Outreach and Engagement
The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health Office of Community Service Programs has been supporting students since 2002, working to increase and improve medical student service and civic engagement opportunities.
Community engagement and service-learning enhances medical education by bringing knowledge learned in the classroom to life, contributing to communities, and providing a solid foundation for professional altruism.
According to the Pew Health Professions Commission's 1998 report, "The nation and its health professionals will be best served when public service is a significant part of the typical path to professional practice. Educational institutions are the key to developing this value."
It is our hope that UW School of Medicine and Public Health students will take advantage of the various opportunities for service and engagement available to them as medical students, and that these experiences inform and enrich their education.
Over the past few years, there has been increasing recognition of the importance of service and engagement in medical education. Both the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME, the accrediting body for medical schools) and the American Medical Association (AMA) have spoken directly to this issue.
Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) Requirements
Standards for Accreditation of Medical Education Programs Leading to the MD degree
IS-14-A: Medical schools should make available sufficient opportunities for medical students to participate in service-learning activities, and should encourage and support student participation.
(Liaison Committee on Medical Education. "Functions and Structure of a Medical School: Standards for Accreditation of Medical Education Programs Leading to the M.D. Degree". June 2008. [cited 2010 May 24]; Available at: http://www.lcme.org/functions2008jun.pdf)
(New standard approved by the LCME in February 2007, effective as of July 1, 2008)
The LCME defines service-learning as a structured learning experience that combines community service with preparation and reflection. Students engaged in service-learning provide community service in response to community-identified concerns and learn about the context in which service is provided, the connection between their service and their academic coursework, and their roles as citizens and professionals.
(Definition from Seifer SD. "Service-Learning: Community-campus partnerships for health professions education." Academic Medicine, 73(3):273-277 (1998).)
American Medical Association (AMA) Resolution
AMA resolution 321 — Service-Learning in Medical Education
RESOLVED, That our AMA support the concept of service learning as a key component in medical school and residency curricula; and be it further
RESOLVED, That these experiences include student and resident collaboration with a community partner to improve the health of the population.