Albany Medical College

Contact Information

47 New Scotland Ave
Office of Research Affairs
Albany, NY 12208 - 3479
(518) 262-0244
FY 2015 National Service and Civic Engagement Research

Executive Summary

Albany Medical College (AMC) seeks three years of funding to conduct a study exploring the use of the Albany Medical Student Attitudes and Social Responsibility Survey (AMSARS) to measure the impact of Service Learning on medical students. This builds on a previous study that confirmed the validity and reliability of the AMSARS tool. The proposed project will include collecting the AMSARS from AMC students as well as students at three partnering medical schools. Expanding the use of this tool will allow the research team to explore in more depth the impact that service learning has on medical student attributes such as understanding of culture and diversity, interpersonal and problem solving skills, effectiveness of patient communication, and awareness of social responsibility. This analysis of the impact that service has on the way medical students engage with their community is directly related to priority three in the funding announcement, with implications for CNCS's "Healthy Futures" strategic focus area.

This project will fill a critical void in the existing body of research; there are very few studies that take an analytical approach to examining the impact that service learning has on medical students. The results of this study could have far reaching implications for medical education, as the field is currently undergoing a cultural shift towards cultivating skills related to community engagement, social responsibility, and an understanding of non-biological (social) determinants of health in addition to the traditional focus on the basic sciences. The introduction of service learning experiences to medical students aims to affect them at a time when they are still able to make significant and positive decisions regarding the way they will provide care as future physicians. Demonstrating the value of service learning in medical education could have a direct impact on the way doctors are trained and ultimately the way that they interact with their communities and provide care to patients.

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