As members of Keep Your Heart Healthy (KYHH), medical students attend events throughout Chicagoland in order to screen and counsel local residents on their cardiovascular health. This gives Feinberg students the chance to engage with communities outside of Streeterville and the Northwestern Medicine campus. Working with these populations gives students greater familiarity with the diverse city they call home and a chance to develop greater understanding of the health disparities that are present within it. Going a step further, students can help with beginning to address some of these disparities by providing screening, healthy lifestyle counseling, and resource referrals to individuals who may not have access to regular medical care.
Students gain valuable experience practicing motivational interviewing techniques that they will go on to use in their careers. Studies on the KYHH experience have shown significant positive results on participating students. (Shah NS, Rassiwala J, Ducharme-Smith AL, et al. Development and evaluation of a service-learning model for preclinical student education in cardiovascular disease prevention. Advances in Medical Education and Practice. 2016;7:153-161. doi:10.2147/AMEP.S94548.)
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After volunteering with Keep Your Heart Healthy for a year, I've grown to realize KYHH is a very positive force in both the Feinberg community and the Chicago community at large. The organization gives students the opportunities to make a difference with the skills they have and allows them to practice motivational interviewing and lifestyle counseling.
Paul Micevych, 2020
I joined the medical profession, first and foremost, to help others. To me, KYHH is an opportunity to fulfill that goal while utilizing the medical knowledge and skills we, as medical students, have the privilege of learning. KYHH also presents an invaluable way of staying connected to the community. The process of actually visiting and working alongside others at community-organized events immerses you in the culture of Chicago's many different areas in a way that no other opportunities can recreate.
Michael Kwa, 2019
KYHH is by far my favorite community health experience at Feinberg. Not only am I able to practice motivational interviewing – an opportunity that is otherwise not often available – I’m also able to meet people from many different Chicago neighborhoods and confront, firsthand, some of the cultural, social, and economic barriers to health literacy and communication we’re told about in class. KYHH offers invaluable exposure to patients from a variety of backgrounds, and the skills I hone from my experience will help me become a better physician, more able to adapt and aid any patient who comes through my door.
Max Kelsten, 2020
KYHH gave me one of my first opportunities to interact alone with a patient as it utilizes some of the first topics we learned about in medical school-diet, exercise, smoking cessation, etc. I was able to gain confidence in working alone and provide valuable information to members of the community about their cardiovascular risk.
Katie Truitt, 2019
KYHH provides what I perceive as a much-needed service for Chicago communities. I remember at one KYHH event, I helped a man realize that salt was one of the major contributors to high blood pressure. His mind was blown, and he walked away contemplative. This was a moment where I knew I had just changed someone's life for the better. KYHH also offers a chance for us as medical students to practice crucial clinical skills--the way I engage and discuss health with patients has improved drastically. I am thankful for the chance to volunteer with KYHH and definitely support that this organization continue in the future!
Jessica Wang, 2020
KYHH was an amazing opportunity to gain clinical exposure as an early medical student while making meaningful change in the Chicago community. This program is an excellent way to reach underserved populations that need and deserve preventative care, but may not have access to it without the help of KYHH. I look forward to volunteering my time in the future.
CJ Mowry, 2020
KYHH gave me the opportunity to talk to patients who need the most help with their cardiovascular health. In my IP, I saw primarily white Medicare or PPO patients, but KYHH gave me the opportunity to work with patients were not as well off. KYHH has been one of the few opportunities I have had to interact with underserved black patients which I think promotes Northwestern's commitment to diversity and inclusion as well.
Arturo Salow, 2019
I joined KYHH after hearing so many positive reviews from upperclassmen. It has been an amazing opportunity to improve my motivational skills with real patients who have real issues. This organization makes me feel like I am making a real change in our communities.
Akash Patel, 2020