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Appalachian Outreach

Medical students at VCOM enhance their skills in providing patient centered medicine through medical outreach activities in the Appalachian region. From the time they begin their medical education, VCOM students are actively involved in local area health fairs, free clinics, community education, and other service-based learning opportunities to engage with the community, all while receiving instruction from experienced faculty and staff.

VCOM students participate in weekly Interprofessional Early Clinical Experiences, or IECEs, throughout their second year of medical school. During these experiences, students work alongside faculty mentors and allied healthcare professionals including nurses, pharmacists, EMS personnel, athletic trainers, and others. This practical experience helps to prepare second-year medical students for the team approach to medical care and for their third-year core clinical rotations.

VCOM-Virginia Appalachian outreach programs include:

  • Preventive Medicine Community Outreach (PMCO), wellness screenings for local communities
  • Free Clinics
  • Mini Med Schools
  • Health and wellness programs for community events
  • Outreach programs to rescue missions and remote communities

VCOM-Carolinas Appalachian outreach programs include:

  • Community Wellness Screenings at community events, schools, and service organizations
  • Mini Med Schools
  • Primary care services at Free Clinics by VCOM students and faculty mentors
  • Living Well with Diabetes! program
  • Rural outreach medical care programs

Begining in 2016, Auburn students will participate in Appalachian and rural outreach programs including:

  • Mini Med Schools
  • Health and wellness screenings at community events
  • Monthly primary care services to rural communities without medical care
  • Living Well with Diabetes and Hypertension! program

Mini-Med Schools

As part of their Appalachian Outreach and IECE training, VCOM students assist faculty in hosting “Mini-Medical Schools” promoting healthy behaviors and providing a glimpse at what it’s like to be a medical student for rural high school students. VCOM students supervised by faculty host mini med school to promote healthy behaviors in youth, to prevent at-risk behaviors, and to provide a glimpse of what it is like to be a medical student for high school students.

STEM Opportunities for Youth

VCOM students and faculty provide STEM programs to local schools where VCOM students share their experience with students from rural and disadvantaged backgrounds. And sharing these experiences promotes interest in healthcare careers.

Through Appalachian Outreach, VCOM students gain experience in public and environmental health, as well as providing care for patients who live in poor socioeconomic conditions. Medical outreach experiences are a key component in educating students to provide healthcare in challenging environments.