A program founded and run by LSU Health New Orleans medical students to make health care and health education more accessible to homeless women and children has been awarded a $10,000 grant by La Societe Des Dames Hospitalieres Donor Advised Fund. LSU Health New Orleans’ New Orleans Women and Children’s Shelter (NOWS) Outreach Program brings together students from five of LSU Health New Orleans’ six schools, along with Xavier University School of Pharmacy, to provide heath services and health care education to the residents of New Orleans Women & Children’s Shelter. The shelter is the largest organization serving homeless women and children in New Orleans
Samantha Karlin and Hunter Hopkins, both LSU Health New Orleans medical students and Albert Schweitzer Fellows, founded LSU Health New Orleans’ NOWS Outreach Program in 2015 as their Albert Schweitzer Fellowship project. Kathryn Di Losa and Katherine Davidson Karlay, also LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine students and Albert Schweitzer Fellows, have expanded the program.
“The grant will allow our NOWS Outreach to continue health programming and clinics at the New Orleans Women & Children’s Shelter and expand to provide programming at the newest shelter site, opened in October 2016, starting in January 2017,” says Kathryn Di Losa, a first-year LSU Health New Orleans medical student and Co-Director of LSU Health New Orleans’ NOWS Outreach Program. “The population served will more than double and will now include entire families who have found themselves homeless.”
The students also want to increase offerings for children. The children’s educational enrichment program will include transportation, admissions/tickets, as well as supplies and sporting equipment. Grant funds will also support improving the stability, sustainability, and efficiency of the program. Currently, student volunteers are borrowing equipment from other campus and community organizations or bringing their own for the clinics and educational sessions. The program intends to buy equipment such as otoscopes, blood pressure cuffs, and height/weight scales, as well as necessary supplies.
Denise Flock-Williams, Interim President of LSU Health New Orleans Foundation, worked with Di Losa to secure the grant. “The Foundation exists to support the mission of LSU Health New Orleans, a strong component of which is outreach. We’re especially pleased to be able to further the ability of our students to give back.”
“Our medical school is dedicated to the people of Louisiana,” notes Steve Nelson, MD, Dean of LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine. “We are proud that our students are following LSU Health’s and Albert Schweitzer Fellowships’ strong tradition of community outreach and service. By taking care of those who might otherwise go without, they are making a real difference in people’s lives and the health of our community.”