LECOM Makes Holiday Season Brighter by Serving Others
Students, faculty, staff reach out to less fortunate, spread holiday cheer

Students, faculty and staff at the three campuses of the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) have made the holiday season brighter for children and families in their respective communities.

Whether it was ensuring that a child received the toy they had hoped for, or whether it was giving of their time and talents, the students, faculty and staff embraced LECOM’s commitment to serving others. In particular, they focused their efforts on the marginalized and those most in need.

At LECOM’s campus in Erie, Pa.:

Jack Caldwell, Ph.D., Associate Professor, gave of his time during the LECOM Mentoring Club's holiday party at the YMCA Kids Club.

Members of the LECOM Mentoring Club and Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA) set up “giving trees” in the lobby of the main campus. The students decorated the trees with ornaments that included the gift wishes of children at the YMCA Kids Club and of residents of Millcreek Manor. Students, faculty and staff demonstrated their generosity by purchasing more than 100 gifts that were based on the wishes of the children and of the residents. The Mentoring Club and SOMA members then took the time to collect and individually wrap the gifts and distribute them at holiday parties at the Kids Club and the Manor. “LECOM has been a wonderful partner to the Kids Club, and the students are always extremely generous in terms of spending time with the children,” said Cherie Kinem, recreational director for the YMCA. “The children certainly appreciate their enthusiasm and commitment.” Michael A. Schmidt, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biochemistry at LECOM, was thrilled with the number of gifts that were donated. “The response from the LECOM Community was outstanding,” he said.

The LECOM/Millcreek Community Hospital Musical Ensemble sang Christmas Carols for residents of Millcreek Manor. Richard Ortoski, D.O., Regional Dean, Professor and Chair of Primary Care Education, and Co-Director of the Primary Care Scholars Pathway, and John Manire, D.O., a family medicine resident at Millcreek Community Hospital, organized the ensemble, which includes more than 40 LECOM students, faculty and staff and hospital employees. “Our joy was seeing the happy faces of the residents during the performance,” Dr. Ortoski said. WJET-WFXP had coverage of the performance.

Members of LECOM’s chapter of the Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA) held a holiday party for children at the Quality of Life Learning Center, which offers educational and employment services to disadvantaged children and adults. The Doctor of Pharmacy students participated in games and other activities with the children.

Members of LECOM’s chapter of the Student Society of Health-System Pharmacists (SSHP) gathered to make holiday cards for children at Shriners Hospital in Erie, which strives to provide the highest quality of care to children with neuromusculoskeletal conditions, burn injuries and other special healthcare needs. “We wanted to do anything we could to help make their holiday a little better,” said Bethany Crouse, service chair for LECOM’s chapter.

Julia Livit, P1, and friend show off the mittens they made during a holiday party organized by LECOM’s chapter of the Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA). 

At LECOM’s campus in Bradenton, Fla.:

Student members of Delta Alpha Phi, a philanthropic organization of LECOM’s School of Dental Medicine, participated in the Adopt-A-Family of Manatee County program. The students purchased Christmas gifts for children and helped with holiday gift wrapping at Adopt-A-Family’s warehouse. Adopt-A-Family strives to provide Christmas gifts for the children of lower-income, homeless and needy families in Manatee County, Fla. “Delta Alpha Phi gives us an opportunity to serve the community, and particularly those in need,” said Stephanie Nguyen, a second-year Doctor of Dental Medicine student. “We’re grateful to have been able to spread a little joy to others during the holidays.”

Members of LECOM’s chapter of the Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA) collected teddy bears for pediatric patients at All-Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Student members of Phi Delta Chi, a professional pharmacy fraternity, hosted a toy drive for pediatric patients at All Children’s Hospital.

At LECOM’s campus at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Pa.:

Members of the campus chapter of Sigma Sigma Phi (SSP), a national osteopathic medicine honors fraternity, volunteered at Redstone Highlands, a local nursing home. Students decorated for the holiday season and helped with a holiday party for the residents. SSP members also volunteered at another nursing home, Hempfield Manor, and made holiday cards for members of the Armed Forces.


The Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine believes that “The Community Is Our Campus.” Students are not only trained as osteopathic physicians, pharmacists and dentists; they learn the importance of making their communities better through service and volunteerism, and of contributing to something greater than themselves. This emphasis on serving others is consistent with LECOM’s focus on osteopathic medicine and “whole-person,” compassionate care.

LECOM offers innovative and affordable programs in osteopathic medicinedentistry and pharmacy. From campuses in Erie, Pa., Greensburg, Pa., and Bradenton, Fla., LECOM believes that when mind, body and spirit  come together the impossible becomes suddenly possible. It is a calling each and every one of our students embodies to become the best they can be.

December 19, 2013
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