UCF College of Medicine M.D. students have received a national award recognizing their community service and leadership as future health-care leaders. Orlando’s medical school received the Chapter Success Paul R. Wright Award at a recent national convention of the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) in Washington, D.C. The award is given to M.D. student organizations that are “dedicated to inspiring future physician leaders.”

The grand prize award honored the students’ community service, including their work at a Central Florida free clinic, their creation of an Adopt-a-Senior program, preparing healthy meals for those in need and providing outreach to UCF undergraduate pre-med students.

“Our students want to make a difference and affect change. They want to be part of something greater than themselves. This award honors that spirit,” said Dr. Deborah German, vice president for medical affairs and founding dean of the two-year-old College of Medicine.

The college currently has 100 students, who have been active in the Central Florida community since the charter class enrolled in 2009. AMSA members volunteer weekly at the St. Thomas Aquinas Medical Clinic, which provides free care to qualified residents of Osceola County. They also began an “Adopt-a-Senior” program with the Osceola Council on Aging and Meals on Wheels. AMSA members have prepared healthy meals for the Ronald McDonald House and a local battered women’s shelter. They also provide mentoring to undergraduate pre-med students at UCF.

“Working with the free clinic, helping seniors and all of our volunteering reminds us why we came to medical school,” said second-year M.D. student William Kang, founding president of UCF’s AMSA chapter. “It’s all about the people.”