Service Learning Opportunities
Service learning and/or community service is a required component for the professional development program. The purpose of the service component is to provide healthcare and advice to the underserved and marginalized through efforts of health promotion, developing interventions, and initiating and supporting community activities at clinics, community centers, homes, and anywhere the opportunities arise (e.g. neighborhood and public health clinics; special activities; Boys and Girls Clubs; homeless shelters; housing projects; family shelters; health fairs; schools).
Medical schools should ensure the medical education program provides sufficient opportunities for, encourages, and supports medical student participation in service learning and/or community service activities. These opportunities allow medical students to reinforce and complement their educational program, or they allow students to reflect on the relationships between the curriculum and their roles as citizens and medical professionals.
These opportunities allow students to be exposed to the needs of their community, the distribution of health and illness in a population, and/or learn about people in the context of their culture and socioeconomic circumstances. The social determinants of health are important to understand in the context of individual patients, communities and populations, and society at-large. The knowledge, skills, and attitudes learned during these experiences further promote humanistic and compassionate care when caring for members of the community when sick, regardless of race, ethnicity, or social class.
Students will serve the community at the non-clinical level of awareness, education and prevention. This is a good first step to getting acquainted with the community and learning of its needs.
The service goals include:
- Exposing future doctors to segments of the community experiencing challenging or difficult conditions such as being underserved and marginalized;
- Providing students with the opportunity to serve a segment of the community with which they might not otherwise be in contact, because of socio-economic, educational, ethnic, or other differences; to build open and trusting relationships and to develop an enduring commitment to service;
- Providing clinical and social services, based on community needs;
- Creating partnerships between the medical school and the community that will serve as a mechanism for future collaborative efforts.
Service learning activities are designed to foster humanism and understanding of cultural concepts, which help to develop respect and empathy, cultivate values, and adjust attitudes. Expected outcomes include: a) students seeing the potential power of health education at the community level as a mechanism for disease prevention and wellness promotion; b) exposure to the importance of culture and its impact on health beliefs and habits; and/or c) gaining insight into life in the communities (ex: how socioeconomic factors like low income and education relate to physical and mental health).
Students will be required to earn a minimum of 4 credits per semester. Please see the Continuous Professional Development program overview for details.
- All service learning and community service sites must be approved in advance by the Division of Medical Education. A completed approval form is required for any location not listed as an approved site. You will need to review this list periodically to check for additional opportunities.
- Evaluation forms for the activity must be submitted via the evaluation form. The evaluation form is required for each student to receive credit, even if you are involved in a group effort.
For questions about the service learning requirement, contact Ashley Givens in the Division of Medical Education, MSB 2015.