In support of our university’s service mission, students use what they learn both inside and outside the classroom to empower medically underserved communities in San Antonio, South Texas and around the globe. The Charles E. Cheever Jr. Center for Medical Humanities and Ethics’ Community Service Learning (CSL) Program provides a structure to engage faculty, staff and institutional support of these activities. Melanie Stone, DrPH, MEd, has directed the CSL program since its inception in 2008. Learn about the program’s decade of milestones.
This university-wide dedication to helping others has earned our institution a place on the United States President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll since 2009. This designation is the highest honor a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement. Our university is the only health science center in Texas, and one of only eight health science centers across the nation, recognized by the Honor Roll.
Ruth Berggren, M.D., Director of the Charles E. Cheever Jr. Center for Medical Humanities and Ethics, says, “We are unique among health science centers in Texas in prioritizing community service learning as an ideal way to model interprofessionalism and to prepare a relevant health workforce for our state. We are proud of the leadership our students exhibit, and of their transformation into community-connected healthcare providers who work to reduce disparities and enhance access to healthcare.”
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The CSL Program aims to target areas of San Antonio, Bexar County and our surrounding counties that are of highest need. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light more than ever health inequities being experienced by our fellow Texans. One indicator of health disparities is discrepancies in life expectancy, as seen in this San Antonio map, where the light colored areas can have as much a 20-year difference in life expectancy. We have put pins in the maps to indicate the zip codes and counties were we have current CSL projects.
The counties surrounding Bexar are also areas of high need due to being rural areas that do not necessarily benefit from the various services offered in San Antonio.
We challenge you to conduct your CSL project in the areas of greatest need (zip codes with the lightest colors such as 78224 and 78220, zip codes that do not yet have pins, and the surrounding counties) so we can make the greatest impact for vulnerable populations. Together, we can make a difference!