All Pritzker medical students pick a scholarly track, with Community Health as one of their options. During their first year of medical school they participate in service-learning activities and attend monthly conferences on topics of community health. They can also participate in intensive service opportunities through the Summer Service Partnership, Human Rights Internship, University of Chicago Summer Links program, or the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (Chicago Area Program).
In their second year they select a faculty mentor and choose a project to work on for the remainder of their training. During their fourth year they complete their commitment leading to a scholarly presentation at a national or local conference or a publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
The scholarly tracks offered through the Pritzker curriculum, in which all medical students will complete a scholarly project, are scientific discovery, global health, medical education, quality and safety, and community health. Fourteen second year students have chosen the community health track. Five will continue projects they started during the Summer Research Program or the Summer Service Partnership and the other nine will start working on new projects. All students will work closely with a faculty mentor and, in addition to taking a Community Health elective in the first year, will have designated time during their second and fourth years to work on their projects, culminating in a presentation of their work.
Examples of community health projects include working on an intervention with underrepresented minority children who have cochlear implants to decrease speech delays, developing a curriculum for the Summer Service Partnership, conducting an internal review of a community advisory board that has been working on a community-based participatory research project about diabetes in a Latino community, expanding a diabetes empowerment program for patients of community health centers on the South Side, studying how state budget cuts affect clients of community mental health centers, interviewing patients to see why they use the emergency room for primary care, and working with school-based health centers to prevent and treat sexually transmitted infections in teenagers.