Archive for the 'For Students' Category

A party to celebrate Einstein’s ECHO clinic turning 15!

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In 1999 students at Albert Einstein College of Medicine created the ECHO clinic (Einstein Community Health Outreach) to provide free care in the Bronx.  The clinic, run in collaboration with the Institute for Family Health is now 15 years old and there will be a celebration on Thursday, February 13th, 2014.  All of the proceeds will be used to pay for referrals to specialty appointments and health screenings for our patients.

The clinic came at the beginning of a wave of free clinics created by New York City medical students and others who saw the unmet health needs of those without insurance. Sadly, the need for such clinics will continue under the Affordable Care Act which does not cover undocumented workers.

The clinic relies heavily on volunteers. Premedical students and volunteer faculty preceptors are always welcome.

Einstein is one of the only schools in the country that has its students rotate through the free clinic as part of their family medicine clerkship.  This unique component of Einstein’s clinical curriculum is critical in shaping socially conscious future physicians.  

To purchase a ticket or make a donation, please click here. Since the ECHO Free Clinic is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, all donations are tax deductible.


2014 Einstein Student Run Social Medicine Course

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The Social Medicine Course at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine was founded by a group of 8 students in 1998 and is now in its 17th year. It remains entirely student-run. Course schedules going back to 2007 can be accessed at this page on the Portal.  The talks run from 5:30 to 6:30PM and take place on the 5th floor Forchheimer Lecture Room. They are open to the public.


Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Dr. Robert E. Fullilove
Health and Racial Disparities in New York City

Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Dr. Sunil Kumar Aggarwa
Compassionate Care: Medical Marijuana In New York

Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Dr. Marji Gold
Reproductive Rights and Abortion Care

Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Dr. Oliver Fein
Direct Action: Lessons from the Young Lords Occupation of Lincoln Hospital

Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Mychal Johnson South Bronx Unite:
FreshDirect and its Health and Social Costs in the South Bronx

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Dr. Maria Caban
Harm Reduction and Syringe-Exchange in the South Bronx

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Dr. Mark Heath
Bioethics of Lethal Injection

Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Dr. Rosy Chhabra
Community Based Participatory Research

Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Dr. Danny Lugassy
Healthcare Reform in 2014: Why do we still need Single Payer?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Dr. Neil Calman
Segregated Health Care in the South Bronx

Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Dr Aaron Fox
Prison Medicine

Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Dr. Nancy Berlinger
Access to Healthcare for Undocumented Immigrants

Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Dr. Alan Blum
Ending The World Tobacco Pandemic

posted by Matt Anderson, MD

Cuba Leads the World in Lowest Patient per Doctor Ratio; How do they do it?


by Joanna Mae Souers

*Paraguayan 5th year student participating in primary care in Havana, Cuba. (2011,by Joanna Mae Souers)

In early 2007, I began studying medicine at the Latin American School of Medicine in Havana, Cuba.  I entered the program not knowing much about the Cuban healthcare system, other than that it was universal and free.  “Now that’s a system I want to learn from,” I thought to myself, “It’s a system we could all learn from.”  Five years later, what have I learned?

There are many subtle and not so subtle differences between the Cuban and the U.S. health care systems which have allowed the Cubans to equal the U.S. with respect to their health statistics, but at a much lower cost and with better preventative and primary care.  In this paper I analyze just one of the reasons for the differences between the two systems; Cuba produces more primary care practitioners per capita.  How do they do it? Medical education in Cuba is free, all doctors interested in specializing must first serve two years working in primary care, and graduating doctors are not driven to specialize by salary incentives.  This socialist approach towards medicine and medical education assures the human resources necessary to provide universal and preventative healthcare to all.

People marvel at how Cuba has “accomplished so much with so little.”  And they marvel with good reason.  According to the World Health Organization, Cuba spent only $503 per capita on healthcare in 2009, the U.S. spent almost 15 times that sum.  In fact we in the US spent $421 per person just on the administration of the private healthcare insurance system, almost enough to fund the Cuban system. [1] [2] Despite dramatically lower costs, Cuba has some of the best health statistics and health indicators of any country around the world.

Although people like to compare and contrast the health statistics of the U.S. and Cuba, I think this a bit preposterous.  Cuba, a small island in the Caribbean, is being compared to one of the largest countries in the Americas with a very different history.  So in the table below, I have shown some health statistics on Cuba and the U.S. as well as the Dominican Republic and Haiti.  The Dominican Republic and Haiti are Cuba’s Caribbean neighbors; similar in size, history and geographic location.

