What is "Service Learning"?
“The concept of “service” rests at the core of the medical profession, which aspires to train physicians committed to improving the health of the community and serving the public” (AAMC, 1998). Service Learning differs from community volunteer activities/outreach in two key ways. It represents a reciprocal interaction between the community and the learner tied to specific overall objectives as agreed to by both parties. Service learning offers students the opportunity to deepen their understanding of the very complex causes of societal problems and health that impact patient care. Students reflect on their experiences as it relates to their personal and professional development.
Service Learning Objectives:
The University Of Maryland School Of Medicine engages in a variety of Service Learning Partnerships designed to address the many socioeconomic needs and challenges of the Baltimore community, particularly in West Baltimore. Through active involvement in the surrounding community with our partners, it is anticipated that by the end of ICM (and service learning), students will be able to:
- Demonstrate an understanding of the impact of the many factors affecting health care, and patients’ and neighborhoods’ quality of life (lack of education, employment, fair and decent housing, substance abuse, mental health, poverty, violence, lack of resources, etc.).
- Demonstrate an understanding of the physician’s professional and social responsibilities to provide care to patients who are unable to pay and to advocate for access to health care and other resources for members of traditionally underserved populations.
- Demonstrate through reflection, a better understanding of one’s behaviors and attitudes toward people, problems, situations, and how the aforementioned can be viewed in different ways depending on one’s perspective.
Over the course of their first 2 years, medical students will complete a total of 40 hours of service learning with designated community partners as follows:
- YEAR I:
- A minimum of 25 hours is to be completed, beginning October and ending in May.
- Students will be expected to attend weekly/bi-weekly for a minimum total of 3 - 4 hours per month, dependent on the needs of the site and agreed upon schedule.
- Project Selection Process: Students will choose from a listing of Community Partnerships. Students can sign up for 4 projects of interest. This will be the same process that students will experience as they schedule their clinical years’ schedule and apply for the match. More detailed instructions will be provided closer to the sign – up period. Certain projects may require an application.
- Transportation: All Students are responsible for their own transportation, i.e. Carpooling, UMB shuttle, the Circulator, Zip Car, Uber, etc.
- Fingerprinting/background checks: All students working in schools and/or youth related programs will be required to undergo this process, according to an assigned schedule. This process will be managed by the Baltimore City School System and take place on campus or with the designated partner.
- YEAR II:
- Complete the balance of 40-hour requirement (minimum 15 hours)
- It is anticipated that students will continue their placement from Year I or with another designated partner.
- BOTH YEARS: One way we learn is from our experiences. However, it is not sufficient to just “do” something. To understand the meaning of our experiences and become more self- aware, we must take the time to reflect thoughtfully about our experiences and what they mean to us (REVIEW & REFLECT) in relation to one’s education, professional and personal lives, and future practice.
- Reflection/Activity Logs: Students will log all activities, dates, times of experiences in a Service Learning Log on their Portfolio Page on MedScope. These logs will also include reflective commentary on each session and overall experience and will be reviewed quarterly. There will also be a Final Reflection assignment.
- Evaluations: Students will be evaluated by their community partner (as a group and as an individual participant). The evaluation criteria will be posted. Students will have the opportunity to complete an end of the year evaluation about their experiences. In addition, mid – year feedback sessions will be held with the Program Director and Course Director.
- End of Year Presentation: Some projects will be required to make a year- end presentation to faculty, the class, and community partners.