Athens, Ga. – The Georgia Regents University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership Community Health program received one of the Shining Star Awards presented by the Group on Regional Medical Campuses at the Association of American Medical Colleges’ annual meeting in Philadelphia Nov. 1. The Shining Star Awards highlight outstanding contributions to medical education on regional medical campuses.
Directed by Dr. Laurel Murrow, the Community Health program at the Medical Partnership received the Star of Community Achievement Award. Developed in part to teach the precepts of community health through service learning, the program also contributes to the social mission of a partnership medical campus situated on the campus of the state of Georgia’s land-grant university.
The Community Health program develops teams that consist of eight medical students working with two faculty coaches and a community supervisor. Throughout the first year of medical studies, teams are linked with a community agency to learn about the population the agency serves and how the agency’s mission fits within the needs of the greater community. In collaboration with a community supervisor and the agency, the students develop and execute a project that benefits the agency and their clientele.
“In this true process of service-learning, students begin to understand the complex nature of health problems affecting the local area while delivering much needed services to specific populations,” said Dr. Barbara L. Schuster, GRU/UGA Medical Partnership Campus Dean. “Service learning has always been core to medical education and designing a community health curriculum with its anchor of working as partners with community agencies facilitates active learning while ‘giving back.'”
“A key component of the program’s success arises from the strong relationships with community agencies established each year,” said Murrow, assistant professor and clinical educator at the GRU/UGA Medical Partnership. “The Community Health Program serves as an innovative means for the Medical Partnership to achieve its social mission through community collaboration.”
“The Community Health program helps these future physicians immerse themselves in the community where they live and learn and begin to take a leadership role in addressing health issues such as obesity and depression that affect essentially all of us,” said Dr. Peter F. Buckley, Dean of the Medical College of Georgia at GRU. “We congratulate our students and faculty and thank the AAMC for its recognition of this service-approach to medical education. This award also is an endorsement of the success of our Georgia Regents University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership as well as how the partnership has been enthusiastically embraced by the Athens community.”
“The Community Health Program demonstrates how exceptional students guided by distinguished faculty can have a transformative impact on our state,” said interim UGA Provost Libby V. Morris. “I congratulate the students, faculty and administration of the GRU/UGA Medical Partnership on this well-deserved honor.”
Past and present community partners and the issues they chose to focus on include: AIDS Athens (poor graduation rates among children of HIV/AIDS patients); Athens Community Council on Aging (polypharmacy, depression, and diabetes management in seniors); Athens-Clarke County Unified Government (obesity among city workers); Athens Nurses Clinic (smoking, depression, diabetes, and hypertension among uninsured patients); Athens YMCA (cardiovascular disease in patrons); Casa de Amistad (obesity in Latinos); Early Head Start/Head Start (asthma, physical inactivity, and well-child visits for disadvantaged children); Nuci’s Space (depression and access to care for musicians); and University Health Center (sleep deprivation, iron deficiency anemia, human papilloma virus, and disability services for university students).
For more information about the GRU/UGA Medical Partnership see http://medicalpartnership.usg.edu/