*Statistical information provided by the World Health Statistics 2011 Report by the World Health Organization.

From this table, we can see that Cuba’s health indicators are more like those of the “first world” in the U.S. than its neighbors in the “third world.”  The life expectancy of the U.S. and Cuba is almost identical.  Cuba supersedes the U.S. in the categories highlighted.  So we continue to ask, “How do they do it?”  Could it have something to do with their philosophy that people need doctors?  Hence, their solution is to offer a free medical education to develop young, quality doctors dedicated to serving those in need.

Per capita Cuba graduates roughly three times the number of doctors as the U.S.   In 2005 Cuba had 70,594 doctors.  Before the revolution in 1959, there were only an estimated 6,000 doctors; somewhere around half left the country after 1959.  This means they must have graduated an average of 1,469 Cuban doctors per year, not including the some 5,000 international students who graduate each year from Cuban medical schools. [3]  When we later compare these numbers to the U.S. we see that Cuba graduates 3 times the number of doctors per capita, and the U.S. must import graduating doctors from other countries just to fill the primary care residency positions.

Critics of the “Obama Plan” say that there will not be enough doctors in the U.S. to take care of all the patients if everyone has healthcare coverage.  Obama encouraged the Association of American Medical Colleges to increase the number of graduating doctors by 30% in 2010.  Ever since 1980, U.S. Medical schools have graduated 16,000 doctors a year.  Meanwhile, the population of the U.S. has grown 50 million during the same period.[4]  A 30% increase would have meant we should have graduated 20,800 medical students in 2010, but we only graduated 16,838 according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.[5]  The number of residency programs at teaching hospitals in the U.S. has been frozen since 1997, funded by Medicare.  There were 29,890 residency slots filled in 2009,positions not filled by American graduates are filled by International Medical Graduates. [4]   This means we can estimate more than 1/3 of students in U.S. residency programs are International Medical Graduates (IMGs), students from another country or a U.S. citizen, like me, who studied in another country.

In the current scheme of things, International Medical Graduates are continuously brought in to the U.S. to meet the needs of the growing patient population.  Unfortunately nothing bridges the gap, because there just are not enough residency positions and/or funding for teaching hospitals to produce enough doctors to satisfy the entire U.S. population.  Taking International Medical Graduates to meet the needs of the U.S. population only adds to the “brain drain” of developing countries around the world.  So as we produce fewer doctors, introduce more doctors from other countries; U.S. doctors work harder for less to meet the needs in the U.S. and a lot of the world remains catastrophically underserved.

Cuba leads the world with the lowest patient to doctor ratio, 155:1, while the U.S. trails way behind at 396:1.[6]  With a surplus of Cuban doctors, Cuba is able to help ailing nations around the world.  They have medical missions in over 75 different countries lead by nearly 40,000 health professionals, almost half of them are doctors.[7]  The United States by contrast imports doctors from poorer countries, further contributing to the brain drain of professionals from poorer countries to rich ones.

In Cuba education is free.  Room and board, books and amenities are included.  Doctors are not burdened by student loans and live comfortably though not extravagantly.  Harvard Medical School states in their admissions statement that an “un-married first year medical student” will spend approximately $73,000 for the 2011-2012 academic year.  This includes tuition, room and board, books, etc.[8]  Now times that by four and you have a whopping $292,000 to shell out to become a Harvard doctor.  With interest rates, loan deferments and default charges, you might end up like Michelle Bisutti.  She graduated medical school in 2003 with a $250,000 debt, in which by 2010 had increased to $555,000.[9] This may be an extreme case, but the Association of American Medical Colleges projected in their 2007 report that in 2033, students on a 10-year repayment program will only see half of their after-taxes salaries, the rest going to loan repayment.[10]

The cost of medical education in the U.S. causes more and more medical school graduates to turn to higher paying specialties and subspecialties rather than primary care or family medicine.  Dr. Thomas Bodenheimer writing for the New England Journal of Medicine, stated that “between 1997 and 2005, the number of U.S. graduates entering family practice residencies dropped by 50 percent,” based on data from the National Resident Matching Program. [11]  In the U.S. specialists predominate at a ratio of 2:1 (the reverse of other Western countries) while half of all outpatient visits are made by primary care physicians. [12]   This deficit of primary care physicians decreases people’s access to primary care and preventative medicine, causing increases in health disparities and healthcare costs.  This is because preventative medicine benefits the patient as well as reduces the number of Emergency Department visits and hospital stays.  If there are no primary care physicians to provide preventative care to the population, we see the population suffer as costs continue to rise.

