UNE Student Pediatrics Club wins national award for its efforts in the local community

UNE Pediatrics Club award
From left to right: UNE COM Pediatrics Club members Jaidyn Wolfe (OMS-I), Casey McAndrews (OMS-II, club president), and Sarah Bahai (OMS-III, former club president) attend the AAP National Conference and Exhibition in Washington, D.C. to accept the APP SOPT Pediatric Interest Group of the Year Award.

The University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM) Pediatrics Club has won a national award for excellence in advocacy and programming during the 2022-2023 school year.

Three club representatives traveled to Washington, D.C. on Oct. 21 to accept the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Section on Pediatric Trainees Pediatric Interest Group of the Year Award at the AAP National Conference and Exhibition.

“This award really helps to show that our school has a solid interest in pediatrics, and helps to confirm that, as a club, we are dedicated to providing opportunities for our fellow students to engage at both an academic and community level with pediatric populations,” said Casey McAndrews, club president and a student doctor in the Class of 2026.

The Pediatrics Club is a student-run organization for medical students who are interested in a career in pediatrics. Club members volunteer with pediatric initiatives in the local community, raise money for charities, and raise osteopathic student awareness of the field.

The award includes an honorarium to help support future club initiatives, McAndrews noted, like its Wellness Warriors Program, which was suspended at the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The program brings club volunteers to the Biddeford Intermediate School to teach fourth-grade students about various health topics, ranging from dental and sleep hygiene to the importance of physical activity and good nutrition. McAndrews hopes to restart the program this spring.

The club also hosts fundraisers for the local community, including its annual Alex’s Lemonade Stand Bake Sale each September, where the club has raised nearly $2,400 for childhood cancer research over the last two years.

“We are so proud of our club's accomplishments and are excited to keep providing a variety of opportunities for our club members to engage in service, advocacy, and education to care for pediatric populations,” McAndrews said.

The club is now gearing up for its annual Holiday Giving Tree event with Sigma Sigma Phi, the osteopathic honorary service fraternity at UNE, where members collect gifts to donate to students at JFK Elementary School in Biddeford.

The support of UNE and the local community leaders have been an essential part of the club’s success, McAndrews added.

“We could not have hosted any of our events, volunteering opportunities, or fundraisers without the amazing support from our faculty advisors and the Office of Recruitment, Student, and Alumni Services,” McAndrews said.