Training Rooted in the Community
The Feinberg MD program encourages our students to use their expertise to build healthier, happier communities. Through opportunities with global health, volunteerism at community clinics and the training program, students learn while they provide a vital community service.
The Community Health Clinic (CHC) at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine is a service organization dedicated to providing medical care to the patients of CHC while providing MD students an informal environment to learn from one another and attending physicians.
CHC is a free outpatient medical clinic located on the west side of Chicago that serves a primarily Hispanic and Polish population. The clinic has served the uninsured and underserved since 1993, providing medical care to over 6,000 patients a year. Operating six days a week, CHC welcomes patients every morning from Monday to Saturday and has four nighttime clinics run by various Chicagoland medical schools. The Northwestern Medicine clinic operates every Wednesday evening. Specialty Cardiology and Psychiatry clinics also are run by students throughout the year.
CHC at Northwestern is run by four second-year students mentored by a faculty adviser. Weekly, 15 students (five M1s, five M2s and five M3/M4s) and three attending physicians see 10 to 13 patients. Each patient is first seen by an M1 and M2 who take a majority of the patient's history and perform a general physical, then an M3 or M4 offers insights into completing the history and exam. Finally, the patient is seen by an attending who completes the history and physical and treats the patient. This format provides a basis for students to not only learn from their attendings and peers, but also to solidify their knowledge by teaching what they have learned. In addition, due to the large number of patients who speak languages other than English, students are able to either practice using a second language in a medical environment or learn to properly use a translator when conducting a patient interview.
Every Sunday, four Northwestern medical students travel north to Rogers Park to volunteer at the Indian American Medical Association Charitable Foundation Clinic — more commonly called the Devon Clinic. There, working with community physicians, residents and students from other Chicago medical schools, students will help provide healthcare to uninsured and underserved patients. Working primarily with a South Asian population, students strive to provide necessary healthcare as well as preventive care and health education. Physicians from the Indian American Medical Association, as well as nurses, technicians, translators and other volunteers, staff the clinic. The clinic runs from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. and provides care to approximately 40 patients each Sunday.
Students at the Devon Clinic have a great deal of freedom and responsibility for their patients' care. They conduct physicals, take histories and perform diagnostic tests, including blood sugar measurements and EKGs.
After the introductory meeting in the fall for new students, students of all years can sign up for volunteer positions by replying to the sign-up e-mails which are sent out on the student listserv.
New Life Volunteering Society Clinic provides the unique opportunity to work with medical students from the Chicagoland area in a free clinic setting. As a first-year medical student, you have a great opportunity to learn from both your peers and the attending physicians in a practical on-site manner while seeing real cases. The clinic is located south of Devon Avenue and is open every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Students also have the opportunity to rotate through a number of Department of Family & Community Medicine–affiliated clinics, working side-by-side with community physicians. Find out more on the Department of Family and Community Medicine site.