* Family Medicine Residency Positions and Number Filled by U.S. Medical School Graduates. From the American Academy of Family Physicians, based on data from the National Resident Matching Program. [11]

According to a survey in 2008 by the American Academy of Family Physicians, family medicine graduates with less than 7 years of experience earn, on average, a yearly salary of $145,000.[13]  The difference in earnings between primary care physicians and specialists differed by only 30 percent in 1980, and dramatically rose up to 300 percent for some narrowly defined specialists by 2009.  In the graph below, we show the dramatic difference between median compensation for selected specialties compared to that of primary care.[14,15]

*Median Compensation for Selected Medical Specialties.
Data are from the Medical Group Management Association Physician Compensation and Production Survey, 1998 and 2005. [15]

When working in the U.S., almost every primary care physician I talk to has the same complaint, “Too many patients, and too little time.”  They are forced to see 20 to 30 patients a day just to meet pay-incentives and “keep their doors open.”  General/Family Practice physicians spend an average of 16.1 minutes with each patient per visit. [16]   Meanwhile, 18%, or roughly 48.2 million of the U.S. population under the age of 64 is without healthcare insurance.  They have no access to most GP’s or family practice physicians. [17]

We need to follow our Cuban role model, we need to be held socially accountable and produce more primary care physicians.  This can be accomplished by providing an education at full scholarship to those interested in primary care, or by increasing the number of medical students going into primary care by closing the compensation gap between primary care and the higher paid specialties.  These measures would ensure the population better access to quality primary care and preventative medicine.  It would bring down the cost of healthcare while allowing primary care physicians to practice under less stressful conditions leading to quality affordable healthcare for all.


  1. World Health Organization (WHO 2011); Countries. []
  2.  “Healthcare Marketplace Project, Trends and Indicators in the Changing Marketplace (Exhibit 6.11: Private Health Insurance Admin Cost per Person Covered, 1986-2003),” Kaiser Family Foundation, Publication Number: 7031.  []
  3.  “Cuba and the Global Health Workforce: Training Human Resources.” Salud! (Source Vice Ministery for Medical Education and Research, Ministry of Public Health) []
  4. Sullivan, Paul.  “Discomfort at U.S. Medical Schools.” The New York Times; April 29, 2009.
  5.  “Total Number of Medical School Graduates, 2010.”  The Kaiser Family Foundation.  []
  6.  “World Health Statistics 2011,” World Health Organization; WHO Press, Switzerland.
  7. Brouwer, Steve.  “The Cuban Revolutionary Doctor: The Ultimate Weapon of Solidarity,” Monthly Review, 2009, vol 60, issue 8 (January).
  8. Harvard Medical School Admissions, “Costs (Updated: 7/21/2011).”  []
  9. Pilon, Mary.  “The $555,000 Student Loan Burden,” The Wall Street Journal, February 13, 2010.
  10. Fuchs, Elissa.  “With Debt on the Rise, Students Face an Uphill Battle.” The Association of American Medical Colleges, January 2008.
  11. Bodenheimer, Dr. Thomas,“Primary Care – Will it Survive?” New England Journal of Medicine, vol 355;9. Pg 861-862.
  12. Alper, Philip R. “Primary Care’s Dim Prognosis,” Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Policy Review No. 158 (December 1, 2009).
  13. American Academy of Family Physicians, Income (2011).      []
  14. Alper, Philip R. “The Decline of the Family Doctor,” Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Policy Review No. 124 (April 1, 2004).
  15. Woo, Dr. Beverly.  “Primary Care – The Best Job in Medicine?” New England Journal of Medicine, vol 355;9. Pgs 864-866.
  16.  “Healthcare Marketplace Project , Trends and Indicators in Changing Healthcare Marketplace (Exhibit 6.5: Mean Time Spent with Physicians (in Minutes), 1989 – 2002),”  Kaiser Family Foundation, Publication Number: 7031, Information Updated: 4/11/05.      []
  17.  “2010 National Health Interview Survey (Tables 1.1A-B, 1.2 B)”, Center for Disease Control.  []


Door-to-Door; Dengue Fever

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Medical Students and community members participate in dengue fever prevention efforts in Havana, Cuba (photographer, Joanna Mae Souers)

January, classes were suspended for medical students throughout Havana.  The dengue epidemic had reached its height and health officials decided it was time students joined the prevention efforts; door-to-door.  It is not the first time.  Medical students in Cuba have frequently been called upon for their volunteer services and solidarity to the community during epidemics and medical emergencies including Hurricane Katrina and the Chernobyl Disaster, political campaigns including “Bringing Home Emilio” and “Free the Cuban Five” and interests of state like harvesting potatoes and planting citrus trees.

