Medical Service Learning

As part of the IU School of Medicine’s tripartite mission, educators and mentors emphasize a public responsibility for medical students (tomorrow’s physicians) to serve as advocates for the health and well-being of the community. That’s why students at the Bloomington campus—and at all other IU School of Medicine statewide locations—are encouraged to engage in medical service-learning experiences as members of the community. A broad range of service-learning experiences are available statewide, and these curricular and co-curricular programs supplement and enhance medical education with real-world community engagement.

Each IU School of Medicine campus offers different medical service learning opportunities for the local community, and these innovative experiences are part of a larger organization and commitment that encompasses all elements of the School’s medical education program. In Bloomington, the Medical Sciences Student Service Learning Group sponsors community service activities in cooperation with its community partners.

Medical Service Learning Programs in Bloomington

Medical students from various graduating classes in Bloomington collaborate to produce a multifaceted public health fair each spring with support from IU Health, Bloomington Hospital, Indiana University Student Health Center and William Brothers Health Care. The public event, held at the Monroe County Public Library, includes informational and hands-on activities. IU School of Medicine invites other departments and agencies to attend and participate in this event.

In this program, IU School of Medicine-Bloomington students and faculty volunteer their time and efforts to help build a local Habitat for Humanity House. Medical students work alongside faculty as well as the future homeowner to apply their construction skills and create a new home for a deserving person or family. The Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County Chapter offers affordable housing to lower income families of Monroe County.

Medical students at the Bloomington campus meet with classmates who are proficient in Spanish and hold meetings with local administrators at Volunteers in Medicine Clinic to establish a cooperative effort for outreach to the Spanish population in Bloomington. Participating students acquire certification as medical Spanish interpreters and assist as “on call” interpreters for clinic visits.

An annual fall event, WonderLab’s Medical Workshop offers children of all ages a chance to learn more about a variety of medical professions. IU School of Medicine-Bloomington students hosted hands-on activities designed to engage students in the medical sciences and spark a passion to learn more about the human body. Workshops include working with a high-tech simulated patient whose internal apparatus can simulate wheezes, coughs, heart murmurs and an irregular heartbeat; exploring a pig’s heart; and practicing sutures on a banana. The WonderLab Museum of Health, Science, and Technology is located at 308 West 4th Street in Bloomington.