Service Scholars

Meet the Service Scholars

M18 Class

Caroline Melhado is from Colorado and studied Environmental Science and Anthropology at Tufts University.  During undergrad she studied childhood asthma disparities in Boston and midwife practices in rural, Western India during her semester abroad. She completed her anthropological senior thesis on the role and use of medical interpreters in the Emergency Department.  After graduation she worked for Care Coordination Services LLC, a pilot project for Philadelphia's high-utilizing medicaid patients, connecting patients to their medical homes. She has worked in two national parks and loves to backpack and trail run.

Jackie Hodges
is from Gainesville, Virginia and attended the University of Virginia, where she majored in Biochemistry and minored in Global Public Health. She is pursuing an MD/MPH, with interests in maternal/child health and infectious disease. After working with a nonprofit organization focused on advocacy and rehabilitation for women displaced by human trafficking, she became interested in understanding how agency shapes health status, and in a broader sense how the health of an individual is intrinsically linked to other parts of that individual's life. She joined TS3 in hopes of gaining perspectives from mentors and peers that share an interest in promoting the health of underserved populations, and to more actively integrate her interests into her medical education.

Lauren Malishchak was born in Baltimore, MD and spent her childhood in a suburb northwest of the city. She attended local Catholic schools, where community service was greatly emphasized and deeply incorporated throughout her education. These experiences led her to pursue a wide array of service opportunities during her time at Boston College, where she was heavily involved in the Appalachia Volunteers Program, an alternative spring break program with a year-long educational component revolving around social justice, structural inequalities, and how to serve these communities in a way that recognizes their strengths and resources. It was her time as a part of Appa that lead to her desire to practice medicine in an underserved community. As a current second year, she is a member of the executive board and the Director of Women’s Health for the Sharewood Project, Tufts’ weekly, free, student-run clinic. She recently spent the summer after her first year of medical school volunteering with and learning about Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program and she is very hopeful and excited about
working either with this population or with immigrant populations (possibly in the field of internal medicine) in the future.

Katia Vernord
was born in the United States and raised in Haiti. When her family returned to Florida in 2004, they relocated to the city of Homestead, a vibrant agricultural town with a strong community of farmworkers. Despite the health risks associated with the labor of seasonal farmland and poultry workers, she witnessed how they were deprived of adequate health services in her town. Community health
centers in Homestead were mostly under-resourced. After her 2010 college graduation, Katia interned at President Clinton’s foundation supporting its work in the 2010 Haiti earthquake relief. There, she became committed to a career in medicine. In 2012, while completing a pre-medicine program in Boston, she gained her first-hand experience in serving a medically underserved margin of the city’s residents. As a volunteer on the family van, Harvard Medical School’s mobile health clinic, she provided free health check-ups to many immigrants who lacked health insurance due to their newly legal U.S. resident status. This experience helped her better define varying needs in community health.  Katia is interested in anesthesiology and wants to be recruited in a medically underserved area in need of specialty care. At TUSM, she knows that the TS3 program will impart her with core skills in patient advocacy and clinical experience that is community oriented.  Katia earned a B.A. in political science with high honors and graduated from the University of Florida in 2010.

Marianna Papageorge is from Weston, Massachusetts and attended college at Tufts University where she majored in Anthropology and Community Health. Marianna's interest in underserved medicine began in the classroom but was realized with meaningful experiences in Xela, Guatemala and Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. With an appreciation for understanding people and communities, and the importance of
awareness and context in medicine, Marianna hopes to work with populations most in need. She joined TS3 to further learn about this interest and its reality in clinical medicine. She is very excited and grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the community that is TS3.

Elena Madan graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with undergraduate degrees in Molecular Biology and Healthcare Management and Policy, both magna cum laude. From community work and consulting at clinics and non-profits in Philadelphia and overseas in Ecuador, Ghana, India, Panama, and Boston, she has come to understand the challenges in healthcare in access, education, and adherence, and the importance of understanding socioeconomic factors and cultural empathy in serving patients. In the TS3 program, she is building upon these foundational experiences through clinical work in underserved communities during CAP, clerkships, and electives. She is especially interested in the development of
innovative technology for education, adherence and care delivery for sustainable improvement in underserved communities and plans to implement them in the future.

Alyssa Wohl is a second-year medical student from Larchmont, New York. She attended Tufts for her undergraduate degree, majoring in Child Development with a focus on adolescent development and sexual health. Alyssa's interest in underserved medicine stems from her work with Peer Health Exchange and the Make-A-Wish foundation along with her community health classes in college. As a member of the TS3 program, Alyssa is excited to be a member of a community of peers that share her goals as a future physician and includes mentors who have successfully impacted underserved communities. Alyssa also hopes to have discussions with other members and utilize the resources of TS3 to start making an impact in underserved communities while still in medical school. In her spare time, Alyssa enjoys playing the flute, taking dance classes, reading, and keeping up with pop culture.

