WVU Doctor Receives Award for Helping Homeless

The Jenco Foundation of Ohio has awarded David Deci, M.D., a 2007 Jenco Award for his work with homeless people in the West Virginia University School of Medicine program, MUSHROOM.  Dr. Deci is an associate professor in Family Medicine at WVU.

MUSHROOM stands for Multidisciplinary UnSheltered Homeless Relief Outreach of Morgantown.  The program provides Morgantown’s homeless population with needed medical care.

The recognition also comes with $5,000, which Deci said will be invested into the MUSHROOM program.

Twice a month, WVU medical students, faculty and community volunteers offer healthcare services on the streets of Morgantown.  In the past two years volunteers have had more than 1000 client encounters, providing medical services on more than 200 occasions.  The value of those services is around $20,000.  

Deci said WVU medical students also benefit from the MUSHROOM experience by learning about the importance of service. 

“The program is a wonderful way to guide students in making service a component of their medical career,” said Deci, faculty advisor for MUSHROOM.  “Incorporating service and community giving into their professional work will be meaningful and sustaining.”

Deci said the $5,000 award from the Jenco Foundation will help pay for medical equipment that can be taken into the field, like a digital thermometer and an oxygen sensor.  Deci said it’s important to be able to check someone’s temperature easily and effectively, especially as the seasons change and many homeless people spend nights outside, exposed to the colder weather.

The money will also help with the program’s operating budget, which is currently close to $5,000 a year.

Former Associated Press Middle East correspondent Terry Anderson established the Jenco Foundation in June 2001 to honor his late friend, Father Lawrence Martin Jenco. Jenco was the director of Catholic Relief Services in Beirut when he was kidnapped by pro-Iranian radicals in Lebanon in the 1980s.  Anderson was also kidnapped and held hostage with Jenco.

"We are interested in hearing about people who, like Father Marty, have made a difference in their communities by direct, person-to-person action,” said Anderson.  “There are many people here who, like Farther Marty, dedicate their lives to helping others.  We just want to recognize them and say thank you,” said Anderson.

“I am absolutely humbled and stunned, and at the same time, very touched to receive this award from the Jenco Foundation,” Deci said.

Anderson will present Deci with the award Saturday, October 6, at a ceremony in Athens, Ohio.

The MUSHROOM program received the 2006 Governor’s Service Award and the 2006 WVU School of Medicine’s Dean’s Award of Excellence for Community Service.  MUSHROOM also helped the WVU School of Medicine win the Association of American Medical College’s prestigious Community Service Award.

For more information on the WVU MUSHROOM program, visit http://www.hsc.wvu.edu/som/fammed/fmig.asp.

For more information about the Jenco Foundation, visit http://www.jencofoundation.org/.


- WVU -

For more information:
Emily Corio, HSC News Service, (304)293-7087
ec: 10-05-07

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