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College of Medicine wins national medical education award
Dr. Onelia Lage leads a NeighborhoodHELP household visit in 2015.

College of Medicine wins national medical education award

The Green Family Foundation Neighborhood Health Education Learning Program is recognized for its social mission.

April 27, 2020 at 2:24pm

The Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine’s (HWCOM) unique approach to medical education, which highlights social accountability and the social determinants of health, has again been recognized as a national model.

The Green Family Neighborhood Health Education Learning Program (NeighborhoodHELP), the college’s signature program, is the winner of this year’s Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation Award for Excellence in Social Mission in Health Professions Education Program.

The award is presented biennially by the Beyond Flexner Alliance (BFA), a national movement to promote and innovate health professions education. In announcing the award, BFA noted that NeighborhoodHELP “demonstrates national leadership in integrating social accountability and interprofessional education through a service-learning experience in underserved communities.”

“At this very moment, when we are witnessing first-hand the disproportionate impact within neighborhoods of both morbidity and mortality related to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is most fitting that the NeighborhoodHELP initiative receive recognition of its mission to educate our medical students on the social determinants of health and to improve the welfare of the people living in medically underserved areas within Miami-Dade county,” said HWCOM Dean Dr. Robert Sackstein.

The NeighborhoodHELP program immerses medical students in the community. Alongside nursing, social work and physician assistant students, they learn first-hand about the social determinants of health. Socioeconomic factors like poverty, education, employment, and access to services can affect health and health outcomes.

Students may also perform clinical rotations aboard mobile health centers that provide primary care and behavioral health services to NeighborhoodHELP members in their communities.

“This award validates the importance of our college’s social mission in education and health care,” said Dr. Onelia Lage, director of pediatric and adolescent health for NeighborhoodHELP. “Now more than ever, this work is necessary to sustain our communities.”

NeighborhoodHELP’s socially accountable approach to interprofessional education has received national and international recognition for innovation in education and health care. HWCOM is also 1 of 37 institutions select to participate in the American Medical Association Accelerating Change in Medical Education Consortium.