Dr. Abdullah Hassan Pratt knows trauma, treating gunshot patients on a regular basis at the University of Chicago hospital, and motivated by his own upbringing on the city's South Side, he decided he wanted to do more to help.
As part of that effort, Pratt started an initiative to help students, called MEDCEEP.
“All of our students, that’s the main goal, to surround them with things to handle an emergency in the streets but also to start their career now,” he explained.
After putting in hours in the ER, he wakes up and puts in hours at area schools in the most underserved, troubled neighborhoods in the city.
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“When we work on a Friday night and deal with people who are shot and injured, one of the best feelings in the world when we are so down is to wake up on a Saturday morning and work with students like Demeka, and to hear their story and hear how they are fighting through,” he said.
Pratt’s program is giving students like Demeka Akins a fresh outlook.
“Dr. Pratt taught us how to fill up a gunshot wound. If someone is having a heart attack, I know how to help,” said Demeka Akins, a student of the program.
The high school student is already a CNA nurse, thanks to the MEDCEEP program. It’s a program that kept her on the right path after she lost her sister, Tierra, in a shooting last summer.
“She wanted to be a nurse just like I’m doing, she wanted a future, but her life was ended so soon so she couldn’t do it. That’s why I’m here to do it, to lead on her legacy,” Akins said.
Pratt also lost a sibling to gun violence and knows her pain all too well. It’s part of the reason why he is so motivated to make a difference in teenagers’ lives.
“It’s much better for us to be looking at those students face to face in their own classroom talking about those problems, then them looking up to us on our hospital bed as a trauma victim,” Dr. Pratt said.
To learn more about MEDCEEP or how you can help, visit ucmceep.com.