Einstein Student-Run Social Medicine Course
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.
Why a course in social medicine?
Traditionally, the preclinical science curriculum of medical school has left huge gaps in medically relevant, but “unscientific,” topics. Specifically, social factors such as economics, politics, race, and other issues related to healthcare disparities are often minimally addressed. The Social Medicine course aims to inform students about current issues in medical ethics, health economics, health policy and various other topics dealing with health and disease from a socio-economic perspective. The course is offered annually and has been very well attended in recent years. It runs in the spring semester for 12-14 weeks. Students design the curriculum each year, and the lectures are given by faculty and invited speakers. Topics covered in the course have included: the practice of social medicine, correctional health, community-based clinics, the ethics of stem cell research, medical waste, drug policy in the US, no free lunch, healthcare for people with disabilities, the politics of abortion, gun violence, elder abuse, race/ethnicity and unequal treatment, refugee health, liberation medicine, war as a public health problem, and more.
An Einstein alumnus who graduated 15 years ago wrote: “There exists at Einstein a certain ethic, a recognition that as physicians we have responsibilities both as scientists and as catalysts of social change and that these responsibilities extend well beyond our own backyard”. The course in social medicine helps to keep this “ethic” alive.