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AAMC Nurturing Experiences for Tomorrow’s Community Leaders (NEXT) Award

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AAMC NEXT Award

The AAMC NEXT Award provides funding to institutions to develop or enhance a learning opportunity for medical students, residents, and other interprofessional learners that seeks to improve community health and eliminate health disparities while applying population health leadership principles and promoting collaboration among diverse stakeholders.

For more information about this program, please email CDC@aamc.org.

2020-2021 Awardees

This cycle funded projects that sought to address COVID-19 inequities, systemic racism, or both.

George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences (GW SMHS)

The George Washington University Washington, DC

Project: GW SMHS COVID-19 Community Service Learning Project

GW SMHS aims to expand their COVID-19 testing and support services in partnership with Bread for the City, a community-based non-profit that operates a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in Northwest DC. Medical students and residents will further develop and manage DC COVID Connect, an open-access, up-to-date, peer-reviewed online information resource. Learners will also participate in training and student volunteer activities to increase access to low barrier COVID-19 testing in DC and address health care and social service access barriers.

Community Need(s): Address the disparity in the accessibility of relevant and accurate health information for populations most vulnerable to COVID-19 in Washington, DC.

Key Project Highlights:

  • Promoted learning and professional development of medical students and residents by building interpersonal, communication, and program management skills while strengthening their cultural humility.
  • Supported public health measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the local DC population.
  • Expanded the DC COVID Connect website which provided DC residents with a comprehensive list of available health care and social services as well as information about COVID-19.
  • Created anti-racism teaching resources that will equip student volunteers with the knowledge and skills needed to incorporate anti-racism in their community service.

Additional Resources:


 

University of Miami (UM) Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine

University of Miami (UM) Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine

Project: COVID-19: Evaluating Fault Lines in the Health of Our Communities and Developing Community-Centered Solutions

This project is a collaboration between the UM Miller School of Medicine; the UM School of Law, Center for Ethics and Public Service; Grove Rights and Community Equity (GRACE), Inc.; and Coconut Grove Ministerial Alliance (CGMA). It aims to train learners to identify and develop data-driven solutions and policies that address the long-term impact of COVID-19 on the mental, financial, and physical health of residents in the West Grove community of Miami.

Community Need(s): Identify, document, and respond to disparities exacerbated by COVID-19 in the West Grove community of Miami.

Key Project Highlights:

  • Medical, law, and public health students trained to be future leaders and agents of change by working with the community to identify health care needs and risk factors, and find solutions to improve health outcomes and social determinants of health.
  • Students gained community engagement skills, techniques for community needs assessments, and data visualization and analysis skills.
  • The connections fostered by the award formed a basis for creating a partnership with federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) in the area and has launched a project that lays down infrastructure for the creation of a social determinants of health (SDOH) clinic in one of the partnering FQHCs.

Additional Resources:


 

University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center (UNM HSC)

University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center (UNM HSC)

Project: Tools for Community Empowerment and Social Change

UNM HSC aims to adapt and pilot the existing “Tools for Community Empowerment and Social Change” community-based participatory research (CBPR) curriculum to a COVID-19 health equity context with medical students and Family & Community Medicine residents. Learners will also participate in an experiential learning opportunity that addresses COVID-19 inequities and access to care for people experiencing homelessness through a partnership with the “Corona Crushers”, a multi-sectoral group with members from academia, government, health care, and the community.

Community Need(s): Increase vaccine uptake among marginalized communities, such as commercial sex workers and those experiencing housing insecurity, as those populations are more vulnerable to COVID-19.

Key Project Highlights:

  • Collaborated with local community health councils and organizations such as New Mexico’s Department of Health to improve vaccine equity.
  • Guided students in the recognition that they have a shared role with community members and leaders as change agents for health equity through their work with eight community populations.
  • Developed the critical reasoning skills of learners to guide capacity to search, analyze, and use data for decision making, program management, and research that addresses community priorities.
  • Student recommendations resulted in the New Mexico Department of Health Mobile Vaccination Teams meeting community members where they are to administer COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Developed a working guide, “A Playbook for Integrating Multidisciplinary Teams in Community Equity Work”, to assist with implementing health equity curriculum for medical students and residents.

