Medical School

Urban and Community Health Pathway

The Urban & Community Health (UCH) Pathway links education with community needs and assets, to prepare students to effectively care for patients in urban communities, promote community health, and reduce health disparities.

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About the Pathway
Both population health and patient-centered care perspectives recognize the influence of lifestyle, socio-economic factors, community resources and environmental hazards on morbidity, mortality and well-being. The Urban & Community Health (UCH) Pathway links education with community needs and assets, to prepare students to effectively care for patients in urban communities, promote community health, and reduce health disparities.
Additional Resources and Information

Pathway activities address:

  • The balance between biologic and non-biologic determinants of health
  • Medical conditions that disproportionately affect urban, underserved populations
  • Disparities in health, healthcare access and quality in urban settings
  • Community-based educational strategies to promote healthy behaviors
  • Partnership with public health and community agencies to meet health/ healthcare needs
  • Civic-engagement and leadership skills, including the ability to advocate for patients, communities and systems changes to improve health

Service Learning Activities:

These are faculty mentored, community engaged, outreach, and health promotion or education projects.  Available partnerships will be presented during the Fall orientation and listed in Brightspace/D2L.   

New partnerships may be proposed by students, faculty and/or community partners. 

Please note: An approved Service Learning Proposal is required for new projects before participation can count toward noncore hours. See Community Service Guidelines on the Pathways Information website. 

Examples of Activities

Examples of Non-core Activities:

A variety of experiences may make up the non-core activity requirements, depending on the student’s interests/goals. Students are encouraged to explore possible projects and experiences with a faculty advisor and select activities that help them meet the goals outlined in their Individual Learning Plan. Artifacts/ reflections/ other products can be collected in their learning portfolio, to be shared and reviewed with their advisor later in the year. 

  • Mentored Scholarship - A majority of effort for M3 students will likely be devoted to completion of the scholarly project, as outlined in their Project Proposal during the previous year. 
  • Service Learning Activities - These are faculty mentored, community engaged, outreach, and health promotion or education projects.  Available partnerships will be presented during the Fall orientation and listed in Brightspace/D2L. 
  • Urban Community Direct Patient Care Experiences - Includes participation in the Saturday Clinic for the Uninsured 
  • Episodic Events, Activities and Assignments - See sample templates in Brightspace
Goals and Competencies

Goals:

The Urban and Community Health Pathway aims to prepare young physicians to best care for urban, underserved and vulnerable populations by addressing social and environmental factors that contribute to health disparities.  By engaging in service-learning, students partner with community organizations to address community-identified needs to learn about the context in which patients live and service is provided, and to expand their sociocultural awareness and their roles as citizens and professionals. 

The UCH pathway links education with community needs and assets to shape knowledge, skills and attitudes needed by effective medical providers in urban, under-served communities, addressing: 

  • The balance between biologic and non-biologic determinants of health and disease 
  • Health conditions that disproportionately affect urban, under-served populations 
  • Disparities in health, healthcare access and quality in urban settings 
  • Educational strategies to promote healthy behaviors in individuals and communities. 
  • Partnership with public health/ community agencies to meet health/ healthcare needs 
  • Civic-engagement and leadership skills, including ability to advocate for patients, communities and/or systems changes to improve health.  

Pathway Competencies or Objectives:

Knowledge for Practice

  • Describe the influence of non-biologic health determinants (e.g. gender, race, culture, SES, health literacy) on health and well-being; the natural progression of disease; and on the delivery of effective medical care. 
  • Describe the complex interplay of factors that lead to disparities in health, and health care access, quality and outcomes. 
  • Describe the cultural dimensions of practice, including: cultural influences on individuals and communities, cultural influences on clinicians’ delivery of health services, and culturally competent health care. 

Patient Care

  • Integrate knowledge of socioeconomic health determinants in assessment, diagnosis and management of common illnesses (e.g. asthma, depression, hypertension, diabetes, influenza, HIV). 
  • Effectively manage chronic illnesses/ health conditions which disproportionately affect urban, underserved people. 
  • Demonstrate ability to work with and around barriers/obstacles – political, social, and medical – to provide the best quality care to patients in urban, underserved settings. 
  • Identify and employ local assets/resources and social supports, assistance programs and other community resources to assist patients in health improvement. 
  • Discuss how public policy and population-based initiatives can influence health determinants and outcomes. 
  • Participate in population health improvement strategies. 
  • Describe and compare the healthcare options for Milwaukee residents- know the eligibility requirements, benefits offered, healthcare systems available, pharmacotherapy options for patients with various insurance situations. 

Practice-Based Learning and Improvement

  • Discuss the organization and financing of the U.S. health care system, and their effects on access, cost, utilization and quality of care for individuals and populations. 
  • Differentiate between individual and population-based approaches to health. 
  • Assess the health status of populations using available data (e.g. public health surveillance data, vital statistics, registries, surveys, electronic health records and health plan claims data. 

Interpersonal Communication and Professionalism

  • Employ effective educational strategies to promote healthy behaviors in individuals and communities. 
  • Communicate effectively with people of different backgrounds in a manner that is culturally sensitive, clinically effective, and critically mindful of harmful stereotypes and characterizations. 
  • Demonstrate self-awareness of one’s own personal biases toward individuals & groups (e.g. race, gender, culture). Appreciate the culture, heritage, strengths, and challenges of Milwaukee’s diverse central city neighborhoods. 
Pathway Directors

Rebecca Bernstein, MD, MS
Associate Professor, Family and Community Medicine

Linda N. Meurer, MD, MPH
Professor, Family and Community Medicine