For the second straight year, two Upstate students have been selected for the prestigious Paul Ambrose Scholars Program.
Medical student Simone Arvisais-Anhalt and Master of Public Health student Kyle Plante were among 40 student-scholars from around the country chosen to attend a Student Leadership Symposium in Washington, DC, in June.
Last year, Upstate medical students Elizabeth Zane and Andrew Beltran were selected for the symposium.
Each year the Ambrose program brings together students from a variety of health care fields working on public health initiatives supporting the goals promoted by Healthy People 2020.
The three-day symposium was “an incredible opportunity for us to not only learn from our nation’s public health leaders, but also provided a great opportunity to collaborate and network with other like-minded students from across the country,” Kyle said.
The students discussed health care leadership, evidence-based public health decision-making, health policy advocacy and health care reform, as well as various other topics relating to project planning. Speakers were from the Association for Disease Prevention Teaching and Research, the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and other community-based agencies.
“What I found most energizing about this program was the focus on the meaningful work that can be accomplished at the local level,” Simone said. “Instead of glorifying the power of federal policy on health care, there was an emphasis on community engagement and the positive effects of local policy change.”
Each Ambrose scholar has a year to develop and implement a community-based public health project that addresses one of the Healthy People 2020 Leading Health Indicators.
Simone’s project tackles underutilization and lack of awareness among local health care providers about free clinics. She is collaborating with other students on a two-part program to establish who is visiting the clinics and what barriers they face accessing care.
“We will work on a provider awareness campaign and intervention to distribute free clinic information to patients in need through discharge plans via Upstate’s electronic medical records,” she said.
Kyle’s project is a patient-centered “decision aid” to promote shared decision-making between patients and providers about prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing.
“The decision aid will describe the risks and benefits associated PSA testing, as well as the medical, social and emotional considerations needed to make an informed decision,” said Kyle, who is implementing the project with support from Upstate’s Department of Family Medicine.
Simone, a member of the College of Medicine Class of 2017, hasn’t yet decided on a specialty to pursue; Kyle, who already has a master’s degree in anatomy from Upstate, plans to follow up his MPH by enrolling in Upstate’s College of Medicine.