Week in the Life of a Community Medicine Fellow

My time as a community medicine and global health fellow has been a wonderful and unique experience that daily equips me with tools to serve and improve conditions for often overlooked underserved and vulnerable populations. The vastness of information I am learning everyday through my many roles and responsibilities as a community medicine fellow is exactly what I hoped for as a recent residency graduate.  My week is filled with many diverse experiences and here  is an overview of my past week as a community medicine fellow: 

Monday: I started work at a FQHC, one of the two federally qualified health centers (FQHC) clinics I rotate through during this fellowship, in addition to my rotation at the main facility.  Given that I did not have any experience working at an FQHC during residency, interacting with the surrounding communities and providing medical care to often uninsured and indigent populations is an extremely meaningful and valuable experience. I work at one FQHC once a week on Mondays, as I tend to spend most of my time at another FQHC.  

Tuesday: Tuesdays are my administrative days, which I use to continue working on one of the many projects that I am involved in during this fellowship. Usually my administrative time is split between meetings and planning for various projects, which includes: monthly meetings acting as a liaison between my main organization and one of the FQHC’s, planning for the annual global health trip, helping to lead and co-facilitate one of our pipeline’s project monthly didactics and developing my current longitudinal community project. This past Tuesday, I also had the privilege of spending the morning interviewing applicants for our Family Medicine residency program and discussing these candidates with other faculty members. 

Shortly following our interview de-brief session, I checked my phone to find a message from our community partner about how certain parts of South America are suffering following the last two hurricanes. As a fellow, I serve as team lead for our annual service global health trip. I am currently working on fundraising with the second year family medicine residents, who also attend this global health trip during their 3rd year of residency. Soon, we will start project planning, deciding the trip activities, gathering medications, coordinating the team and so much more. Unfortunately, due to Covid, we were unable to participate in a July 2020 trip. I currently meet with the residents on a regular basis to plan our global health trip. However, recently the number of planning meetings will increase as we get closer to a potential July 2021 trip. So far this morning, I quickly sent an email to the residents, as we try to figure out our general top 3 fundraisers for this global health trip, to start planning. We do not yet know the exact projects for this global health trip, but our community partners have asked us to stress topics on Covid prevention, healthy eating and building hand washing stations.

Since it is my administrative day, I also take care of any work needed with our pipeline program. This program is a medical school pipeline program for underrepresented community college students. Currently I am helping with curriculum development for our pipeline program’s leadership forum and facilitating and coordinating learning sessions for the students this year. Learning about specific public health topics so that I can teach it, coordinating other presenters and facilitators and learning from them has taught me so much over the last few months. Directing the program under the leadership of other faculty members, and with the help of public health interns and TAs, has made this program wonderful to be a part of.  As the fall semester will end soon, I am currently working on developing the course content for the spring semester, along with making sure facilitator guides are created for use of future community medicine and global health fellows. 

Wednesday: Wednesdays my days are long, going until about 7:30 pm, especially if I have a lunch time meeting, where I act as a liaison between my main organization and one of the local FQHC’s, through a special program, that offers specialty access for uninsured patients at the local FQHC. I typically will review submitted applications and once a month, will organize a meeting with the family medicine residents and the faculty, to review these applications for specialty referral. 

On Wednesdays, I also work at the FQHC in a procedure clinic and urgent care until about 8:00pm, and sometimes will precept residents in the procedure clinic. This past Wednesday, I mostly had Nexplanon removals during procedure clinic, with one IUD insertion. 

Thursday: Thursdays are always great because I work at the FQHC for the morning clinic, and finally spend time at my main organization’s clinic in the afternoon. 

Friday:  Lastly, Fridays are my favorite day because of course, it’s almost the weekend! More importantly, it is my favorite day because after my morning clinic session at my local FQHC, I have my weekly faculty meeting during lunch time, and either my afternoon bimonthly didactic session with the other community medicine fellows, or I have my monthly pipeline meeting with the community college students. For our bimonthly didactics, we learn specific topics specific to community medicine and developing our longitudinal community projects. Every fellow is required to do a scholarly project and we are learning how to develop, implement and evaluate our community service projects. 

Every week as a community medicine and global health fellow can be very busy. However, the richness of my diverse experiences during this fellowship is providing me with the necessary tools needed to truly advocate for underserved patients currently and in my future career. I am truly grateful for this unique opportunity to serve as the community medicine and global health fellow.

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