Stories of Colleges and Hospitals Giving Back to Their Communities


University of New Haven Public Service Fellowship Instills Passion to Give Back

For Patricia Oprea ’16, one of the biggest takeaways from her summer participating in the University of New Haven President’s Public Service Fellowship program was a better understanding of the New Haven community.  For the last two months, she volunteered at CitySeed, a nonprofit that runs five farmers' markets in New Haven with the goal of increasing the community's access to local, healthy food. She assisted with the management of the farmers’ markets, promoted community events, created recipes, and held cooking demonstrations.

“I now really feel as if New Haven is my home, not just a place where I attend school,” she said. “Through my service, I became connected to the people, and their struggles and successes are intertwined with my own."


Fairfield University Mentoring Program: Shaping Future Business Men and Women 

During the past academic year, five Fairfield University undergraduates have been visiting Central High School in Bridgeport, Connecticut, teaching students there about such matters as how to start a business, the economy’s impact on them, and how the stock market works.  Their weekly trips to the City of Bridgeport have to do with “Mind Growing Business Mentors,” an initiative created by the undergraduates, students in the Charles F. Dolan School of Business, with a goal to mentor Central students about the promise that a business education and careers in the business world hold.


Middlesex Hospital Offers Annual Lung Cancer Screenings to Veterans

Every year, the Middlesex Hospital Cancer Center, in collaboration with the Lung Cancer Alliance and the Vietnam Veterans of American, offers annual lung cancer screening assessments to local veterans. Veterans are among those at highest risk for lung cancer, especially those who served during the Vietnam era. The assessments are conducted to determine if the veterans meet the criteria for a low-dose CT lung cancer screening, which has been shown to help identify lung cancer in its earliest stages. The assessments and the screenings are provided free of charge.


Hartford Hospital’s Black Men’s Health Project

The Black Men’s Health Project is a comprehensive approach to addressing the health prospects of black men and the disparities relative to the rate at which they suffer from chronic diseases.  The project encompasses periodic discussions, health fairs, and health screenings for black men under the theme “taking charge of your health.”  The health fairs and symposiums include medical experts throughout Hartford Hospital and are held at barber shops, community centers, churches, the Hartford Hospital campus, and other locations throughout the year.



Yale-New Haven Hospital’s Project Access-New Haven

Project Access-New Haven (PA-NH) brings the Greater New Haven community together to create an expanded network of medical care and services that improves access to care for underserved patients.  PA-NH provides an organized system of care that emphasizes coordination of services and timely access to care for vulnerable populations.  At the core of the program are patient navigators who coordinate care, remove access barriers such as language and transportation, and help patients navigate the healthcare system.  By providing underserved patients with access to comprehensive, coordinated care in a timely manner, PA-NH improves patient care, increases health system efficiency, and reduces health disparities.


Incoming Freshmen Spend Week of Volunteering in Local Bridgeport Community

In fall 2014, 17 Sacred Heart University upperclassmen escorted 60 incoming freshmen into Bridgeport to work with the homeless and those otherwise in need.  The work was part of SHU’s Community Connections urban outreach program, which immerses students in the local cultures and teaches the value of leadership and giving back to the community.

“Community Connections allows incoming students to be face-to-face with Bridgeport residents and to learn from and about their lives,” said Phyllis Machledt, founding director of the Office of Volunteer Programs and Service Learning. “Students find places and events in Bridgeport that they wouldn’t have known about if they hadn’t been a part of Community Connections. This outreach helps students get to know themselves and understand that they can make a difference, and that‘s important.”