Carroll wins MLK Award

Dallas product is still giving back to the community

By Erin Prather Stafford

Elizabeth Carroll, a second-year medical student who was born at UT Southwestern University Hospital when it was still known as St. Paul Medical Center, has won the 2009 Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship for Community Service Award.

Ms. Carroll has strong ties to Dallas. She grew up in a neighborhood near the
UT Southwestern campus and, after graduating magna cum laude in 2002 from Austin’s St. Edward’s University with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, she went on to earn a degree in neurobiology from UT Austin before coming to the medical center.

Elizabeth Carroll (left), winner of the 2009 Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship for Community Service Award, is congratulated by civil rights pioneer the Rev. Peter Johnson, Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky and fellow finalists Nirma Bustamante and Elizabeth Bhoj (right). The presentation took place during MLK Day ceremonies on campus.

At UT Southwestern she immediately became involved in a number of service opportunities.

United to Serve chair

She is currently chair of the United to Serve Health Fair, the annual event at T.J. Rusk Middle School near campus. One highlight of United to Serve is the “medical museum” that Ms. Carroll helped coordinate.

Designed to be a tour of the body from head to toe, the “museum” had 17 interactive exhibits that demonstrated how the body works. “The exhibits explained the five senses, the cardiovascular system, the gastrointestinal system, the skeleton and DNA,” she explained. “More gratifying than just seeing it all come together was seeing the incredibly positive reaction of the attendees to the health fair.”

In her application for the MLK Award, Ms. Carroll wrote: “Medical school fascinates me in a way school never has before. Not only do I have a chance to learn more than I ever thought possible; alongside all of this amazing learning I also have the chance to act upon my value system and live out the life of service I want to pursue.”

The award was presented by Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, president of UT Southwestern, and Dr. Drew Alexander, assistant dean for minority student affairs.

As part of the 2008 TexMed Service Project, Ms. Carroll helped organize a Hard Hats for Little Heads bicycle helmet give-away at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital in San Antonio.

She also volunteers at the Monday Clinic at North Dallas Shared Ministries and has started a biweekly event at Children’s Medical Center Dallas where students watch movies with patients, their siblings and parents on Friday nights. Additionally, Ms. Carroll initiated a program in which medical and graduate students mentor middle school students participating in science fairs.

Other finalists

Other finalists for the award, now in its 19th year, were Elizabeth Bhoj, a third-year medical student from Allendale, N.J.; and Nirma Bustamante, a second-year medical student from El Paso.

The Rev. Peter Johnson, a pioneer of the civil rights movement, was the guest speaker at the awards ceremony. He was a member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference founded by Martin Luther King Jr. and became the youngest man on King’s original staff. Today he continues his work for nonviolence and civil rights.