Chronic disease management: Teaching medical students to incorporate community

Mercer University School of Medicine, Savannah, GA 31404, USA.
Family medicine (Impact Factor: 1.17). 11/2009; 42(10):736-40.
Source: PubMed


As a response to the growing prevalence of chronic disease, models of chronic care have emerged as salient approaches to address dynamic health care changes and to manage the burden of suffering of these diseases. Concurrently, there has been a growing call to address chronic disease management within medical school curricula. This article describes the development and evaluation of a curricular intervention designed to prepare students to integrate patient-centered care with an understanding of the patients' community, provide care within rural settings, and experience clinical education specific to chronic disease management.
Second-year medical students completed a chronic disease management project as part of a 4-week community visit in rural and/or medically underserved sites. Paired pre- and post-survey data were collected using the Community Oriented Health Care Competency Scale to assess the student's knowledge, intent to practice, and attitudes toward incorporating community-oriented primary care into future practice.
Matched pre- and post-project surveys were identified for 170 respondents out of 219 students (77.6% response rate). Post-assessment items were found to be statistically different from measures collected prior to the students' entrance into the community: all knowledge questions indicated significant advancements toward community responsiveness, as did one question related to attitude and three of the intent to practice community-oriented health care questions.
Community-based rotations can play a positive role in developing the competencies needed for future practice. The development of curricular opportunities designed to train future physicians on the value of incorporating models of chronic care within rural and underserved communities should remain at the forefront of medical education.

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