ASMPH students return to community rotations
27 Jan 2023
ASMPH fully restored community rotations for its students after a two year hiatus due to the COVID 19 pandemic.
The Year Level 9 medical interns (5th year) were the first to return to communities starting in April 2022 after the school administration secured approval from the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF). By the start of the first semester of school year 2022-2023, the Year Level 7 (3rd year) students and Year Level 8 medical clerks (4th year) also resumed their deployment in the community.
The ASMPH administration took the necessary preparations and representations to be able to resume the community rotation vital to the training of the medical students. After securing IATF approval, the ASMPH administration presented the Limited Community Access Program (LiCAP) to the students and their parents and the faculty. Strict guidelines regarding health and safety protocols were in place. All students and faculty were required to be vaccinated, complete a daily health form, and follow all government mandated protocols while in the community. Community partners were also required to be vaccinated and community facilities were prepared to ensure safety and allow good ventilation. The number of students visiting a community was also limited initially with some students being assigned online tasks while others went to the communities. The school also monitored the health situation in the communities throughout the period of deployment. To alleviate concerns of possible exposure from taking public transportation, the ASMPH initially provided transportation for students going to communities. According to Dr. Limuel Abrogena, Chair of ASMPH’s Public Health Cluster, with all of these precautions in place, so far, there have been no cases of students getting COVID during their community rotations.
One of the distinctive features of medical formation at the ASMPH is community engagement. This is integrated into the curriculum to the extent that certain weeks are exclusively dedicated for students to be in communities. In the Learning Experience in the Community (LEC) course, Year Level 7 students assess the health situation of a community and propose a health project in consultation with all stakeholders, including the partner organization and the members of the community. They then implement this project in the community when they become Year Level 8 medical clerks. The LEC course runs for two years, covering the third and fourth year of training of the ASMPH medical students. Apart from a monthly engagement with the community, the ASMPH sets aside two weeks for the students to fully implement their project during their LEC rotation. The ASMPH currently has 12 partner organizations for LEC.
Aside from the LEC, Year Level 8 students also spend one week at a clinic in Barangay Ilugin, Pasig City interacting with indigent patients as part of their clerkship rotation in Pediatrics. During the rotation, they have the opportunity to interact and observe the family of the children they see. They also help implement community programs designed by the Section of Community Pediatrics of the Department of Pediatrics of The Medical City. During their Clerkship in Family and Community Medicine rotation, students engage with residents of Gawad Kalinga (GK) Arkong Bato in Barangay Kapitolyo, also in Pasig City. During their weeklong rotation, the students are able to observe families assigned to them and have the opportunity to analyze the impact of disease processes in the family dynamics. The students are able to design and implement short-term projects in the community applying their understanding of community development as these relate to health.
By Year Level 9 (5th year), the students do eight week rotations at community health hubs in GK Rosario-Cox and GK Trese, both situated in Barangay Payatas, Quezon City, as part of their Internship in Family and Community Health Management (FCHM) rotation. Medical interns conduct patient consultation with minimum supervision, follow up on the health needs of families assigned per intern, assist the rest of the community with various medical needs and conduct community development projects in consultation with the GK Kapitbahayan Neighborhood Association. Applying their knowledge and skills in management, they also facilitate procurement of supplies of the health hub and the training of community health volunteers. A select group of medical interns go through a more intensive Community Enhanced Internship Program (CEIP) at Barangay Toro Hills, also in Quezon City. This group rotates at the local health center for a total of six months throughout the year, facilitating both primary care and multispecialty care (i.e., general medicine, pediatrics, surgery, ob-gyne, ENT and ophthalmology) consultations. The CEIP interns are also able to implement various community programs anchored on the community needs assessment that they have conducted.
According to Dr. Abrogena, it is through their community rotations that students directly manage and engage with patients and their families and various stakeholders of the community; integrate the principles of medicine, public health and management; and apply the principles of community development. The community rotations help the students see the interface between a patient’s health and its impact on family dynamics and utilization of community resources. They also see through their data gathering what health issues need to be addressed in the community which helps them design appropriate responses. Throughout their medical training in ASMPH, medical students navigate the encounters with patients and their families and engagement with the community which is essential to becoming the ASMPH Doctors the school envision them to be. All these advantages are why ASMPH made it a point to restore the community rotation of their students.
Photos courtesy of ASMPH
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