Podiatric Care in the City of Brotherly Love
Writing Competition 2019
Throughout the United States, there is a broad range of personalities that define each state or region. However, there is the only one “City of Brotherly Love”, and that is Philadelphia. As one of the many medical schools in the city, Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine strives to maintain a sense of fellowship that defines our local neighborhoods. One way for our students to get involved is the TUSPM Community Service Club. The mission statement of this club is “to provide students with opportunities to positively impact a wide array of individuals throughout our urban landscape.” Events focus on building up our communities by providing tools and education pertaining to healthy podiatric habits. Our approach enables students to understand the importance of taking an active role in their education while leaving a positive footprint throughout their city. As a club at TUSPM, we look to use our time and skills to continue fostering Philadelphia’s sense of fellowship.
A major issue that weighs heavily on Philadelphia is homelessness. According to the Office of Homeless Service, 5,700 Philadelphians experienced homelessness in 2018. With an array of organizations that work to fight poverty, a pair of helping hands can be very impactful towards these efforts. Hence, one of our club’s most consistent events is with Emmanuel Ministry at Liberti Church in downtown Center City. At least once a month, we attend their Saturday lunch services to assist in aiding the homeless population. As this ministry provides fresh and nutritious lunches for their guests, we team up with the Penn Dental Medicine to promote healthy podiatric and oral care. During the meal, the schools have booths representing their respective fields. These booths will have educational tools and also items for physical care. Specifically, TUSPM students provide guests with pamphlets, nail clippers, foot callus files, and moisturizing lotions. These items allow individuals to address physical needs and also to improve their self-esteem. Through this event, we are given the opportunity to not only embody the principles of our profession, but also show compassion to others regardless of race, religion, and lifestyle.
As we address the reality of homelessness, our club also saw the need to fight against the crisis of hunger in surrounding neighborhoods. Throughout our academic career at TUSPM, we are constantly educated on the importance of proper nutrition and its application to the holistic care of the body. Statistics by Philabundance, a Pennsylvania non-profit food bank, show that 1 in 5 individuals of the city will experience hunger on a daily basis. For this reason, we partnered with this non-profit organization to organize a food drive at our school. From April 2018 to May 2018, all students were able to donate healthy non-perishable goods to a designated on-campus site. Throughout the month, students enthusiastically and generously contributed to this cause. At the close of the event, the drive was able to accumulate 115 different food items. As a TUSPM team, we were able to combat hunger and to help feed individuals of all ages.
In order to expand the club’s involvement in the local community, we established the TUSPM SoleFit Chapter. The SoleFit chapter works in accordance with the non-profit organization “Shoes That Fit” to provide in-need children with new athletic shoes. The organization conducted research that showed 1 in 5 young students are in need of shoes. As a medical school that specializes in the foot and ankle, we understand the importance of shoe-wear that promotes proper growth. Therefore, we have partnered with the Richmond Elementary School in Port Richmond, Philadelphia to help 10 children experiencing poverty. This is a school where 100% of the populace qualifies for free or reduced-cost meals. Though these students and their families encounter financial hardships, they should be provided resources to allow them to reach their highest potential.
By providing brand new shoes, we enable the children to participate in fun, healthy activities and also provide the opportunity to build their self-confidence. Since children are continually reaching growth milestones, we believe it is imperative to be proactive in identifying schools and kids that could benefit with the help of our students, volunteers, and donors. All the funds raised for our cause go solely towards putting this project into action. The donations will help build a brighter future for the Philadelphia youth as they work towards achieving their dreams. Currently, through the work of the students and generous help of our donors, the initial goal of 350 dollars was surpassed in just two weeks. As the project continues to grow and expand, the TUSPM SoleFit chapter looks to provide more than 10 students with a pair of athletic shoes. Overall, we seek to use our platform as medical students to promote both mental and physical growth for these children. We also strive to show our community that TUSPM cares for the youth as they reach for their goals.
Philadelphia is a passionate place that is paved by history, filled with grit, and made of champions. The TUSPM Community Service Club believes the city is made great by caring for its people. As medical students, we are given the responsibility to fully prepare ourselves as future doctors. However, there is also a calling to be a well-balanced individual who is relatable to people of all paths. This relatability is only made possible by being consistently involved and helping your neighbors. Though TUSPM is a medical school be filled with individuals from numerous states and countries, we are one big Philadelphia family. With this mindset, our club holds to a mission that advocates and provides our students with the opportunities of making their city a better place. Whether it be aiding the homeless, hungry, or youth, there are a variety of ways to be involved in the local community. These events do not seek to invoke a sense of personal pride, but rather, they aim to promote teamwork in uplifting others. In the end, the TUSPM Community Service Club hopes to positively affect Philadelphians both physically and mentally as we all progress through life one step a time.
by: Shalin Panchigar & Zarnab Butta
Student Org: TUSPM Community Service Club
School: Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine
1st Annual Hallux Magazine Writing Competition – 2019
Hallux Magazine Writing Competition – Finalist
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