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Medical Student Programs

Population Health Clerkship (formerly the Community Health Clerkship)

Community Medicine Clerkship Poster Session

Second year medical students are required to study health problems and health care services by spending a two-week block in local communities.  A major goal of the Population Health Clerkship, directed by Mick Godkin, Ph.D. in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, is to train future physicians to understand and serve the health needs of populations which are traditionally neglected in medical education but which have a big impact on health care costs. Students focus on the problems and services that exist among specific populations such as racial minorities, patients with AIDS, poor families, substance abusers, the elderly, the homeless, the mentally retarded, abused children and the incarcerated.

By having first hand experiences with these populations and the services available to them, we are encouraging students to become doctors who are active through outreach in defining the health needs and services in communities in which they serve.

As Godkin states,

"In large part, medical education produces doctors who wait passively in institutions for those patients who happen to have access to treatment.As a consequence, patients who are served are often in later stages of illness and many people are not served at all. Physicians need to be active participants in defining the health care needs of all people and in the implementation of responsive health care systems that emphasize health promotion."

In terms of the mechanics of the course, students select one of approximately twenty population-specific groups directed by a UMass Chan faculty member. In small group conferences, in the fall of each academic year, students learn about their selected health problems and are assigned to appropriate community agencies for a two-week field experience in October. Volunteer field preceptors in these agencies are responsible for directing the students' daily activities according to detailed objectives, which are available at .

Students are evaluated by means of a required paper that serves as an analysis of their experiences, as well as a poster session that provides students an opportunity to synthesize the experiences of each group and a means to exchange information between groups and participating faculty.

For additional information, please contact the Course Director:

Michael Godkin, Ph.D.

Department of Family Medicine and Community Health
Benedict BuildingThird FloorA3-225
55 Lake Avenue North
Worcester, MA01655

Telephone:(774) 442-3917
Fax:(774) 441-6212