Medical students build friendships, and a house, at community service project

August 23, 2013
Alpert medical students volunteer for Habitat for Humanity in Providence
MD students on site Credit: Sam Klein MD'16

Future doctors wielded hammers, saws, and drills to treat a very different sort of patient last weekend. Thirteen Alpert Medical School students, most of them members of the MD Class of 2017, kicked off the school year with a work day at a Habitat for Humanity house on Providence’s west side. After learning the ropes from experienced volunteers and professionals on site, the students donned masks and goggles to install insulation and drywall in the single-family home.

The annual community service project offers a meaningful opportunity for classmates to work together and share responsibilities while introducing them to the community, says organizer Sam Klein MD’16. “It’s the perfect orientation trip for new medical students,” he says. “We’re showing the community we’re here to support them, not just in the clinics, but across many different aspects of their lives.”

For volunteer Katie Pivarnik MD’17, the experience was just what the doctor ordered. “Getting a better feel for the ‘real’ Providence was not only helpful in orienting myself but also in realizing the diversity of the city,” she says. Connie Wu MD’17 agrees. “The service made me feel very happy to be able to help out a family,” she says. “I was physically exhausted but mentally energized by the end of the day.”