June 30, 2014
Community engagement and social accountability are guiding principles at American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC). Community Action Day, a student-led initiative that began eight years ago, is an example of the university’s commitment to its core values. On June 21, 2014, Community Action Day brought together over 160 AUC students, faculty and staff with members of the Sint Maarten Diabetes Foundation, iCAN Foundation, SXM Paws, Lowlands Community Garden, and the Tzu Chi Foundation.
“Each of the day’s activities were planned in partnership with a local Sint Maarten organization to improve overall health and wellness. The events gave students the opportunity to work alongside community members effecting positive change and develop into a more engaged and empathetic future physician,” said Golden Jackson, director of service learning and community affairs at AUC.
AUC volunteers participated in initiatives such as health care screenings for diabetes and chikungunya, planting fresh fruit and vegetable gardens, cultivating creativity in children through multimedia arts, animal adoptions to improve animal welfare, and the renovation of a shelter for victims of domestic violence.
One of the community organizations that AUC volunteers supported was the Sint Maarten Diabetes Foundation. According to the organization’s president, Charlotte Peterson, there has been an increase in Type 2 diabetes diagnoses across the island. AUC students helped provide complimentary glucose and blood pressure screenings.
“The assistance by AUC students at each of our events makes it possible for us to achieve our goals,” said Peterson. “I look forward to AUC’s support at our World Diabetes Day walk-a-thon in November. We wouldn’t be able to do it without them.”
Community Action Day is held each semester.