“The Saint James School of Medicine AMSA Chapter of Saint Vincent seeks to bring campus and community health professionals together in partnership to address the healthcare needs of the Vincentian population while encouraging physicians-in-training to be agents of change.”
How did your chapter support this objective?
“In September 2016, the Saint Vincent Chapter “adopted” the Calliaqua community in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The AMSA physicians-in-training pledged to reach out to the community and help foster an environment of health awareness. As a pivotal part of this pledge, the Saint Vincent AMSA team has hosted six health screenings in Calliaqua, reaching over 300 Vincentians.
Free services to the public included blood pressure, blood glucose, and body mass index assessments, as well as a breast cancer screening overseen by Dr. Hughes Dougan, a locally practicing physician originally from Morristown, New Jersey. AMSA physicians-in-training provided hands-on and friendly care, encouraging the growing ties with the Vincentian community. Additionally, physicians-in-training were granted the opportunity to learn breast examination skills and techniques for the detection of cancer. Dr. Dougan offered insight that cannot be garnered from textbooks, but rather imprinted from experience.
Breast cancer is a leading factor of mortality among Vincentian women. Often the cost for diagnosis, care and treatment of breast cancer is high and many women cannot afford treatment outside of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Additionally, many women are unaware of self-screening techniques or when they should start screening for breast cancer. The AMSA team in Saint Vincent breaking the barriers and spreading awareness to Vincentian women in a welcoming, easily accessible environment.
The Saint Vincent Chapter has been lauded for their efforts by the Hughes Dougan Association, World Pediatric Project, as well as the Saint Vincent Olympic Team Association. AMSA physicians-in-training are taking initiative to lead the way in medical education—not just for the students, but for the community as well. Physicians-in-training are eager to participate and develop skills—but more importantly, they are eager to be the change.”
What does the leadership team to contribute to the success of the chapter as a whole?
“The Saint Vincent AMSA Chapter has a diverse and talented board with extraordinarily vast leadership experience. The AMSA team at Saint Vincent saw that the community relations with the campus needed to be strengthened. Additionally, the leadership team saw that the Vincentian community, especially Calliaqua, was in desperate need for local health initiatives. From the beginning, the team dedicated resources and time to create a smooth and welcoming health screening. Due to community hesitation, the leadership team reached out on the local radio, as well as hand delivered flyers to small businesses all over Calliaqua. The constant presence of the team in the community strengthened ties and encouraged not only community’s participation, but the participation of other health professionals on the island. Leadership in the AMSA Chapter of Saint Vincent is not defined by the title held, but rather the effective communication and utilization of the strengths of every chapter officer. Without this approach to leadership, the AMSA chapter would not have accomplished the feats achieved with the limited resources available.”