Balancing service and education: ethical management of student-run clinics

J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2006 Aug;17(3):477-85. doi: 10.1353/hpu.2006.0101.


At medical schools across the United States, students operate free clinics that have the potential to provide health benefits to patients while furnishing unique educational opportunities for students. While they provide the energy necessary to make these clinics successful, students must, due to their inexperience, collaborate with faculty, clinic preceptors, community members and medical school administrators to ensure that their clinics attain high standards in health care and education. Medical school faculty and clinic preceptors must make certain that appropriate health care is provided and that desirable educational messages regarding physician professionalism and altruism are conveyed effectively. As faculty availability in such clinics is limited, it is important that the pursuit of educational goals not compromise clinics' patient care. By valuing faculty time dedicated to this work and actively supporting clinic organizers' applications for external funding, medical school administrators can facilitate high quality care and education at student-run clinics.

Publication types

  • Editorial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Education, Medical / ethics*
  • Ethics, Medical*
  • Faculty, Medical / organization & administration*
  • Homeless Persons
  • Humans
  • Schools, Medical / organization & administration*
  • Volunteers*