A signature feature of the UConn School of Medicine experience is the degree and intensity of student involvement in the community. Whether through standard curricular offerings, or through various community service activities, students are immersed in serving the populations they will serve as junior and senior medical students.
First-year students gain an appreciation of the various patient communities in the Principles of Clinical Medicine (PCM) course. Students are given a hands-on introduction to the communities through guided tours as part of the introduction to PCM. Tour guides brief students on the history and development of Greater Hartford's diverse communities.
Students receive their first community involvement through the Student Continuity Practice placement, where they are assigned to work with physician preceptors in their practices one afternoon a week for three years. Students gain significant exposure to various community agencies as part of their training and exposure in their program. Students may select a Community Service Improvement Project, a two-month experience in the fourth-year curriculum, to fulfill the selective requirement. Through these required and elective course offerings, students come to better appreciate the communities they serve, and to appreciate the necessity for cultural sensitivity and competence in serving the varied populations.
Throughout medical school, students are offered a multitude of volunteer opportunities to give time, attention and service to the local communities. A short description of many of these offerings is given here to capture the strong sense of service that defines the culture and character of the student body.
Bridge to the Future Science Mentoring Program
The student-run mentoring program in cooperation with the Health Career Opportunity Programs and the Student National Medical and Dental Association chapters offers medical, dental, graduate, nursing and allied health students, who have an interest in the health professions, the opportunity to serve as mentors to high school and college students. These students are generally identified by the Health Professions Partnership Initiative established through the Health Career Opportunity Programs office.
Hartford Health Education Program
The Hartford Health Education Program is a collaboration between the Hartford School System and the School of Medicine and Dental Medicine. Each year, pairs of medical and dental students spend one hour a week in Hartford middle schools teaching about topics such as puberty, sexually transmitted diseases, violence prevention and drug abuse. The program is one of the few health education resources available to these children.
Migrant Farm Workers Clinic
Started in the summer of 1998, the migrant farm workers mobile clinic was established to provide medical care. The clinic runs from mid-June to late October on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday between 6:30 p.m. and sundown. The clinic is staffed by local physicians, students from UConn's and Yale's medical schools, UConn's dental school, residents, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners. Farm workers are seen for conditionings such as diabetes, upper respiratory infections, hypertension, musculoskeletal injuries, dermatitis and AIDS, dental screenings. Oral hygiene instruction is also offered.
South Park Inn Medical Clinic
South Park Inn Medical Clinic is a free, full-coverage clinic providing primary care services to transient residents of the South Park Inn Homeless Shelter. The clinic is operated by medical students and local volunteer physicians who provide services at the clinic, where students gain valuable clinical experiences and provide much needed health services. The clinic is fully staffed by five medical students and an attending physician every Tuesday and Thursday evening from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Every student in the School of Medicine chooses to volunteer some time at South Park.