TOPMEd Community Projects

topmednewlogo200x200Promoting Community Health Projects

Students have multiple opportunities to engage in population health projects. In the summer, between years one and two, students can participate in Area Health Education projects. Year two, small group Public Health Projects are a required component of the curriculum addressing local community needs. During the Family Medicine Clerkship, students are required to complete a community project. In Advanced Integration, students have the opportunity for more involved community projects. Some of these projects will be expansions of previous work. All projects require that students work with community members, address local health issue and culminate in a presentation. Students will be encouraged and supported to present at regional and national meetings.

TOPMEd Clerkship Community Health Projects

During the clerkship experience, students identify a health need in their host community through interviews with preceptors and community members. The student designs an intervention to share with their community and reports any results back to the College of Medicine community. These projects can be viewed on ScholarWorks. Here are a few examples of our students' extraordinary work:

  • Designer Drugs: New Challenge of Primary Care Medicine – Burlington, VT, May-June 2012
    Recognizing the emerging problem of bath salts and other designer drugs in healthcare and local communities, Stas Lazarev and Areg Zingiryan surveyed local Burlington physicians and developed a flyer for patients and families on bath salts. Their educational material had an immediate impact in educating providers and the community. One provider wrote Stas and Areg, "thank you for creating these bath salt flyers and giving us a whole pack of those! We are going to put them in our waiting room of our clinic."
  • Caja de Salud: Health Kits for Migrant Workers – Franklin County, VT, July 2012
    Farm workers living in Northern Vermont are often unable to obtain adequate health care. As a result, the only options are usually self-care or no care at all. Prabu Selvam decided to help tackle their most common health complaints by developing and translating educational pamphlets and health kits for farm workers that could be supplied to the farm and facilitate a higher degree of self-care.
  • Mindfulness App and Related Exercises – Plainfield, VT, April 2012
    Working with providers in Plainfield, VT, interested in introducing Mindfulness Therapy as an alternative therapy for anxiety, depression, obesity or chronic pain, Bianca developed a user-friendly phone app and website that patients could use at home or doctors could use during the appointment. According to one provider, "Bianca has created an amazing tool to give patients a way to self-manage anxiety, over-eating, and chronic pain. I know from experience that these techniques work well. Now we have a way to easily provide our patients with this technique."

Family Medicine Advanced Community Project

Students are required to complete a scholarly project in the fourth year of their medical student curriculum. The TOPMEd team is supporting students who choose to continue and expand upon their clerkship projects. Students build upon their previous project and network of community members to further develop a population-based intervention that addresses a local health need.