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Taste & Tour Fundraiser Generates Funds for Student Scholarships

On February 15, 2024, the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine hosted a Taste & Tour Around the World fundraiser at Cosm Experience Center.

Proceeds were directed to student scholarships, specifically created to offer assistance to those participating in the department’s global health learning abroad programs: The Meghan Arnold Global Health Learning Abroad Scholarship (Public Health) and The Pedersen Endowed Scholarship Fund for International Electives (Physician Assistant Studies).

The fundraiser was the result of a proactive attitude adopted by the department’s Global Health Committee. “Our global health committee prioritized visibility of our programs and equitable access to learning abroad for students. While we could have continued to discuss forever, I thought we ought to just start, to do something to get the ball rolling with fundraising,” said Sharon Talboys, committee chair and associate professor of public health. “Overall, we achieved both goals – we were able to tell our story in an amazing venue and had a great turnout for a first-time event."

The event saw over 100 attendees and gathered thousands of dollars in donations. The money raised will allow greater opportunity for future students interested in pursuing community-based health across the globe. Those attending the event included faculty and staff from DFPM and other departments across the U, as well as distinguished guests from the community.

The night kicked off with welcomes from Interim Department Chair John Barrett, MD, and Interim Dean of the Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine Samuel Finlayson, MD, MPH, MBA.

Following their remarks, attendees were immersed in a captivating presentation which virtually toured destinations across the world and were served South Asian, ancestral Mexican, and West African (Senegalese) cuisine provided by Bhutan House Restaurant, Prime Corn, and Balabé Restaurant. Sponsors of the event included Cosm, the Office of Global Engagement, and DFPM.

The presentation featured faculty and student testimonials discussing the benefits of international rotations, including community based participatory research, exchange of ideas, and cultural competence. Students explained how impactful it is to learn from other healthcare providers and fellow students in diverse environments and discussed how their experiences abroad have benefitted their lives.

Department division chiefs Jim VanDerslice, PhD (PH), and Leigh Elrod, DPAS, MPAS, PA-C (PAS) concluded the evening by reviewing the powerful advantage learners have when they receive real-world experience and gain a global perspective from community-engaged learning programs.

The department has several active global learning programs which regularly visit Ghana, India, Nepal, Peru, Thailand, and Guatemala. Learners in these programs practice important skills, clinical and public health fieldwork, and community engagement, while learning from partners. Providing learners with a global health perspective helps fulfill the department’s mission to expand healthcare access and develop a cohort of health experts in a uniquely impactful way.

Learn more about the global health programs in the divisions of the Public Health and Physician Assistant Studies.