patient care, health and wellness education, and clinical and community-based research.

    About PCOM Georgia

    Established in 2005, PCOM Georgia is a private, not-for-profit, accredited institute of higher education dedicated to the healthcare professions. The Suwanee, Georgia, campus is affiliated with Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, a premier osteopathic medical school with a storied history. PCOM Georgia offers doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, and physical therapy and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences, medical laboratory science, and physician assistant studies. Emphasizing "a whole person approach to care," PCOM Georgia focuses on educational excellence, interprofessional education and service to the wider community. The campus is also home to the Georgia Osteopathic Care Center, an osteopathic manipulative medicine clinic, which is open to the public by appointment. For more information, visit pcom.edu/georgia or call 678-225-7500.

    For more information, contact:
    Barbara Myers
    Senior Public Relations Manager
    Email: BarbaraMy@pcom.edu
    Office: 678-225-7532 | Cell: 770-309-0613

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