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Medical resident receives national award for community service

Courtesy Emma Goodstein

Dr. Emma Goodstein is a family and community medicine resident at Banner — University Medical Center. She recently received a national award for her work in community medicine.

Dr. Emma Goodstein, a family and community medicine resident at Banner — University Medical Center, has been honored with a national award for her work in community medicine. Goodstein received the 2019 National Community Service Recognition award from the Association of American Medical Colleges.

AAMC presents this award to the resident who has given to the community beyond what their residency requires. It “recognizes those who have made contributions above and beyond the rigors of residency training to improve the local communities surrounding their training institution,” according to the AAMC website

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“I actually didn’t know what it really was when I got it because my program director nominated me,” Goodstein said.

Dr. Sommer Aldulaimi, associate professor of family and community medicine and associate residency program director, nominated Goodstein for working hard during her time of residency at the Arizona Asylum Network Organization. 

“Dr. Goodstein is passionate and cares about her patients tremendously,” Aldulaimi said in her letter of recommendation for the award. “She has gone above and beyond to advocate for her patients, and her patients love her.”

Goodstein contributes most of her volunteer hours with refugees and asylum seekers who come across the U.S.-Mexico border.

During her residency with the Arizona Asylum Network Organization, she has planned a multidisciplinary workshop to train physicians to perform medical forensic examinations for asylum seekers. She has also found a way to offer Continuing Medical Education credit to providers who have completed the training.

“Being a medical resident is grueling and often means working 80 hours a week, but Emma always finds time for community service,” said Dr. Claire Lamneck in an email. “Not only does Emma perform forensic evaluations to strengthen an individual’s asylum case, but she also helps to train and inspire other medical providers to do the same.”

Goodstein volunteers at Casa Alitas, a shelter program for asylum seekers. The program services migrant families who have left their homes due to violence or poverty. She performed medical screening exams for asylum seekers who were dropped off by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. She also writes training for physicians on how to perform medical evaluations.

Other community service she has done in the past includes the Latino LinQ/GLADLY study, where she tested for HIV at nightclubs; the South Georgia Farmworker Health Project, where she provided medical care to migrant farmworkers through mobile clinics; and Clarkston Community Health Center, where she directed a weekly student-run, free medical clinic for refugees in the Atlanta area.

“Even though she is doing so much in terms of service, Dr. Goodstein has been elected our new chief resident for next year,” Aldulaimi said. 

This year, Goodstein has also won the Resident Achievement Award from the University of Arizona South campus and was a nominee for the Arizona Association of Family Physicians Brazie Award for Outstanding Second Year Resident. 

Goodstein is originally from Portland, Ore., but graduated in 2010 from Wesleyan University with a bachelor’s degree in history. She decided she wanted to go to medical school at the end of college. 

“I didn’t really have a lot of purpose and I wanted to do something useful,” Goodstein said. 

It was during her post-bacc year and her experience in 2012 working with Partners in Health in Chiapas, Mexico, that she knew she wanted to do family medicine.

“I was working with these doctors that worked in these little tiny clinics where they had no interest or cell phones and basically just had their brains,” Goodstein said. “I thought that was super cool, and that’s when I decided I wanted to go into medicine.”

In 2013, Goodstein attended the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Ga., where she got her M.D. 

The UA College of Medicine South campus was her first choice when picking a residency because it was close to the border, where she wanted to work the most. Her newly wedded husband also matched at the UA in emergency medicine.

To help with her volunteering and job, Goodstein is now an official bilingual health care provider after taking the test this year. She has been practicing her Spanish since she was in grade school, but she didn’t feel comfortable speaking Spanish until she went to Chiapas and was the only English speaker, she said. 

Goodstein will be recognized at the AAMC annual meeting in November, where she will be awarded $1,250 to give to a non-profit charity of her choice. She chose to donate to Casa Alitas.

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She said she encourages everyone to get out there and volunteer, doctor or otherwise, because there are a lot of people who need help.

In her free time, when she is not with her residency and volunteering, she likes to ride her bike around Tucson, garden and read science fiction.

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