Service-Learning in Medicine

PROGRAM BACKGROUND

In 1995, Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) developed and implemented a program of service-learning that provided medical and nursing students with the knowledge and skills to advance community health priorities. GUMC was awarded a grant from the Health Professions Schools in Service to the Nation (HPSISN) to fund its Service-Learning Program while it was in its infancy. As a result of this funding, the program became a part of a national demonstration project. HPSISN funding has ended, but the Community Health Division in the Department of Family Medicine continues to support the Service-Learning Program for all first-year medical students at Georgetown University School of Medicine.

In 2006, Service-Learning became a required part of Medical Student Education, and was incorporated into the Introduction to Health Care course.  With the Doctoring curriculum reform in 2009, Service-Learning became an individual module, required for all first year medical students.  

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

Service-Learning is a method of experiential learning. Health professions students meet community health needs while developing their own ability to understand and address the complex health challenges they will encounter in patient care. In groups of six to ten, students are assigned to a community site, such as a church, school, shelter, non-profit organization, or clinic. Over eight sessions, students implement a community health education, screening, or outreach project under the direction of GUMC faculty members from various departments.  These faculty members serve as Team Leaders and provide ongoing support to the students in their Service-Learning teams.  Team Leader responsibilities include:
   1) supervising and evaluating the students' program planning, teamwork, and professionalism
   2) participating in the community project to model the health professional's role in community settings
   3) leading small group discussions and training sessions with students. 
 

COMMUNITY PARTNERS 

Community Partners represent participating agencies and serve as the liaisons between community sites and the Service-Learning Program Office. They orient students to communities and theirs residents, supervise student teams while on-site, and work with Faculty Team Leaders.

SERVICE-LEARNING PROJECTS 

Service-Learning projects focus on preventable causes of premature morbidity and mortality throughout Washington, D.C. Projects include: In-home maternal and child health education support for expectant mothers and mothers of pre-schoolers; School-based health education; After-school projects to prevent high-risk health behaviors among adolescents; Community health outreach projects; and Health promotion activities for the elderly.
 

SERVICE LEARNING COMMUNITY SITES

The list below gives examples of community service sites that we partner with through Service-Learning.

Appletree Early Learning Center: Medical students educate pre-schoolers and their parents on health promotion topics.

ASPIRE: (Acute Stroke Interventions addressing Racial and Ethnic disparities) This is a community education program to increase recognition of stroke and use of 911 when faced with a possible stroke.

Community for Creative Non-Violence: Students will address health care concerns that are commonly experienced by the homeless at this community health center.

Easter Seals: Developing appropriate cognitive, social and physical skills is the goal for working with disabled toddlers at this childhood development center.

Eastern High School: This project, under the sponsorship of Unity Student Health Center and Eastern Senior High School's Health Education teacher includes supplemental instruction, personal counseling and advising, demonstrations and outreach to African American students in their senior year of high school. The areas of focus are physical fitness, nutrition and life skills. This project offers the opportunity for medical students to understand the epidemic of obesity in Washington, DC and its impact on children in the public school system.

Fr. McKenna Center: Students at this men’s drop-in center will participate in one or more of the Center’s services: drug and alcohol counseling, feeding the hungry, or health education.

Health Resources Partnership: Students will provide health information, screenings, outcome measures, and support to the male caregivers of children with special needs in the Washington, DC metro area in an effort to improve their overall emotional and health conditions.

HSCSN Male Caregivers: Students will provide health information, screenings, outcome measures, and support to the male caregivers of children with special needs in the Washington, DC metro area in an effort to improve their overall emotional and health conditions.

House of Seven Steps Group Home: Career planning, conflict resolution, drug prevention, sexual health, and first aid/safety are taught to male teens at this site.

Ideal Academy: Students assigned to this schools present age-appropriate health and/or science lessons and Tar Wars, a tobacco prevention program.

Little Friends for Peace Arts: Medical students work with adolescents to research and develop a nutritional menu, acquire adapted cooking and shopping skills, and serve a meal to homeless people in a Washington, DC homeless shelter.

LWSH ProBono Clinic: This team will observe and assist physicians who treat the vision and physical therapy needs of diabetic patients.

Maternal & Child Health: Working with women survivors of domestic violence, students will prepare educational sessions based on the interests of residents and staff, including reproductive and maternal & child health.

Mt. Carmel House: Medical students will educate the homeless women at this shelter on mental and physical wellness, substance abuse, life skills and career development.

My Sister’s Place: Working with women survivors of domestic violence, students will prepare educational sessions based on the interests of residents and staff, including reproductive and maternal & child health.

Perry School Teen Group: Medical students work with adolescents to research and develop a nutritional menu, acquire adapted cooking and shopping skills, and serve a meal to homeless people in a Washington, DC homeless shelter.

Prevention Works: Medical students work with adolescents to research and develop a nutritional menu, acquire adapted cooking and shopping skills, and serve a meal to homeless people in a Washington, DC homeless shelter.

Spanish Catholic Center- Colorectal Cancer Education: Students will prepare and deliver linguistically appropriate, culturally competent health education about colorectal and prostate cancer to patients 50 years and older.

Spanish Catholic Center- Pasos Saludables: Focusing on healthy lifestyle behaviors and walking clubs, students will prepare and deliver linguistically appropriate, culturally competent health education.

St. Ann’s Maternity Home: Medical students tailor meetings to meet the specific needs and health related issues of the single teen mothers.

St. Martin’s Health Promotion Project: Between the 9:00 am and 12:00 pm services on Sundays, students provide information and conduct chronic disease screenings.

St. Thomas More Elementary School: Students assigned to this schools present age-appropriate health and/or science lessons and Tar Wars, a tobacco prevention program.

Tenant Empowerment Network: In this transitional housing program, medical students will work with its enrolled families and help them achieve stability in work and their community.

Washington Hospital Center: Medical students serving at Washington Hospital Center will conduct an alcohol-related screening and appropriate intervention OR an obesity screening in the Emergency Department.