PROGRAM OBJECTIVE: To provide first- and second-year medical students with stimulating learning experiences in the community.
Three hundred placements representing a broad array of urban community agencies providing both general and specialized health care services.
All first- and second-year medical students at the University of Toronto (n = 354). Other participants include staff of community agencies and tutors from the Faculty of Medicine and from the community.
The Health, illness and the Community course is mandatory and consists of 3 components. The first, in the first semester of first year, emphasizes the provision of health care in the community for individuals and populations. The second, in the second semester of first year, introduces a health promotion paradigm. The third component, throughout second year, allows students to engage in an in-depth study of the interconnection between a health problem and a social issue in a community agency setting.
Students have expressed high levels of satisfaction with the community agency placements. The feedback from agencies has also been enthusiastic. Patients in the home care program have reported that visits by medical students are a positive experience.
It is possible to recruit and maintain large numbers of urban community agencies as learning sites for medical students. It is hoped that this approach will help to produce socially responsive medical practitioners.
Comment In: CMAJ. 1997 May 15;156(10):1380, 13829164390