Community Service and the Pediatric Exam an Introduction to Clinical Medicine via a Partnership Between First Year Medical Students and a Community Elementary School

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Background: Introduction to clinical medicine courses traditionally focus on inpatient wards or ignore the well-child exam. Purpose: This program uses an elementary school setting to give 1st-year medical students experience in the well pediatric exam while emphasizing service learning. The program has both learning and service objectives. Medical students learn the art of the pediatric exam while providing a service for an underserved population. Medical students visit a community school and receive lectures about the roles of different providers and the well being of school children. Under faculty guidance they conduct physical exams on kindergartners. Methods: For 2005–2007, 301 medical students participated. Results: Medical student evaluations of the experience, measured on a 5-point Likert scale, are overwhelmingly favorable. Conclusions: The program provides a model for early clinical experience that embraces service learning. It instills an ethic of service and illustrates how the community can be a valuable teaching resource.



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