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Medical Distinctions

Medical distinctions consist of collectives of students and faculty who share common interests and passions. M.D. students at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine have the option to join one of six distinction communities.


You may belong to one community but participate in the activities of others. Distinction communities are responsible for the development of longitudinal electives for the first two years of the curriculum. Communities are also responsible for providing lunch-time or evening seminars, providing mentorship to students, and creating greater summer opportunities for students between the first and second year.

Global Health

 The Global Health Distinction Community focuses on global health and its relation to medical students.

Health Care Ethics

The Health Care Ethics Distinction Community focuses on the many intersections of medicine and ethics.

Medical Education

The Medical Education Distinction Community focuses on the academic side of medicine as it relates to medical students.


The Research Distinction Community focuses on the research of SLU medical students.

Service and Advocacy

The Service and Advocacy Distinction Community focuses on the services and advocacies of SLU medical students.


The Wellness Distinction Community focuses on the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual wellness of SLU medical students.

Critical Reflection Within Distinction Communities

Critical reflection is a process of personal or group reflection. It is an intentional structured process to share your thought process.

Critical reflection begins with the recall of a specific event (or series of events) you have during your community or clinical training. It includes thought and documentation regarding how this experience relates to you, its meaning, application and relation to your future work.

Critical reflection is the internal process that ties your experience back to the course content or your project objectives (academic materials and your relevant service or experience) and what these all mean to you. It is a personal quality improvement process that can be transformative.

Components of Reflection


  • Consider the dynamics of the event. What happened/what did you do?
  • What is the context of the event?
  • What did each party bring to the event?
  • What caught your attention about the event?
  • What turned this interaction into an event?
  • What was the outcome of the event?

The event may be small or large but is something noteworthy. It may result in a positive or negative outcome for the patient, or it may strike surprising or intense thoughts and emotions in you.

So What?

Analyze the causes related to the experience.

  • What are the variables involved?
  • What cultural, personal or system factors the contributed to this event?
  • What were your experiences, attitudes or emotions about this event?
  • How did the experience impact you and why?
  • What was the impact on the patient or client?

Now What?

Apply your community experience to the learning objectives of the course or project.

  • How does your experience relate to the project themes (service, advocacy, health disparities or community need)?
  • How will you incorporate the relevant information about this experience into your future actions?
  • How may this event and the associated reflection inform your knowledge, attitudes and behaviors as a developing clinician?
  • Is there anything you would like to learn or do now that you have had this experience?

Why Critical Reflection?

Critical reflection enables you to maximize the learning and personal development form various experiences and events.

Critical reflection allows an objective and learning-focused method of working through service and clinical care situations that may be uncomfortable, stressful or new.

Critical reflection allows you to identify areas of personal strength and personal weakness, identify areas for learning, change and acquire new skills.
The consistent practice of critical reflection can transform you into a more thoughtful, competent and effective provider.

Critical reflection, when done by yourself or in a group setting, helps develops skills to articulate beliefs, emotions and behaviors that can be common to health care providers. You will become more comfortable and effective in communicating with peers and others in the service community.

Critical reflection is a process of continual self-improvement and transformation. It allows you to more clearly define your values and internal motivations while linking daily activities to developing knowledge, attitudes and practices.

Critical reflection can cultivate a connection with self, others and community that can contribute to enjoying your practice and prevent burnout.

Critical reflection is not:

  • A list of activities or busy work.
  • A documentation of introspection and emotions.
  • A subjective description of your experience.
  • A touchy/feely, free association of ideas related to your experience.
  • An individual or group therapy session.