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Compassion Ambassador Program (CAmP)

Modeled after our Sanford Scholar Award Program at the UC San Diego School of Medicine, we are excited to launch the Compassion Ambassador Program (CAmP) with other schools of medicine this year. CAmP provides opportunities to a competitively selected group of first-year medical students at partner institutions to conduct mentored projects that aim to understand and/or increase empathy and compassion. In addition to implementing their projects, students engage in a 3-day summer program in San Diego that is designed to enhance overall project efficacy, further develop empathy and compassion skills, and create a cohesive cadre of student leaders in empathy and compassion.

The award provides financial support to students for their compassion-related projects under the guidance of a faculty mentor at their own institution. Mentors assist scholars in carrying out their projects by providing guidance at all stages of the project. CAmP students benefit from mentor guidance and expertise, mentors benefit from funded student support for projects, and the community at-large benefits from impactful empathy and compassion projects.

Meet our CAmP Scholars

2024-2025 CAmP Scholars

Vishu Chandrasekhar


Faculty Mentor: Dr. Mamta (Mimi) Singh

Institution: Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

Project Title: Effects of Narrative Medicine on Enhancing Geriatrics Education and Reducing Implicit Bias Against Older Adults Among Medical Students

Project Description: Ageism’s adverse impact on healthcare outcomes, including the ageism older adults face from healthcare professionals, has established it as a social determinant of health. Designing interventions to combat ageism in medical trainees is difficult, however, because ageist cultural practices are so deeply embedded in medical training. This project investigates the effectiveness of a narrative medicine intervention in combatting the implicit biases medical students hold about older adults. Medical students will interview an older adult about their life story and then personally transcribe and condense it into a document. After the intervention, they will be assessed for any changes in their attitudes about older adults and aging.


Nicholas Cordero


Faculty Mentor: Dr. Omrana Pasha-Razak

Institution: City University of New York School of Medicine

Project Title: The CUNY School of Medicine Human Rights Clinic

Project Description: The mission of the CUNY School of Medicine Human Rights Clinic (HRC) is to assist asylum seekers in the New York City area who are currently awaiting adjudication of ongoing asylum claims. Medical volunteers at the HRC will provide people who have experienced torture or other human rights abuses with pro bono forensic medical evaluations that will be used in medicolegal affidavits to support asylum claims. The HRC will collaborate with local service providers to assist clients in accessing necessary community resources, such as primary medical care and housing support. Additionally, the HRC will provide service learning opportunities for medical students in the area of asylum medicine. Through these opportunities, medical students can develop empathetic communication skills essential for their future work with historically marginalized and vulnerable populations.


Sanja Das



Faculty Mentor: Dr. Nico-al Gotera

Institution: University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

Project Title: Examining the Effect of Engaging in Street Medicine on Empathy and Compassion Among Medical Students

Project Description: This project will explore how engaging in street medicine in collaboration with Street Medicine San Antonio affects empathy and compassion within the medical student population. Students will have the opportunity to learn about the relationship between housing insecurity and physical/mental well-being through healthcare-focused street outreach. One of the goals for this study is to help medical students develop an understanding of the unique challenges faced by homeless individuals so that they can better address the needs of this population as future providers. Additionally, the findings of this study will hopefully provide support for the integration of street medicine-focused experience into the Long SOM curriculum.  


Kimberely Diwa


Faculty Mentor: Dr. David Roberts

Institution: University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

Project Title: Enhancing Compassionate Engagement with and Teaching Self-Compassion to Family Members of Individuals in Recovery from Mental Health Crises

Project Description: Mental health crises have profound impacts on both the individuals who live through them and the individuals who care for them, with family members of those with serious mental illness (SMI) having higher rates of depression and poorer perceived physical health. Hence, this project aims to enhance the support offered to family members of individuals living with mental illness by (1) observing the extent to which following up with family members after support group meetings via phone effectively conveys compassion and (2) developing a brief presentation and workbook to introduce family members to Self-Compassion techniques.


MarieElena Harrison


Faculty Mentor: Dr. Kirsten Roberts

Institution: City University of New York School of Medicine

Project Title: Stirring the Soul: Preserving the Culture of Underrepresented Medical Students Through the Art and Science of Cooking

Project Description: As a medical student, I struggle to nourish myself with inadequate time and money. While this experience is shared by many, I am interested in the psychological and emotional loss of culinary traditions in underserved communities for which food serves as a conduit for fostering wellness through cultural preservation. Inspired by personal experiences, I aim to explore how cooking intersects with the well-being of diverse students. My project involves auto-ethnographic writing, student collaboration, and a Narrative Medicine intervention. Through workshops, participants will develop personalized food initiatives. This study aims to enrich medical education with cultural inclusivity and holistic healthcare approaches, rooted in justice and equity.


