Two medical schools partnered with community organizations to provide free gynecologic care to uninsured women. The clinics integrate community outreach, patient care, and a peer-teaching model. Both are volunteer-run with the mission to improve the health of underserved women in need of gynecologic care and enhance student education and career development.
Student volunteers completed an 18-item, open-ended survey evaluating motives for volunteering and the impact on education. Surveys were sent electronically to volunteers (n=137) with a response rate of 51%. Results were thematically coded and analyzed by two separate individuals.
Students reported their motives for volunteering were to: gain experience in gynecology or women’s health (65%), learn about and contribute to underserved medicine (55%), and increase clinical experiences (36%). All students reported achieving their self-identified goals. Peer teaching provided a positive experience for 98%, with students valuing learning from upperclassmen and teaching underclassmen. Volunteering sparked, increased, or confirmed an interest in a career in obstetrics and gynecology (48%) and women’s health (11%). Volunteering also sparked, increased, or confirmed interest in a career in underserved medicine (79%) and academic medicine (41%).
Volunteer-run clinics provide opportunities for the growth of our next generation of physicians. Through this model, medical students participate in a unique space to set and achieve career goals while simultaneously improving upon clinical skills. At Share the Health, career goals that developed or were reinforced included gynecology, women’s health, and underserved medicine. Further studies might explore if current OB/Gyn physicians had similar experiences to inform career choices.
Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Maywood, IL
Financial Disclosure: The authors did not report any potential conflicts of interest.