Starting in summer 2019, a new elective — Community Partnered Medicine — will become the latest addition to the School of Medicine’s fourth-year curriculum. It has been designed to prepare medical students to work with underserved, vulnerable populations and patients who face social barriers and challenges like accessing healthcare, obtaining medication, and having good sources for nutrition.
What makes this new two-to-four week elective unique is that it allows students to rotate through the Charlottesville Free Clinic, the UVA Ryan White HIV Clinic, the Central Virginia Community Health Center, and University Medical Associates. It gives them an opportunity to see patients in the refugee clinic, to conduct telehealth visits with patients in rural southwest Virginia and to participate in community-service activities with organizations like Habitat for Humanity, PACEM, and The Haven.
In addition to gaining patient-care experience, course participants learn about health policy and health advocacy. They also experience working in interprofessional teams with nurses, case managers, social workers, substance-abuse counselors, legal aides, pharmacists, and safety-net organizations that provide aid to community members.
As the providers among us know, it can be overwhelming to care for patients dealing with social barriers to good health. We are launching this new course to prepare students to manage those barriers and to encourage them to work with these vulnerable populations.
In development for a while, this new course dovetails nicely with President James Ryan’s vision of the University’s strengths: discovery, community, and service. It was successfully piloted in February by two of our medical students, Vaishnavi Lanka and Franck Azobou, under the preceptorship of more than a dozen faculty members. Initially, we will limit enrollment to two students per semester and hope to expand participation in the future. There are currently 14 students enrolled for the upcoming academic year.
Thank you to Drs. Drew Harris, Mohan Nadkarni, Daniel Becker, and Alan Binder for their hard work and dedication in serving both our students and the community. Thank you to the Charlottesville Free Clinic, Central Virginia Health Services, University Medical Associates, UVA Ryan White HIV Clinic and Dr. Kathleen McManus, Habitat for Humanity, The Haven, and PACEM for providing us with the opportunity to serve.
R.J. Canterbury, MD, MS, DLFAPA
Wilford W. Spradlin Professor
Senior Associate Dean for Education