University of Missouri School of Medicine MU Health School of Medicine

The Community Integration Program

Exposing medical students to rural culture and health disparities through service learning

The Community Integration Program (CIP) was created as part of the Rural Track Clerkship Program to give third year medical students the opportunity to participate in service learning to more fully integrate into the community by:

  1. Enhancing their knowledge about the community they are assigned to work and live in an effort to further influence students to return to rural areas to practice;

  2. Complementing their clinical education through service learning activities; and

  3. Demonstrating the importance of community service through active participation and self-reflection.

Allison Howard
Allison Howard with area health professionals at the high school health careers fair she organized in St. Joseph, MO.

The Community Integration Program is a voluntary program, but all Rural Track Clerkship students are highly encouraged to participate at some level. Participating students choose from three levels of involvement. The students coordinate with the preceptors to arrange time off in addition to their two half study days. For more information about this program, contact Jana Porter.


What students have to say about CIP

"The community integration program really does make you feel more rooted in the community you're practicing in as part of the rural track program."

"Rural Track is about much more than learning medicine; exposure to and interaction with the community are vital to understanding and treating your patients, and getting the most out of your experience."

"CIP helped me learn about the role of a physician that extends beyond the office."

"Rural physicians have a unique opportunity to impact the community in a variety of ways, but also have a tremendous responsibility as they are always seen as a doctor, above and beyond a member of the community."

Levels of Involvement

Level 1: Getting Involved
Students participate in community events during the Rural Track Clerkship Program. This is the most basic level of participation in the Community Integration Program. With this participation, students benefit from being involved in the community outside of clinical experiences. The student is not excused from clinical participation for this level of service.

Level 2: Volunteering
Students participate in community events as well as volunteering time to meet local needs. This participation may be an AHEC oriented event and may occur one time or on a continuous basis. Students will be excused from clinical duties 1 hour per week for these activities.

Level 3: Service Learning
Students identify and research a community health need(s) and develop, implement and evaluate the impact of their project in meeting the needs of the community. Student projects span 4 to 6 months. Students are excused from clinical rotations for a total of 16 hours per month.

Program Goals

  • Establish a stronger community-campus partnership
  • Assist the communities to better serve their citizens
  • Discover the health and quality of life concerns within the community
  • Promote medical student understanding of the social and public purpose of the profession
  • Promote the ethic of service as an integral part of professional practice
  • Give students greater responsibility for their learning
  • Impact local issues and local needs


Clayton butcher
Lincoln Sheets instructing students at the bi-lingual health careers fair he organized at the Monett Middle school.
Clayton butcher
Clayton Butcher volunteering as a mentor at the Bartlett Center in St. Joseph, MO.


Past Student Projects

  • A smoking cessation program & the Joplin Community Clinic
  • CPR & first aid certification for Poplar Bluff
  • "Expanding Your Horizons"-7th & 8th grade girls exploring careers in math, science & technology in Rolla
  • Improving the quality and accessibility of health care among St. Joseph's homeless
  • "Empower Me 4 Life"-Healthy lifestyles for Sikeston 5-6th graders
  • "Clean Air St. Joe"-A 5K to promote the dangers of secondhand smoke
  • A bilingual healthcare careers fair at the Monett Middle School
  • "Be the Match"-A bone marrow drive in Rolla

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