Creating and Completing Service-Learning within Medical School Curricula: From the Learner’s Perspective
Background: This article describes a service-learning project implemented at local free clinics by students at the Ohio State University College of Medicine and identifies key factors in their success. Methods: In response to a lack of longitudinal patient-physician relationships at free clinics, the students developed an initiative linking free clinic patients with diabetes to primary care homes for longitudinal care and counseled patients on the benefits of establishing a longitudinal relationship with a primary care physician. Results: All patients counseled were linked, compared to a historical 10% linkage rate, and 78% of patients scheduling initial appointments. Five factors were identified and listed by the students as key to the project’s process, success, and impact. Conclusion: Although all of these listed factors may prove difficult to replicate, this case-study serves as a model for other medical schools incorporating service-learning and exhibits that medical students can become integral portions of healthcare infrastructure.
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