Tulane Wins Top National Honor from Medical College Association

October 28, 2010

Mike Strecker
Phone: (504) 865-5210

           The Association of American Medical Colleges, which represents all 133 accredited U.S. and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools, has awarded Tulane University’s School of Medicine its Spencer Foreman Award for Outstanding Community Service.  
           The award, one of the 134-year-old organization’s most prestigious honors, recognizes Tulane School of Medicine as a national leader for creating a network of community health centers; training its students to focus on community service; and empowering residents devastated by Hurricane Katrina to take charge of their personal health as well as the health of their communities.
            “In the past five years since the storm, Tulane University School of Medicine has played an integral role in transforming health care delivery in our community,” said Dr. Benjamin P. Sachs, Tulane senior vice president, medical school dean and the James R. Doty Distinguished professor and chair. “We have worked hard to create a culture at Tulane that empowers students, faculty, staff to improve the health of communities locally and around the world.”
           First and second-year Tulane medical students collectively commit to more than 10,000 community service hours each year and Tulane students run two free health care clinics, the Fleur de Vie at Covenant House and another at Bridge House, a New Orleans substance abuse center. They also take part in the Tulane Rural Outreach Initiative, which allows medical  students to perform clinical rotations in underserved rural communities. In fact, one quarter of all applicants to U.S. medical schools this past year applied to Tulane with their overwhelming reason being an opportunity to work in community programs that are considered to be the future in medical education.
          “Tulane’s community empowerment work is at the leading edge of medical schools nationwide that consider their role in improving the health of their communities through engagement, research, clinical and educational programs to be a core responsibility,” said Dr. Karen DeSalvo, Tulane vice dean for Community Affairs and Health Policy.
          Tulane also supports nine community health sites that deliver high-quality, neighborhood-based primary care and mental health services to the uninsured and underinsured in the New Orleans area.  Since 2005, these clinics have served approximately 90,000 patients and spurred a movement that has brought in $100 million in federal funding to New Orleans to support a growing network of 93 neighborhood-based clinics that provide health care to 20 percent of the Greater New Orleans population. This effort has reshaped health care in Louisiana and garnered praise from Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who declared it a model for the entire country.
          Tulane’s community clinics include: The Tulane Community Health Center at Covenant House, Tulane Community Health Center in New Orleans East, Tulane Community Health Center On the Road, Drop-in Clinic at Covenant House, Adolescent Drop In Clinic, New Orleans Children’s Health Project mobile units and student health centers at Walter L. Cohen High School, Warren Easton Charter High School and West Jefferson High School. All clinics are fully integrated with the larger university and have a dedicated faculty member to oversee its activities and ensure its success.
          The School of Medicine also established an Office of Community Affairs and Health Policy to promote and develop policies that improve the community’s health and support high-quality primary care. The office works to build coalitions among community organizations and leaders to address unmet health care needs. 

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000