Social Contexts in Medicine: A Patient-Centered Curriculum Empowering Medical Students to Provide Contextualized Care

Date of Review: December, 2018

This MedEdPORTAL resource presents an elective, 18 month curriculum developed by medical students to teach incoming first year medical students about social determinants of health.  There are three primary components to the curriculum: 6 session seminar, 4 home visits, and 3 mentorship sessions. There are additional home visits during M2 year with new M1 students. The program enrolls about 20 students each year through an application process and has been changing in the 3 years since its implementation. While students reported improved attitudes towards the care of underserved patients, through the use of validated pre/post experience surveys, the standardized patient assessment was underpowered to find a difference in behavior. The materials are descriptive, though a bit lean in describing the seminar series. This curriculum doesn’t require a lot of resources and would be easily replicable at other institutions, but it does require continued investment from medical students to recruit new students and consistent mentoring faculty to maintain programmatic memory. —Sarah Hale, MD, NCEAS & Mita Goel, MD, NCEAS

Corresponding Author’s Email:


Tulane University School of Medicine

Where Was the Curriculum Implemented?

New Orleans, LA

Source of the Curriculum/Resource:


Clinical Specialty:

Family and Community Medicine, Internal Medicine, OBGYN/Womens Health, and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Outcomes that Have Been Reported for the Curriculum:

Learner Satisfaction or reaction

Self-reported learner knowledge

Measured learner attitude

Measured learner behavior in simulated setting

Outcome and Study Design:


Level of Learner Assessment:

Appreciation of content/attitude assessment (self-reflection, blogging with rubric)

Knowledge Application (Case vignette, non-reflective essay)

Demonstration of skill in a controlled environment (OSCE, Simulation)

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