Community Health Pathway
Poverty, homelessness, access to care, and unemployment are just a few of the hardships that directly impact health. At UT Southwestern Medical Center, medical students gain the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to deliver health care from a community medicine perspective. Those satisfying the program requirements will be recognized as graduating with the degree of Doctor of Medicine, with Distinction in Community Health.
Through interaction with UT Southwestern faculty, students learn community-based participatory research (CBPR) methodologies and obtain insight into the social and structural determinants to health. Coursework blends traditional education models with field research, giving students many opportunities to work among underserved communities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. As a requirement for the Distinction in Community Health, students must complete a research project on a selected topic of interest.
“The program has helped provide a foundation upon which I can grow as a more well-rounded and knowledgeable physician to more wholly and effectively serve my patients.”
Medical School Class of 2020
“For me, the most fulfilling part was getting to hear the stories of each client. ... They taught me how important it is to meet people where they are at.”
Medical School Class of 2021
“The Community Action Research Track has allowed me to combine two things that I am passionate about – volunteering in the student-run free clinics and research.”
Medical School Class of 2021
“These experiences solidified my interest in primary care and community medicine and inspired by the amazing family medicine faculty that I had met in medical school, I decided that I wanted to become a family physician myself.”
Medical School Class of 2020
- Community Action Research Track (CART) – Start in MS1 or MS2
- Attend our Discovery Event in the Fall of your MS1 year to learn how you can get involved.
- CART is available all four years of medical school, though you are only eligible to apply during your MS1 and MS2 years.
- The five required components to complete CART include instruction, electives, and service-learning opportunities over four years with active community engagement and collaboration.
- Medical school students who complete CART receive special recognition in our commencement program upon graduation from Medical School
- Community Health Fellowship Program (CHFP) – MS1
CHFP is a 10-week summer experience for MS1s that:
- Introduces first-year medical students to community-based participatory research
- Emphasizes the importance of collaboration as a means for addressing community health problems in underserved communities
- Assists community-based organizations in identifying the needs of those they serve, investigating how well the needs are being met, evaluating additional resource needs, and providing information that can be used to obtain and coordinate additional resources
- Benefits the participating organization, while teaching medical students the value of collaboration to achieve optimal health outcomes among underserved communities
- Applications open in December of MS1 with interviews in early February and the Fellowship starts a week after classes end for the summer
- Student-Run Free Clinics (includes Monday Clinic)
The Student-Run Free Clinics and their community partners provide minor acute care to the medically underserved of the Dallas community for no cost or are only donation based. In a six-month period, these clinics have several thousand patient visits and contribute significantly to the health of our community. – Logan Mills, Medical School Class of 2021
- The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship
- UT Southwestern partners with SMU Dedman College for this opportunity.
- Students must have a well-defined project that will provide direct service to an underserved population in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. A summation of the project is part of the application process.
- All students enrolled in a graduate or professional degree granting programs are eligible to apply. Deadline is January 31 each year.
- Visit the Schweitzer Fellowship website for more details. Or contact Courtney Roy via email@example.com.
Students interested in Community Health can deepen their understanding while helping the community with this elective.
Community Medicine FAM 2103 – MS3 or MS4
- This four-week experience is one of the required components of the CART program
- Our Community Health faculty and staff provide guidance in finding a community organization, a project, and a research mentor
- Please note that approval from Community Health faculty is needed to enroll and confirm your project selection
The Community Health Track provides students with practice-oriented and/or service-oriented learning opportunities related to community medicine. The track provides students interested in Community Health with an immersive and experiential opportunity that blends traditional learning modalities (didactic lectures, roundtable discussions, and individual-paced study) with fieldwork conducting research in collaboration with selected community-based organizations, within the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, working with underserved populations.
- 12 week Community-Based Participatory experience
- Community Health faculty and staff provide guidance in finding a community organization, a project, and a research mentor
- Online modules in D2L provide knowledge about CBPR
- Several group update meetings to discuss progress on student projects
- The Scholarly Activity is a component that is needed to gain research hours for a Distinction in Community Health
Students with the highest level of interest in Community Health can set themselves apart by earning a distinction. In addition to the Community Health Fellowship Program, scholarly activity, and the Community Medicine Elective, students also complete a thesis and submit the final manuscript to a peer-reviewed journal.