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Med Teach. 2010;32(11):905-11. doi: 10.3109/01421590903434169.

Nurturing social responsibility through community service-learning: Lessons learned from a pilot project.

Author information

1
The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z3, Canada. shafik.dharamsi@familymed.ubc.ca

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Community service-learning (CSL) has been proposed as one way to enrich medical and dental students' sense of social responsibility toward people who are marginalized in society.

AIM:

We developed and implemented a new CSL option in the integrated medical/dental curriculum and assessed its educational impact.

METHODS:

Focus groups, individual open-ended interviews, and a survey were used to assess dental students', faculty tutors' and community partners' experiences with CSL.

RESULTS:

CSL enabled a deeper appreciation for the vulnerabilities that people who are marginalized experience; students gained a greater insight into the social determinants of health and the related importance of community engagement; and they developed useful skills in health promotion project planning, implementation and evaluation. Community partners and faculty tutors indicated that equal partnership, greater collaboration, and a participatory approach to course development are essential to sustainability in CSL.

CONCLUSIONS:

CSL can play an important role in nurturing a purposeful sense of social responsibility among future practitioners. Our study enabled the implementation of an innovative longitudinal course (professionalism and community service) in all 4 years of the dental curriculum.

PMID:
21039101
DOI:
10.3109/01421590903434169
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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