FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, NJ - This month TAPinto Franklin Township will be running a series called "Meet The Leaders.” The objective is to provide our readers an opportunity to hear from Franklin Township’s leaders in government, public safety, education, houses of worship and other areas, regarding Franklin Township’s present and future outlook.  

Each participant was asked to share a little information about their background and personal life. Each “leader” was presented the same core questions that will be published unedited. 

TAPinto Franklin Township’s eighth leader interviewed was Dr. Shirin Poustchi the youngest member of the Franklin Township Advisory Board of Health, Franklin Township Human Relations Commission, and the Board of Trustees for the Franklin Township Dr. Martin Luther King Community Foundation. Poustchi has lived in Franklin Township all of her life and is a member of the Baha’i community. 

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"My passion for community service is inspired by the teachings of the Baha’i Faith," Poustchi said. 

Question: What initiative did you start in 2016 that you are most proud of?

Answer: In 2016, I helped create and develop a student-run interprofessional initiative called the Local Interdisciplinary Care Collaborative (LINC) as part of the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Homeless and Indigent Population Health Outreach Project.  LINC is working with our community partner, the Franklin Food Bank, to conduct a health needs assessment for the patrons of the food bank in order to get a better understanding of the healthcare needs and barriers to access faced by the medically underserved and vulnerable populations within Franklin Township.  The findings will then guide the design and implementation of student-run, sustainable health interventions that would best serve their needs. 

Question: What will be your main objective for 2017?

Answer: To continue working through LINC in collaboration with community partners in Franklin Township to develop student run health interventions that can complement the ongoing community health initiatives that currently exist; we expect to offer these services for anyone in need in Franklin Township once they’ve been designed. 

Question: Are you involved with any youth groups for the community that you would like to share? 

Answer: In 2014, I helped develop and continue to mentor the Franklin Youth Empowerment Group. The Franklin Youth Empowerment Group, inspired by the Baha’i teachings, is focused on creating an environment of mutual support that engages the youth of all backgrounds to raise their spiritual and intellectual capacities through community service. 

Question: What do you do in your spare time?

Answer: Outside of school, I enjoy community service, reading, traveling, and spending time with family & friends. 

Question: Five words that describe Franklin Township are?

Answer: Diverse, vibrant, caring, passionate, radiant 

Poustchi is a second-year medical student at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School at Rutgers University in the dual PharmD/MD program. She attended the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy where she graduated in 2015 with her Doctorate of Pharmacy and currently work as a licensed pharmacist at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.  Poustchi is continuing her training as a physician with an interest in developing innovative avenues of healthcare delivery and improving practice models. Poustchi graduated from Franklin High School (FHS) in 2009 as salutatorian and was involved with FHS' student government. She was also a "proud and enthusiastic" member of the New Jersey Orators.  

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