The Service and Advocacy Learning Community (SALC) consists of students and faculty committed to promoting service and advocacy across all spectrums of medical students in the Saint Louis University School of Medicine.
The mission of the Service and Advocacy Learning Community is to increase awareness/interest in family medicine and primary care by serving the students, the institution, the community, and anyone in need. The following groups may also be of interest:
- Child Abuse Prevention Program
- HIV Task Force
- Empowering Youth Today
- Physicians for Human Rights
- Tar Wars
According to a monograph published by the National Learning Community Project at the Washington Center of Evergreen State College, “service learning and learning communities have garnered widespread attention in recent years as two important innovations… Service learning calls for students to become engaged in community-based work as a path to deeper understanding of the subject matter topics and engaging in civic life. The curricular structure and learning environments of learning communities provide a platform that encourages intellectual collaboration and social engagement for faculty members and students across disciplines and social boundaries."
Best practices in learning communities support structural and communication planning in order that students have the opportunity to create the greatest value in their personal learning and development as well as in their service to the community. This intentional development is also necessary to create and guide experiences and subsequent reflections that enable students to cultivate their empathy for others – or at least not have it diminished by traditional medical education methods – and to deepen their appreciation and respect for diverse perspectives and needs in the community.
- Create a forum for discussion of issues and resources around health promotion and disease prevention in the St. Louis community that support and contribute to the learning experiences while students are in medical school.
- Develop strategic community partnerships and identify possible community integration projects and resources for SLU medical students to engage in longitudinal experiences in the community that enhance learning and future clinical practice. (Based upon student input and projects in the current Distinction in Community Service, health themes have been identified to guide these initial strategic partnerships.
- Establish a structure for the learning community in collaboration with students and SOM faculty advisors to welcome new medical students and assist them in identifying and engaging in community partnerships and projects.
- Create resources and identify speakers who may assist students in developing an understanding of the historical aspects of healthcare in St. Louis and a broader understanding of the issues that impact health disparities.
- Create resources and partnerships that support student engagement in SOM Outreach Education Task Force groups.