Service Learning Elective | NYU School of Medicine | NYU Langone Health

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Interdepartmental Elective Catalog Service Learning Elective

Service Learning Elective

Preceptor: Linda Tewksbury, MD

Contact: Katie Grogan Maullon, DMH, MA

Prerequisites: None

Approval Process: Requires pre-approval by Dr. Tewksbury and submission of the Service Learning Elective (SLE) application to the Registrar at least two weeks prior to the start of the elective.


During the SLE, the medical student will choose a primary community service project and engage with this project over the course of the elective time. They will also progress through several self-directed learning and reflection activities to deepen the educational value of their service commitment.

According to the LCME (Element 6.6), service-learning refers to educational activities which include all of the following:

  1. Medical students’ service to the community in activities that respond to community-identified concerns;
  2. Student preparation; and
  3. Student reflection on the relationships among their participation in the activity, their medical school curriculum, and their roles as citizens and medical professionals. From LCME Functions and Structure of a Medical School (2019).

Objectives of the Elective

The elective is designed to allow students the ability to take a deep dive into service-learning during their clinical years of medical school. They will fulfill preparatory requirements at the start of their service involvement, and be guided through thoughtful reflection to optimize the educational impact of their community service involvement. Elective objectives include:

  • Society: To contribute to efforts to treat and manage public health issues through service to the community;
  • Knowledge: To better understand the foundation of such medical and public health efforts; and
  • Learners: To further develop students’ professional identities as healthcare providers, and personal identities as citizens, through enhanced social responsibility.

Key Responsibilities of the student while on Elective

  1. Students will fulfill the hourly requirements for service involvement required by the elective, and submit their hour-logs on time.
  2. Students will complete the required introductory module and preparatory activities.
  3. Students will complete the required reflection activities.
  4. Students will fill out the exit survey on completion of their elective participation.

Didactic Program

The didactic components of the SLE include a mandatory introductory module (self-guided) as well as a number of preparatory activities related to the specific project the student chooses to participate in. Students will be required to complete a specific number of self-directed preparatory activities depending on how many weeks they are taking part in the elective. Students will also be required to complete reflection activities once each week during either the 2- or 4-week elective block. Reflection and preparation activities can be chosen from a list of options that the student will receive at the beginning of the rotation.

Method of Evaluation

Students will receive elective credit if they complete all required components of the elective as described above. Their hours and assignments will be managed and approved by Linda Tewksbury, Associate Dean for Student Affairs, with assistance from Katie Grogan, Associate Director, Master Scholars Program in Humanistic Medicine.

Scheduling Information

Months Offered: All Year

Report To: Linda Tewksbury, MD and Katie Grogan, DMH, MA

Students Per Period: Unlimited

Duration: Two or Four-Weeks*

*The SLE is also offered as a longitudinal experience: 70 hours (service, preparation, and reflection) over 1 -6 months for 2-weeks of elective credit.

The SLE (2- or 4-weeks) is one of our non-traditional electives that also includes the Free Clinic (2-weeks) and Practice of Medicine Teaching Academy (2-weeks). While students can participate in any, or all, of these electives, the maximum amount of non-traditional elective time that can count towards the graduation elective requirement is 4-weeks.