Ryan Walker was born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She is currently a 2nd year MD/MPH candidate and aspires to pursue a career as a primary care physician with a focus on community medicine, in hopes of addressing educational and health disparities. At Tufts, she serves as the Co-President of the Tufts’ Student National Medical Association (SNMA) Chapter, an organization that aims to address health concerns of underserved communities and support underrepresented minorities in medicine. She is also a Sexual Reproductive Health/Women’s Health Counselor at the Sharewood Project, which provides free health education and services to individuals and families in need. Ryan is also a National Health Service Corps Scholar and Gates Millennium Scholar. She graduated from the University of Miami in June 2013 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and minors in Chemistry, Women’s and Gender Studies, and Public Health. After graduating college, Ryan served 1 year as an AmeriCorps Member with City Year Miami, where she worked with at-risk high school students and provided math interventions, whole class support, and tutoring services. Throughout high school and college, Ryan was an avid sexual/reproductive health peer educator and advocate for 6 years, and focused a great deal on HIV/AIDS education to address the high rates of new HIV cases in South Florida. In this role, she facilitated a number of workshops, forums, and events in her community, on her campus, and in collaboration with community organizations. She expanded her advocacy efforts to a national level through her involvement with Advocates for Youth’s National Young Women of Color Leadership Council (YWOC). As a member of YWOC, she partook in annual trainings and national conferences, blogged, and lobbied to Congress. It was through her extensive work in sexual/reproductive health that Ryan developed an interest in public health.
She has particular interests in the intersection of medicine and social, economic, cultural, and environmental factors.

M19 Class

Maalika Banerjee grew up in Newton, Massachusetts, and she graduated from Tufts University in 2013 with a degree in Community Health and English. She then served for two years as a National Health Corps (AmeriCorps) member, in Philadelphia and Chicago.In Philadelphia, she served as a Patient Advocate at a free clinic, working one-on-one with uninsured patients to acquire medications for chronic conditions, free of cost. In Chicago, she taught Sexual Health Education in Chicago Public Schools, while partnering with youth to develop a campaign around STI testing, called Get Yourself Tested.  As a TS3 student, Maalika is excited to deepen her understanding of health issues impacting urban, underserved populations in Boston, while learning how to promote social justice and health equity in clinical and community settings.

Reeves Bright, MS, MPH, grew up on a farm in Coatesville, PA and worked as an EMT during high school and college. She attended Tufts University as an undergraduate, and received her BA in Spanish Language in 2012. After graduating she moved to Ecuador, where she lived in a small, coastal community and volunteered in the Emergency Room of a local clinic. When Reeves returned to the United States, she interned at Victory Programs, a nonprofit in Boston, MA. She then spent two years concurrently earning a MS in Biomedical Sciences and a MPH in Global Health, both from Tufts University. Reeves is interested in immigrant and international health, with a focus on undocumented immigrants in the United States and maternal and infant health. She also enjoys hiking with her dog and rock climbing.

Rosa Drummond first knew she wanted to pursue medicine when she volunteered with Habitat for Humanity as a first year in college. She enjoyed working with underserved communities and realized that as a doctor she would be able to contribute in a meaningful, interesting, and challenging way. She volunteered twice in Honduras with the Medical Eye and Dental International Care Organization (MEDICO) and she was able to connect with individuals and families through health care and health education. It was exciting for her to be involved with people who cared so much about the lives of others and believed that adequate health care was a basic human right. The TS3 Program is one of the main reasons she chose TUSM, and she looks forward to being part of a passionate community that is dedicated to helping empower medically underserved communities and populations. She is hoping to learn how to be a successful physician in these communities and the best ways to work with and care for groups of patients who face obstacles in receiving good medical care.

Jessica Evans-Wall is coming into Medical School from a background in community based natural resource management, wilderness medicine and wilderness guiding.  In working with communities on alternative energy and conservation issues, her mind was opened by the communities that what they were most interested in and most lacking was access to healthcare. She is new to Boston and is excited to learn from the diverse communities here.  Previously, Jessica has worked in rural clinics as a medical assistant and is interested in serving as a physician in rural communities in the future. She is interested in finding ways to incorporate traditional and cultural knowledge of health from communities with allopathic treatments.

Originally from New York, Emily Geldwert graduated in 2009 from Brown University with a public policy concentration. Since then, she has lived and worked in public health across 15 African countries and volunteered as an HIV/STI and harm reduction counselor at a community health center specializing in LGBTQ care. Most recently, Emily completed her Master’s degree in public health and health promotion from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine where her research focused on improving how and when physicians discuss sexual health with patients. While her path to Tufts SOM was long, each experience has instilled in her a desire to serve others and a commitment to improve the health of underserved communities. She is thrilled to be a member of the 2019 TS3 class!

