All students at the University of Virginia School of Medicine enroll in the first-year Social Issues in Medicine course. Based on a service-learning model, this course introduces students to the social, cultural, economic and political issues that impact patient care and the health care delivery system. Students attend content talks that inform them about various social issues in medicine, engage in follow-up discussions on themes raised by content talk presenters, complete written reflection assignments, and perform 30 hours of community service.
When possible and an appropriate site is available, Generalist Scholars students perform their community service assignment as a group. They work together as a team or in small groups at a community site to address a particular community need or challenge. In the past, students have done their service at the local shelter for women and at the regional jail. Sites vary from year to year depending on the capacity of a site to utilize student assistance and to supervise them. In some cases, students may work in pairs or teams at several different sites.
Currently students are working at the local jail, the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail, where they design and implement a health-related curriculum that focuses on health and making healthy life-style choices. Students research and develop curriculum and design lesson plans in the fall semester of their first year of medical school and teach the lessons to the inmates of the jail during the spring semester.
Outreach & Community Service
Providing Basic Health Screenings at The Haven:
GSP students participate with other medical students in a variety of health screening and education activities in the greater Charlottesville area. In the past they have performed screenings in the Latino community at a Cinco de Mayo event, at an African-American fair in a local park, and at a local public housing site. Such activities permit students to deepen their understanding of the healthcare needs of area residents. Students are encouraged to seek out such opportunities for service throughout their academic career.