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Emily Frank, MD

FrankEmily Frank is a third year pediatrics resident in the Pediatric Leadership for the Underserved Program at the University of California at San Francisco, and a former middle school teacher with a strong interest in health education and youth empowerment. 

In 2014, the city of Oakland passed a measure (“Oakland College and Career Readiness for All”) to increase graduation rates with a focus on college and career readiness for all Oakland students - particularly African American and Latino students. 

While completing her intern year of Pediatrics residency, Dr. Frank embarked on a mission to create a program that would address this need, and developed a curriculum with the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) to teach at‐risk youth about health justice.

Dr. Frank approached OUSD’s Director of Summer and Afterschool programs and offered to build a four-week summer curriculum for students entering the Public Health Academy at Oakland High School. In collaboration with instructors and youth in OUSD, Dr. Frank crafted a curriculum to teach health justice using a youth participatory‐action research approach. Through this model, students explore public health issues in their community such as mental health, healthcare access, food justice, diabetes, trauma, toxic stress, and police violence as a public health issue. In small groups students identify an issue of particular interest to them, research the issue within their community, analyze their data, and build proposals for public health interventions based on their findings. Dr. Frank also implemented a health careers exploration component to the curriculum. 

She recruited healthcare professionals to speak to youth about their career path, and as the curriculum development completed, OUSD chose to pilot the program at three schools. Despite her rigorous residency schedule and working night shifts Dr. Frank designed and led trainings for eight facilitators. During the implementation of the curriculum she maintained frequent communication with the facilitators and visited their classrooms to co‐facilitate and support students. At the end of the four-week program, students joined together to present their findings at a conference designed and executed primarily by Dr. Frank during which they shared findings and interventions with peers, families, and public health professionals. Interventions included providing peers with information about their rights when being confronted by police, educating health providers about the epidemic of cough syrup abuse, and designing a web page with resources for STI testing and assistance. After the summer pilot, Dr. Frank was eager to continue improving the program so she sought feedback from students and facilitators and used this to revise and further develop the curriculum.

This year the program was implemented again at three schools and will expand to several after school programs in the district later this year. Dr. Frank shared her work and curriculum at the National School Based Health Alliance conference, National Conference Exhibition for the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American School Health Association Conference. She plans to hold a free regional training for all educators and health workers who are interested, and also has made her curriculum available online here.

Dr. Frank is honored to accept the award, and is grateful to the AAMC for the gift being made in her honor to Camp Phoenix, a camp for middle school Oakland youth to promote academic gains during the summer, build leadership skills, and experience the joys of summer camp.


Special acknowledgement is extended to all of those in the Oakland Unified School District and at UCSF who supported Dr. Frank’s community service efforts:

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About the Organization of Resident Representatives Community Service Recognition Award:
The purpose of the award is to foster a service ethic among resident physicians by recognizing those who have made contributions above and beyond the rigors of residency training to improve the local communities surrounding their training institution.

Nominations for the next award cycle will begin Spring 2018.

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ORR Infographic

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This one page pdf, "Making the Most of the Organization of Resident Representatives Experience," provides an overview of the ORR, its appointment cycle, ways to get involved, and its connection to the broader strategic AAMC mission.