From student to Health Hero
Every now and then, USF medical school student Madeline Snyder takes off the white lab coat and picks up the microphone.
Snyder performs at an annual talent show that she created in 2012 to raise funds for a student-run clinic, and was named a Health Care Hero by Tampa Bay Business Journal this year for her volunteer work.
“I was very surprised the other evening when I received this award,” Snyder said. “When I was a first-year med school student and I came up with this idea of a talent show, I never ever thought that it would become as big as it has. I think it just goes to show that if you have an idea and you have passion to give back to your community, you can make it happen.”
Snyder completed her undergraduate education at the University of Pennsylvania and then came to the USF Morsani College of Medicine for her degree in internal medicine. When she was a first-year medical student, she thought to raise money for a good cause.
“I always had an interest in science and how the human body works,” Snyder said. “I’d sing and dance growing up, but I always came back to medicine.”
She put together the talent show BANDaids for BRIDGE for students and faculty to perform before a panel of judges to raise money for the Building Relationships and Initiatives Dedicated to Gaining Equality (BRIDGE) clinic on campus.
Since then, around $30,000 has been donated to the clinic, which provides free health care to individuals 200 percent below the federal poverty level in Tampa.
Snyder said organizing the show was a nice reprieve from the load of work that was put on her as a medical student.
“It was stressful at times, but it was good for me to have a creative outlet during medical school,” Snyder said. “(It was) something that I could do on the side, as opposed to studying 24/7 and doing medicine 24/7.”
Snyder found that, in her first year, the BRIDGE clinic provided the perfect opportunity for her to gain hands-on experience.
This year, Snyder said, a group of the younger medical students will be putting on the show, as she’ll be busy traveling for residency interviews. However, Snyder will still attend the show and possibly sit on the panel of judges.
Snyder also put together a flash mob to advertise the event the first two years it was put on, with the help of the BANDaids, a glee club on campus that she’s been a part of for three years now. She said this was a fun way to get people to come to the show, which has sold out every year since it began.
“I think people appreciate going to this talent show charity event because they can definitely tell that it’s a student-created, student-made charity event,” Snyder said.
Volunteer Co-medical Director for BRIDGE clinic, Dr. Lucy Guerra, said Snyder’s fundraising has helped pay for overhead expenses and office supplies that have been necessary for running the clinic, and her efforts have allowed them to reach out to others.
“Being able to get that kind of money allows us to continue to pay it forward and build upon the services we can offer from year to year,” Guerra said. “It makes us part of a larger community.”
As for Snyder’s future plans, she has talked about possibly building a practice in Florida. For now, though, she’s just grateful for the award and what it means for her career.
“It’s an honor,” Snyder said, “and it’s exciting to see that all my hard work has paid off and that the clinic has really benefitted from this event that I had the idea to make.”