Sami Hamdan grew up in Westwood, Massachusetts and went to Boston University as a Health Science major. International medical work in Ecuador served as a source of interest in both medicine and care in underserved communities. After graduating, he continued to Boston University School of Public Health, concentrating in Health Policy and Management. During his time at the School of Public Health, he interned
at the Institute for Community Health/Cambridge Health Alliance and worked at the VA in Boston. These experiences are the basis for a strong interest in learning the ways to overcome the systematic barriers to care in underserved communities, especially as a future clinician.

Li Lin is from Queens, New York. She is interested in working with the underserved communities because she believes health should be a right, not a privilege. Between high school and college, she volunteered at New York Downtown Hospital and helped with community outreach events to help spread awareness of Hepatitis B among Asian immigrant populations. In college, as a co-leader for the Collegiate Health Service Corp, she worked with Middletown Community Health Center to canvas for Obama Care, and also partnered with AmeriCorp members to bring high school students from low-income communities to the Rising Star conference, to help and encourage them to apply to colleges. During the gap year, she volunteered as a community navigator to help bring live-alone seniors who were recently discharged from the Emergency Department to senior centers. This was a pilot study to look at whether the health outcomes of these seniors by reducing their social isolations and increasing their physical and social activities could be improved. As a TS3 student, she wishes to learn more of how to become an effect advocate for the underserved communities. Her most current interest is to explore ways to help improve the life qualities of low-income seniors and pain management.

A New Bern, North Carolina native, Robbie Patterson graduated from Duke University in 2014 with a major in Global Health and a desire that the right to health be a reality for the poor. Continuing his previous work in Haiti, he spent the year after graduation working for St. Boniface Haiti Foundation at its hospital on Haiti’s southern peninsula. He was involved in logistics, communications, and the management of biomedical equipment procured for the newly-completed Maternal and Neonatal Health Center. These experiences, among others, prompted him to apply for TS3 and enroll in the MD/MPH program at Tufts. He has learned that the Haitian immigrant population in Boston is particularly vulnerable to negative determinants of health for a number of reasons. Through TS3, he plans to use his previous experience to engage with this demographic and similar populations in order to improve health and access to health care.

Nicholas Spanos
was born and raised in Waterford, CT. He received his Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences at Fordham University in Bronx, NY. During his time in the Bronx, Nicholas spent a significant amount of his extracurricular time volunteering at various organizations including the Pelham Family Center, Bronx is Blooming, Life is Precious and St. Barnabas Hospital, a community-based hospital serving mostly underserved patients. Nicholas also has experience working with underserved populations in Battambang, Cambodia where he volunteered on a medical humanitarian mission with Project Angkor, a NGO based out of California. His areas of interest in the Tuft's Student Service Scholars Program include working with LGBT populations throughout the greater Boston area in hopes of learning ways to prevent various health disparities seen in this medically underserved population.

M20 Class

William Hirschfeld is an MD/MPH student in the Maine Track at TUSM. He grew up in Shutesbury, MA. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 2014 with a degree in Environmental Studies. After college, Will spent two formative years doing a community health fellowship with Healthy Harlem at the Harlem Children’s Zone, a non-profit dedicated to ending the cycle of generational poverty in Central Harlem. His role as a community health fellow involved teaching nutrition lessons and leading fitness activities for youth in Grades K-12; leading a weekly cardio boxing class for Harlem adults; and coordinating the hiring of nutrition educators, health educators, and fitness specialists across almost 30 after-school program sites. It was during this fellowship that Will gained a passion for health promotion in underserved communities. As a member of the TS3 program, he hopes to gain a better sense of the ways in which physicians can address health disparities and promote social and racial justice.

Linhchi Pham was born in Seattle, Washington where her parents met and emigrated to from Vietnam. She spent the first 10 years of her life living on the border of West Seattle and White Center, thriving on the diverse communities of immigrants and refugees. Weekends were lovingly spent at her grandparents’ home and Vietnamese school, both in Seattle’s vibrant Chinatown-International District. Her family’s challenges with accessing healthcare fueled her passion to fill this gap for members of her community as a physician. Linhchi attended the University of Washington, earning a B.S in Biomedical Engineering with honors. Her research on HIV preventative technology for women sparked her interest in the social-economic conditions that affect health outcomes. Upon graduating, she worked as a patient navigator at the International Community Health Services, a community health center for immigrants and refugees in Seattle. Helping her patients address specific barriers around health, including housing and transportation, taught her the vital need for community engagement and a multidisciplinary approach to medicine. These formative experiences shaped her desire to provide longitudinal care for medically underserved communities and to empower those around her. As a TS3 student, she is thrilled to gain more knowledge in immigrant health, care delivery improvement, community health initiatives, and patient advocacy. 

