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Medical Students as Primary Care Providers

Rebecca Liu BS, Serie I. Chen AB, Pinar Oray-Schrom MD

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Longitudinal clinical care experience is a rarely-met need in medical school education. The Wednesday Evening Clinic (WEC) at the Yale New Haven Hospital adult Primary Care Center (PCC) is a student clinic that addresses this need. It aims to: 1) Provide Yale medical students opportunity for a longitudinal clinical outpatient experience; 2) Offer students the opportunity to care for their own patient cohort and function as primary care providers (PCPs); 3) Provide outstanding medical care for an underserved patient population. The WEC is a student- staffed, fully integrated clinic in the adult PCC of Yale-New Haven Hospital. It was founded in response to medical students’ desire for a longitudinal clinical experience. This experience provides insights into disease courses and opportunities for building patient-provider relationships, which are of increasing importance given the rise of chronic diseases and demand for primary care. Each Wednesday, 15 medical students beyond their 3rd year participate. Weekly attendance over one year ensures a longitudinal experience and satisfies the primary care clerkship requirement. Modeled after group practice, students are divided into three patient care teams, each supervised by a designated faculty attending and rotating volunteer attendings from the Yale and New Haven medical communities. As PCPs, students perform general health maintenance, chronic disease management, age-appropriate screening, counseling and patient-care coordination. Follow- up beyond clinic hours is also required. The WEC is supported jointly by Yale-New Haven Hospital and Yale School of Medicine.

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