When we first hit the streets we were armed with knowledge of disease prevention and assigned individually or in pairs to a city block.  We were oriented to visit each household daily, talk to each family about dengue prevention, teach signs and symptoms, and remit anyone in the home with fever to their local health center.  We were also given instructions to enter the homes, revise water tanks, and dispose of any items that could serve as fresh water containers where mosquitoes deposit their eggs.

On my own city block I had seen several issues solved and few to be addressed.  For example, I successfully mapped out the community and spoke face-to-face with at least one member of every household.   People were very cooperative and happy to receive us in their homes.  It was most important to see if anyone had come down with a fever or noticed any problems in the community concerning vector control and focal points where water was collecting and mosquitoes could be potentially breeding.

Most Cubans are well educated on the signs and symptoms of dengue and the methods of prevention.  Even before we speak to them, they have already heard the information from their local nurses, doctors, door-to-door inspectors, schools, community meetings, television, radio, and newspapers.  We may not have any new information to transmit to them, but we are able to bring to their awareness the severity of the epidemic and the importance of their continued cooperation in further prevention efforts by creating a presence in the streets.

The student efforts were so important because specialists were concerned that if the numbers did not return to a record low by the time the rains came in March, the epidemic would be out of control and cost many more lives.  Thanks to the students and the cooperation of the community our prevention efforts made a difference and progress was made just by going door-to-door.  The number of cases around the city steadily declined as cases were reported and prevention efforts were enforced.  The campaign lasted just a month, and in February with the epidemiologists satisfied and the community safe from dengue, we were on our way back to classes.

Reminder: Social Medicine Course in Northern Uganda – Applications Due June 30th

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SocMed invites students to apply for the fourth annual course Beyond the Biologic Basis of Disease: The Social and Economic Causation of Illness, a social medicine immersion experience conducted on-site at Lacor Hospital in Gulu, Uganda from January 7, 2013 to February 1, 2013. This unique immersion course incorporates innovative teaching methodologies to merge teaching of clinical tropical medicine with understanding the socioeconomic, cultural, political, and historical underpinnings of illness. Through a combination of lectures, small and large group discussions, films, community field visits, ward rounds, and clinical case discussions, the study of clinical medicine in a resource-poor setting is intersected with social medicine topics such as the social determinants of health, globalization, war, human rights, community-based health care, and narrative medicine. Enrollment is open to fifteen 3rd and 4th year medical students from across the globe, and includes equal participation of Ugandan medical students, and credit for away-rotations can be arranged.


This course is offered through SocMed, an organization that advocates for and implements global health curricula founded on the study of social medicine. By engaging medical students though careful examination of the social and economic contexts of health and immersing them in partnership with a diverse group of students from around the world, we aim to foster innovative leaders who are ready to tackle challenging health problems in communities around the world.

SocMed utilizes a curriculum that places great importance on building personal partnerships and encouraging students to reflect upon their personal experiences with power, privilege, race, class, gender, and sexual orientation as central to effective partnership building in global health. In the spirit of praxis (a model of education that combines critical reflection with action) these components of the course give students the opportunity to discern their role in global health and social medicine through facilitated, in-depth conversations with core faculty and student colleagues.  Please feel free to visit our website,, for more information about the course, its directors and guest lecturers, and SocMed.  Applications are due by June 30, 2012.


Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions you have at




Michael Westerhaus, MD, MA

Amy Finnegan, Ph.D.

Course Directors

Street Medic Training: New York City May 19th and 20th, 2012

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Street Medic Training
 Saturday, May 19th and Sunday, May 20th
 8:45 AM – 6:30 PM


Street medics are a community of health workers who are specifically trained to respond to the health needs of people at demonstrations, in progressive social movements, and at encampments.

