NYMC > School of Medicine (SOM) > SOM Academics > Undergraduate Medical Education (M.D. Program) > Foundations of Clinical Medicine > Community Involvement and Service Learning

SOM Community Involvement and Service Learning

Through its community involvement programs and Summer Service Learning Preceptorships, the NYMC School of Medicine brings its students, its research and its skills, to neighborhoods throughout Westchester and the surrounding area.

Service Learning Programs in the SOM

The purpose of the NYMC SOM Service Learning programs is to help students build new aptitudes through hands-on experiences at community sites that will live beyond his/her time in medical school and prepare them to be better physicians in the future. Unlike typical formal learning situations, service learning is akin to situational rather than linear learning, and so is richer in its complexity, connections and impact. Students work directly with the doctors and health professionals at community sites. Working collaboratively with health care professionals at these sites, students create a tangible product that these institutions truly need but do not have. Student reflections about the process are critical to the learning process.

In the Family Medicine Clerkship in third year, all students are required to participate in an interprofessional service learning activity at their practice site. Students engage in project development or implementation or participate in an ongoing project that serves the community by providing preventative services above and beyond the routine provision of office-based medical service. The project may involve a preventive intervention such as screening, education, counseling, disease management, reminder or recalls for patients or provider, developing standing orders, or improving access to preventive services. Afterwards students complete a guided reflection on the experience which explores how this experience impacted beliefs about civic responsibility, being a leader in a community effort, collaborating with other members of the healthcare team and the impact on the development of their professional identity.


Community Service in the SOM

A variety of opportunities to be involved in the local community by volunteering at hospitals, shelters and clinics; delivering tobacco-awareness programs in local middle and high schools; and staffing the annual Community Health Fair.

La Casita de la Salud

SOM Student Life LaCasita 6.8.22 cmSpanish for The Little House of Health, La Casita de la Salud is an inner-city health clinic run by New York Medical College medical students. Located at 413 East 120th Street in Manhattan, the clinic is dedicated to serving the uninsured population of East Harlem. La Casita operates as an adjunct to an existing satellite clinic of Metropolitan Hospital Center, La Clinica del Barrio (The Neighborhood Clinic).

The goal of the clinic is to improve health outcomes by providing quality culturally competent care regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, nationality or ability to pay. The clinic emphasizes preventative medicine through patient-centered care and education, and strives to be a model of efficiency and cost-effectiveness in the achievement of the aforementioned goals. Through cultural competency and increasing access to healthcare for uninsured and undocumented residents, the clinic founders hope to help bridge the pervasive health disparity gap in our healthcare system. 

For more information, visit the La casita de la salud website


Beyond Bars

Beyond Bars is a new program that aims to improve health education among underserved populations. Started by Rana Mehdizadeh and held at Woodfield Cottage, Beyond Bars aims to provide the support and resources underprivileged youth need to thrive later in live. However, the benefits are truly two-fold. In addition to educating arrested youth and providing them with the resources to make healthy choices, the program also aims to train future healthcare professionals to empathize with a patient’s past, note that it may be a contributing factor to their health, but ultimately be non-judgmental and look beyond it.

The truth is that many of the teens currently at Woodfield Cottage (as well as juvenile detention centers nationwide) come from low socioeconomic backgrounds and simply have not had the support, resources, and/or education needed to reach their full potential. These teens are generally very intelligent and interested in learning about their health and bettering themselves but haven’t had the opportunity to do so. Some may have forgone schooling to work and provide a source of income for their families; others may not have even had a choice, and had been forced into illegal activity by a third party.

Beyond Bars aims to right this wrong by holding weekly discussion-based health education classes for the kids at Woodfield. Through these classes, we also hope to create a strong support system for them as they go through the long and stressful process of awaiting their court dates and sentencing. Though it is currently in its beginning stages, we hope to see Beyond Bars become a staple of New York Medical College, providing a well-rounded education for physicians for years to come.


NYMC Cares Week

SOM Student Life 6.8.22 cmNYMC Cares Week is hosted by the Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS). While it takes a large amount of hard work and volunteers, it enables the students of NYMC to get out into the community and make a positive and immediate impact on people’s lives. In past years, members of GHHS and NYMC volunteered at the Grasslands Homeless Shelter, both to perform blood pressure screens and paint the facilities. GHHS members provide a tasty snack for those underclassmen studying hard for their upcoming tests.


