Community for Children's curriculum is focused on professional development of the physician as advocate within an international setting. Medical students and residents are taken out of the hospital and clinic settings into an international setting to discover sources of health, disease and healing within any particular community. A significant amount of time is spent in the community, assessing needs and implementing advocacy projects, in collaboration with community organizations and the families they serve. Participants make house calls, getting to know the families and their struggles. There is also protected time for reflection, the role of advocacy in participants’ lives and work, individualized professional development counseling and close mentoring from CfC faculty.
Although the participants have the opportunity to work in clinics and hospitals during the four weeks, the focus of the curriculum is not clinical, but rather professional development within community.
A large component of the curriculum is fostering a culture of compassion among physicians as they attempt to provide a culture of healing and compassion for their patients.
Objective 1: The Rights of the Child
• Participation in workshops designed to explore the crucial role of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in promoting communities of peace, tolerance, freedom, health, equality and solidarity with children.
• Examination of the inseparable relationship between human rights and health through a review of curriculum and resources by WHO, Children’s Defense Fund, American Academy of Pediatrics and others.
• Meetings with local professionals engaged in the protection of children’s rights and depending on location, visit with illegal immigrant children and meet with immigration officials.
Objective 2: Social Determinants of Health
• Review of a comprehensive, didactic curriculum produced by the UT School of Public Health examining the social determinants of disease, including the economics and healthcare infrastructures in resource-poor regions, barriers to healthcare access for children and their families, environmental justice, migrant/occupational justice, and effective and ethical cultural research.
• World Health Organization Commission on Social Determinants of Health -Final Report. Closing the Gap in a Generation: health equity through action on the social determinants of health.
Objective 3: Clinical Care in Resource-Poor Regions
• Resource material and didactics on the challenges of providing ICU services where there is no ICU and a review of infectious and chronic diseases associated with poverty.
• Meetings with healers not schooled in allopathic Western medicine to discuss alternative health beliefs and practices.
Objective 4: Impact of Poverty, Immigration and Violence
• Home visits with faculty and lay health educators.
• Examination of roots of poverty through interaction with faculty, families, community leaders, community organizations, and literature review.
• Reflective essays on observations and experiences.
Objective 5: Cultural Competency
• Review of current literature on cultural and linguistic competency and key resources focusing on cultural and linguistic issues.
• Participation in discussions on culturally and linguistically competent communication in medical practice with clinical faculty and using online tutorial.
• Daily opportunities to encounter people whose language, values, affect, economics, religion, norms and politics are personally foreign to the participants.
• Recreational and social opportunities for cultural exchange.
• Individualized Spanish lessons
Objective 6: Preparing for Advocacy
• Review and discussion of American Academy of Pediatrics “Community-based Resident Projects Toolkit.”
• Advocacy project with a group of community-based organizations (CBO).
• Review of physician-oriented materials for making system changes and meetings with local policymakers to discuss methods for effecting policy changes.
Objective 7: Fostering a Culture of Compassion
• Guided reflection time to explore how medical training supports or undermines compassion for self and for others.
• Reflection on the meaning, causes and repercussions of poverty, and our own emotional responses to the poor among us.
• Reflection on the meaning of “place” in patients’ lives and our own.
Objective 8: Professional Development
• Correspondence prior to attendance to encourage reflection on personal values, affinities, and the “heart” in medicine.
• Private time for reflection on personal meaning, call to action, or sense of direction.
• Individualized professional development counseling.
• Post-elective mentoring.