LMU Medical Students Win Outstanding Youth In Philanthropy Award

DCOM students being interviewed for Hope in Chaos documentary about the pandemic in East Tennessee

Three osteopathic medical students at DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine (DCOM) at Lincoln Memorial University (LMU)-Knoxville, were awarded the Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Great Smoky Mountain Chapter. The award was to be presented in person at the AFP’s National Philanthropy Day event; however, due to the pandemic, AFP will hold a live stream premiere of the documentary Hope in Chaos, featuring the award winners, on Friday, November 20, at 11:30 a.m. on the AFP Facebook Page. The documentary will rebroadcast on MyVLT Sunday, November 22, at 9 p.m., and will feature local individuals and agencies that have worked hard to meet new challenges and serve the community in big ways amid this year’s public health crisis.

Elizabeth Taylor holding up one of the shirts the students sold to raise money for PPE.Elizabeth Taylor of Hampton, Georgia, Amy Rousselot of Midland, Texas, and Priyanka Dharampuriya of Boston, Massachusetts, moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, in the summer of 2019 to begin medical school at DCOM at LMU-Knoxville. They never imagined that midway into their first year of medical school, the world would be shaken by a global pandemic.

In just a few short months, they had built a connection to Knoxville and were eager to help however possible.

“Knoxville has become my second home, and on a personal level, I just wanted to give back to the community however I could,” said Dharampuriya.

The first-year medical students raised a total of $9,695 to provide meals and personal protective equipment (PPE) including surgical masks, KN95 masks, face shields, gowns, bouffants and shoe covers to health care workers in the Knoxville area. Together with the help of the student body they raised enough money to deliver 6,000 items of PPE to Covenant hospitals in the area, several local clinics, a pediatrician’s office, University of Tennessee Medical Center, Knox Area Rescue Ministries (KARM), Knox schools and several nursing homes. They also delivered 100 meals to health care workers and made a large donation to the Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee.

“As medical students, we are eager to help people in whatever way we can. While health care professionals are on the front lines of this battle, many health care students, like us, were wondering what we could possibly do to help. The response was wonderful,” said Rousselot.

Being in medical school during COVID-19 has had its challenges. During the spring 2020 semester the campus closed and classes were moved completely online.

“It was hard at first feeling isolated from friends, but thankfully we have technology to keep us connected,” said Taylor. “I love the sense of community we have been able to maintain with our class and faculty. In these situations, you are forced to adapt to a new normal and to make the most of every day. I think we will be even more resilient and empathetic people after going through this time.”

Rousselot calls it a lesson in resilience. And her classmates agree.

“I hope I never take the simple things in life for granted again. This experience has made me realize even more how much we have to be grateful for,” said Taylor.

DCOM students raise money for PPE for Knoxville healthcare workers

Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) is a values-based learning community dedicated to providing educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies. The DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine is located on the campus of Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee, with an additional location at LMU-Knoxville. LMU-DCOM is an integral part of LMU’s values-based learning community and is dedicated to preparing the next generation of osteopathic physicians to provide health care in the often underserved region of Appalachia and beyond. For more information about LMU-DCOM, call 1.800.325.0900, ext. 7082, email [email protected], or visit us online at http://med.LMUnet.edu.

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