The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has designated EnVision Centers across the country which are centralized hubs that provide people with resources and support needed to excel.
North Hartford’s EnVision Center, based at the Parker Memorial Community Center, has inspired a group of UConn School of Medicine students to find ways to resolve educational disparities resulting from COVID-19 related school closures.
Haris Qureshi, a UConn medical student and several of his classmates established The Education Project, a volunteer-run platform providing free tutoring.
Since March, Qureshi and his team built a new website, optimized it for tutor onboarding, and expanded their volunteer-driven tutor network to over 200 participants representing 24 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The Education Project has partnered with the Urban League in Hartford, a major partner in both Hartford’s Promise Zone and EnVision Center.
The students were inspired by the UConn School of Medicine’s second Annual Health Equity Panel that convened North Hartford Promise Zone leaders, EnVision Center partners and UConn medical students at Hartford’s EnVision Center at Parker Memorial Community Center.
Participants engaged in dialogue about how social determinants of health disproportionally affect residents of the North Hartford Promise Zone and EnVision Center target area. HUD Field Office Director Suzanne Piacentini has participated as member of the panel since its inception.
“I wanted to do something to help that community,” Qureshi said after attending the panel.
As a biomedical engineer major and human rights minor, Qureshi views healthcare as a human right. While he hasn’t picked a specialty yet, he likes internal medicine, specifically cardiology. He hopes to focus on global and public health in the future.
And Qureshi plans to be “doing something you feel makes a difference.”