HealthCare Access Maryland (HCAM) is honored to announce a twelve-month volunteer collaboration with Miss Bel Air, Shyama Bhatt. HCAM prides itself on its connection to the Maryland community and makes it a priority to continuously share its mission of making Maryland healthier and advocating a more equitable health care system. Bringing community members that are passionate about equitable health care on for long-term volunteer opportunities is an area of community engagement in which HCAM is excited to dive deeper into. Read below to learn more about our newest volunteer, Shyama, and her involvement with the Miss America organization and her passion for addressing health care disparities in her community.
Shyama, who currently holds the title of Miss Bel Air, grew up in Chicago, Illinois. After attending high school, she was admitted to a BS MD (Bachelor of Science Doctor of Medicine) program at Wayne State University, in Detroit, Michigan. After completing her undergraduate degree in two years, Shyama is currently completing a research fellowship in Neurosurgery at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), while also working on a fellowship with the NIH Academy on Health Disparities. In July 2023, she will start medical school at Wayne State University School of Medicine.
This past March, Shyama competed in the Miss America organization’s local competition of Miss Bel Air (Maryland) and was crowned the winner. She will hold the title of Miss Bel Air until March 2023. The Miss America Organization is a year-round opportunity for women to earn scholarships, grow their networks, learn valuable life and career skills, and make a difference in their communities.
All Miss America pageant participants engage in the Social Impact Initiative, in which every titleholder completes a community service project that aligns with her interests and passions. Shyama’s Social Impact Initiative, “Project Health”, focuses on providing access to healthcare to underserved communities. As someone working in the healthcare field, Shyama constantly sees health disparities in minority communities and in individuals with low socioeconomic backgrounds and is determined to ensure individuals receive equitable access to healthcare.
Shyama connected with HCAM because of our mission and commitment to increasing access to healthcare for all Marylanders, and work to end disparities in health outcomes. She intends to use her title and tenure as Miss Bel Air to bring awareness to HCAM’s vital healthcare services and volunteer her time to serve in our programs.
“I am beyond excited to be a part of this wonderful organization! It is vital to bring research and knowledge to the community, and as a volunteer I hope to do that. I look forward to playing a small role in reducing healthcare disparities in Maryland.”
Shyama will serve on HCAM’s 5K For the Health of It! committee, spend time volunteering with HCAM’s Maternal Health Home Visiting initiative in the Care Coordination Program, and will use her connections to raise funds to support HCAM’s programs. Staff members at HCAM look forward to working closely with Shyama during this fiscal year and know she will be an asset as we move our mission of making Maryland healthier forward.