Skip to main content

Service Learning in Medical Education

The following was provided by Lisa Christy, in the Office of Medical Student Affairs,

The IU School of Medicine has always prided itself on its ability to not only train excellent physicians, residents and fellows, but also in its ability to be a part of the surrounding communities and make a difference in the lives of people across the city, state and the world. Through efforts such as, IU Student Outreach Clinics, Global Health and many other programs, our school has been able to affect change in the lives of thousands of people.

The next phase of this service effort is a more concerted effort at true Service Learning, wherein not only are our students providing service to others, but they are doing it in a thoughtful way, creating partnerships with the greater community and discovering what the needs of the community really are. To that end, we have been working to more formally incorporate service into the curriculum of our medical students.

The Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) requires that the faculty of a medical school ensure that the medical education program provides sufficient opportunities for, encourages, and supports medical student participation in service-learning and community service activities. In the previous version of the Competencies, students could use service opportunities to achieve a level 3 competency for VI. However, in for the 2014-15 academic year, the Competency system was streamlined and this opportunity for tying service to the curriculum was no longer available. We also felt that true Service Learning also needed to be something that was made available to all of our students and was a more integral part of the curriculum.

So, in the Fall we created a task force in order to look take a closer look at Service Learning and how we might be able to create a foundation for learning through service as part of the curriculum.  The first step in this process was forming a definition for what exactly Service Learning is for the IU School of Medicine. We are pleased that the Curriculum Council Steering Committee (CCSC) as endorsed the definition below as the IUSM Service Learning definition:


The shown in the presentation was created as a baseline for faculty to use to determine if a particular activity could qualify as service learning. This and other resources will be accessible through our revived website launch later this summer.

As the medical curriculum continues to develop, we look forward to working together to create true Service Learning opportunities for all of our students.


– CCSC presentation overview