Three Medical Students Awarded Scholarships to Implement Community Projects

The Department of Family Medicine and Community Health has awarded 2023-2024 scholarships to three third-year medical students to implement projects that address unmet needs in the community.

Anivarya Kumar is the recipient of the Michael R. Nathan Memorial Fund, which is awarded to third-year medical students who develop a project focused on community health, occupational health, or international health. “I feel so grateful for the endless support that Duke’s Department of Family Medicine and Community Health has provided me to engage with members of our local community and address inequities in their access to care,” Kumar said. 

Kumar’s project aims to improve the health literacy of racially marginalized patients in the Durham community. Her faculty mentor is Matthew M. Engelhard, MD, PhD, assistant professor of the Duke Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics.

“I am constantly humbled by the patients and providers around me and am looking forward to using funding from the Michael R. Nathan Memorial Award to improve accessibility of health information in EMRs and advance health education networks for clinical communication in an effort to bridge the health literacy gap in Durham,” Kumar said. The fund is named for a 1973 graduate of Duke University School of Medicine. Nathan was killed in the Greensboro Massacre 44 years ago.”

Beau Blass and Allison Chu received the Eva J. Salber Award, given to third-year medical students to investigate and improve the health of a defined, disadvantaged population group. The award is named for Eva J. Salber, M.D., an early pioneer in Duke’s efforts to partner with Durham County on community health projects. “We are deeply grateful for this award in supporting our work addressing health inequities experienced by home-bound and older adults in our community,” Blass and Chu said.

Blass and Chu’s project aims to use an enhanced telehealth model to provide in-home primary care to homebound older adults and adults with disabilities in Durham. Through the program, a primary care provider will guide students onsite through duties like gathering patient history, collecting vitals, and administering medication. “The value and importance of meeting patients where they are cannot be overstated,” Blass and Chu said.

Howard Eisenson, MD, consulting professor in the Duke Department of Family Medicine and Community Health is their faculty mentor. “We’re also grateful to Dr. Eisenson for his support and devotion to the patients and students of our program,” Blass and Chu said.