Kailah Hyndman


Faculty Mentor: Dr. Soberjot Singh

Institution: City University of New York School of Medicine

Project Title: Confronting Anti-Blackness in Medical Education: A Narrative Medicine Approach to Cultivating Compassion for Self and Others While Addressing Bias Through Film Analysis

Project Description: The project outlines a pilot program integrating Narrative Medicine and film analysis to examine biases, particularly Anti-Blackness, among the medical curricula. Utilizing horror films featuring Black characters as a focus, the program aims to foster introspection and discussion on societal perceptions and stereotypes. Through self-reflection and dialogue, students will confront biases and explore their origins, with assessments measuring changes in perceptions. Led by a Black woman in medicine, the project emphasizes equity and inclusion, offering a platform to dissect systemic issues within healthcare. This comprehensive approach seeks to cultivate empathy and understanding, fostering a more conscientious and equitable medical community.


Ayesha Khan


Faculty Mentor: Dr. Lisanne Hauck

Institution: City University of New York School of Medicine

Project Title: Developing Medical School Curriculum in Asylum Medicine and Forensic Evaluations

Project Description: The CUNY School of Medicine (CUNY Med) is creating a student-run Human Rights Clinic (HRC) that will prioritize pro bono forensic medical evaluations for asylum-seekers in NYC. Over the next year, I will work closely with our course directors to simultaneously develop and implement a curriculum emphasizing competency in evaluating traumatized and sensitive populations, alongside effective communication of findings into medico-legal documentation. This course will help inform the simultaneous development of a Track of Distinction, a dedicated program to train students interested in asylum medicine and eventually support capstone projects in the areas of research, service, and advocacy.


Samya Konda


Faculty Mentor: Dr. Kimberly Gifford

Institution: Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

Project Title: The Role of Generative Artificial Intelligence to Promote Reflection about Character Virtues and Inequity in Medical Education and Healthcare

Project Description: Reflection can be used in a multitude of ways to help medical students develop their professional identity and practice. Although feedback from faculty and peers plays a crucial role in this process, it can lack uniformity and timeliness. This project aims to explore the impact of integrating Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI), specifically the Reflective Clinician app, into medical student reflection practices at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. By comparing traditional written reflections to AI-guided reflections, the study seeks to deepen reflection, promote discussion of values, and foster awareness of healthcare injustices and inclusivity among medical students, potentially enhancing their professional development and practice.


Neelufar Raja


Faculty Mentor: Dr. Erin Gentry Lamb

Institution: Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

Project Title: Medical Graphic Novels as Tools for Increasing Empathy in Medical Students 

Project Description: As the humanities have become increasingly more integrated into medical education, graphic novels have been used as teaching tools for medical students. Graphic novels are a medium through which patients can express their firsthand experiences of illness and recovery in an accessible and deeply personal manner. This project seeks to assess the effectiveness of reading medical graphic novels and discussion exercises on medical students’ levels of empathy towards stigmatized illnesses and patient populations. Additionally, we hope to compare the responses of empathy in students participating in the graphic novel sessions with those of students who only attend the required Tuesday Seminar sessions in the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine curriculum.


Phebie Rossi


Faculty Mentor: Dr. Michele Schimelpfenig

Institution: University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine

Project Title: Walk a Mile in Someone Else’s Shoes: An Experiential Approach to Cultivating Compassion in Future Physicians

Project Description: Prior to entering clinics and hospitals following didactic training and Step 1, second year medical students at the Sioux Falls, SD campus of USD SSOM will enter the community for one half-day as a member of a vulnerable population. Groups of three to four students will be homeless, battered women, or undocumented uninsured citizens and will have to complete a series of objectives to gain a better understanding of the lives and struggles their patients experience before walking in the clinic.


Viren Sehgal


Faculty Mentor: Dr. Nancy Sohler

Institution: City University of New York School of Medicine

Project Title: Prepping for Patients, Not Paperwork: Evaluating the Effectiveness of the Asylum Clinic Curriculum

Project Description: We are establishing a clinic for asylum seekers’ medical evaluations at CUNY Med. The program pairs students with professionals to conduct these evaluations and complete legal documents alongside an integrated asylum medicine curriculum. We aim to assess how the clinic and related classes impact student knowledge, awareness, and attitudes towards asylum medicine. We expect students to gain a deeper understanding of the legal and medical aspects of caring for asylum seekers, along with culturally sensitive examination skills. The study also anticipates a more positive and empathetic outlook towards this population. By focusing on training future healthcare professionals to serve asylum seekers, this project aligns with CUNY Med's social mission and promotes health equity through culturally competent care. Evaluating the program's impact will provide valuable data on improving social justice, health equity, and inclusivity in medical education and patient care.


Madeline Vagts


Faculty Mentor: Dr. Craig Uthe

Institution: University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine

Project Title: Hygiene Matters: Integrating Patient Hygiene Goals into Treatment Plans for Enhanced Compassionate Care

Project Description: This project aims to improve patient hygiene in hospitals by advocating for its inclusion in care plans. Through surveys and education, healthcare providers will learn about the importance of patient hygiene for comfort and recovery. The project aims to bridge the gap between current practices and optimal care standards, emphasizing the impact of hygiene on patient well-being. By engaging healthcare providers, including physicians, in discussions and initiatives focused on patient hygiene, the project aims to foster a culture of compassionate care in hospitals.

Interested in CAmP?

Curious how to become a future partner institution for CAmP? Email Jenna Tutjer at