Student examining patient

Community Health Designated Emphasis

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Designated Emphasis in Community Health

The Designated Emphasis (DE) in Community Health is a longitudinal skills development learning program that includes online didactic learning, a community-based project, and team-based clinical training. The DE provides medical students with skills to enhance patient engagement and communication and they will learn how a clinical setting responds to the health needs of vulnerable, undeserved communities. The DE considers medical students baseline engagement skills, includes case studies to improve decision- making skills in medical contexts, and improves communication and knowledge gaps needed to navigate care for vulnerable, underserved patients.

Learn more about and apply for Inland Empire AHEC Scholarships

Contact AHEC Center Director Athena Montiel with any questions


About the Program

In conjunction with the Inland Empire Area Health Education Center Scholars Program (IE AHEC), students will enhance their clinical training with knowledge and skills development in community health. Guided by selected mentors and preceptors from the community, scholars will receive team-based clinical training and learn how a clinical setting responds to the health needs of an underserved or rural community. Scholars gain strong connections to professional networks, health service organizations and lifelong mentors.

This DE is intended for students who are:

  • Interested in primary care and community health.
  • Motivated to address health needs in vulnerable, underserved communities.

The California AHEC Curriculum for Scholars in Community Health is a direct response to the growing need for clinicians capable of applying new models of care with underserved populations. The curriculum was designed in partnership with community leaders, vetted by clinical educators, and endorsed by state and professional agencies.

The California Statewide AHEC Program's mission is to improve access to and quality of health care for underserved populations of California using academic-community partnerships for health education and workforce training. For over 40 years, the CA AHEC Program, with its 13 centers throughout the state, has developed and enhanced education and training networks within communi­ties, academic institutions and community-based organizations. The CA AHEC is part of a national program sponsored by the Health Resources and Services Administration. Today, 56 AHEC programs with more than 235 centers operate in 48 states and the District of Columbia.


About the Curriculum

Curriculum modules present diverse learning opportunities that include webinars, case-based learning, self-guided research, interviews, direct skills development, and clinic and community exploration. Modules are provided through the CA AHEC program.

Modules include interdisciplinary case studies and online learning tools (webinars, pod­casts, etc.). Six core topic areas and sample subtopics are integrated into the modules.

  1. Ten modules: Curriculum modules present diverse learning opportunities that provide a community health immersive learning experience:
    • Quality Improvement
    • Leadership & Advocacy
    • Patient Engagement
    • Community Engagement
    • Patient-Centered Medical Home
    • Team-Based Care
    • Work-Life Balance
    • Health Care Reform
    • Medical Neighborhood
    • Community-Based Health Project
  2. Clinical Training: Team-based clinical training in an underserved or rural area is facilitated by the scholar's preceptor and/or program faculty and local AHEC Center.
  3. Community-Based Health Project: Facilitated by the local AHEC Center Director, scholar's preceptor and/or program faculty, the scholar will collaborate with a community clinic or other underserved site to help address a health need. The local AHEC Center Director must approve the health project.

Upon completion of the DE, scholars also earn a Certificate in Community Health from the CA Statewide AHEC Program endorsed by the California Primary Care Association and the Rural Health Association.

DE and Program Requirements
  • Enroll in the Inland Empire Area Health Education Center Scholars Program (IE AHEC) .
  • Complete at least 80 hours of online didactic education.
  • Complete at least 40 hours of clinical, community-based training at a federally qualified center (FQHC) in a safety net community.
  • Complete a community-based health project with an FQHC and the IE AHEC (min 40 hours).
  • Complete evaluation and alumni surveys during and after graduating from the program.

Students must complete the DE requirements by February of their fourth year of medical education. The DE is awarded in conjunction with the medical degree (M.D.) and will appear on transcripts as “M.D. with a Designated Emphasis in Community Health."

Year 1 Program Goals

Year 1 of IE AHEC Scholars Program builds the foundation for team-based care skills in medical contexts. Students receive one unit of selective credit on their transcript by completing 40 of 40 available activity hours for the Community Health selective. Students are expected to:

  • Complete ten modules on Moodle (includes webinar)
  • Attend clinical training shifts at designated locations
  • Student must select and complete four case studies. (The other four case studies will be completed next year.)
  • Create and submit a community-based health project, individually or as a group of no more than four students. Project must be approved by IE AHEC Center Director. Visuals and a report must be submitted by program year deadline. Guidelines available on Moodle.
Year 1 Activity Total Number of Sessions Hours/Session Total Possible Hours Minimum Hours to Receive Credit
Modules 10 3
(webinar is 1 hour)
28 28
Case Studies 4 3 12 12
Clinic Attendance 10 2 20 20
Health Project 10 2 20 20
Totals     80 80
Year 2 Program Goals

Year 2 of IE AHEC Scholars Program strengthens students’ engagement skills and prepares them to work effectively in undeserved communities. Medical students are expected to:

  • Complete ten modules on Moodle (includes webinar).
  • Attend clinical training shifts at designated locations
  • Complete the remaining four case studies.
  • Create and submit a community-based health project, individually or as group of no more than four students. Project must be approved by IE AHEC Center Director. Visuals and a report must be submitted by program year deadline. Guidelines available on Moodle.
Year 2 Activity Total Number of Sessions Hours/Session Total Possible Hours Minimum Hours to Receive Credit
Modules 10 3
(webinar is 1 hour)
28 28
Case Studies 4 3 12 12
Clinic Attendance 10 2 20 20
Health Project 10 2 20 20
Totals     80 80
Year 3 & 4 Program Goals

Students will continue to work in a clinic or on their community project in the 1-2 years of curricular time after completion of the AHEC project. Time may be devoted to their health project, clinic attendance, or other community-health-based projects. This requirement may, at the discretion of the DE director, also be satisfied with community health engagement at any time during enrollment, including attendance at Free Clinics, participation in Street Medicine, Center for Healthy Communities, or other activities. The minimum amount of time required is 40 hours.

Leadership

Athena Montiel, M.P.H.
Project Manager
IE AHEC Center Director
Community Health Association Inland Southern Region
621 E. Carnegie Dr., Suite 180
San Bernardino, CA 92408
Phone: (909) 566-2555 ext. 109
(909) 237-8816 direct line