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May 12, 2016

Medical students to pitch ideas addressing social determinants of health at Service Learning Celebration

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First-year medical students representing four School of Medicine Learning Communities will go head-to-head in pitching their ideas for new courses and community service projects to learn about and address social determinants of health at the first Service Learning Celebration on Monday, May 23.

“Through the Learning Communities course, all first-year students participated in service learning projects related to the social determinants of health we anticipate they’ll encounter—poverty, education/health literacy, neighborhood/built environment, housing/homelessness—in the medical school careers and beyond,” said Caroline Harada, M.D., assistant dean for Community-Engaged Scholarship. “The students gathered with their LCs last month to share their experiences and develop an experiential learning opportunity, either as a part of a course or a community-based project, to address one of these social issues that can impact health.”

From there a group of representatives from Medical Student Services, the Office of Service Learning, and the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, along with some upper-class medical students, ranked each of the proposals to pick the top two in each category to compete.

The students representing each community will have five minutes to present their idea; followed by a five minute discussion led by a panel of special guests before the student audience votes to select the winner of each category. Panelists are Craig Hoesley, M.D., senior associate dean for Medical Education; Monica Baskin, Ph.D., professor in the Division of Preventive Medicine; Robert Record, M.D., executive director of Christ Health Center; and Dan Carsen, education reporter for WBHM.

Harada said the Office of Service Learning will work with students to further develop the winning proposals for implementation.

The projects being presented are:

Category 1: Idea for a SOM course for students to learn about social determinants of health
  • Harrison Community. Presented by: Mary Fok, Megan Gibson, Alex Johnson, Bethany Johnson, Dylan Nichols, Milza Opper and Joseph Shaw
  • Kirklin Community. Presented by: John Snellgrove and Catherine Lumb
Category 2: Community service project to address a social determinant of health
  • Sellers Community. Presented by: Darcy Autry, Alex Edgil, Rachel George, Christine Jones
  • Khoury Community. Andres Arciniegas, Laura Freeman, Ilya Gutman, Wilson King, Abby Martin, Jessica Mays

The celebration begins at noon Monday, May 23 in Volker Hall Lecture Room A. All faculty and students are welcome to attend.

The Learning Communities were formalized into the SOM curriculum last year to serve as a home base for students throughout their medical careers.  Each of the 11 communities—named for leaders past and present in the SOM and led by a faculty mentor—meet monthly for small-group discussion on topics like health disparities, ethics and interprofessional teamwork, along with wellness and professional identity development.