In 1995, the Health Professions Schools in Service to the Nation (HPSISN) program was launched under the auspices of the Pew Health Professions Commission as a national demonstration of an innovative form of community-based education called service-learning. The foundation of service-learning is a balanced partnership between communities and health professions schools and a balance between serving the community and meeting defined learning objectives. This article offers a definition of service-learning and an outline of its core concepts; it also describes how service-learning differs from traditional clinical education in the health professions. Further, the author discusses how service-learning programs may benefit students, faculty, communities, higher education institutions, and the relationships among all these stakeholders. The article concludes with brief descriptions of recommended resources for integrating service-learning into the medical school curriculum.
(C) 1998 Association of American Medical Colleges