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MD Program Foundations and Frontiers Community Service Opportunities for Medical Students

Regardless of specialty, physicians have both the opportunity and the responsibility to look beyond the signs and symptoms of the patients they see, so that they can prevent disease and promote health in the community. To be effective, physicians require skills in assessing health needs and resources, planning and organizing, counseling, education, negotiation, intercultural competence, qualitative and quantitative data collection and open-ended interviewing.

Service learning is a required part of the curriculum at Drexel University College of Medicine. In addition, there are many opportunities to participate in clinical and non-clinical community service extracurricular activities.

The Office of Community Engagement

Community service at Drexel University College of Medicine.

Drexel University College of Medicine has an established Office of Community Engagement (OCE), whose mission is to integrate meaningful community service and reflective learning to prepare medical students to address socioeconomic determinants of disease and become community-responsive physicians. This office is fully dedicated to providing required, service-learning curricula for all students, and also to supporting the hundreds of students who further engage with community and social needs beyond academic requirements.

The Office of Community Engagement is administered under the shared directorship of a physician faculty member and a social worker, and involves the participation of many faculty members throughout the institution, as well as preceptors from community sites. We are proud of the variety, scope and quality of OCE programming that includes:

  • Phase 1 required course, the Health Advocacy Practicum which focuses on the social determinants of health and community based medicine)
  • Community health electives for fourth-year medical students
  • Bridging the Gaps summer Community Health Internship Program
  • Health Outreach Project Clinics
  • Volunteer opportunities for students throughout their years of study

The Phase 1 Practicum provide medical students an opportunity to learn — through direct experience, readings and discussions — about the social, economic, and cultural factors that impact health and the delivery of healthcare. Students spend time in the field at a community site, choosing from a variety of populations and projects. They also meet in small groups to discuss community-responsive medicine, and reflect upon their own values and beliefs in regard to community service.

The HOP (Health Outreach Project) Clinics

The majority of students continue to volunteer for community projects above and beyond their first-year requirements. Through the Health Outreach Project, students have the opportunity to provide primary health services under the direct supervision of a licensed physician at three different sites in Philadelphia. Over twenty faculty clinicians volunteer in these clinics. Clinics are maintained at the Salvation Army inpatient substance abuse treatment center, Eliza Shirley Shelter for homeless mothers and their children and the Street Side mobile clinic for intravenous drug users. The clinics provide some prescriptions at no cost and refer patients to medical and social services and support networks.

Learn more about our Community Service Program

The Foundations and Frontiers curriculum information presented is subject to revision.

Contact Information

Drexel University College of Medicine
Office of Admissions
60 N. 36th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

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