The Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) defines service-learning as “a structured learning experience that combines community service with preparation and reflection. Students engaged in service-learning provide community service in response to community-identified concerns and learn about the context in which service is provided, the connection between their service and their academic coursework, and their roles as citizens and professionals.”
Service-learning goes beyond mere “volunteerism” which many prospective medical students already engage in as part of their eligibility for matriculation. Service-learning goes beyond charity and altruism demonstrated by community service as they have equal focus on both the service being provided and the learning that occurs.
For the participants in community and global service-learning, UCF College of Medicine service-learning projects:
- demonstrate the relevance of academic work to real-world experiences;
- emphasize themes of diversity, cultural medicine and socio-economic issues as they relate to health care delivery and disparity;
- provide a means for applying principles of professionalism as well as empathic and ethical care;
- expose students to potential career options and research opportunities;
- encourage students to hypothesize solutions to challenges that surface in service-learning projects;
- provide immersive opportunities for developing a basic understanding of Medical Spanish and other languages.