Street medics are called upon to deal with a wide variety of illness and injury: crowd-control, chemical weapons decontamination, weather and temperature-related illness, altered mental status, sexual assault, and handcuff injuries, all in resource-scare, unsecured environments. Street medics also provide preventative care and public health promotion in protester encampments. Street medic care is ethical, empowering, and do-no harm.

Those who already have advanced first aid or medical training will want to take this course as we cover many topics that are specific to protest healthcare. People with no healthcare background will learn valuable skills that can be used anywhere, not just at protests. In this highly participatory training, you will learn to use your skills in complex, high-tension, low-resource situations. Expect to have fun!

Location: Manhattan. Address and subway information emailed upon registration.

Cost: $50 with a sliding scale. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. Please explain your needs when registering. Payment in the form of cash or check can be made on the first day of training on May 19th.

For registration info, please email

If you have further questions, please contact for more information.

Instructors from Common Ground Health Clinic, Latino Health Outreach Project, Medical Activists of New York, Black Cross Health Collective, Mutual Aid Street Medics, Katuah Earth First!, Mutual Aid Disaster Relief in Haiti, Mountain Justice 2005 Medics, and The Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees (Ramallah).

posted by: Matt Anderson, MD

IPHU Bronx 2011: An Introduction to the PHM



Today we came together on this first day of the IPHU from all over our small planet:  Ghana, Guinea, Haiti, Kenya, Lebanon, Puerto Rico, Russia, Rwanda, Thailand and the United States.  The day begins with introductions that are more than asking this group of inspiring and eloquent agitators the bland recitation of names, organizations and what are you interested in; we are asked to speak of ourselves through our personal and social mandates, or, what is the change you wish to see in the world and how do you see it?  As  brothers and sisters, we respond with a passion born of being fed up with a global system that perpetuates inequality and injustice at the cost of the health of our communities, and speak of our hopes and common threads of the need for advocacy, speaking truth to power, and alternative models and ways of thinking about health and health care that is people centered, not profit focused:  “Health for all Now,” “Love Solidarity,” “Access,” “Health Activism,” “Meaningful Participation,” “Progressive Work,” “Mental Health,” “Englightening,” “Bright Future,” “Visual Healing,” “Cultivate Love,” “Health Education,” “Awakening,” “Education Action.”


Next, David Legge gives a comprehensive overview and history of the People’s Health Movement, International People’s Health University (IPHU) and the People’s Health Charter (PHC).  We go over this radical document, a unifying, organizing vision that views health as a right for ALL.  This profoundly simple understanding is so fundamental, that some of us in our small group discussions ask, “Why Not?” Not “Why Not” as this is a good idea, but “Why Not” as in why is this socially, economically and just idea not implemented and what do we as advocates and activists need to do to push this forward, use this in our work, and what do we need to include (LGBT rights, more emphasis on gender inequality, and a suggestion to create a handbook on how to use the PHC)?


Laura Turiano follows with a presentation on using a Human Rights based approach to advocate Health for All Now.    Next follows participants’ big task:  group work on our projects that advance the idea of Health for All in our communities.  Our task at hand:  present our projects with our compadres in small groups where, over the course of the week, we will support each other to: analyze, re-think, re-fine, conceptualize, strategize, and put into action our vision of the world and communities in which we wish to live.


The “formal day’s agenda” concludes with a brief introduction of the Theatre of the Oppressed by John Sullivan.   Free form movement and human sculptures is what we are and mold ourselves into as we attempt to convey the fundamental values and concepts of the days proceedings:  Hope, Inspiration, Thinking, Motivated…all conveyed through our bodies, expressions, and movements.  The consensus over dinner discussions and late night debates, rabble rousing, getting to know you sessions, is:  this is going to be a great, learning filled, intense, memorable week.


Reminder – Application due July 30th for Northern Uganda Social Medicine Course

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Dear all,

We’re writing to remind you that applications are due in just over two weeks (July 30, 2010) for this exciting social medicine and global health course held in Northern Uganda. Please see the course invitation below and feel free to let us know if you have any questions:

Course Invitation 2011
We invite you to apply for the second annual Beyond the Biological Basis of Disease: The Social and Economic Causation of Illness, an on-site immersion course in social medicine offered at Lacor Hospital in Gulu, Uganda from January 10, 2011 through February 4, 2011. This intensive course designed for 15 international medical students (clinical years) and 15 Ugandan medical students (3rd-5th year) from Gulu University intersects the study of clinical medicine in a resource-poor setting with social medicine topics such as globalization, war, human rights, and narrative medicine, among others. This highly-interactive course is taught through a combination of lectures, small and large group discussions, films, community field visits, ward rounds, and clinical case discussions. Credit for away-rotations can also be arranged. It is estimated that total student costs for the course will be $2650. This total includes roundtrip travel to Uganda from the US ($1700), full room and board in the hospital guesthouse ($500), and a course fee ($450).

