Cooper Medical School of Rowan University (CMSRU) has been awarded a $795,000, 5-year HRSA grant to launch an innovative curriculum for addressing the national shortage of primary care physicians while helping to improve the health of Camden residents. This is the first grant awarded to CMSRU.
The grant will help establish CMSRU’s Ambulatory Clerkship — a primary care clinic site for Camden residents that will include Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Psychiatry. Under the supervision of Cooper faculty, the Ambulatory Clerkship will immerse students in all aspects of primary care, for all ages.
The Ambulatory Clerkship provides both early and continuing clinical experiences for students and a significant benefit to the community. “During the Ambulatory Clerkship, students will learn patient care while participating in rewarding service to the community,” explains Vijay Rajput, MD, Assistant Dean for Curriculum at CMSRU and project director. “We believe this will motivate some to choose careers in primary care.”
CMSRU’s Ambulatory Clerkship is a four year program, and begins week three of medical school. In addition to experiencing clinical care, students will learn about the barriers many patients face because of economic distress, disabilities, mental illness, and other social and family issues. They will also experience the management challenges and rewards of running a clinic.
The U.S. currently has 352,908 primary care doctors, and the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) estimates that 45,000 more will be needed by 2020. If not aggressively addressed, the shortage of primary care could create a significant health crisis due to limited or no access and delayed treatment for serious conditions.
Goals of CMSRU Ambulatory Clerkship
• Provide early exposure for students to a clinical environment
• Foster community health advocacy skills
• Enable students to provide a continuum of care for their patients in a well-supervised setting
• Provide access to quality healthcare for uninsured and underinsured patients in the city of Camden
• Reduce healthcare disparities within the City’s population