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Making Positive Strides at NYITCOM

October 4, 2021

On September 24, the College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYITCOM) announced its latest honorees for the medical school’s Positive STRIDES recognition program.

The program, launched in fall 2020, aims to recognize outstanding members of the NYITCOM community whose acts of kindness have made a difference in the lives of others. Developed at the recommendation of the NYITCOM Diversity Work Groups and NYITCOM Inclusion and Diversity Committee, the initiative encourages the medical school’s students, faculty, and staff to nominate individuals for their positive acts. Examples may include fundraising and charitable efforts, promoting inclusivity and diversity, advocating for marginalized groups, and participating in disaster relief, among others.

“To date, the Positive STRIDES program has been a very successful forum to both highlight and recognizemany outstanding students, faculty, and staff, whose extraordinary acts have made our community and the world a better place,” said NYITCOM Dean Nicole Wadsworth, D.O. “I am very proud of those who have been recognized by this special program, but I am also aware that each day, many NYITCOM community members accomplish outstanding positive acts that are not formally recognized. For this reason, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all people within our community who are making ‘positive strides’ and a difference in our world.”

The newest community members recognized include:

  • Fourth-year medical student Amna Haider (Long Island): Haider facilitated in the development of the NYITCOM Asylum Clinic, which is the first of its kind on Long Island. After attending asylum clinic training at Weill Cornell Medical School, she wanted to bring a similar program to NYITCOM. Haider did so by connecting her faculty with Weill Cornell instructors and helping to recruit and train other NYITCOM student volunteers.
  • Fourth-year medical student Jill Kandelaki (Arkansas): A full-time medical student, wife, and mother, Kandelaki launched a volunteer program to assist patients in cancer rehabilitation. She continues to train NYITCOM students for the program and has also spearheaded a personal protective equipment (PPE) drive to protect essential workers amid PPE supply shortages.
  • Fourth year-medical student Almeet Kaur (Long Island): Kaur promoted self-care and mental health to members of her local Gurdwara (Sikh place of worship). Kaur’s efforts include organizing a Junior Book Club, as well as events that educated the elderly about COVID-19 vaccination. She also assisted many families in scheduling their vaccination appointments.
  • Second-year medical student Alec Toufexis (Long Island): Toufexis recently organized three robust food donation campaigns that contributed hundreds of pounds in non-perishable food items. He also spearheaded an arrangement with Bombas Socks to provide 250 pairs of high-quality, sustainably made socks to local homeless populations.

The four winners will be celebrated in medical school newsletters and communications, receive a commemorative gift and letter of appreciation, and attend a special recognition meeting with Wadsworth.

NYITCOM community members can nominate fellow students, faculty, and staff for the Positive STRIDES program through the program’s nomination form. Submissions are reviewed regularly by NYITCOM’s Office of the Dean.

To date, the Positive STRIDES program has recognized 27 members of the NYITCOM community. See those who were previously recognized.