Pre-Street Medicine Oakland: Student organization highlight

Pre-Street Medicine Oakland (PSMO) was founded on a pair of socks.

Kylie DeVlaminck, an Oakland University senior majoring in laboratory sciences, realized while working her nursing assistant job that gently used patient socks could have longevity beyond a short-term hospital stay. 

DeVlaminck worked closely with the OU William Beaumont School of Medicine (OUWB) to collect and distribute these socks to local underserved communities in need. Through the simple act of reducing sock waste, the idea for PSMO was conceived.

“While working with OUWB’s Street Medicine program to donate hospital socks, a medical student suggested that this type of work may be a good foundation for an undergraduate organization,” DeVlaminck said.

DeVlaminck worked with fellow undergraduate students Alexis Schuhrke, Nedi Affas and Abigail Wagener — the new organization’s vice president, treasurer and secretary, respectively — to conceptualize and plan the organization.

“I am thrilled to be one of the founders of PSMO — it is one of my greatest accomplishments during my time at OU,” Affas said. “PSMO means a lot to me as I am a refugee myself, and I know what it’s like to be part of the underserved minority community, so this is a great opportunity for OU students to unite and have a direct positive impact on the surrounding underserved communities.”

The group planned the organization to resemble an undergraduate version of OUWB’s Street Medicine program, borrowing from aspects of MSU’s Spartan Street Medicine program.

“MSU’s program is well-established and provided a good guide for our new organization,” DeVlaminck said. “One of their initiatives, which we hope to model, is fundraising to assist impoverished individuals in obtaining birth certificate replacements.”

The main goals of Pre-Street Medicine OU include providing service to underserved areas in Pontiac and surrounding neighborhoods, distributing supplies and educating community members about general health and wellness.

While undergraduate student members will not be able to provide direct healthcare, the club will have a vital “behind the scenes” role at regular OUWB Street Medicine clinics. Students will assist with supply distribution and clerical tasks while gaining experience at the grassroots of healthcare.

Additionally, PSMO members will participate in assembling medical supply kits which may include an array of items, from vitamins to personal hygiene items. These kits will be given to individuals in need as a tangible gesture of support and personal engagement.

“Our hope is that PSMO can demonstrate a sustainable community impact and cultivate trust amongst healthcare professionals and persons living in poverty,” DeVlaminck said. “Clinics are short-term, so we see this organization as a way to provide long-term support.”

As the blossoming organization finds its footing, its leadership team plans to host small-scale social and service events as the semester comes to a close.

“PSMO is open to undergraduate students of all majors and interests,” DeVlaminck said. “We plan to engage student members by completing soft-launch efforts and planning summer events.”

To learn more about Pre-Street Medicine Oakland, visit their GrizzOrgs page or contact President DeVlaminck at [email protected]. For club updates, follow their Instagram page @prestreetmedicineoakland.