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Year : 2000  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 69-76

The Role of the Community in Educating Medical Students: Initial Impressions from a New Program

University of Florida College of Medicine, USA

Correspondence Address:
Rhondda F Waddell
University of Florida College of Medicine, Office of Generalist Education, PO Box 100291, Gainesville, FL 32610
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Purpose: The Keeping Families Healthy (KFH) program at the University of Florida College of Medicine is a new community-based course designed to improve physician– patient relationships. This paper describes the experience of the first-year medical students' home visits, which were developed to foster health promotion and disease prevention. Approach: This two-semester course offers first-year medical students the opportunity to integrate prevention, service, and humanism into the established educational curriculum. During the course the learners have opportunities to interact with families who have volunteered to serve in partnership with the College of Medicine faculty as community lay teachers. The program provides a valuable service to the participating families by helping them identify useful community resources, and by formulating healthy care plans for prevention of illness and stabilization of chronic illness. Conclusions: Community-based learning and home visits expose students to personal travails (e.g. lack of . nancial resources) in a way that cannot be addressed in traditional settings. This exposure may involve students in community-building strategies that can assist not only individual patients, but also communities. Additionally, home visits provide an opportunity for pre-clinical students to have an active rather than passive role in their education.

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