Community Service as Part of a Complete Medical Education

In line with the education theme of the spring issue of the Ochsner Journal, Dr. Chinwe Onyekere and colleagues make a convincing case for the importance of getting medical students out of the lecture hall.

The Medical Student Advocate program gives second-year osteopathic medical students at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine the opportunity to work with patients at the local Lankenau Medical Center to address nonmedical needs that stand in the way of patients receiving necessary and consistent care.

As a result of their involvement in the program, students reported “increased empathy towards patients and demonstrated an understanding of the social determinants of health and their impact on health outcome” as well as increased confidence as they continued on to their third year of medical school.

The success of this program from both the patient and student perspective is undeniable and confirms the claim that interaction with other disciplines outside of the classroom setting is a vital addition to a medical student’s preparation for serving patients with empathy and understanding.

Click here to read “Medical Student Volunteerism Addresses Patients’ Social Needs: A Novel Approach to Patient-Centered Care.”

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