Teaching and addressing health disparities through the family medicine social and community context of care project.

Document Type


Publication Date



Family Medicine

Journal Title

Rhode Island medical journal

MeSH Headings

Attitude of Health Personnel, Clinical Clerkship, Community Health Services, Curriculum, Family Health, Health Promotion, Healthcare Disparities, Humans, Residence Characteristics, Rhode Island, Schools, Medical, Students, Medical, Teaching


By training future physicians to care for patients with backgrounds different from their own, medical schools can help reduce health disparities. To address the need for education in this area, the leaders of the Family Medicine Clerkship at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University developed the Social and Community Context of Care project, required of all medical students rotating through this clerkship. Students develop a hypothetical intervention addressing a health issue seen at their preceptor site, and are assessed on their grasp of the social and contextual issues affecting that health issue in their particular community. Some interventions are actualized in later clerkships or independent study projects; one example, a health class for pregnant and parenting teens at Central Falls High School, is described here. If made a routine part of medical education, projects such as these may help medical students address the health disparities they will encounter in future practice.



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