The Growth Year

From advancing new cancer treatments to supporting aging Austin residents, Dell Med’s students are using their third year to answer the call to revolutionize how people get and stay healthy.

REthink’s special projects team is spending the year following their stories.

Community partnerships have been essential to Dell Med’s work since the school’s earliest days. And this year, the inaugural class of medical students are forming their own bonds with those partners.

Example: Students seeking a distinction in Design & Innovation in Health Care will spend the spring semester partnering with local organizations on design-based solutions to improve health. In January, Dainon Miles and his teammates were already at work with the YMCA of Austin to design a way for local primary care providers to refer patients for services like nutrition, mental health and fitness support and to help providers keep track of patients’ progress.

Miles’s lifelong interest in fitness and wellness prompted his passion for helping people lead healthy lives outside of the doctor’s office, so partnering with a community organization with that very goal — and the resources to make it happen — made perfect sense.

“For nearly a decade, the YMCA of Austin has been working to bring medically integrated programs from local partners into the Y,” says James Finck, CEO of the YMCA Austin ...

Photo of Dainon Miles in the YMCA
Dainon Miles, class of 2020, stands in the YMCA of Austin’s Town Lake branch. This semester, Miles and his teammates are working to help local primary care physicians refer patients to holistic health services the YMCA offers.