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UT Med Student Wins Scholarship

For Greg Valentine, community service is part of good medicine

Everyone knows medical students are some of the busiest people in the world.

That’s why it is amazing when you learn how much time Greg Valentine, a third-year medical student at the University of Texas Medical Branch, has consistently devoted to community service projects since he arrived in Galveston three years ago, just before Hurricane Ike.

On top of all his classes, studies and clinical responsibilities, he rarely spends less than 20 hours a week on community service.

In 2009, Valentine, a passionate community organizer, was named an Unsung Hero by The Galveston Daily News — in part for his volunteer work after Ike and in part for founding the Hands and Feet Medical Mission, a program that sends teams of medical students every other month to the Texas-Mexico border to offer free medical services to indigent patients. And those are only a couple of his volunteer projects.

Last year, he was named one of the University of Texas Medical Branch Health’s Osler Student Scholars and awarded a $10,000-per-year scholarship for the second, third and fourth years of medical school.

Even as he continued to spearhead Hands and Feet, this past September, Valentine launched yet another full-blown new community initiative — the Sir William Osler Name That Book Competition for third- and fourth-grade Galveston school district students.

The program has challenged students from Oppe, Parker, Early Childhood University and Morgan elementary schools to compete with each other as experts on the content of 35 select books.

Every week since September, Valentine has dispatched teams of the medical branch’s Osler Society medical students to each of the four participating elementary schools to tutor and mentor the children in preparation for a culminating event — a Jeopardy-like competition at UTMB Health’s Levin Hall at 10 a.m. Saturday.

This final event will pit teams from each school against each other to determine which school has amassed the most literary expertise during its five months of participation in the Valentine reading project.

Just as valuable as the academic challenge are the deep new human connections that have formed between med students and elementary students.

“Having you guys come and help us is what I like the best,” Ben Clore, an Oppe fourth-grader, told the medical students.

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