The Patient Student Partnership pairs patients who receive ongoing care within the UVA Health System with first-year medical students. It is an opportunity for patients to add a medical student to their health care team and benefits both patients and medical students. Patient partners receive advocacy and support from their students and in turn, they teach their students healthcare from the patient’s point of view.
By partnering with a patient in the first year of medical school and following the patient through the four years of medical school, students become doctors who are advocates for their patients, communicate medical information clearly, and are committed to understanding the social circumstances that affect patients’ health. Students receive insight into what a long term doctor-patient relationship can be and how to develop their professional identities. In the Patient Student Partnership, all students are supervised by a mentor physician.
Medical students are now attending in-person visits with proper PPE according to COVID-19 precautions.
Dr. Rachel Kon is the Director of the Patient Student Partnership. Following in the steps of Dr. Margaret Plews-Ogan, who piloted the Phronesis Project, the program was developed to foster wisdom and empathy in medical students. Due to its success, UVA added this longitudinal patient experience to the curriculum.