Because practicing medicine is more than just diagnosing and treating patients, medical students at the West Lafayette campus—along with all other eight IU School of Medicine locations—are encouraged to engage in medical service learning experiences as members of the community. Students who participate in these types of projects are able to better understand social and community contexts of health care.
West Lafayette offers a variety of service learning opportunities, including: Big Brothers Big Sisters projects, Bowling for Riley, a blood drive, a Boys and Girls Club of Lafayette partnership, Caregiver Companion work, Diabetes Day, Habitat for Humanity events, HEART (Health – Education Empowerment – Resource – Team) health fairs, McCutcheon High School Honors Biology Class experience, Purdue Spring Fest, Rainbow Resources Fair, a toy drive and a clothing drive.
Other service learning programs across the state are available to advance students’ professional interests. International medical service learning opportunities are also available and may include financial support. Students have participated in programs such as Himalayan Health Exchange over the summer or in the ENLACE program in Nicaragua during spring break. Working with underserved populations throughout the world cultivates enhanced social responsibility for future physicians.
The Health Education, Empowerment, Advocacy, Resource Team (HEART), a sub-committee of the Student Activities Committee, is currently researching the needs and development potential for a student-centered outreach clinic to serve Greater Lafayette. Like many other area outreach events, the clinic will be of a collaborative nature with Purdue University partners in areas such as kinesiology, nursing, nutrition, pharmacy and medical Spanish.