American Medical Women’s Association chapter at OUWB leads drive for Haven
An image of an OUWB patch on a white coat

A student organization at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine recently hosted a donation drive for a local nonprofit that serves survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

From Nov. 5 - Dec. 8, the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) OUWB chapter collected items for Pontiac-based Haven.

Donated items included laundry detergent and bleach, drinks, food, clothes, toiletries, and more.

All donations were presented to the Safe Therapeutic Assault Response Team (START) – a group of Haven advocates, physician assistants, and forensic nurses that aim to “provide comprehensive, compassionate care to the victims of sexual assault.” The Oakland County organization also gives sexual assault patients the chance to receive medical care and emotional support in a secure environment.

Brenda Bortis, M2, vice president, AMWA, said the AMWA representatives “wanted to find a way for OUWB students and faculty to give back to our local community this holiday season.”

“Since the end of the semester is always a busy time for us, we thought that a donation drive would be a quick, affordable way for us to give back and support all of the impactful work that Haven does,” said Bortis.

An image of students participating in a trunk or treat

AMWA works with Haven throughout the year at various events, including its "trunk or treat" that takes place around Halloween. From left, OUWB students Joud Obri, Kellan Martin, Kaitlyn Butzin, Kaitlyn Paez, Kaithlyn Duong, and Joe Dib.

Based on their past partnerships with Haven, she said, members of the group knew how much of a direct impact they would have on domestic and sexual assault victims in their community.

“As future physicians, it's important for us to support and advocate for our local community members in any way that we can,” Bortis said. “One of the main goals of AMWA is to improve women's health through advocacy and service, which is why we continually work with Haven.”

“Those who seek out Haven's services are already in such a vulnerable position, so it's nice to know that our donations can slightly relieve some of their stress and anxiety as they go through such a difficult time. It was also great to see all of the donations and support from both faculty members and students at our school,” she added.

Kaitlyn Butzin, M2, chair of the advocacy and outreach committee, AMWA, said donations are vital to the organization to provide services to their members.

“These clients will have a safe and comfortable place to stay during evaluation with all of the basic supplies they need to feel at home during a difficult time.”

“When dropping off the donations at Haven, all the staff members were so kind and grateful which showed that the work we are doing is meaningful and does not go unnoticed,” Butzin said. “I knew by talking to them that these donations meant a lot and that they would be put to good use which makes all the effort worth it.”

Further, Butzin said they collected “a large box full of snacks, feminine products, toiletries, household goods, and bed sheets.”

“The success of this event is all thanks to the fantastic OUWB community – without support from fellow students and faculty, we wouldn’t have been able to make this happen,” she added.

If interested in getting involved with the Haven START program, please reach out at 248-334-1284 or visit their website at

For more information, contact Andrew Dietderich, marketing writer, OUWB, at [email protected].

To request an interview, visit the OUWB Communications & Marketing webpage.

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