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Lars Osterberg, local programs recognized

The Office of Public Affairs, as part of an annual private luncheon being held today, is presenting the 2008 Community Partnership Awards to the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Peninsula, the Eastside School Field Studies class and the Hope House Scholars Program. The event celebrates programs that benefit the local community and represent successful partnerships between Stanford and its neighbors.

At the event, the Haas Center for Public Service will present the 2008 Miriam Aaron Roland Volunteer Service Prize to Dr. Lars Osterberg.

The Community Partnership Award

This is the fifth year that the university is handing out the Community Partnership Award. Here's more about this year's winners:

The Boys and Girls Clubs of the Peninsula (BGCP) have for 50 years provided places where youth are welcome and can belong. The organization is one of the largest and most comprehensive youth development agencies in the Bay Area. The partnership between the clubs and Stanford includes the Haas Center's Science in Service Program, the Stanford student chapter of the Society of Black Scientists and Engineers and the Teen Technology Tutoring Program, another student group. The university's ties also include the John W. Gardner Center's community-based research, along with other opportunities involving Stanford students volunteering as homework tutors, Stanford football and basketball teams volunteering at the BGCP clubhouses, as well as volunteer fundraising support through the Graduate School of Business. Today, through seven sites in East Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Redwood City, more than 3,000 youth annually find academic, social and arts programs and a trained and caring staff to help guide and inspire youth in the community to develop the attitudes and life skills they need to thrive.

The Eastside School Field Studies class, now in its 10th year, focuses on sixth-grade student researchers working at Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve in small groups taught by trained Stanford student mentors during spring quarter. Eastside College Preparatory School opened in 1996 to serve ninth-grade students in East Palo Alto. The school grew to 20 ninth- and 10th- grade students the following fall, then to 35 students the year after. In 1999 the school added a middle school, and today Eastside serves 200 students in grades 6 through 12. Field Studies students collect data on air, soil and water temperature, pH and canopy cover in their group's assigned ecosystem, and each student monitors his or her own plant for nine weeks. Eastside students in the class spend four hours a week working at the preserve and summarize the five ecosystems studied with a peer-reviewed poster session.

Since 1990, the Hope House Scholars Program—a program of the Service League of San Mateo County—has provided a home and cared for 655 women and 152 clean and sober babies. As a residential drug and alcohol treatment facility for women who were recently incarcerated, Hope House specializes in treating each woman's addiction, subsequent mental health and medical issues individually. For more than seven years, Stanford's Ethics in Society Program and Continuing Studies Program have provided college-level coursework for the women through the Scholars Program. Each quarter, two Stanford faculty members teach a humanities course on site. Stanford students act as writing tutors, and the women receive Continuing Studies credit for the course.

The Roland Prize

Established in 2004 by alumna Miriam Roland of Montreal, Canada, through an endowment at the Haas Center for Public Service, the Roland Prize recognizes Stanford faculty who engage and involve students in integrating academic scholarship with significant and meaningful volunteer service. The prize is accompanied by a $5,000 cash award.

Lars Osterberg is a clinical assistant professor of medicine at the School of Medicine and chief of general internal medicine at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System. He was responsible for establishing Cardinal Free Clinics (CFC) as the administrative body that operates two free clinics in the area: the Arbor Free Clinic and the Pacific Free Clinic. CFC receives support, and is integrated with courses, within the School of Medicine. In his capacity as director of CFC, Osterberg has supervised scores of students and other providers who, as volunteers, provide free medical care on weekends to medically needy members of the community.

According to his nominators, Osterberg "cares deeply and advocates for unmet healthcare needs of people who are generally marginalized by our current health system." In addition to his work with CFC, Osterberg combines teaching and service as president of the board of directors of Opportunity Health Partners. This nonprofit organization operates the Opportunity Health Center, a licensed community clinic for the homeless and—by Osterberg's arrangement—for Veterans Affairs. Osterberg reaches out to the School of Medicine to involve both medical residents and students in his efforts to provide healthcare to the homeless.

Mid-career, Osterberg obtained a master's degree in public health from the University of California-Berkeley School of Public Health. His research interests are in areas of healthcare access and healthcare delivery for vulnerable populations, innovations in medical practice and patient adherence to medications. In addition, Osterberg has lectured in patient advocacy classes and has supported students in undertaking projects to assess the quality and impact of Arbor Free Clinic.