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Medical Center students, faculty shine on state, national levels

Published on Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Medical Center faculty and staff often are recognized regionally, nationally and internationally for their academic or medical achievements. These accolades place UMMC among health science centers worldwide.

Jackson Free Clinic earns national kudos

The Jackson Free Clinic, a student-run clinic in Jackson’s Midtown that provides free medical, dental and psychiatric care, has been recognized with the top rating bestowed by the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics (NAFC).

Jackson Free Clinic Logo.pngJFC earned the Gold rating from the association’s quality standards program, the highest standard for quality health care metrics. Clinics are evaluated for quality standards that include administration, clinic and pharmacy responsibilities, credentialing systems, patient care and risk management systems.

“This rating is a testament to all of the efforts that the student board members and the weekly volunteers pour into JFC make this clinic a success,” said Sunna Savani, a School of Medicine student serving as JFC chair.

“We are in every sense student-run, whether it be unlocking the doors every Saturday, writing grants and seeking donations, operating our pharmacy, organizing community events or answering patient inquiries at all times of the day,” Savani said. “We pride ourselves on providing our patients with quality care, despite their level of health care access, and treating them with the same standards they would be treated with in any other clinic.”

“Whether it be through providing medical care, dental care, specialty services, rehabilitation services, equitable medication access, social services, or preventative care beyond the four walls of the clinic at outreach events statewide, UMMC students from all disciplines play a critical role in bridging the gap in care for these patients,” said Reagan Moak, Associated Student Body president, third-year School of Medicine class president and former JFC board member.

The mission of NAFC is to build healthy communities for all through quality, equitable and accessible health care. Member clinics voluntarily submit information to NAFC detailing their policies and procedures in order to get a standards rate.

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UMMC nursing students shine on state, national levels

Portrait of Bernesha Pope

Four students in the School of Nursing have gathered state and national kudos:

Bernesha Pope, a RN-to-BSN student, was elected secretary/treasurer of the National Student Nurses Association (NSNA).

Pope is also chair of NSNA’s Finance Committee. “I look forward to sharing ideas with NSNA members, state associations and local chapters while collaborating with my fellow NSNA board members to strategize ways to increase membership and create new revenue streams,” she said.

Pope, who graduated from East Mississippi Community College in December 2022, is secretary/treasurer of the Mississippi Association of Student Nurses board and served in the same role for East Mississippi’s chapter. 

“Bernesha has not let off the gas since she began her journey of becoming a nurse,” said School of Nursing assistant professor Dr. Tara Price. “Persistence and perseverance are needed when entering health care today, and I would say she certainly possesses both."

Matthew Hartzog, an accelerated nursing student in Oxford, was chosen as a member of the National Student Nurse Association Leadership University Honor Society.

From left are Matthew Hartzog, MASN president; Anna Claire Williams, second vice president; and Celeste Knighton, director of communications.
From left are Matthew Hartzog, MASN president; Anna Claire Williams, second vice president; and Celeste Knighton, director of communications.


The NSNA Honor Society works to prepare future nurse leaders and recognizes members of the national organization who participate in leadership activities at national, state and local levels.

Hartzog is president of the Mississippi Association of Student Nurses.

Hartzog, Anna Claire Williams and Celeste Knighton have been elected to offices in the Mississippi Association of Student Nurses.

Hartzog was elected as MASN president, and Williams was voted second vice president. Williams is in the accelerated nursing program in Oxford. Knighton, a traditional BSN student on the UMMC campus, will serve as MASN director of communications.

Price, UMMC faculty advisor for MASN, was elected as MASN faculty consultant.

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Neurosurgery faculty member wins research honor

Portrait of Dr. Matthias Krenn

Dr. Matthias J. Krenn, an assistant professor in the Department of Neurosurgery, is winner of the 2023 Apple Award bestowed by the American Spinal Injury Association.

Krenn was honored at the association’s recent annual scientific meeting. His research article on "Neuromodulation with transcutaneous spinal stimulation reveals different motor profiles during robot-guided stepping in humans with spinal cord injury" was designated as an excellent publication in spinal cord injury rehabilitation.

Krenn’s research focuses on using electrical neuromodulation to improve or restore lower limb function in people with spinal cord injury. His innovative approach has shown promising results, offering new possibilities for individuals coping with paralysis and spasticity.

Read Krenn’s full article here.