Lindsey Evans is a third-year medical student who understands the needs of underserved communities. Before her days as a UF medical student, she coordinated art projects for students in New York City neighborhoods and in Brazil. So it seemed natural that she took on the task of “sprucing up” the Shands at UF Eastside Community Practice clinic recently.
“The Eastside clinic serves the underserved population of Gainesville. This population in particular sometimes needs extra motivation to keep up with their healthcare and a positive environment in which to do that,” Evans explained. “I have come to believe through my art experience that art can be a huge tool to help empower and unite people and communities, both of which are essential to improving the health of a community – mentally, physically, and spiritually.”
Evans first came up with her idea while speaking with clinic medical director, Kendall Campbell, M.D., the assistant director of minority affairs for the COM and the adviser for the Student National Medical Association, which sponsored the project.
“Dr. Campbell said he wanted to spruce up his clinic,” Evans said. “I told him I’d love to do some paintings for his office. Dr. Campbell and Dr. (Donna) Parker have been incredible mentors to me since the start of medical school. I love working with them both.”
To prepare for the project, Evans designed and planned the drawings for each room on paper first. She then drew them on the walls of the clinic after hours. She was able to get the paint donated from various Gainesville stores, and she recruited medical students from every class to come out to the clinic Saturday, March 1. They came by the carloads, eager to paint and leave their own positive mark on the clinic.
The main mural in the front lobby depicts an image of diversity with the clinic’s mission statement written below: “To empower members of the community to maintain and improve their health.”
“This image and message are what the clinic staff and I wanted to pass on to the patients and the community through the project,” Evans said.
“The patients love it,” said Campbell. “It’s phenomenal. It’s also helped clinic morale. She’s a talented and gifted artist.”
“I have always been involved in art. I was drawing, painting, sculpting since I was little,” Evans said. “In high school I won a contest where one of my paintings was displayed in the House of Representatives for one year, and by that point I realized that no matter what path I took later in life, I would always be involved in art.
“I studied abroad in Brazil while I was an undergrad and worked with several nonprofit organizations that worked with homeless children and the arts,” she continued. “I learned to use art as a tool to harness kids into positive activity rather than a life on the streets.”
Evans took a year off before medical school and worked with children in Harlem, teaching elementary school. After hours, she worked for Creative Art Workshops for Kids organizing projects similar to those she did in Brazil.
“The themes focused on social issues and social empowerment of communities through art,” she explained. “All of these experiences together have made me realize that in my medical career I want to combine my art background with my passion for social change and serving the underserved.
“This project was hopefully a start to that path and I am thrilled with the way that it turned out.”