Service-learning: community-campus partnerships for health professions education

Acad Med. 1998 Mar;73(3):273-7. doi: 10.1097/00001888-199803000-00015.


In 1995, the Health Professions Schools in Service to the Nation (HPSISN) program was launched under the auspices of the Pew Health Professions Commission as a national demonstration of an innovative form of community-based education called service-learning. The foundation of service-learning is a balanced partnership between communities and health professions schools and a balance between serving the community and meeting defined learning objectives. This article offers a definition of service-learning and an outline of its core concepts; it also describes how service-learning differs from traditional clinical education in the health professions. Further, the author discusses how service-learning programs may benefit students, faculty, communities, higher education institutions, and the relationships among all these stakeholders. The article concludes with brief descriptions of recommended resources for integrating service-learning into the medical school curriculum.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Community Health Services
  • Community Medicine / education*
  • Community-Institutional Relations*
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Curriculum
  • Education, Professional / methods*
  • Health Occupations / education*
  • Schools, Medical