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President Bush bestows honor on Health Center volunteer

by Jane Shaskan - April 10, 2006

Taking a couple of hours off from school last Wednesday, Amargeet Singh of Waterbury was recognized with the President’s Volunteer Service Award by President George W. Bush at Tweed Airport in New Haven.

Singh is a member of the Youth Health Service Corps, an initiative of the Connecticut Area Health Education Center at the Health Center’s medical school.

He joined the corps in January 2005 and has since completed a nine-part curriculum that includes courses in infection control methods, confidentiality and privacy laws, disease prevention, cultural competency, homelessness awareness, and CPR.

He has served more than 100 hours at the StayWell North Community Health Center in Waterbury, working in the adult or pediatric clinic each week for four hours. He also completed several projects at StayWell, including a poster on obesity and a brochure to encourage teens to seek health care services at the center.

“This national award is a well deserved honor for Amargeet,” says Dr. Bruce Gould, associate dean for primary care and program director of Connecticut AHEC at the Health Center.

“He’s fully committed to helping others. It’s also a tribute to the corps and AHEC.”

Tricia Harrity, executive director at Northwestern Connecticut AHEC in Middlebury, says she is thrilled Singh was selected. “He’s an outstanding example to his peers and an asset to the community,” she says.

Singh, a 16-year old junior at Crosby High School, says, “StayWell really appreciates my help and that makes me want to keep going back.”

He also volunteers for a mobile dental education project for Waterbury’s elementary school students and a mobile health clinic for migrant farm workers. He hopes to become a pediatrician.

After receiving the award, Singh presented President Bush with a Health Service Corps polo shirt and an AHEC pin.

President Bush congratulates Amargeet Singh , a high school student who volunteers on behalf of the Health Center, last Wednesday morning in New Haven.
President Bush congratulates Amargeet Singh , a high school student who volunteers on behalf of the Health Center, last Wednesday morning in New Haven.
Photo: Chris Volpe/New Haven Register

Singh then joined the Presidential motorcade traveling to Bridgeport, where he was a guest of the President at a speaking event.

“Amargeet is an exemplary member of the Youth Health Service Corps and a faithful volunteer to StayWell Health Center,” says JoAnn D’Avirro, Youth Health Services Corps coordinator at Northwestern Connecticut AHEC, who wrote the nomination letter to the President’s Office.

The Connecticut AHEC Program at the UConn School of Medicine was established in 1995 by the General Assembly to address local health-related needs through collaborative partnerships.

The Youth Health Service Corps, designed to help recruit high school students into health care careers, is implemented through the state program and AHEC’s program centers in Hartford, Waterbury, Bridgeport, and Norwich.

Other collaborators include the Connecticut Primary Care Association and the National Health Services Corps, and the state Department of Public Health.

More than 244 high school students have been trained and have given more than 1,000 hours of volunteer service in primary health care settings.

Last year, the Youth Health Service Corps received the Linkage Award from the Council on Linkages Between Academia and Public Health Practice in Washington, D.C., for exemplary community-based collaborative activities.

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