Purpose: The number of U.S. medical school graduates who choose to practice in health professional shortage areas (HPSAs) has not kept pace with the needs of society. The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health has created a new program that prepares medical students to reduce health disparities for urban medically underserved populations in Milwaukee. The authors describe the Training in Urban Medicine and Public Health (TRIUMPH) program and provide early, short-term outcomes.
Method: TRIUMPH integrates urban clinical training, community and public health curricula, longitudinal community and public health projects, mentoring, and peer support for select third- and fourth-year medical students. The authors tracked and held focus groups with program participants to assess their knowledge, skills, satisfaction, confidence, and residency matches. The authors surveyed community partners to assess their satisfaction with students and the program.
Results: From 2009 to 2012, 53 students enrolled in the program, and 45 have conducted projects with community organizations. Participants increased their knowledge, skills, confidence, and commitment to work with urban medically underserved populations. Compared with local peers, TRIUMPH graduates were more likely to select primary care specialties and residency programs serving urban underserved populations. Community leaders have reported high levels of satisfaction and benefits; their interest in hosting students exceeds program capacity.
Conclusions: Early, short-term outcomes confirm that TRIUMPH is achieving its desired goals: attracting and preparing medical students to work with urban underserved communities. The program serves as a model to prepare physicians to meet the needs of urban HPSAs.