Who could forget Stephen Tanner, M.D., of Christiana Care Health System’s Roxana Cannon Arsht Surgicenter, Wilmington, Del.? Tanner reduced the rate of preoperative sedation in pediatric dental patients by 20 percent by coming up with the idea to lighten their moods first. He did this by purchasing several battery-operated cars that kids can “drive” to the operating room. “I saw the opportunity to make it a better experience for these kids,” says Tanner. “It helps to alleviate separation anxiety not only for the children, but their parents.”

One of the most memorable examples is Deborah Frank, M.D., director of the Grow Clinic for seriously underweight children at Boston Medical Center, started a food pantry with a clinic’s nutritionist back in the 1990s: one of the first hospital-based food pantries in the U.S. Now, they distribute about 12,000 pounds of food a week, and serve 7,000 people per month.

And while these medical students-turned-volunteer firefighters may not have been employed by a hospital yet, we’re going to bet that when they are, they’ll demonstrate similar acts of courage with their patients as they have so far with their communities.