Public Release: 

BU medical student wins prestigious US public health award

Recognized for work with homeless children

Boston University Medical Center

(Boston)--Lauren Sweetser, a fourth-year medical student at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), has won a 2017 U.S. Public Health Medical Student Service Award from the U.S. Public Health Service Physician Professional Advisory Committee.

This award recognizes medical students who are involved in public health issues in their community as well as those that work to increase awareness of public health service.

"The award is a testament to the education provided by Boston University School of Medicine and to the high caliber of its students. We hope that this will encourage your faculty and students to continue their strong work in public health," said LCDR Kristie Clarke, MD, MSCR, FAAP, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sweetser entered BUSM in the summer of 2013 following a year serving as an activities leader at Horizons for Homeless Children--the largest organization in Massachusetts working to alleviate the trauma and stress of homelessness on both children and their families by providing education, opportunities for play, support for parents and advocacy.

As a first-year student, Sweetser saw the value of her experience in promoting an understanding of homelessness among children and sought to make her classmates aware of it. Therefore, she initiated and developed REACH--Resources and Education for Adolescents and their Children, a student-run learning project.

The pilot program included a single shelter and over three years it expanded to five shelters across Boston's neediest neighborhoods. Its mission is to work with, and learn from, homeless teen mothers and their young children by supporting them through educational workshops, constructive childcare and longitudinal multi-faceted mentorship. Every year, approximately 40 students participate in REACH and it has become a sustainable part of the BUSM culture. For her work on this project Sweetser received the prestigious Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, a year-long fellowship for leadership in service.

"Lauren's vision, organizational skills and her resiliency has made her the ideal candidate to receive this prestigious award," said Angela Jackson, MD, associate dean for student affairs at BUSM.

About BUSM

Boston University School of Medicine began as the New England Women's Medical College in 1848 and was incorporated as Boston University School of Medicine in 1873. A leading academic and research institution with an enrollment of approximately 700 medical-degree students and 950 graduate students pursuing master's and doctoral degrees, the school has approximately 1,240 full- and part-time faculty members.

One of the major biomedical research institutions in the United States, it is renowned for its programs in cardiovascular disease, cancer, pulmonary and infectious diseases, dermatology, arthritis, pediatrics and geriatrics, among others. In the vanguard of research activities, BUSM faculty contribute to more than 950 active grants and contracts, and provide clinical leadership for the Framingham Heart Study, the largest epidemiological study in the world.

Its teaching affiliates include Boston Medical Center, the Boston VA Healthcare System, Kaiser Permanente in northern California and Roger Williams Medical Center in Rhode Island. For more information, please visit http://www.bumc.bu.edu/busm/

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