By | October 29, 2010 12:00 am

Student Members of the Women’s Health Interest Group (WHIG) at the UCF College of Medicine recently volunteered at a local shelter for women and children victimized by domestic violence.

Eleven medical students cooked and served dinner to about 40 shelter residents in honor of October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The doctors-in-training prepared shepherd’s pie, green bean casserole, macaroni and cheese, garlic bread, cream of broccoli soup, chocolate chip cookies and fruit for the families.

M-2 student Elona Rrapo said she became interested in helping domestic abuse victims during last year’s Psychosocial Issues in Healthcare module. “We learned how the physician can help a patient experiencing domestic violence,” she said, “and it was shocking to me to learn that in the U.S. one in four women will experience intimate partner violence during her lifetime. Cooking a special dinner for the women and children living in the shelter was a simple way of saying that we are committed in improving the lives of people in Central Florida.”

WHIG currently has 30 student members. Its mission is to increase the knowledge women’s health issues and to support women who choose medicine as their profession. The members participate in a variety of charitable organizations and in September raised more than $1,300 for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, which benefits breast cancer research.

M-1 student Kristine Smith served as the College of Medicine’s team captain for the race. Kristine participates every year in the Race for the Cure, in celebration of her mother, Johanne Smith, and her grandmother, Huguette Gauy. “They are my inspiration,” she said. “I know the reason my mom and grandma were both able to receive such effective treatment was because of the research done before their diagnosis, research that was funded by the dollars raised by people who walked before me.”

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