Additional Resources:


 

University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine (UTRGV SOM)

University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine (UTRGV SOM)

Project: Learners engaging with Hispanic communities to address COVID-19 inequities - ¡Si se puede!

Medical students, masters of social work students, and resident physicians at UTRGV SOM, a Hispanic-Serving Institution, partnered with El Milagro Clinic and the HOPE Family Health Center to develop a guide to culturally competent public health messaging and execute “¡Si se puede!,” an interdisciplinary public health education campaign to address COVID-19 inequities, systemic racism, and mistrust of health systems in south Texas.

Community Need(s): Address the underlying mistrust and systemic racism that contribute to drastic COVID-19 inequities in south Texas.

Key Project Highlights:

  • Connected Spanish speakers with culturally competent public health messaging on COVID-19.
  • Learners gained interdisciplinary leadership and communication skills in a learner-led, community-engaged public health messaging campaign.
  • Developed, implemented, and distributed three novel cultural competence guides for multiple audiences: general use, Hispanic communities, and Hard of Hearing communities.
  • Provided 360 total influenza vaccines to those in need.

Additional Resources:


 

Wayne State University School of Medicine

Wayne State School of Medicine logo

Project: Healing Between the Lines

Healing Between the Lines (HBL) seeks to enhance the Health Equity and Justice in Medicine (HEJiM) longitudinal curriculum that currently trains Wayne State University School of Medicine and Detroit Medical Center residents on social determinants of health, advocacy, and cultural humility. HBL’s sub-curriculum will expand HEJiM to include medical students and educate learners along the medical education continuum about the historical intersection of systemic racism and health by exploring and untangling the impact of redlining on the health outcomes of Detroit Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) communities. HBL learners will learn how to effectively and sustainably collaborate with Detroit BIPOC communities to advocate for health justice.

Community Need(s): Develop partnerships with community-based organizations to address structural racism and health inequities in Detroit.

Key Project Highlights:

  • Established Justice Circles, a monthly forum between community organizations and learners, that created deeper relationships between the emerging medical workforce and the community they serve.
  • Organized a virtual symposium with learners and partner organizations to discuss community challenges and solutions for a more equitable Detroit.
  • Educated medical students and residents on the historical intersection of systemic racism and health by analyzing the impact of redlining on the health outcomes of Detroit’s communities.
  • Increased learner competency in collaborative policy development and legislative advocacy.

Additional Resources:


 

2019-2020 Awardees

Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California

Project: Trojan Trainer Patient Navigator Program

The Trojan Trainer (TT) patient navigator program invites medical and physician assistant students to collaborate with Keck School of Medicine (KSOM) Street Medicine, University of Southern California (USC) health system leadership, and community partners to address medical and psychosocial needs by bringing care directly to patients experiencing homelessness. The program centers the patient by establishing them as the "Trainer," recognizing their critical role as educators in medical training.

Community Need(s): Increase access to health care, improve health outcomes, and reduce disparities for individuals experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles.

Key Project Highlights:

  • Learners in the TT program served as extensions of the KSOM Street Medicine Team, bringing Trainers’ needs to their interprofessional health care providers.
  • Learners had increased opportunities to advocate on behalf of their Trainer and help identify appropriate services and resources.
  • Learners received in-depth training on psychosocial and wellness challenges affecting individuals experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles County; safety measures, strategies, and tools of motivational interviewing and trauma-informed care; and history-taking and Street Psychiatry while performing Street Medicine.
  • The TT program expanded from four learner teams to nine, going from 25 to more than 50 medical and physician assistant learners participating.

Additional Resources:


 

Northwell Health

Northwell Health

Project: ENHANCE (Engaging in Health Advocacy through Neighborhood Collaboratives and Education)

The Engaging in Health Advocacy through Neighborhood Collaboratives and Education (ENHANCE) community health track provides internal medicine, pediatric, and family medicine residents and nurse practitioner students the opportunity to develop interprofessional community-based projects that assess the impact of the social determinants of health on primary care outcomes.

Community Need(s): Develop and sustain meaningful partnerships with community-based organizations to address primary care and health education gaps.

