How does a medical school student learn what it’s really like to be a primary care physician? One way is through the Stoeckle Center Scholars program sponsored by the John D. Stoeckle Center for Primary Care Innovation. This summer, 14 Boston-area medical students are participating in the program, which has expanded after the success of its inaugural session last year. Scholars in the program are matched with primary care physicians in Boston with whom they regularly meet to perform research, pursue an academic project, attend clinics and seek career advice. Students get an early introduction to the options they will have after medical school and gain exposure to hands-on patient care.
“As a mentor, I feel privileged to work with such talented students,” says Travis P. Baggett, MD, MPH, of the MGH Department of Medicine and the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program (BHCHP). “They represent the future of primary care. Their enthusiasm is inspiring, and I look forward to watching their exciting careers unfold.”
The curriculum also includes trips to speak with representatives from local health care programs. This year’s curriculum, which focuses on social justice and practice innovation, features visits to programs like the Refugee Medicine Program at the MGH Chelsea HealthCare Center, the MGH Ambulatory Practice of the Future and the BHCHP.
During a recent field trip to the Refugee Medicine Program at the Chelsea HealthCare Center, members of the bilingual and bicultural staff spoke to students about the passion they have for their work, the many hats they wear to meet the comprehensive needs of refugee populations and the satisfaction they find in the care they provide. The center is a designated refugee health assessment site and is equipped to respond to the health needs of newly arrived refugees and their families.
Elisha Atkins, MD, chief of Adult Medicine at the Chelsea HealthCare Center, told the students about how rewarding his work there is. “It’s amazing the level of attention our patients get, and it really makes me want to go to work. Being able to address our patients’ issues in a comprehensive way is extraordinarily satisfying.”