UNC PT Student Recognized for Service to Latina Community

UNC Doctor of Physical Therapy student Sarah van der Horst recently received the 2014 Robert E. Bryan Public Service Award from the Carolina Center for Public Service. The award, which honors the accomplishments of alumnus Robert E. Bryan (’26), is given annually to five individuals in the Carolina community who demonstrate outstanding service to the state of North Carolina.

UNC PT Student Recognized for Service to Latina Community click to enlarge Lisa Spees, Sarah van der Horst, and Chancellor Carol L. Folt. Photo by Dan Sears, UNC-CH

van der Horst and other award recipients were recognized on April 2 at the annual Public Service Awards celebration, where Chancellor Carol L. Folt commended their commitment to service and to “the betterment of North Carolina and the world.” Click here to read more about the event.

van der Horst was selected for the Bryan Public Service Award in recognition of her work founding and directing Amigas en Salud, an exercise and health awareness program that provides free services, such as weekly Zumba class and bimonthly health tutorials, to underserved members of the Latina community. Some tutorials offered thus far include Domestic Violence 101 by Compass Center, Healthy Relationships by Planned Parenthood, Contraception by Abigail Liberty (UNC School of Medicine student), How to Clean and Lift Pain Free by Sarah van der Horst, and many more.

Classes and programs are all delivered in Spanish, and facilitated by volunteers, many of whom are current UNC School of Medicine, Social Work, Physical Therapy, Public Health, and undergraduate students.  In addition to Sarah’s leadership, the Amigas en Salud’s executive team consists of Romina Boyle (Zumba instructor), Lisa Spees (doctoral student in Public Policy), Stephanie Schmitt (master’s student in Interdisciplinary Health Communication), and Mitzy Gonzalez (master’s student of Social Work).

The program has received support from the Student Action Coalition (SHAC), El Centro Hispano, the Seymour Center, YMCA, Fleet Feet, Footcentric, Farmer Foodshare, and other private donors, and continues to seek assistance to expand and improve its offerings. More information on Amigas en Salud can be found at http://amigasensalud.org/.

van der Horst had previously been recognized for her service with the 2013 UNC Hospitals Volunteer Association’s Community Service Fellowship, which is awarded to a UNC Department of Allied Health Sciences’ student who has demonstrated academic excellence, professional potential, and extensive community service.