Albert Einstein College of Medicine students, faculty, postdocs, and staff volunteered their time to serve the Bronx community last week to honor the memory of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
“Einstein’s mission and ongoing pursuit of health equity and social justice aligns with Dr. King’s legacy, and we honor him with our MLK Week of Service,” said Yaron Tomer, M.D., the Marilyn and Stanley M. Katz Dean at Einstein and chief academic officer at Montefiore Medicine. “This initiative offered all members of the Einstein community the chance to volunteer. In the words of Dr. King, ‘If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.’”
While people could choose outside volunteer opportunities, Einstein’s service learning program offered a range of choices through local nonprofit groups, including Grassroots Grocery, the Niño de la Caridad Foundation, Immanuel Cares Global, Montefiore’s Project BRAVO Food Pantry, and two Bronx high schools.
Opportunities included organizing and shelving grocery items at a food pantry, packaging and distributing food to 300 local families, assisting with sidewalk blood pressure and diabetes screenings for the homeless, and serving as guides for high school students who toured Einstein’s science labs and took part in a discussion of science and medical careers.
“Service is an essential part of an Einstein education,” said Lauren Roth, M.D., ‘16, inaugural director of Einstein’s service learning program, a required course that provides medical students with opportunities to foster meaningful connections and collaboration with the Bronx community and learn about ways social determinants of health can be addressed. “It’s a real testament to our students and everyone who participated that they recognize and value our community partners and the role they play in our borough and chose to commit their free time to supporting them.” Dr. Roth is also an assistant professor of pediatrics at Einstein and an attending physician at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore.
The week’s events were coordinated by Holly Nuthmann, L.M.S.W., Einstein’s service learning program manager.
Martin Luther King Day occurs the third Monday in January. Observed as “a day on, not a day off,” it is the only federal holiday designated as a National Day of Service, to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities.