Hearts for the Homeless International contributes to the health and well-being of one of the most vulnerable populations in our nation with free heart health screenings, education, and by providing clinical outreach opportunities for students who wish to contribute to our effort.
Hearts for the Homeless International (H4H) began as an idea between three biomedical sciences students–Andrew Aboujaoude, Jennifer Carvel, Alexis Ghersi–at the University of Central Florida (UCF). They noticed that the homeless population is among the most vulnerable to cardiac diseases for a variety of factors, including lack of access to healthcare and information.
In order to address this concern, they collaborated on a plan of action for a new program; they were invited to attend the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) 2016, where they participated in the Social Venture Challenge.
H4H was selected as the Social Venture Challenge winner through CGI U which is designed to identify and support youth with innovative solutions for pressing global challenges. The Resolution Project provides generous seed funding for CGI U undergraduate student winners. Through this initial funding, H4H Orlando began providing free heart health screenings and information to the homeless population of Orlando at local food shares.
Through partnering with local food shares and free healthcare clinics in the area, H4H hopes to help reduce the prevalence of hypertension and cardiac diseases in the homeless community. In addition, this initiative aims to promote awareness for the community by creating needed volunteer opportunities for university students. As of the Fall 2016 semester, H4H Orlando has been a Registered Student Organization (RSO) at UCF.
Hearts for the Homeless strives to increase their impact in the homeless community by reaching out to different universities and partnering with more locations and clinics. Currently, Hearts for the Homeless is at UCF, FSU, USF, UF and UNT. At these locations, our organization focuses on heart health education and screenings among the homeless community.