The Community Health Track is a comprehensive, four-year curriculum in community health that is integrated into the Scholarship & Discovery curriculum at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. The Pritzker School of Medicine is geographically situated on Chicago's South Side, which is an ideal location for students to become actively engaged in community service projects that can provide powerful influences. Many of our students choose Pritzker because of the opportunity to become involved in our surrounding communities. With our strong partnerships with community clinics, schools, neighborhood programs, and local organizations, Pritzker offers students an established infrastructure from which to develop scholarly service projects. Through relevant coursework, student-led community clinics and educational outreach, summer service projects, and a culminating body of scholarship, students who choose to pursue the Community Health Scholarship Track have a unique opportunity to graduate with a strong understanding of community and the ways in which medical students and physicians can partner with communities to promote and sustain health. The service efforts of the Pritzker community work in tandem with those of the greater University's Urban Health Initiative.
Core Components of the Community Health Track:
Required First-Year Coursework and Electives
All matriculating first-year students are enrolled in the Health Care Disparities in America course as a part of the summer quarter. This course offers students an introduction to the prevailing issue through lectures, classroom discussion, and clinic visits. As a component of the Scholarship & Discovery curriculum, students in the Community Health Scholarship Track are also required to enroll in a track-specific elective during the spring quarter of their first year.
Community Health Scholars have the opportunity to participate in the many opportunities for service-learning at Pritzker. Pritzker has an established partnership with four free community clinics and many local schools, all of which offer opportunities for leadership and volunteerism. Students will also participate in the quarterly Day of Service, sponsored by the Pritzker Community Service Fellowship and the Pritzker Societies.
Primary Care for Vulnerable and Underserved Populations Speaker Series
This monthly speaker series for students, residents, and faculty, held in a faculty member's home off campus, addresses topics in community health. Past speakers have discussed "Homeless Patients: Best Practices for Improving Health," "Recognizing and Caring for Patients with Opioid Addiction," and "Providing Patient-centered Care when Caring for Patients with Limited English Proficiency."
Students meet with various faculty who help them identify an area of interest. Students are then matched with mentors whose background and experiences align with the clinical, service, and research interests. Students will work with their mentors throughout their four years of medical school.
Summer Service or Research Project
During the summer following the first year, Community Health Track students have the opportunity to begin to develop a long-term scholarly skills. Students may choose to participate in the Summer Service Partnership, the Schweitzer Fellowship, the Human Rights Internship, Summer Links (sponsored by the University Community Service Center), or a community-health related project in the Summer Research Program. More opportunities can be found on the External Programs and Funding page.
Students supplement their required medical school clinical curriculum by participating in local community health centers that provide care to underserved populations. Students may choose a community site for the Longitudinal Program during the first and second years. The required Pediatrics and Family Medicine third-year clerkships place students in community health centers.
Students in the Community Health Track are required to participate in an intensive community health experience during the fourth year. Experiences will culminate with a scholarly activity such as presenting at a local, national, or international conference, publishing an article in a peer-reviewed journal, and/or participating the Senior Scientific Session.
Examples of Student Work
- International Examples of Undocumented Immigration and the Affordable Care Act, Matthew Stutz, MD'14
- Tackling The Weight Of The World: What One African Woman Taught Us About Global Obesity, Laura Blinkhorn, MD'13
- Pritzker Mammography Access Partnership
- Summer Service Project Team Woodlawn Blog