Key Project Highlights:

  • Collaborated with community-based organization (CBO) sites to conduct community needs assessments and relevant community-based projects to address needs (e.g., nutrition and parent education on common pediatric topics).
  • Provided resident training on the principles and evaluation methodologies for community-based participatory research.
  • Established ongoing relationships with CBOs that were pivotal in transitioning to virtual monthly sessions due to the COVID-19 pandemic and supporting response activities (e.g., virtual town hall series on COVID and vaccines).

Additional Resources:


 

University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine

University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine

Project: Working with Interpreters as a Team in Healthcare (WITH Care)

The Working with Interpreters as a Team in Healthcare (WITH Care) simulation curriculum seeks to improve the population health leadership skills of medical students and trainees through the integration of a validated interprofessional collaborative practice curriculum into the establishment of a new immigrant-refugee clinic.

Community Need(s): Improve limited English proficient (LEP) patient care experiences with health care providers and professional health care interpreters to reduce communication-related adverse events.

Key Project Highlights:

  • Increased learner knowledge about the experience of LEP patients and professional health care interpreters and how to collaborate effectively with professional health care interpreters.
  • Converted WITH CARE workshop training curriculum to a Family Medicine context for delivery in a virtual format that allows for future expansion to more learners.
  • Customized simulation cases to the authentic experience of LEP residents in Iowa that focused on the areas in which they may work (e.g., agriculture, food service/production, and meat packing) and included mental health education associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Enhanced collaborative relationships with hospital interpreters who speak Mandarin, Cantonese, and Spanish to identify and address health care challenges at the interpersonal and systemic levels to improve health care delivery experiences.

Additional Resources:


 

University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville

University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville

Project: ROOT CAUSE: Advancing Community Health and Active Citizenship

ROOT CAUSE: Advancing Community Health and Active Citizenship is a monthly health and public services fair that aims to address the root causes of disease by increasing access to health care and promoting healthy lifestyle choices while simultaneously affecting students’ and residents’ perceptions on diversity and inclusivity, empathy, and burnout.

Community Need(s): Increase access to health services in the Dunean community.

Key Project Highlights:

  • Increased health education on topics such as healthy eating, gun safety, and addiction recovery and access to health care through monthly service fairs with 45 community partners.
  • Collaborated with community partner organizations to assemble and distribute health kits and health care resources to community members at multiple family practice locations to support local COVID-19 response efforts.
  • Increased community cohesion and networking through new relationships as part of monthly fairs and COVID-19 response (e.g., student-student, student-community partner, community partner-community, community-community, community partner-community partner).
  • Emphasized active citizenship by broadening student engagement with the community.
  • Presented posters at the 2020 and 2021 Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) conferences and the 2020 South Carolina Upstate Research Symposium. Awarded the Blue Ribbon Award for Outstanding Poster at STFM 2021.

Additional Resources:


 

Weill Cornell Medicine

Weill Cornell Medicine

Project: Weill Cornell Medicine (WCM) Wellness Qlinic

The Weill Cornell Medicine Wellness Qlinic is a student-run, free mental health clinic training medical students, residents, and psychologists to treat lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and other sexual and gender identity (LGBTQ+) individuals and address mental health disparities seen in this population. The Wellness Qlinic program aims to improve the LGBTQ+ community’s access to culturally competent mental health care and provide academic opportunities for students and trainees to learn and study LGBTQ-informed mental health.

Community Need(s): Address the existing mental health disparities seen in LGBTQ+ populations in New York City.

Key Project Highlights:

  • Established the WCM Wellness Qlinic and converted all workflows and services to virtual and telehealth platforms during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Expanded LGBTQ+ education for students and residents through development of virtual modules, academic projects, and training for a 12-week Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills-based group therapy module.
  • Transitioned psychiatry residents’ participation in the WCM Qlinic from a volunteer activity to a universal rotation for all PGY-2 residents during the 2020-21 academic year.
  • Created a medication reimbursement program to offset the cost of medications for patients and provided access to an online mental and emotional well-being tool.
  • Partnered with National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) NYC to co-sponsor eight sessions of “NAMI Peer-to-Peer for LGBTQ.”

Additional Resources:



The AAMC NEXT Award is supported by Cooperative Agreement Number 5 NU36OE000007 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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