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College of Medicine Alumni Magazine - Spring/Summer 2019 Norden Fund Supports Professional Development Opportunities for Students

The late Carl W. Norden, MD, was a compassionate physician, a superb clinician and an internationally recognized authority in infectious diseases, deeply committed to mentoring future physicians. His wife, Joyce Norden, made a gift to the College of Medicine to establish the Carl Norden MD Mentorship Endowed Fund in memory of her late husband, who was an adjunct clinical professor of medicine at Drexel.

The purpose of the fund is to promote the professional development of students enrolled at the College of Medicine, with preference given to students engaged in community-based health advocacy or social justice activities, such as the Health Outreach Project. Spending from the fund may be used, for example, for faculty mentoring of students and for costs associated with students' participating in professional conferences, presenting scholarly work at professional venues or gaining additional professional skills.

Thanks to the Norden fund, more students are able to attend professional development events like the annual meeting of the Society of Student-Run Clinics. This year, six students involved in the Health Outreach Project can go to the meeting. In the past, the College could only send two. Last October, the money allowed the co-presidents of the Naloxone Outreach Project, Shraddha Damaraju and Ann Carnevale, to go to New Orleans to present at the Harm Reduction Coalition Conference.

Conference participation increases the students' knowledge base and stimulates new ideas.

"We benefit by learning how other groups are handling the barriers and injustices experienced by people who use drugs and do sex work," Carnevale says. "We know that it's important to reduce the stigma around substance use so that more people will seek and be able to receive adequate treatment and dignified, nonjudgmental care. In New Orleans, we had the opportunity to learn how even current thoughts and approaches toward patients with substance use disorders aren't always rooted in evidence-based medicine, but rather born out of stigma."

Conferences are a rich opportunity to network with medical students from across the country engaged in providing free health care services. Carnevale notes that it is very beneficial for students to network with community groups as well, because they provide a different perspective on public health services, community education and population empowerment. "We're learning that future health care providers need to have a compassionate understanding of what substance use disorder is and how to address the medical, psychological and social factors involved," she says. "The information students gain at these conferences will help to make them better physicians, who can serve this patient population more effectively, and it will also help them to enhance the Naloxone Outreach Project."

When attendees bring new information back to their peers, it enriches the whole student body.

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