For more information, we invite you to read the attached prospectus and view the short video about this year’s course, available at:

If you have any questions or are interested in applying, please email us at Applications are due July 30, 2010.


Julian Jane Atim, MD, MPH
Amy Finnegan, MALD, MA
Michael Westerhaus, MD, MA
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Division of Global Health Equity
Boston, MA 02115

Discussion in 2010 Course

2010 AECOM Student-Run Social Medicine Course

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doveJanuary 6th, 2010 will mark the beginning of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine student-run Social Medicine Course. This course is a unique opportunity for the Einstein students to cover “essentials of medical practice not taught in medical school.”  This year’s list of speakers amply illustrates the connections between clinical practice and social activism.

The opening speaker will be Dr. Joia Mukerjee of Partners in Health who will discuss “Social  Forces in Medicine.”  This event will take place at 5:30 PM at the Riklis Auditorium and will be followed by a reception. Subsequent sessions will take place each Wednesday (with one exception) at the 5th floor Forchheimer Auditorium at 5;30PM. Dinner is provided.  All events in this series will be listed at the top of our blog roll.

At last year’s course several local readers of the Social Medicine Portal dropped by.  Please feel free to come, but write to Ms. Karp (see below) so that we can inform security.

The list of speakers and topics is as follows:
Jan 13 ∙ History of Social Medicine ∙ Matt Anderson, MD, MS.
Jan 20 ∙ LGBT Health and Community Organizing ∙ John-Paul Sanchez, MD, MPH
Jan 27 ∙ Race and Health in the Bronx ∙ Robert Fullilove, EdD
Feb 3 ∙ Harm Reduction in the Bronx: Dealing with the Hepatitis Epidemic among IV Drug Users ∙ Donald Davis
Feb 10 ∙ Motivational Interviewing and Nutrition in the Bronx ∙Yasmin Mossavar-Rahmani, PhD, RD, CDN
Feb 17 ∙ The Impact of Hep B on Pregnancy in the Asian American Community∙Tomoaki Kato, MD; Maya Gambarin-Gelwin, MD
Feb 24 ∙ Abortion Care in NYC∙Marji Gold, MD
Mar 3 ∙ Native American Health ∙ Donna Perry, MD *Price Center Auditorium
Mar 10 ∙ Separate and Unequal: Medical Apartheid ∙ Neil Calman, MD and Nisha Agarwal, JD
Mar 16* ∙ Liberation Medicine ∙Lanny Smith, MD, MPH, DTM&H  *Tuesday at 7:15pm*
Mar 17 ∙ Reentry: Old Fears, New Hopes ∙Meekaelle Joseph
Mar 24 ∙ Street Medicine ∙ Jim Withers, MD
Apr 7 ∙ The History and Practice of Community Psychiatry ∙Thomas Betzler, MD
Apr 14 ∙ Nyaya Health: A Case Study in Developing a Healthcare NGO∙ Ryan Schwarz and Bijay Acharya, MD
Apr 21 ∙ Refugee and Asylee care: Human Rights for Torture Survivors ∙ Nicole Sirotin, MD
Apr 28 ∙ Ayurvedic Medicine ∙Bhaswati Bhattacharya, MD, PhD
May 5 ∙ The War on Women: Criminalization of Reproduction in the United States ∙Robert Roose, MD

For any questions or kosher meal requests, please contact Jessica Karp at

Posted by Matt Anderson, MD

Research Based Health Activism 2009 – Medical Student Elective

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Research-based health activism describes a growing sector of the medical and public health worlds where the classic skills of clinical research and epidemiology are combined with grass-roots advocacy to influence federal and state health policy, counteracting the influence of private industry and market forces on public and community health. The Residency Program in Social Medicine at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine has a rich tradition of innovations in community oriented primary care and a history of progressive research and practice. Our faculty, together with experts from throughout the New York Metropolitan area, will provide training in this growing field of research-based health activism.

