Department of Surgery's Committee for Social Responsibility
People who choose careers in healthcare tend to be compassionate and dedicated to helping others, both on the job and in their personal lives. So it was hardly surprising that when the Department of Surgery announced the formation of a committee in 2011 to foster department-wide volunteerism aimed at helping those in need, the response was overwhelmingly positive.
Co-led by Vice Chair for Communications Allen Hamdan, MD, Vascular Surgery, and Division of Ophthalmology Operations Manager Kevin Hart, the Committee for Social Responsibility was quickly populated by faculty, trainees, and staff throughout the entire department — including nurses, residents, attending surgeons, administrative staff, and others, as well as a member of BIDMC’s Department of Community Relations. All were eager to get to work.
Within just a few months, the committee defined its mission, conducted a staff survey, identified top priorities, and through a variety of initiatives made a significant impact on local communities — an impact that is expected to be even greater in the months and years ahead.
Established through discussion and consensus, the committee’s priorities are focused on several important areas: hunger, homelessness, childhood education, and medical missions.
All members of the department are given the opportunity, on a strictly voluntary basis, to support these priorities by contributing whatever they wish: time, money, and/or goods. Whenever possible, efforts are coordinated with BIDMC’s existing community activities.
Having an Impact
Since the formation of the Committee for Social Responsibility, the Department of Surgery has already had a significant impact on the local community. Examples include:
•Establishing BIDMC as an official partner of the Greater Boston Food Bank and sponsoring the successful Food is Medicine Gala event, which raised $35,000 for hungry families served by the GBFB
•Donating more than 100 new and gently used warm coats to the Mass Coalition for the Homeless
• Donating nearly $1,200 and a large amount of food to one of BIDMC’s linked local community centers: the Parker Hill/Fenway ABCD (Action for Boston Community Development)
• Working with the Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) and the Medical Academic and Scientific Community Organization (MASCO) to improve the routine delivery of food to Mission Hill ABCD from the GBFB
• Launching a high school education initiative in which surgical residents and others speak to students about their careers
• Participating in the Division of Podiatry’s annual sock drive for homeless men, women, and children served by Boston Health Care for the Homeless
• Collecting toiletries for at-risk teenagers served by the Sidney Borum Health Center, one of BIDMC’s linked community centers
Photo: Department of Surgery staff participate in the 2012 coat drive sponsored by the Committee on Social Responsibility.