HARROGATE, Tennessee, Nov. 27, 2018 – The Kenley Project, an initiative led by students at the Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine (LMU-DCOM) has donated six care boxes for parents of stillborn or premature babies to Morristown-Hamblen Healthcare System (MHHS), a Covenant Health affiliate. The students assembled the care boxes and delivered them to MHHS in time for Thanksgiving as a way to give back to the community.
“Teaching is a part of our mission, but what a blessing when the students want to be involved and give back. Having a premature infant or losing a baby are very difficult situations,” said MHHS President and CAO Gordon Lintz. “The boxes provide comfort, resources and items needed during this stressful time. We appreciate our medical students and how they are already making a difference in the lives of patients.”
The Kenley Project is a charitable organization founded by LMU-DCOM third-year medical students, James Dolbow and Mandy Alhajj. Dolbow and Alhajj are both members of the Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) chapter at LMU-DCOM, and were inspired to create the project during their second year of medical school when Rebecca Wood, a mother and author of “A Letter to My Doctor,” spoke to their class.
“Mrs. Wood came to our medical school and shared her story of perinatal loss, grief and the lack of resources that accompanied her experience,” said Dolbow. “Her talk inspired us to do something for future mothers and fathers who have a stillborn child, in the hopes of improving their experience and making a difference in our local communities.”
As the project began to grow, they learned of the immense need for support of families experiencing the pre-mature birth of their child. In rural America, a pre-mature birth means that your baby will be sent to a hospital in the nearest major city which can be over an hour away.
“We wanted to help these families as well, so we have incorporated care for these families into our initiative alongside support for families experiencing stillbirth,” said Alhajj.
Now in their third year of medical school, Dolbow and Alhajj are on clinical rotation at MHHS, and recognized the opportunity to help families in the Morristown area through The Kenley Project. Dolbow credits Lintz and Johnathan Nash, marketing and clinical services coordinator for being instrumental in helping get the project started at MHHS.
LMU’s theme for November is “Give Thanks. Give Back” and Dolbow said, “I would like to give thanks for Mr. Gordon Lintz and Mr. Jonathan Nash. We are hugely appreciative for them and the hospital and their support of The Kenley Project.”
Each stillborn care box includes a small digital camera with transferable files, a framed hand and foot print cast set, stillborn grief books, baby hair and ashes keepsake locket, an informal birth certificate, a hand and footprint kit, information on grief groups and support, and an encouraging letter from Rebecca Wood, a stillborn care advocate. All of the items are assembled inside of a beautiful decorative box.
Premature baby care boxes include a preemie beanie, a pocket blanket, preemie socks and mittens, a teddy bear or stuffed animal, a framed foot and handprint set, a gas card and a gift card for a two-night hotel stay for parents to be able to visit their baby while in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
To make a donation to The Kenley Project visit https://thekenleyproject.com/donate. For local hospitals who would like to participate in The Kenley Project contact, James Dolbow, MS at [email protected] or Mandy Alhajj, MS at [email protected].
The DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine is located on the campus of Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee. 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, e-mail [email protected], or visit us online at http://med.LMUnet.edu.