The newest addition to our early online collection, “Medical Student Volunteerism Addresses Patients’ Social Needs: A Novel Approach to Patient-Centered Care,” reports the results of an innovative program that engaged medical students in the nonmedical care of underserved patients.
Medical student volunteers addressed barriers to care such as transportation, housing, and assistance with appointments in a low-income community. After the program’s conclusion, students reported increased empathy toward patients and confidence in patient interaction.
The program met its goal of exposing students to patient interaction, social determinants of health, population health, and interdisciplinary collaboration early in their medical education. As an added result, patients received enhanced, holistic care that may improve their long-term health outcomes.