The Human Dimension course – central to the SOM curriculum, and placing the individual, family, and community as the focus of medicine.
At the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University, our curriculum and school are structured around what actually drives health and disease: the Determinants of Health. The Determinants are the many factors that affect health outcomes - from the biologic and genetic, to the social, environmental, and economic factors.
Therefore, core to the SOM curriculum is a longitudinal course that spans the entire core curriculum - the Human Dimension. Within this course, all medical students, in pairs, will be matched with 3 families in the community. Our students will come to know these individuals, families, and communities very well—and in turn, the families and communities will become connected to the SOM. Through structured experiences -- in home and community-based settings as well as medical settings -- the Determinants of Health will come alive for our students. The Human Dimension course will also include classroom-based activities and small group mentorship with a faculty mentor, providing students with the critical knowledge, skills, as well as the supervision and guidance needed, for them to thrive in the Human Dimension course and in their future practice.
All classroom and community-based activities within the Human Dimension will be integrated with the other elements of the SOM curriculum. For example, while a student is learning anatomy of the heart and pathophysiology of cardiovascular disease in their lab and classroom sessions, within the Human Dimension, they will perform a family history with their families, and then will go out to that family's community and complete a "foodmap" -- looking to see if there are sources of fresh fruits and vegetables or safe places to exercise in the family's neighborhood and community.
Our medical students will provide benefit to the individuals, families, and communities they are partnering with. Examples include identifying unmet needs and matching individuals with resources that can help, referring families to the Medical-Legal Partnership, providing continuity and support for individuals to reduce the fragmentation they are experiencing within the medical system, and working with our collaborators at the Seton Hall School of Law and others to identify policy or systems problems affecting families and communities.
As a medical student, you will experience the power and joy of partnering with communities and will learn firsthand that as much as you give to the community, personally you will gain even more. You will experience the power and joy of a physician-community partnership.
You will learn a tremendous amount from the families and communities with whom you work, and through your participation in the course, will learn to identify problems, and solutions - from the individual to the systems level.
To learn more and to be part of this exciting program, click here.