Release Date: August 7, 2014
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 learning elective.
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 school.
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:
· Buffalo City Mission Thrift Shop, 510 Dick Rd., Depew. Students will sort and organize donations.
· Habitat for Humanity, Buffalo. Students will assist in light construction activities at a new home at 324 14th St.
· Linear 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.
· St. Lawrence Parish, 1520 East Delavan Ave., Buffalo. Students will assist in stocking and organizing the Food Pantry, “Clothes Closet” and Pediatric Clinic.
· Griffon Park, 9551 Buffalo Ave., Niagara Falls. Students will weed, water and provide garden maintenance, working with Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper.
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 here.’”
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.