Service Learning

CLICK HERE for PDF of Service-Learning Brochure

BUSM offers a variety of extracurricular programs to expose medical students to community-based medicine and social advocacy groups.  These programs provide a way for students to be involved in the community and to promote the Academies mission of professionalism, ethics, and humanitarian values.

The Outreach Van Project
The Outreach Van Project (OVP) at Boston University Medical Center (BUMC) provides health care to the medically under-served and homeless communities and provides opportunity for students to learn valuable skills in community outreach.  The organization is staffed by volunteers from BUSM, GMS, SPH, and SDM.
Contact: 617-872-7782;

Sharewood Project
The Sharewood Project is a free health care organization run by medical students and physicians that offers free care to the medically under-served.  Sharewood also acts as a gateway for people without health insurance to enter the health care system by directing them towards primary care services within the community.

Project TRUST
Project TRUST is part of the Center for HIV/Aids Care and Research and offers free and confidential rapid HIV and Hepatitis C testing and counseling services, and risk reduction counseling.  The project is funded by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
Telephone: 617-414-4495

Social Entrepreneurship in Health
Social Entrepreneurship in Health (SEH) is a student group dedicated to fostering an environment for individuals to learn about and to pursue positive social change endeavors.  They hope to invest in the power of the individual to provide innovated solutions to social problems, especially in the healthcare field through leveraging existing resources within the BUSM community and beyond to provide action-focused training opportunities for our group members.  Our goal is that everyone may harness the skills they learn to fulfill their own dreams of positive social change.

Project MED HEALTH (Helping Educate Adolescents to Live Tomorrow Healthy) is a program created and organized by the students at BUSM.  The goal is to educate children about key health issues to guide them toward developing healthy lifestyles.  Medical students work with local public schools and lead interactive workshops on various topics, including nutrition, fitness, safety, puberty, and sex education.
Contact: Anna Volerman

CCHERS Program
The Center for Community Health Education Research and Service (CCHERS) is a program whose goal is to increase access to and improve the quality of health care for Boston’s multi-cultural and multi-lingual communities by developing partnerships between academia and Boston’ s neighborhood health centers.
Contact: Lorraine Stanfield, M.D.

PAIRS Program
This elective course provides 1st year medical students with an opportunity to learn about Alzheimer’s Disease and related disorders.  Student are paired with an early-stage Alzheimer’s disease patient with whom they spend time with through out the academic year.  This program provides excellent exposure to neurology, geriatrics, neuropsychiatry, and neuropsychology.
Contact: Nicole Cantwell (, 617-414-1193

FaMeS (Family Medicine Student Track)
The FaMeS program provides support and early clinical experience to students at BUSM who are interested in primary care.  Students have the opportunity to participate in many extracurricular experiences that promote learning and community service.
Contact: Joanne Wilkinson, M.D., 617-414-4465

Boston Coalition for Adult Immunization (BCAI)
The Boston Coalition for Adult Immunization (BCAI) delivers free flu vaccinations to underserved (or potentially underserved) populations in and around Boston.  This program critically depends on the work of students!  BU medical students volunteer in conjunction with Tufts and Harvard medical students.  This organization offers students the opportunity to learn to give flu vaccinations (and actually give them), visit neighborhood clinics, nursing homes, homeless shelters, and other patient settings in the Boston area, and learn about public health issues and perform community service.  In order to administer vaccinations, students must attend a training session.

The Other Side of the Bed at Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System
This program is designed to give students a paid opportunity to participate directly and intensively in the care of veteran patients during the summer after their first year of medical school.  Accepted students are hired for the summer as health technicians at the VA Boston Healthcare System.  Students undergo four days of intensive orientation and training to learn skills and responsibilities of a health tech on a nursing unit.  They are assigned to a nurse mentor on the unit of their choice at the West Roxbury Campus (medical, surgical, spinal cord injury, medical intensive care, coronary care, surgical intensive care, progressive care, or emergency).  During their two-month service, medical student-health techs engage in direct patient care, and learn a multitude of skills, such as patient assessment, determination of vital signs, patient hygiene and feeding, reposition and wound care, placement and monitoring of catheters, IV lines and feeding tubes, suctioning and respiratory care and care of tracheostomies, blood drawing, and recording of EKGs.  Students attend weekly lectures about a wide array of practical topics such as how to talk to dying patients, physician-nurse collaboration, and patient safety.  Upon completion of this program, students will increase their comfort level in direct patient care, learn valuable skills that are not taught directly in medical school, and gain an increased appreciation of the importance role that nurses play as part of a multidisciplinary healthcare team.
Contact: Michael E. Charness, M.D., Chief of Staff and Cecilia McVey, MSN, MHA, CAN, Associate Director for Nursing/Patient Care Services