Sunit Misra '19 treats a patient at Warrensburg Health Center with preceptor Paul Bachman, M.D.
A new pilot program for the clerkship year offers students the opportunity to follow a panel of patients over time, deepening their understanding of patient advocacy, community health promotion, and care coordination across different health systems. In March of 2017, three students from the Class of 2019 began their Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship (LIC) at Hudson Headwaters Health Network, a not-for-profit system of community health centers in upstate New York, and two joined the LIC at Eastern Maine Health System. Through the LIC, students develop meaningful, long-term relationships with patients and their preceptors, and begin their careers with the skills and expertise they need to deliver outstanding care in a rural setting.
With primary care physicians as preceptors, and a primary care health center as a home base, each student becomes a key member of an interdisciplinary team providing comprehensive care to patients. Students progressively develop a panel of patients to satisfy all required clinical encounters for the clerkship level. They see these patients regularly over the course of an entire year, accompanying them through all of their different experiences in the health care system. At Hudson Headwaters, one student is based out of each of the following centers: Queensbury Family Health, Warrensburg Health Center, and West Mountain Health Services. In collaboration with physicians at Glens Falls Hospital, scheduled “Burst Weeks” give students the necessary inpatient experience.
Site Director Colleen Quinn, M.D., a family physician with Hudson Headwaters, says students also work with preceptors from six different specialties, allowing students to gain additional experiences to round out their patient encounters.
“It’s a really nice way of learning medicine,” says Quinn. “You get to see how teams work in the real world.”
Regular meetings with a Hudson Headwaters physician give students important opportunities to check in on their personal development and well-being, an aspect of the program developed to mirror the Professionalism, Communication and Reflection course.
The LIC is a valuable experience for any medical student, but is particularly appealing for those who are planning careers in rural medicine. Hudson Headwaters is a federally qualified health center and the sole medical provider for much of the surrounding rural and medically underserved region. The network provides care to nearly 90,000 patients in 17 different health centers, and at Glens Falls Hospital and Moses Ludington Hospital. For students like Khaled Al Tawil ’19, the opportunity to work in this setting is invaluable as he prepares for his future practice.
“It’s a personalized program that allows students to experience providing care to rural populations in our nation,” he says, “and serving these populations is the goal of my career in medicine.”