The COVID-19 virus may have changed some holiday traditions, but a member of the UH College of Medicine’s inaugural class didn’t let that stop her from living the College’s mission and making a difference in the community.
Kennedi Wilson worked with students, staff and faculty from several of the University’s colleges to make the season a bit brighter for residents of The Women’s Home, a Houston-area nonprofit that helps homeless women struggling with mental illness and/or addiction rebuild their lives.
Wilson worked as a graduate intern at the organization while earning her master’s degree in public health from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. She said the program tries to help people, whatever their needs – from mental and physical health care to job training and spiritual counseling.
“I have seen firsthand how this program really uplifts those that have been involved. It helps homeless women reclaim their stability,” Wilson said. “As the holidays drew nearer, I immediately thought of this organization and the individuals who I had the honor of getting to know. I thought this would be a good opportunity for my fellow peers, and other UH colleges to give back in some way.”
UH students, staff and faculty agreed. The UH College of Medicine, UH College of Optometry and UH College of Pharmacy worked together to raise over $3,000 in monetary donations and donated items – from shampoo and soap to utensils and blankets.
“These are essentials items that many of us may take for granted on a daily basis, but can really go a long way for a single person or a family,” Wilson said.
The day before Thanksgiving, Wilson and other student volunteers gift-wrapped the all the packages. Afterwards, Wilson loaded the packages in her car and delivered them.
“I am so grateful for everyone's contributions and help with this donation drive. I am thankful for UH College of Medicine supporting me in this endeavor,” she said. “As I think of the faces of those receiving these donations, I see smiles and I am beyond overjoyed."
The UH College of Medicine trains future primary care physicians by teaching them about holistic health and ways to address social determinants of health with the goal of improving health and health care access in Texas communities.