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Experiential Learning

Experiential learning will be a key aspect of the program. Trainees will have opportunities to engage in experiential learning in all three years of the program with particular focus on experiential learning in Year 3. Examples of experiential learning opportunities include:  

  • Clinical Work: Trainees with clinical backgrounds (e.g., pediatricians) will be encouraged to commit an average of one day per week to pediatric clinical service. Clinical service will be vital to ensure trainees have the appropriate grounding and foundation from which to formulate new study ideas and hypotheses and create novel clinical interventions.  

  • Shadowing Experiences: Given the importance of community organizations in SDOH equity research, trainees will have the opportunity to shadow individuals working at social service agencies (e.g., SNAP, WIC, Head Start), community agencies (e.g., Fresh Start Wellness Center, Boys and Girls Club), and school-based clinics in Worcester, Massachusetts.  

  • Volunteer Experiences: Trainees will have the opportunity to volunteer 20-40 hours per year in the UMass Anchor Mission Volunteer Program which provides volunteer opportunities at non-profit organizations (researched, vetted, and designated by our Anchor Mission Volunteer Committee) that address SDOH—things like literacy, unemployment, physical environment, hunger, and education—that can adversely affect the communities served by UMass Memorial entities. As research shows that volunteering improves mental health and helps people find purpose and meaning in their lives, promoting volunteering is a way to also enhance the well-being of trainees.