Community Health: ABCD partners with UMass Boston

By Carmen Farias

VAE UMB
ABCD President/CEO John J. Drew (third from right) and Executive Vice President Sharon Scott-Chandler (left) thank Anahid Kulwicki, Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences (third from left), Linda Dumas, Associate Professor in the Nursing Program (second from right), and Carla Coutinho, a Nursing Intern at Parker Hill Head Start (second from left), for their support.

The well-being of our communities depends on a variety of factors, health being one of the most important among them. In an effort to improve the overall health of the members of our communities, ABCD has partnered with the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Since the fall of 2012, UMass Boston has provided approximately 40 Nursing Interns from an Urban Community Nursing course, placed at various ABCD programs for a semester-long clinical rotation. In the three years of the partnership, interns and ABCD programs alike have felt the profound impact of a partnership focused on the betterment, physical and otherwise, of our communities.

Nursing Interns play key roles in their placements at ABCD’s University High School, where they have facilitated much-needed instruction in a variety of health topics essential to the students’ wellbeing. Nursing Interns at UHS created a health class curriculum based on exploring a topics such as CPR training, emergency preparedness, smoking, sexual and reproductive health, and hand washing techniques through interactive activities and discussion. The Nursing Interns prepared lessons each week and executed the activities in the classroom with the students, culminating in a Health Fair at the end of the semester in which UHS students presented on a topic of their choice. In the Head Start program, Nursing Interns have assisted ABCD health managers in running vision and hearing screenings for preschool-aged children and conducting informational workshops on relevant health topics for the children’s parents.

In providing Nursing Interns, UMass Boston has been unwavering in its commitment to help ABCD carry out its mission of empowering individuals, families, and communities in Boston to achieve their full potential. Linda Dumas, the faculty member in charge of the Urban Community Nursing course who is also an ABCD Board Member, continually thinks of ways in which she can tailor her curriculum to better prepare the Nursing Interns to serve the clients they encounter in their placements across ABCD. In turn, the interns are able to develop a deep understanding of the needs of the clients and think critically and creatively about how best to help clients meet these needs. The Nursing Interns empower ABCD’s clients to take control of their health. Through this partnership, ABCD gives the Nursing Interns the opportunity to become involved members of the community, and provides a training ground essential to the development of future Boston-area nurses.

The College of Nursing and Health Sciences was honored at the 2015 Volunteer Appreciation Celebration, where ABCD had the opportunity to both thank UMass for the past three years of support and to further strengthen ties for the future. ABCD is grateful to UMass for generously making its skilled and talented students available for the betterment of our communities, and we look forward to welcoming a new class of Nursing Interns this fall.

For more information about partnership opportunities with ABCD, please contact Carmen Farias, Volunteer Coordinator, at 617-348-6591 or Madeline Eleazar, Recruitment/Volunteer Assistant, at 617-348-6387 or reach both via email at volunteer@bostonabcd.org.