  • Bethany A.M.E. Church Soup Kitchen
  • Bethesda Baptist Church Lad’s Lunch
  • Calvary Baptist Church Soup Kitchen
    • Nutrition Assistance Program
    • Health & Wellness Program     
    • Computer Instructor
  • Children’s Village
  • Christian Medical & Dental Association’s (CMDA) :
  • Church of the Holy Name of Mary: Loaves and Fish
  • Community Memorial Baptist Church Soup Kitchen
  • Community Service Assoc/Project Family/Heavenly Start/Through Gods Hands
  • Create a Smile/Serve a Meal, Salvation Army
  • First Reformed Church Food Pantry/Kitchen
    • The Food Bank for Westchester serves over 265 local hunger-relief programs throughout Westchester, including food pantries, soup kitchens, child and adult day-care centers, and shelters. The Food Bank provides 95% of all the food given to hungry families, children and seniors as cooked meals or groceries to take home.
  • GHHS - Woodfield Cottage Game Night
  • GHHS Spreading Hope with Soap Campaign
    • It's more than just providing the medical brigade for the spring break week. It's a huge volunteer opportunity, because students are required spend the whole year fundraising and getting medications/medical supplies. They also recruit doctors and dentists, as well as prepare health education for kids. For the actual brigade itself, we treat around 700 patients in hard to reach places in Honduras, and provide things from basic pain killers to BP medication to parasite meds to sunscreen (they often work outside all day and have major skin issues) to glasses for reading. Cases that are complex can be referred out to hospitals, and our organization also pays for all the medical care that they will need for the referral. The person running the trip this year is Kaitlin Swanson, but I'll be happy to provide more information if needed since I started the brigade second year.
    • Soup Kitchen
    • Men’s Homeless Shelter
    • Housing Services Office
    • Offers individuals who are homeless, shelter for the night. Also provides homeless men, women, and veterans social services, clothing and transportation. Homeless adults 18 years and older. Grasslands Homeless Shelter is a 149-bed facility providing temporary housing to men, women, and childless couples.
    • Soup Kitchen
    • Food Pantry
    • Mount Vernon Intermediate Care Facility
    • First Years
    • Second Years
    • Third/Fourth Years
    • Outreach Team
    • Students volunteer at the Woodfield Cottage Juvenile Detention Facility, which houses children ages 10 to 16 who have been charged with crimes and are awaiting the judicial process. Once a week groups of NYMC students spend some time with the residents of Woodfield Cottage, playing games such as charades, scattergories, and basketball. Our goal is to create an enjoyable atmosphere for the children and act as the role models they may not otherwise have.
    • Students organise three blood drives every year and NYMC recently won an award for blood donations to the surrounding  community.
    • Rockland Section Tales for Tots
  • Open Door Family Medical Center
    • The Ossining Food Pantry helps over 400 people per week. Clients include single people, couples, parents with children, senior citizens struggling to get by on Social Security, the newly unemployed, the underemployed, individuals returning to society after incarceration, veterans, the sick who cannot work and the well who cannot make ends meet under current circumstances. They can be men, women or children, young or old, new to the Ossining area or long-time residents. But all are hungry. The pantry is a very well-run organization that provides weekly household food supplies to families (with portions given depending on the family size).
  • Project Sunshine
    • A small group of students take the lead in organizing dates and times when other students at the school can take the opportunity to sign-up to help prepare a meal for 30+ individuals at the Westchester Medical Center Ronald McDonald House. Each meal takes about 2-3 hours to prepare, after which student volunteers are responsible for cleaning up the kitchen and arranging the meal for the houseguests to help themselves. It is a very easy-going and rewarding commitment that also gives students the opportunity to meet peers in the other SOM classes.
    • The Osborn in Rye, New York, has been innovating and exceeding senior living expectations in Westchester County for more than 100 years. We provide independent living with an engaging lifestyle and a continuum of health services.  
  • Wartburg Adult Care Center
    • It is a regional high school science fair hosted in Sleepy Hallow every spring, which NYMC students volunteer to judge. Volunteers specify which fields they are comfortable judging, including biochem, biology, medicine, engineering, etc.
  • Winter Clothes Drive for the Local Homeless Shelter
  • Women’s Toiletries Drive for My Sister’s Place