Ten Years of Community Partnerships at a Student-Led Free Clinic: Lessons Learned

02-14-2019 18:42

Student-led free clinics are associated with a growing number of medical schools. Community partnerships are an essential part of these clinics' success and can provide unique educational opportunities that complement formal medical education. Since the establishment of our student-led free clinic ten years ago, we have collaborated and coordinated services with numerous community agencies. These partnerships are critical in assuring that our clinic services and outreach efforts are meeting unmet needs within the community. They also provide students with the opportunity to engage and collaborate with agencies that can help address the medical needs of our patients.  Frequently assessing the needs of the community helps focus expansion efforts and identify key stakeholders for services to be provided.  Identifying local organizations with similar values provides opportunities for experiential learning and funding. This session focuses on methods of engaging with the community through partnerships and collaboration as a means of providing medical students with unique learning opportunities and providing critical yet otherwise unavailable services to underserved populations. It will address how to focus efforts within the community, as well as provide pearls for effective engagement.

Author(s):Natalie Long, MD and Debra Howenstine, MD
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