Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics


Search This Site

COMSEP Meeting in Ottawa, ON

Poster Presentation:

Social Pediatrics in the Pre-clerkship Years Providing Early Exposure to Conditions Affecting Children in the Community

Gander . Sarah,,Saint John,NB,Laura . Stymiest,,Saint John,NB,Marianne . McKenna,,Saint John,NB

Social pediatrics has been recognized as "an approach that effectively addresses the health needs of children who are vulnerable because of their social and material circumstances". This emerging field has caught the attention of medical educators Canada-wide. The patient population comprises a variety of disadvantaged and marginalized groups including children of newcomer and immigrant families, homeless youth, First Nations, children in protective services, and more.  

Elective opportunities and core rotations in Social Pediatrics now exist for clerks and residents across the country.  At the pre-clerkship level, however, there is a scarcity of structured opportunities in Social Pediatrics.

A 12 week clinical elective was implemented at our center wherein students visit community organizations and shadow providers working with marginalized children and their families. Short online modules complement the visits and were created using the education tool with game-based, media and interactive features to consolidate learning. Students directly observed, had discussion through a mentor and conducted a final project. Providing this experience at the pre-clerkship level aims to solidify core curriculum concepts including CanMEDS competencies such as Health Advocate and Collaborator.

One group of 4 students completed this elective to date. The effectiveness of the elective experience has been qualitatively evaluated through community partner and student feedback in the form of face-to-face meetings and written reflections. When one participating student was asked about the value of their experience, they commented that: “it would be interesting to share this experience with the rest of our class. There have been lectures trying to convey social determinants of health, but I found this was more useful.” Community partners have echoed the value of the experience for both their organization and their patients. One group commented that “all the families eagerly participated with the students. They seemed comforted knowing these students would be practicing doctors in the future”. A pre and post elective multiple choice exam showed an increase in student’s knowledge acquisition on global and local issues pertaining to social pediatrics.

We will present the elective as a curriculum innovation and will share the feedback and reflection obtained from the students and community partners.