|Photo via My Block My Hood My City|
While editing video at Robust, a coffee shop in Woodlawn, I met a few UChicago Priztker Medical School students. They asked me what the My Block, My Hood, My City logo meant, so I told them about my dream of a more interconnected Chicago. This sparked a conversation.So during the course of their exploration in addition to Chatham's Whitney Young Library they also visited West Chesterfield meeting with the neighbors there and Captain Hardtimes dining for chicken and waffles. Hopefully more to come with this group.
Turns out, the Med Students recognized there's a disconnect between the University and the surrounding communities. I pointed out the window of Robust and told them about the historic Woodlawn Community Organization and the Apostolic Church of God, both of which play major roles in the Woodlawn Community.
After a few more conversations I was asked to come speak at the University, but after my presentation I knew that more needed to be done to bridge the gap between the University and the surrounding communities. So in an effort to help medical students learn and build authentic relationships with neighborhoods that much of their patient population comes, I decided to ask them to join my Explorers Club.
Our next stop was the Whitney Young Library, where Branch Manager Mitchell Smith spoke to the Med students about the Library being more than a place to come check out books. Mr. Smith envisions the library as a community hub, a central place of engagement for residents. And then it happened, an authentic connection was made. The Med Students and Branch Manager Smith agreed to collaborate on a series of future engagement. Be on the lookout for that in the upcoming months.
BTW, I'll have to admit it would've been nice to see a black face among this group. It's still cool that they had the interest to leave the Hyde Park campus of the University of Chicago to see other parts of the south side. Regardless if only there was a way these group of med students could convince south side student to consider a career as a doctor. Perhaps that's something that could also come with these group of med students.