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Service-learning Wellness Initiative in the Harvard Medical School Clerkship Curriculum
Purpose: The first aim was to assess if incorporation of a
service-based initiative into the curriculum results in professional
fulfillment, principally: improved medical student feelings of compassion,
contribution, wellness, understanding of community need, and team-building of
the student class. The second aim is to report the development of this
Background: Service-learning increases student awareness of
community resources, promotes service to the community, team-building through
cooperation rather than competition, broadens cultural awareness, and fosters
wellness through hands-on contribution.
Methods: The entire class of second year clerkship students
volunteered at a local non-profit organization. Students were divided into
small groups to work at various team tasks. Following, the entire group
reconvened for teaching reflection. They were asked a value-based qualifier of
the experience. They were also asked to provide feedback as an open response.
Quantitative data were analyzed using summary statistics, Wilcoxon rank sum and
Fischer’s exact test. Content analysis was used to determine themes from the
Results: 47 students participated, 48.9% of whom were male.
Average satisfaction with the intervention was high (mean 4.26 on a 5-point
Likert scale), with no difference in satisfaction noted by gender. Positive
themes included feelings of contribution, wellness, and team-building, with 9
respondents requesting to repeat the event at regular intervals.
Discussions: It is crucial to investigate different types of wellness
interventions throughout UME. Service-based interventions are not adequately
studied and may be an important addition to the wellness program as they are a
way for students to feel connected to the community they are
General Ob-Gyn, Public Health, Team-Based Learning, UME, GME, Practice-Based Learning & Improvement, Interpersonal & Communication Skills, Professionalism, Residency Director, Clerkship Director, Faculty, 2019, CREOG & APGO Annual Meeting,