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The Association of American Medical Colleges, in collaboration with Pfizer Inc. and the Pfizer Medical Humanities Initiative, has established a new institutional grant program entitled “Caring for Community.”
The program’s purpose is to encourage the development of medical student-initiated services and programs to local communities. The association will manage the Community Service Fund, a philanthropy created to support the community service projects.
“Community service is a vital part of becoming a doctor,” says the association’s president, Dr. Jordan J. Cohen. “The increasing involvement of medical students in community service projects demonstrates that they and their institutions share in this belief. Caring for Community promises to help our students translate ideas into meaningful service.”
As part of the program, medical schools can receive grant support for community-service oriented projects that are developed and operated by medical students. These programs are vehicles to explore new ways to serve local communities. Programs eligible for funding may range from those promoting awareness about sexually transmitted diseases to vaccination.
As an example of the types of programs that will be eligible for awards, the association points to an initiative being carried out by medical students at the University of Colorado. They established the Salvation Army/Globeville Clinic, a primary-care clinic that for several years has cooperated with a six-month residential urban alcohol and drug rehabilitation program. Students are involved in all aspects of the clinic’s operation, including providing primary care to the community’s under-served population.
Two award cycles will be held during each calendar year for the program. Awards will be announced in March and August. Each year, the medical association will present up to 12 awards — up to four each for new projects, supplemental projects, and one-time projects. A project advisory committee will review each program to ensure it continues to meet the Caring for Community requirements. The amount of money awarded will depend upon the number of awards and the types of programs.
The new Caring for Community program continues the association’s commitment to community service. Each year at its annual meeting, the association honors a medical school that has demonstrated leadership in this area. In 1999, Morehouse School of Medicine was the seventh recipient of the Outstanding Community Service Award.
For a copy of the Caring for Community program brochure, which outlines specific details and requirements for participation, please contact Mila Cook by calling the program office at (202) 828-0250.

Winston-Salem State University has gotten the approval of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors to establish a bachelor’s of arts degree in gerontology, the study of the process of aging.
Designed to prepare students to think analytically about the aging process, graduates will be prepared for positions in the senior citizen housing market — including assisted-living facilities, dementia-specific residences and health and human services agencies. They will also be prepared for graduate and professional study.
The program will require at least 122 semester hours, including 62 hours of general education courses, 23 hours in a gerontology core and 9  hours of therapeutic recreation, political science and psychology. Electives will be chosen from business, social sciences and nursing.
Students will also be required to complete a six-hour internship.
The program will begin in the fall and will admit 23 freshmen. By the 2003-04 academic year, upperclassmen enrollment is projected to reach 46.

— Compiled by Eric St. John

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