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June 8, 2018

Detroit-area high school raises nearly $150k to help homeless

Detroit Street Care, an outreach activity where Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine students provide medical assistance to the homeless, has received more than $148,000 from a Michigan high school. 

Troy Athens High School in Troy, Michigan, chose Detroit Street Care as part of their annual charity week which included a variety of fundraising activities including a teacher dance-off and competitive volleyball tournaments. 

“Athens student congress was intrigued by Detroit Street Care and their outreach to those who need it most,” said Shawn DuFresne, who advises the school’s student leaders. “Helping others has been a major part of our school culture for years now, especially aiding those who may be overlooked by society. Our student body was fired up and we saw the outstanding result. All students and staff at Athens take great pride in how the donation will impact others.”  

Through Detroit Street Care, medical students at the College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Detroit Medical Center site offer clinical care to the city's homeless population with supervision from physicians Richard Bryce and Mary Jo Voelpel.

“The mission of Detroit Street Care has always been to provide the best care possible for those facing homelessness,” said Bryce, an assistant professor of family and community medicine and staff physician at the Community Health and Social Services clinic. “Also, due to the extreme generosity of our patients who share their amazing stories and medical histories with our students, we hope the future doctors can learn to become compassionate osteopathic physicians.”

Detroit Street Care works with the Neighborhood Service Organization, which operates the Tumaini Center, a crisis-support facility for those facing homelessness. 

The MSU osteopathic students also work alongside Wayne State University School of Medicine’s Street Medicine Detroit organization.

Bryce and the students are exploring the best way to use the donation for programming. 

“We hope to find more ways to reach our patient population,” Bryce said. “We plan to get more medical and diagnostic equipment that could best take care of our patients and joining with Street Medicine Detroit to obtain a portable electronic medical record system. We have also looked at the possibility of getting a mobile clinic that would allow us to increase our outreach in Detroit.”

“We had heard they raised almost $150,000 and were blown away by the support from Troy Athens and the community at large,” said Eil Eisman, a second-year osteopathic medical student and member of the Detroit Street Care e-board. “It’s so heartwarming to know your work is being recognized and supported.”

Nearly 250 MSU medical students have participated in Detroit Street Care since it started. 

“We are extremely thankful for Troy Athens High School and to Arta Duda, the Wayne State University student who helped connect us with this opportunity,” Bryce said. “It will allow us to continue to find ways to improve on the Detroit Street Care mission.”

By: Laura Probyn