Urban Service Track

Contact Information

Connecticut Area Health Education Center
Phone: 860-679-7971
Email: clarkdufner@uchc.edu

Now celebrating ten years of operation, CT AHEC’s Urban Service Track program is designed to produce a cadre of well qualified health care professionals committed to serving Connecticut’s urban underserved populations. As Urban Health Scholars, participants represent a select group of students enrolled in the University of Connecticut Schools of Dental Medicine, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Social Work and Quinnipiac University’s Physician Assistant program.

A total of 50 to 54 Urban Health Scholars are selected each year from among qualified applicants who have a demonstrated commitment to service. Admitted as “cohorts” Urban Health Scholars come from two universities, four campuses, and six schools. More than 160 students at different training years participate in the Urban Service Track, annually.

The focus of UST is enhancing health profession student knowledge about interprofessional collaborative care, medical management of vulnerable and underserved patient populations, primary care and public service. Urban Health Scholars gain valuable exposure to the complex and challenging issues of health care in the inner city.

Students develop competencies in the following areas: cultural humility and linguistics, population health, health policy, advocacy, health care financing and management, leadership, community resources, interprofessional health care teams, quality improvement and patient safety.

UConn’s Urban Service Track student volunteers have contributed 8,950 hours of health care service to underserved urban populations. (Urban Service Track/UConn Health Center Photo)

In addition to completing the basic science and clinical curricula of their respective schools, Urban Health Scholars are exposed to a set of interprofessional experiences designed to heighten awareness of the intriguing challenges and unique opportunities in urban communities. Where possible, clinical training occurs in federally qualified health centers and other primary care facilities in Connecticut’s urban underserved communities. Elective clinical experiences focus on underserved settings such as homeless shelters and migrant farm worker clinics.

The Urban Service Track officially enrolled its first group of students in the fall of 2007. More than 430 Urban Health Scholars have participated in the program  to date and approximately 50% of medical student graduates have continued residency training in primary care fields. A strong mentorship component supports Urban Health Scholars as they navigate their own personal and professional development. Leadership and advocacy training is also provided through the UST leadership cabinet, community based summer projects, and attendance at state, regional and national professional meetings focused on vulnerable and underserved populations. For more information, contact Petra Clark-Dufner at clarkdufner@uchc.edu.