Dartmouth Medical School

For Release: February 1, 2007
Contact: DMS Communications 603-650-1492

Urban Scholars Extend DMS Opportunities

HANOVER, NH—Dartmouth Medical School (DMS) has been awarded $25,000 to help support a new Urban Health Scholars program that enlarges its reach to underserved metropolitan populations.

The funds, from the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation, will help broaden opportunities for DMS students to gain experience in urban areas.

The Urban Scholars initiative began last fall with the selection of eight students from the first and second-year medical classes who are interested in urban medicine and related multicultural health issues. It is modeled on the school's successful program for Rural Scholars who focus on community health and primary care in remote areas.

"Our community service ethos at DMS is a draw. Most of our students come to medicine with a need to serve," said Dr. Joseph O'Donnell, senior advising dean who oversees the program. "Many have significant experiences with underserved populations, predominantly in cities or international sites and want to continue such work."

As Urban Scholars medical students are identified early in their training so they will have a chance to work in diverse city care settings, including neighborhood clinics or shelters, community centers and other venues that serve vulnerable populations in the Boston and Manchester, NH, areas. They will learn skills to help reduce health disparities and meet the medical needs of urban patients through summer rotations, clerkships and electives as well special projects and mentorships.

"Our first group of highly motivated urban scholars have already joined in with an inspiring passion to help shape the program," O'Donnell added.

The inaugural fellows are: Leslie Claracay, Nicolas Ellis, Umbareen Mahmood, Rajesh Ramanathan, Pablo Valdes, Omri Ayalon, Carolyn Presley and Katherine Ratzan.

Created in 1980, the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation focuses on community service, medical education and research, supporting the mission of the Massachusetts-based health plan to improve the health of the people it serves and of society.