In October 2009, we will offer a one month elective for 4th year medical students interested in research based health activism. The course, now in its 8th year, combines both didactic and project based approaches, culminating with a research proposal that students can complete at their home institutions.

The didactic lectures will introduce three major topic areas: research methods, health policy, and advocacy skills. Individual and small group mentorship will be provided to help students utilize these skills by developing their own independent research proposal. Other sessions will include physician-activist guest lecturers and visits to state or private health organizations that both create and influence health policy.

Finally, students will develop a research proposal for a project reflecting their interests and an advocacy plan to gain the maximum health policy impact with the results. This proposal will be presented on the final day of the course at a luncheon including all students, the course directors, returning session leaders, and Peter Lurie, MD, MPH, from the Public Citizen’s Health Research Group.

*Aaron Fox, MD, Clinical Instructor of Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Course Director, Research-Based Health Activism Course;
*Viraj Patel, MD, Primary Care Resident, Montefiore Medical Center

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Please contact Aaron Fox, MD at this link: Aaron Fox

Past Programming Tracks:

Health Policy and Activism—The history and the present: Bertrand Bell, MD: Making Real World Change As A Physician—Jo Ivey Boufford, MD: Public Policy—Joseph Ross, MD: Health Care Organization—Ernest Drucker, PhD: A Plague of Prisons: The Epidemiology of Mass Incarceration—Oliver Fein, MD: National Health Insurance for the US: Has Its Time Come?—Paul Lipson, Chief of Staff and Siddharta Sanchez, Community Liaison for Immigration & Environmental Affairs for Bronx Congressman José Serrano: Health Topics as they relate to the policies in the Bronx, NY—Ruth Macklin, PhD: Research Ethics: Protecting Human Subjects of International Research—Eva Metalios, MD: Human Rights Clinic—Barbara Seaman: Women’s Health Activism—Peter Selwyn, MD, MPH: Research and Advocacy at the Dawn of AIDS—Peter Sherman, MD: The Affects of Domestic Violence on Children—Victor Sidel, MD: Social Injustice and Public Health, and War, Terrorism, and Public Health—Hal Strelnick, MD: Health Policy at Local, State, and National Levels—Bruce Vladeck, PhD: Medicare and the Role of Physicians in the Future—Sidney Wolfe, MD: Research Topics/Questions

Research Methods—how to produce activist research:

Matthew Anderson, MD, MSc: Planning the write-up process of your project—Chinazo Cunningham, MD: Grant Writing—Robin Flam, MD, DrPH: Uses of Epidemiology—Aaron Fox, MD: Social Epidemiology—Nerina Garcia, PhD and Lucia Ferra: Qualitative data use and analysis—Alison Karasz, PhD and Galit Sacajiu, MD, MPH: The Underline Construct—Paul Meissner, MSPH: Using Secondary Demographic and Clinical Databases—Robert Roose, MD: Quantitative data use and analysis—Galit Sacajiu, MD, MPH: Research Questions—Nancy Sohler, PhD, MPH and Galit Sacajiu, MD, MPH: Study Designs

Advocacy—how to create change:

David Appel, MD: Lobbying—Ramin Asgary, MD, MPH, MSc:Humanitarian Assistance: The Principles—Oni Blackstock, MD: HIV/AIDS in Ghana: Adherence and Stigma—Bob Goodman, MD—Pharmaceutical Industry and Physicians—Kirsten Goodwin of GMHC: Coalition Building—Hillary Kunins, MD, MPH, MS and Carolyn Chu, MD: Case Workshop: Advocating for Choice—Janice Lieberman, NBC Studio: Media Relations in Health Research and Advocacy—David Matthews: Harm Reduction and HIV: a grass root organization—Steve Max of Midwest Academy: Intro to Organizing and Strategy Building—Mini Murthy, MD, MPH, MS: Women’s Health and Human Rights—Zena Nelson: The South Bronx Food Cooperative—Adam Richards, MD, MPH: Public Health and Human Rights Praxis in Burma—Minesh Shah, MD: Public Speaking—Lanny Smith, MD, MPH, DTM&H: Liberation Medicine, Health and Human Rights—Leonora Tiefer, PhD: FSD-A Case of Disease Mongering and Activist Resistance

Click on the links below for:

Course Brochure 2009
An application for the course:  2009 application
Articles about the course from the journal of general internal medicine, Academic Physician and Scientist and the New York Times

Aaron Fox, MD