Giving Back to the Community
Department of Surgery's Committee on Social Responsibility
The Department of Surgery's Committee on Social Responsibility, comprised of faculty, trainees, and staff, focuses on several important areas of social responsibility: hunger, homelessness, human trafficking, health equality, childhood education, and medical missions. The committee is co-led by Surgery Vice Chairs Allen Hamdan, MD, Vascular Surgery, and Ted James, MD, MS, FACS, Surgical Oncology, Emily Utaski, Surgery Administration, and Jeffrey Dawson, Peri-Operative Services. The Harvard Medical School Dean’s Community Service Award was presented to the Committee on Social Responsibility in 2016 in recognition of the committee’s contributions.
The committee’s priorities are established through discussion and consensus. You can learn more about our activities and partners below.
If you would like to learn more about the Committee on Social Responsibility, please contact Jeffrey Dawson or Emily Utaski.
Food is Medicine
Founded, organized, and lead by the Department of Surgery, Food is Medicine is a program focused on food insecurity, which culminates in an annual event held at the Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB), in partnership with BIDMC.The hospital’s sixth annual Food is Medicine gala raised more than $90,000 for the GBFB. The funds provide the equivalent of 270,000 meals for hungry families in eastern Massachusetts. Since its inception, Food is Medicine has raised $535,000 for the GBFB, the equivalent of 1.6 million meals.
More than 200 people attended this year’s event, which raises money through sponsorships, donations, and a silent auction. Donations of any amount are always welcome. To make a donation, visit https://my.gbfb.org/events/foodismedicine.
My Life My Choice
My Life My Choice, a program of the Justice Resource Institute in Boston, provides mentoring, community education, and skills training for vulnerable teenage girls in an effort to end commercial sexual exploitation. The Committee on Social Responsibility partners with My Life My Choice through volunteer efforts directed at providing vulnerable teenagers with additional support as they return to high school, including the provision of school supplies, backpacks, notebooks, binders, and calculators.
Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless
The Committee on Social Responsibility has partnered with the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless in Coat Drives to stock “Teen Closets” in area public schools. The Teen Closet Initiative provides free clothing and personal hygiene products in schools, so that students who are poor or homeless can easily obtain what they need. We also partner with the BIDMC Department of Social Work in a winter coat drive for patients in need.
Richard J. Murphy School in Dorchester
Mary Lyons School in Brighton
The committee partners with two local schools with a very diverse student population. Both schools are committed to transforming the lives of all children. The committee has organized volunteer efforts across the department and medical center, among faculty, staff, and residents, to provide holiday gifts for over 90 children at the Murphy School and the Mary Lyons School.
Boston Healthcare for the Homeless
The committee has partnered with the Boston Healthcare for the Homeless and the Red Sox in the annual Sox for Socks campaign. This seasonal drive collects new socks for men and women who are homeless and in need. Approximately 12,000 pairs of socks have been contributed since the inception of our partnership with BHCHP.