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Developing Leadership and Advocacy Skills in Medical Students Through Service Learning

Long, Jeremy A. MD, MPH; Lee, Rita S. MD; Federico, Steven MD; Battaglia, Catherine PhD, RN; Wong, Shale MD, MSPH; Earnest, Mark MD, PhD

Journal of Public Health Management & Practice: July/August 2011 - Volume 17 - Issue 4 - p 369–372
doi: 10.1097/PHH.0b013e3182140c47
Original Article

Introduction: Traditional medical training focuses on ameliorating disease states but not on the underlying socially determined causes. The LEADS (Leadership Education Advocacy Development Scholarship) program at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine was designed to train medical students to become effective advocates and to promote health at the community level.

Methods: Participants in the LEADS Track complete courses in advocacy skills, perform a summer internship, and complete a mentored scholarly activity addressing population health. Students are paired with a faculty mentor and a community-based organization.

Results: Students report empowerment, improved self-efficacy, and increased likelihood of future engagement in leadership and health advocacy. Community sponsors also rate the experience as highly valuable.

Conclusions: A curriculum in advocacy and leadership skills that includes an intensive, community-based service learning experience is effective at increasing student empowerment and disposition toward community service.

A curriculum in advocacy and leadership skills that includes an intensive, community-based service learning experience is effective at increasing student empowerment and disposition toward community service.

Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, Denver Health (Dr Long), Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine (Drs Long, Lee, and Earnest), Division of General Pediatrics, Department of Community Health, Denver Health (Dr Federico), Division of General Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado (Drs Federico and Wong), and VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System and Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado Denver (Dr Battaglia), Denver, Colorado.

Correspondence: Jeremy A. Long, MD, MPH, 777 Bannock St MC 3251, Denver, CO 80204 (Jeremy.Long@dhha.org).

This program was funded by the Colorado Health Foundation.

Past and Present Community Partners include Autism Society of Colorado, Bell Policy Center, Center for African American Health, The Children's Hospital, Clínica Tepeyac, Colorado Asian Health Education and Promotion, Colorado Children's Campaign, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless' Stout Street Clinic, Colorado Coalition for the Medically Underserved, Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, Colorado Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking, Colorado Medical Legal Partnership, Colorado Physician Insurance Company, Colorado Rural Health Center, Denver Health School-based Health Program, Exempla Saint Joseph Hospital, The GLBT Center of Colorado, Harm Reduction Action Center, Metro Community Provider Network, Metro Denver Bright Beginnings, Metro Organizations for People, Mile High Downs Syndrome Association, Rocky Mountain Youth Clinics, Refugee Health Clinic at Lowry Family Health Center, Salud Family Health Centers, and Urban Peak.

Copyright © 2011 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.