Emphasizing a strong commitment to student volunteer efforts and community wellness, PCOM President and CEO Jay S. Feldstein, DO ‘81 formed the Community Wellness Initiative to support existing projects and foster cross-campus collaboration to provide programming and resources for the communities that PCOM serves.
Through the CWI and student-led initiatives, students volunteer their time and education to serve the community in which they’re living and learning.
During a two-week summer volunteer effort through PCOM South Georgia, Iris Rivera (DO ‘25) served as an interpreter between patients and providers at the Ellenton Farm Worker Family Health Program. She said that providing medical care to farm workers has been a driving force for her medical education. Volunteering with programs like this clinic was one of the primary reasons Rivera said she chose to attend medical school at PCOM South Georgia.
“A big influence on choosing medicine as a career path was my first shadowing experience at a migrant clinic during my undergraduate education,” she said. “I knew from the first day that I walked out of that clinic that I wanted to provide medical care to migrants just as the physicians there were doing.”
In addition to encouraging student participation and through the President’s CWI, PCOM South Georgia donated bottled water, cooling towels, wide-brimmed hats with neck coverings, hand sanitizer and sunscreen to the farm workers and students who attended the clinic.
PCOM South Georgia’s commitment to its community, which is home to many farm workers and Spanish-speaking families, also includes highlighting the path to medical education for those residents.
“We actively recruit students from our area with a heavy emphasis on underrepresented minorities,” said Dana Brooks, director of admissions. “If a patient can see someone who looks like them and speaks like them, it makes a world of difference in their physician-patient experience.”
Supporting that idea is a recently launched medical Spanish course. “What is the Patient Saying? Medical Spanish Introductory Level” takes place on the Philadelphia and South Georgia campuses, improving students’ medical terminology in the Spanish language.
“This course comes about at a time when the need for Spanish-speaking healthcare professionals only continues to rise,” shared PCOM professor, Savio-Galimberti, MD. “Formal training in medical Spanish will improve the communication between the Spanish-speaking population and the medical team, and therefore improve the delivery of medical diagnosis and treatment. This improves the efficacy of the health system as a whole and decreases inequalities that sometimes occur due to barrier language.”
Through student volunteerism and leadership’s commitment to fostering community wellness, PCOM South Georgia is making a difference in the area that its students, staff and faculty call home.
About PCOM South Georgia
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) extended its commitment to the Southeast by establishing PCOM South Georgia, an additional teaching location in Moultrie, Georgia. PCOM South Georgia offers both a full, four-year medical program leading to the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree and a Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences degree. PCOM is a private, not-for-profit institution which trains professionals in the health and behavioral sciences fields. Joining PCOM Georgia in Suwanee in helping to meet the healthcare needs of the state, PCOM South Georgia focuses on educating physicians for the South Georgia region. The medical campus, which welcomed its inaugural class of medical students in August 2019, has received accreditation from the American Osteopathic Association’s Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation. For more information, visit pcom.edu or call 229-668-3110.