Sharewood Director Celebrated for Volunteerism
Kelly Ohlrich, MG18 (MBS), M22, executive director of the Sharewood Project at Tufts University, has received a $10,000 Myra Kraft Community MVP award in recognition of her outstanding leadership of the student-run program.
The New England Patriots Foundation awarded twenty-six grants to area organizations in honor of their outstanding volunteers who, according to the foundation, “exemplify leadership, dedication, and a commitment to improving their communities through volunteerism.”
Ohlrich accepted the award at a ceremony at Gillette Stadium on August 20.
The Sharewood Project is a free, student-run health education organization, led by graduate health-care students from the Tufts School of Medicine, as well as volunteer family medicine physicians, interpreters, and undergraduate volunteers. Since its founding in 1997, it has provided free education and medical screenings to underserved families.
The project has served more than 650 clients alone since July 2018. Seventy percent of their clients are non-English speakers and 62 percent live in households that earn less than $25,000 annually.
“The feeling of seeing our spreadsheet filled with fifteen to twenty patient’s names at the end of a long clinic night is always the highlight of my week and is truly rewarding for all of the hard work our volunteers do,” Ohlrich said. “It is a consistent reminder among all of my flashcards and exams that, above all reasons, I am in medical school to learn how to care for others, and I work with Sharewood because I simply cannot wait until I graduate to be able to make a significant difference for those that need it most.”
In a statement, the Sharewood Project said the award will go a long way to making sure the Malden-based program, which is completely funded by donations, awards, and grants, will continue its good work.
Andy Wang, M22, the Sharewood Project’s director of advancement, said that Ohlrich manages the volunteers, leads board meetings, helps clients to enroll in health insurance programs, and more.
“Kelly has been the face of the Sharewood Project and our passionate leader, and has worked tirelessly to advance our mission of enhancing the health of the medically underserved in Malden and in the Greater Boston area,” Wang said. “As an organization that prides itself on caring for any person in need who comes through our doors, Kelly is always their welcoming first face. She drives our progress as an organization and generates bold new ideas, working together with community leaders and members in the Greater Boston area and the rest of our incredible team of volunteer health professional students and physicians.”