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Over the course of a medical student’s training and career, he or she will have the opportunity to get to know many new communities and participate in service learning. At UCCOM, the Physician and Society courses introduce students to various neighborhoods in the Greater Cincinnati area and teaches them how to find information about the health status of the communities where they and their patients live. The focus is for students to learn about the determinants of health of patients and communities, by improving the health of a community with a community partner.
As a part of this process, student groups start a partnership with a community partner during the introductory block each August and work in conjunction with them through the following March. There are fifteen community partners for students to choose from, some of which are more closely tied to the neighborhood they are in, and some that serve the broader community. The groups work with their chosen community partner to implement a program improvement or health promotion intervention.
In service-learning, the goal is to not only meet the community partner’s objectives but the students’ learning objectives as well. To achieve this, each student group project may look different based on the needs of the community/community partner. Some projects may be more program assessment /exploring a question while others may be more program implementation. The goal is that the student partnerships with the community will build capacity from year to year and offer opportunities for sustainability so that students and community partners can build on their work within the community.
Service Learning Community Partners