The Liaison Committee for Medical Education, the accrediting body for medical schools in the United States and Canada, defines service learning as "a structured learning experience that combines community service with preparation and reflection. Students engaged in service learning provide community service in response to community-identified concerns and learn about the context in which service is provided, the connection between their service and their academic coursework, and their roles as citizens and professionals."
In support of Florida International University's mission to promote public service, the HWCOM Doctor of Medicine degree curriculum provides required and extracurricular opportunities for medical students to participate in service-learning activities at the local, state, regional, and national levels.
A key feature of the HWCOM curriculum is the novel service-learning Neighborhood Health Learning Program (NeighborhoodHELP™). This longitudinal program seeks to inculcate cultural competence and social accountability by immersing medical students in the community as members of interdisciplinary teams.