Coordinated in conjunction with the Office of Undergraduate Medical Education, the Summer Service-Learning Assistantship Program offers rising second-year medical students the opportunity to work in a wide variety of community-based health, educational and human service organizations through the Commonwealth during the summer months.
The main goals of the program are to provide unique service-learning experiences for future physicians, help students understand the connection between an individual’s health and a community’s health, enhance students’ understanding of community health care problems and needs of underserved populations, offer employment opportunities for medical students, and provide community based organizations with needed staffing and services. For the University of Massachusetts Medical School, the program establishes and strengthens relationships with community-based health, education and human service organizations that work with underserved populations across the state.
Click here for the Summer Assistantship information sheet for students. This sheet explains the structure of the program and the expectations we hold for student participants, which include particiaption in regular reflective discussion sessions, completion of a reflection journal and creation of an informational poster, to be displayed at the Summer Student Poster Session along with those completed by students in the summer research assistantship program.
The 2012 Summer Service Learning Assistantship Posters are available for viewing online to give you asense of the types of placements and projects that are possible.
The application is available to be completed as an Acrobat smart form online, or you can download, complete and submit as a word document via email. Completed applications are due March 8, 2013 to Heather-Lyn.Haley@umassmed.edu .
Past placement sites include: Ecotarium, AIDS Project Worcester, Boston Health Care for the Homeless, Brimfield Family Health Care, Elder Services of Worcester, Habitat for Humanity, the UMass Center for the Advancement of Primary Care, the Worcester Department of Public Health, the North Quabbin Community Coalition, the Edward M. Kennedy Health Center, and many others.
What our students have had to say about their placements:
Martha’s Vineyard Youth Task Force
I knew going into this summer that it was going to be my last significant block of free time for years to come. I wanted to enjoy the summer and take the time to relax but I also wanted to make the most of my time and continue to further my education. I chose to go to the Vineyard because I had enjoyed having my Community Health Clerkship there in the fall, and wanted to go back to working with those same organizations as well as have a chance to see the Vineyard in the summer. I strongly believe in what the Youth Task Force is trying to accomplish and since they could use my help even though I was available for two weeks, I was happy to oblige...At the end of my time on the island I presented the data I had gathered as well as a list of contact information for health teachers in similar communities on Cape Cod and Nantucket so they could begin to contact other schools to discuss what they have been using and what they have been having trouble with. I gave specific recommendations and provided additional information on pricing, requesting sample materials, and tools for ongoing evaluation of any program implemented.
Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity MetroWest/Greater Worcester is located in Worcester and serves many surrounding towns. They are typically building or working on one house at a time. Working here will allow students the opportunity to work in the office on small to medium sized projects, and will also allow outdoor work/heavy lifting for those interested. Types of non-office work include working on the build site which generally runs two days per week, and working in the Restore which is a second hand store and generally involves some heavy lifting. For those not wanting to engage in heavy lifting, there is plenty of work available in the office.
Center for the Advancement of Primary Care Transitions of Care Project
“The Center for the Advancement of Primary Care (CAPC), which is jointly supported by UMass Memorial Health Care and the UMass Medical School, is dedicated to enhancing the work life of our primary care providers.
CAPC represents an important collaboration across the departments of family medicine, general internal medicine and general pediatrics. CAPC is committed to working with others across the clinical system and the Medical School in a more coordinated fashion to strengthen and enhance the valuable primary care network that already exists throughout the UMass Memorial system.
Working hard to advocate for and improve primary care are our staff and Executive committee, as well as an advisory committee with members from the broader Umass Memorial community representing UMass Memorial Medical Center, member hospitals, Community Medical Group, School of Nursing, private physicians, community health centers and other academic specialty areas.” (http://www.umassmemorial.org/)
Transitions of Care Project:
“One of the challenges faced by primary care providers is the coordination of care for patients across multiple settings. The most common instance of this coordination for patients is their transition from the hospital to home. At such times, our patients are particularly vulnerable; not only has their health been compromised, but also they may be asked to participate in many unfamiliar activities related to their health: undergoing diagnostic testing, seeing new subspecialists, struggling to institute lifestyle changes, taking new medications and participating in rehab. These are also the times during which poor coordination of care can result in complications, unnecessary duplication of services and other issues. This spring, the Center for the Advancement of Primary Care will partner with the UMass Memorial Department of Quality and Patient Safety as the department leads an initiative to optimize such transitions in care.” - Dr. Ron Adler, Primary Care News February 2010
• Meeting with PCP offices and practice improvement facilitators to create workflow plans
• Aiding PCP offices in setting up group e-mail accounts
• Researching the literature concerning projects aimed at improving transitions/reducing readmission rates and risk stratification algorithms
• Helping the project manager with administrative tasks pertaining to the project
• I interviewed the first patient in the study to be readmitted to the hospital
Y.O.U. Inc., The Carol A. Schmidt Village
I have known for the longest time that I wanted to ‘work with kids” but I never understand just what that meant. In college and high school I worked with children through the Boy Scouts, church, volunteering at a summer camp, and even as a big brother/babysitter but it was always more like playing than working. I think what I meant was that I wanted to play for a living and really had little grasp on what “working with kids” really meant. Spending a month at the Carol Schmidt Village, a transitional home for boys and girls between the ages of 10 and 18, showed me just how much work children could be but rather than stifle my enthusiasm, it reinforced my conviction.
YOU Inc. was founded almost 40 years ago as an arm of the Worcester Juvenile Court and was originally tasked with providing services to keep minors out of lockup. The organization has expanded over the years and now provides services to over 8,000 individuals across more than 30 programs, including two schools, each year. The Village provides transitional care as well as crisis intervention services and clients attend for anywhere from a few days to over a year based on their needs.
Initially I began at the Village as more of an observer than an employee and often found myself in groups with multiple staff members but by the time I left both the staff and clients accepted me as one of their own. I met with one of the child psychiatrists employed by YOU Inc. to get a feel for the type of cases she saw and spent time in every group activity from therapy to field trips to ACE. Adventure Challenge Experiences is a program of therapeutic recreation that allows the children to act like children and participate in fun activities while learning to control themselves and interact with their peers. There are countless ACE activities the students could participate in and they found themselves learning new skills without knowing it.
Through this experience I was able to meet some of those “bad” kids that are always getting in trouble and realize that they are very much the product of their environment. I met kids that had been through horrible things in their lives and the fact that they made it out the other side with just a few behavior problems is a testament to their fortitude. Witnessing the struggles these young children endured and seeing the passion the staff had for helping them get a leg up in the world was truly inspirational and I know this experience will help me become a better, more empathic, physician.