Rutgers New Jersey Medical School (NJMS) defines Community Engaged Service Learning (CESL) as an educational experience in which students, through a structured service activity, identify and reflect upon community needs and assets that culminate in an enhanced sense of civic responsibility as healthcare professionals.
The CESL elective was introduced into the Rutgers NJMS curriculum during the Fall of 2015 for the incoming first year class. The course seeks to build upon and enhance a rich culture of service at NJMS by providing students with structured guidance for implementing meaningful, effective, and sustainable service projects that address the needs of Newark and surrounding communities. In addition, service learning experiences offer an invaluable opportunity for students to develop core skills in cultural competency, health education, patient advocacy, and community-engaged research and evaluation that will help them to develop into leaders in the medical field and in the communities they serve. The CESL course has various components including direct service activities, didactic sessions, reflection essays and a project report.
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