SOUTH BEND -- The Indiana University School of Medicine-South Bend is attempting to carve out a niche in medical education by focusing on community health.
With this, officials say, the school will set itself apart from the other IU School of Medicine satellite campuses, defining its future and developing a distinct identity.
“What happens in the doctor’s office and hospital, only accounts for 10 to 20 percent of health outcomes,” explained associate dean and director Dr. Mark Fox. “When you think about genetics and behavior, social circumstances, all the other slices of the pie, those are things that aren’t really the focus of a traditional medical school curriculum.”
The new focus includes the Community Health Innovation Program, a partnership with the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns that provides a stipend to regional undergraduates and IUMS-SB students to work for community organizations and conduct research into local needs and develop new programs.
The program allows students from the medical school and Notre Dame to learn about the factors that impact community health and well-being while serving at local nonprofits. The students are working on solutions for solving problems, such as youth homelessness, lack of access to mental healthcare, and unhealthy eating habits.
The Indiana University School of Medicine-Terre Haute has already implemented its own focus, with its Rural Medical Education Program that is tailored for medical students who plan to serve rural communities.
Next year Fox said the South Bend medical school will implement some of the new courses, and begin marketing to prospective medical students in the next application cycle.