Justice Health Learning

GW Medical Student Opportunities to Engage in Justice-Health Learning

Roadmap: The GW SMHS is adopting a longitudinal and integrated approach to justice-health learning in the context of a highly regulated and accelerated medical school curriculum.  Practically speaking, this means medical students will be provided opportunities to learn about justice-health through the existing GW curriculum of didactics, clinical rotations, research, summer projects, and volunteer opportunities.  The initial template for this integration was presented as a poster at the Academic Consortium on Criminal Justice Health meeting in Las Vegas, NV in March 2019. The poster, Designing a Roadmap for Justice-Health Integration in a U.S. Medical School Curriculum (PowerPoint file), was developed and authored by Cara Buchanan, fourth-year GW medical student, Class of 2019.

General: Medical students interested in justice-health may find the GW Criminal Justice Health Reference list as a useful introduction to this area of medicine and meaningful adjunctive material for didactic courses and clinical clerkships.  Similarly, GW sponsors correctional medicine webinars that can supplement learning in multiple clinical areas that disproportionately affect justice-involved patients such as treatment of substance use disorders, serious mental illness, and chronic infectious diseases.   Webinars can be accessed live or listened to as enduring continuing medical education material.      

MS-1 Opportunities:

  • Patient education volunteer opportunity at Arlington County Detention Center:  Students volunteer during their first year for this unique opportunity to personally engage with justice-involved patients during monthly, small group education sessions.
  • Become involved in the Social Justice Interest Group: This student-led organization at GWSMHS aims to raise awareness about various social justice issues and their implications in healthcare. Some topics include health disparities, racism in medicine, health care for the underserved, and many others.
  • Become involved in the Homeless Medicine Collaborative:  This student-led organization at GWSMHS seeks to encourage discussion around homeless medicine and housing insecurity.
  • Become involved in ISCOPES Adult Health Literacy Team:  Through the GW Milken School of Public Health, students will have an opportunity to participate in a year-long partnership with Emery House and Highland Dwellings and Additions to work with men and families experiencing homelessness to build health literacy.
  • Intersession I - HIV Summit: Through the role of a student participant or a student co-coordinator, students could focus their projects on justice-involved populations and HIV transmission.
  • Summer project opportunities: Students can apply for a Health Services Scholarship or a W.T. Gill Summer Fellowship on a justice-health topic with Dr. Newton E. Kendig as faculty advisor. Students can also apply for the Betty Ford Summer Institute for Medical Students on Addiction Medicine. Students enrolled in the global health track may have opportunities outside the U.S. to engage with justice-health patient populations.  Students interested in these or other summer opportunities in justice-health should contact Dr. Newton E. Kendig at nek@gwu.edu.

MS-3 Opportunities

  • Request Re-entry Clinic an LPCC option: Students could be partnered with a Unity provider in the Anacostia Re-entry Clinic for their year-long Longitudinal Primary Care Clerkship.
  • Requesting a mentor who specializes in Justice Health as an LPCC option: Students could be partnered with a provider with an expertise in justice-health for their year-long Longitudinal Primary Care Clerkship.
  • Psychiatry Clerkship Sites:
    • Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute (NVMHI): Progressive, freestanding, state run psychiatric hospital with acute and chronic wards, treating the severely and chronically mentally ill, including some forensic patients. NVMHI is staffed by GW voluntary faculty, second year GW residents.
    • St. Elizabeth’s Hospital: DC Government run psychiatric hospital staffed by STE attending and residents, students from Howard and USUHS, psychiatric nurses, and social workers, with onsite education department. Students rotate on the general (GEN) adult & forensic units (FRNS).
  • Infectious Disease – VAMC, MED 350: This course will teach the student a logical approach to the diagnosis and management of a patient suspected of having an infectious disease. Students will participate on the Clinical Consult Service where they will encounter patients with a broad range of bacterial, viral, fungal and mycobacterial infections. Students will join residents and fellows in daily attending rounds, case conferences and student-oriented teaching sessions. 
  • Infectious Diseases, MED 351: The focus of the elective experience is on the diagnosis and management of patients with infectious disease problems. This includes the evaluation of patients on medical and surgical services. Clinically relevant aspects of microbiology and immunology are also explored.

MS-4 Opportunities

  • Case-based elective in criminal justice health, MED 353:  This two-week elective involves readings, didactics, and discussions of complicated justice-involved patients.  The course is offered periodically in accordance with student interest and is limited to no more than four students per class.  To enroll, contact Dr. Newton E. Kendig at nek@gwu.edu.   
  • Introduction to Correctional Medicine, MED 346:  This four-week elective includes both case-based learning and a clinical rotation at the DC jail.  Students are required to have a background investigation, urine drug screening, and a one-week jail orientation.  The course is offered periodically in accordance with student interest and in coordination with the DC jail.  To learn more about this course, watch a video of the first two GW students to take this course.    Interested students should contact Dr. Newton E. Kendig at nek@gwu.edu.
  • Capstone Project for MD/MPH or Scholarly Project for Track Program: Students can use their capstone projects for a Track program or for the MD/MPH degree to investigate justice-heath related topics. Track Capstone projects include creating a teaching tool for classmates integrating justice-health with chosen field/specialty.