This paper explains a summer volunteering opportunity at a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a home environment for low-income families coming to city hospitals for intensive pediatric care. The importance of social determinants of health during the healing process is explored through examples of services provided by the Ronald McDonald House. These services range from meeting basic human needs to emotional care of pediatric patients. In addition, routes to potentially ameliorate observed challenges associated with pediatric hospitalization are discussed.

In fall 2020, Alankrit Shatadal will begin her senior year at Washington and Lee University, where she is pursuing degrees in Biochemistry, Sociology & Anthropology, and a minor in Poverty Studies.

Author's note

I would like to acknowledge the Ronald McDonald House of Madison Wisconsin for being so accommodating during my summer experience. I also want to thank the Shepherd Program at Washington and Lee for the opportunity to pursue this as my choice of summer internship. When I started preparing for this position, I was so excited to learn about music therapy; thank you to my music educator friends for your guidance! I am most grateful to the kids I interacted with at RMHC. Spending time with them has affirmed and strengthened my interest in medicine. I hope this article contributes to the larger discussion of how the medical sector can help patients heal after illness, and fill gaps that make the healing process more difficult.



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