Kal Rudman has long been a household name in Philadelphia.
The Central High School alum (188th class) has made a name for himself on the airwaves as a DJ (Kal “Big Beat” Rudman); he’s appeared on programs like The Merv Griffin Show; and accumulated accolades everywhere from Forbes to a plaque along Broad Street as part of the Philadelphia Music Alliance’s Walk of Fame, to list just a few of his many achievements. He also founded the Friday Morning Quarterback, which will strike a chord with music enthusiasts.
But as of late, he’s focused his attention on the Kal and Lucille Rudman Foundation, which he created with his wife, Lucille, to give back to the community in arts initiatives, educational scholarships and many other programs.
While you may expect the foundation to focus more on the arts as his background would suggest, the programs it supports vary far and wide — including the medical field.
The foundation has been a longtime sponsor of medical summer programs for Philadelphia high school students at Drexel University College of Medicine in conjunction with Hahnemann Medical College.
More recently, in August 2016, a $25,000 foundation donation led to the creation of the three-week Medical Career Preparation Program at Einstein Medical Center, designed to educate the next generation of medical professionals from Central and Girls high schools.
And now, students in New Jersey with an interest in the medical field will have an opportunity to participate in a program as well.
Twenty-four South Jersey high school students are participating in the new RAISE (Recognizing Achievement and Inspiring Student Excellence) program at the Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine (RowanSOM).
Thanks to the Rudmans, the six-week program, which started July 10, is tuition-free.
“RowanSOM has always wanted to establish a summer program for high-achieving high school students,” said Paula Watkins, the assistant dean for admissions.
The program, explained Venkat Venkataraman, assistant professor at RowanSOM Department of Cell Biology and Neurosciences, enables the 11th- and 12th-grade students to take courses in anatomy, neurosciences and cardiovascular system; participate in hands-on and lecture-based experiences; participate in hands-on clinical procedures such as suturing; attain high-level CPR certification and much more.
They will also partake in field trips and fun activities.
The program allows the students to wear many hats.
They become problem-solvers as they solve real cases; researchers as they collect, analyze and interpret data; and teachers as they make presentations to the rest of the students.
“We hope they learn the value of working as a group and helping each other in order to achieve these goals,” Venkataraman said.
The students work with staff from the RowanSOM Admissions office, a faculty and student coordinator who administer the program, undergraduate students from the B.S./D.O. program, and current RowanSOM students.
For Watkins, the program’s value extends to both students and the RowanSOM faculty.
“Efforts are underway to make this a lasting interaction — students have already requested that they would love to be involved even after the summer course is done,” Watkins said.
For Kal Rudman, supporting these programs is a chance to live out what he feels he was meant to do with his money.
“Also because in my life that’s exactly what I want to do,” he said. “That’s exactly what I want to do with the money that God had me have to do what I do for Him.”
Added Lucille Rudman, “We don’t necessarily believe that all students who go through these program will wind up in the medical field, although many do. But if they don’t, they have nevertheless learned good work habits, a sense of responsibility, a sense of empathy for what others do in the medical field so that whatever course their lives take, this experience stands them in good stead.”
The past programs they have been able to launch — such as the one at Einstein — have come with encouraging results for the Rudmans.
“We found them very gratifying, particularly when graduates of the program come back to speak to the students of the program coming up through the ranks now and invite them to take part in something that has done them so much good,” Lucille Rudman said.
Seeing the intensive and thorough curriculum RowanSOM created encouraged her that it would be useful for the students.
“I know from previous notes we’ve gotten from kids who’ve been through other programs of ours how much it really means to them,” she said.
“So I’m looking forward to hearing from some of the students in this group when this session is over, and that’s the rewarding part of it: Give kids an opportunity they would not otherwise have had and open their eyes to something they might have been thinking about, or might not have been thinking, about as a career.”
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