BUFFALO, N.Y. — Service learning — where students
put what they’re learning to work by volunteering in the
community — has been steadily growing in popularity at the
University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
More than half of UB’s medical students take the service
This year, there’s a new twist: For the first time, all
incoming UB medical students will be required to log at least 10
hours of service learning annually for all four years of medical
To kick off this new requirement, and to give classmates a
chance to work together before classes start on Monday, the medical
school is holding its inaugural Medical Student Day of Service on
Saturday, Aug. 9.
Members of the media are invited to attend. Students will be
working at the sites from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Media contact: Debbie Stamm, assistant dean for student service,
UB medical school, at 716-481-1757.
Nearly half of the incoming class is participating. Sixty
first-year students will join 10 upperclassmen at these sites:
City Mission Thrift Shop, 510 Dick Rd., Depew. Students will sort
and organize donations.
for Humanity, Buffalo. Students will assist in light construction
activities at a new home at 324 14th St.
Park cleanup, 164 Tyler St., Buffalo. Students will help the
University Heights Collaborative and Heath Street Block Club clean
up the park; some residents may join in, too.
Lawrence Parish, 1520 East Delavan Ave., Buffalo. Students will
assist in stocking and organizing the Food Pantry, “Clothes
Closet” and Pediatric Clinic.
Park, 9551 Buffalo Ave., Niagara Falls. Students will weed, water
and provide garden maintenance, working with Buffalo Niagara
Upper-classmen are also participating, some of whom are members
of the UB chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society, which
promotes humanism in medicine at U.S. medical schools. Several UB
medical school faculty also will participate.
The increased emphasis on service learning is part of a national
trend, says David Milling, MD, senior associate dean for student
and academic affairs in the UB medical school, but it also builds
on the medical school’s strong, historic service learning
orientation, he says.
In 2001, students established the Lighthouse Free Medical
Clinic, and they play an integral role in operating it today.
Medical students also work at clinics throughout the city and with
community organizations, such as the Buffalo City Mission,
Cornerstone Manor, Good Neighbors Health Care, Jericho Road
Community Health Center, Friends of the Night People and others. UB
medical students also volunteer through a variety of programs with
the Buffalo Public Schools, including Tar Wars, the tobacco-free
education program for elementary school children.
“This is a huge and important way for our students to
learn about disparities in the community and about cultural
competency, in addition to what our students learn in the classroom
and with their preceptors,” says Milling. “This is
cultural competency in action.
“Our message to our students is: ‘You’re going
to be in Buffalo for at least four years,’” concludes
Milling. “’Part of your mission as a medical student is
to contribute to leaving Buffalo a better place than when you came
The Medical Student Day of Service is sponsored by Polity, the
UB medical student governing body; UB’s Office of Medical
Education; the UB Chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society; the
UB Medical Alumni Association; and the Wendel Endowment.