Sydney Ford grew up in Brunswick, Maine and graduated from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland in 2013 with a MA in International Relations. She completed her Masters in Public Health at Boston University School of Public Health, where her desire to work in health care with marginalized populations was solidified. Her focus during her masters was in global health, with a particular interest in people living with HIV/AIDS and women’s reproductive health. She has worked with an organization based in Portland, ME that aims to develop sustainable health care systems in Cap-Haitian, Haiti since 2012. She had the opportunity to travel to Cap-Haitian in 2014, where she evaluated a training program for traditional birth attendants. Sydney is in the Maine Track program here at TUSM, and hopes to continue her interest in working with underserved populations in Maine. Her particular academic interests currently are in addiction medicine and obstetrics. She is excited to be part of the TS3 community, and hopes it will be a platform to engage in difficult and important discussions about health equity and the future of health care.

Emma Livne graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a BA in Global Studies, with a concentration in Sustainable Social Change and Middle Eastern conflict. Within her local community, she worked at the needle exchange Prevention Point Pittsburgh, and volunteered in children’s hospitals providing recreational services to long-term patients. Her interest in Public Health led her to study abroad in India, conducting independent fieldwork on the origins and persistence of child malnutrition. Following, she pursued research on the perpetuation and reform of violence against women in India. After graduation she served as the Community Mobilization Coordinator through AmeriCorps VISTA at Vital Village Network: a child and family health and wellness non-profit. Emma's interest in working with underserved communities is focused around strengthening opportunity structures that support protective factors, community capacity and family resilience, particularly for young children. In TS3, she hopes to build understanding of how to deliver compassionate, deep-reaching care with limited resources.

Janelle Driscoll grew up in Andover, MA and attended Tulane University, where she studied public health as an undergrad. She received her Masters of Public Health from Tulane University, in Global and Community Health. Janelle’s interest in underserved communities began with numerous community service projects throughout high school and transformed into an interest in underserved medicine during her MPH research in New Orleans. After graduation, she worked at a community health center in Boston and experienced first-hand the important role primary care plays in population health. As a scholar in the TS3 program, Janelle looks forward to learning more in-depth about every Boston community, while gaining broader national and international perspectives from her peers and mentors.

Raised in New York, Alexander Jordan graduated from Fordham University in 2015 where he studied biology and English language and literature. His experiences during his undergraduate career at Concourse House, a transitional center for women and their children in the South Bronx, confirmed his desire to pursue medicine with a focus on underserved urban populations. After establishing the Nutrition Health Initiative, an ongoing educational program that teaches the essentials of healthy eating to elementary and middle school students who reside at Concourse House, he appreciated the need to address the social determinants of health, such as access to high-quality, nutritional meals, when caring for individuals living in low-income regions. During his year following graduation, Alex volunteered with the LGBT Youth Drop-In Center at St. Luke’s in the Fields in lower Manhattan. Here, he organized a sexual health and dating discussion group as well as a fundraiser for MetroCards in order to offer the clients of St. Luke’s access to medical appointments, shelters, and hot meals provided by organizations in the outer boroughs. Ultimately, he aspires to become a physician who advocates for an array of socioeconomically and historically disadvantaged communities. As a TS3 Scholar, he is enthusiastic to work with like-minded students who share his passion for social justice and his unyielding devotion to the wellbeing of his future patients.

Dominique Prue is originally from the Washington, DC area. She earned a bachelor's degree in anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania in 2013, where she was first exposed to community-based participatory research as a field researcher with the Guatemala Health Initiative. Before matriculating at TUSM, she worked as an asthma educator and clinic coordinator for IMPACT DC Asthma Clinic at Children’s National Health System. This opportunity affirmed her desire to integrate clinical medicine with public health and social justice throughout her career in order to address the medical needs and improve clinical outcomes in marginalized patient populations. She is very excited to learn and work with peer on topics of social justice, health equity, and adaptive cultural competency in partnership with Boston communities.

Clara Bieck grew up in Ft. Lauderdale, FL and spent her summers in the rural town of Willsboro, NY. After attending St. Thomas Aquinas for high school, she moved to Boston to attend Tufts University for her undergraduate education, where she majored in biology. Upon graduation in 2014, she drove across the country to Los Angeles, CA, where she worked for 2 years as a clinical research coordinator at Dermatology Research Associates. Her interest in the health of underserved populations began with her experiences of the health care differences between urban south Florida and rural upstate New York.  This interest deepened after working closely with uninsured, impoverished, and largely Hispanic immigrant populations through her job in Los Angeles. The personal stories of struggle and heartache with the healthcare system from patients and friends, together with her own experiences in rural New York, largely inspired her to apply to medical school. Through TS3, she hopes to develop the skills to be an effective physician for underserved populations, while also becoming a competent advocate for these communities in a volatile, complicated, and evolving healthcare landscape.

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