Teddy bears, baby dolls, miniature cars and, of course, doctor play sets were among 886 toys collected by resident physicians at the University of Louisville School of Medicine this holiday season for underprivileged children in the Louisville area. For the second year, UofL’s House Staff Council, the representative body for resident and fellow physicians, led a collection for Toys for Tots, receiving donations from individual residents and fellows as well as School of Medicine faculty, staff and medical students.
In 2015, the first year of the drive, the group collected 570 toys in just six days. This year’s collection began early in December.
“It’s important to think about the kids in our community. They are our future,” said Mitesh Patel, MD, a third-year resident in the Department of Psychiatry. “There is so much bad stuff in the world that it’s nice to see that kids can have a nice Christmas. It’s just a small thing that we can do as physicians to help support our community.”
To inject some friendly competition into the effort, Stock Yards Bank & Trust offered a luncheon and plaque to the three residency programs bringing in the highest ratio of toys. The winning program, Psychiatry, collected more than 300 toys, or 8.5 toys for each resident physician in the program. Radiology residents collected 5.6 toys per resident for second place. The Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Services was third with 3.8 toys per resident.
Patel spearheaded the drive for the Department of Psychiatry, which also won the competition last year, and plans to ensure his department continues their winning streak.
“We plan to win next year – if radiology lets us,” he said.
Erin Priddy, MD, a radiology resident, is community engagement chair for the House Staff Council and helped organize this year’s drive. She already has ideas about how to increase overall participation next year.
“I hope that it will continue to grow. I think if we have an appointed delegate for each program that could help as far as communication,” Priddy said. “I would like to break 1,000.”
Staff members of the Office of Graduate Medical Education counted and packed the toys in 11 large donation boxes, which were picked up by a Toys for Tots coordinator on Dec. 15.
The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program collects new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distributes those toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the community in which the campaign is conducted.