Engaging Communities to Enhance and Strengthen Medical Education: Rationale and Summary of Experience


  • Kim Bullock,

  • Beverley Roberson Jackson,

  • Jessica Lee


Change in medical education through curricular reform has gained momentum in recent years due to multiple external forces. In addition, health access issues have coalesced to require that a broad set of voices be heard and served through the current health-care system. This requires that medical professionals be especially attuned to their communities and the multitude of cultures and voices that reside within them. In an attempt to illustrate how these changes can be practically incorporated into a medical education curriculum, this article highlights one institution's experience with a community-based health solution. The Georgetown University School of Medicine (GUSOM) Service-Learning program provides an example of how a community-based health solution can bridge the gap of social and clinical medicine through the framework of systems thinking principles and focus on teamwork to facilitate collaboration among faculty, community members, and students. This article will briefly explain the history, learning objectives, and context of the program, and in addition, provide a brief case study examining how the program engaged the problem of increasing immunization rates in the Washington, DC area.