Our Medical program seeks as part of its curriculum to educate and develop doctors who understand that health and disease are not merely concerns of the individual patient, but that of his or her family and the community as well, and of society in general.

There is clear evidence linking socio-economic injustices and poor health status. The less advantaged are particularly vulnerable to minor stressors and significant life events. Sadly, contemporary society tends to treat such people as “problems” to be managed instead of attacking the root causes in order to strategise alleviation. Such a management approach can only provide short term solutions. A commitment to social justice would mean advocating for changes in policy, health service delivery, and social conditions to aid those most vulnerable in any community. To this end, there is an imperative for informed participation by the medical profession and the general public in order to advance these changes.

While these attributes are addressed in various teaching and learning activities across the entire medical curriculum at the Monash University Malaysia, it is through the Community Based Practice (CBP) Program in the second year that medical students have the unique opportunity to explore community responses to issues of social justice. This program encourages students to reflect on their own attitudes and behaviours towards such issues, and relate them to an evolving understanding of the relationship between medicine, medical professionalism and social justice. The CBP program encourages students to examine their own knowledge, values and skills in relation to the impact of political, social, and economic determinants on people’s lives. It helps to enhance students’ understanding of the use of contemporary approaches in health service delivery, and provides an opportunity to explore alternative strategies to improve the health and well-being of their patients in their future medical practice.

 

Learning goals

CBP aims to facilitate the acquisition of knowledge about the effects on health of being disadvantaged and to develop skills while working in the community. These are summarised as below:

  • See the  patient  as a “whole person”within  the  socioeconomic context of health and illness
  • Describe the barriers faced by people accessing facilities, services & health care
  • Discuss how social and public policies impact on  an individual’s health,and relate social equity and justice to health
  • Effectively express the philosophy of community organisations
  • Recognise the complexity of health promotion and the interplay of medical, scientific, social, cultural, political, economic and ethical factors
  • Describe and develop the different strategies and methodologies in health research
  • Apply critical appraisal skills to clinical and research literature and evaluation of health promotion  interventions
  • Develop skills in communicating research results to an audience usingdifferent methods
  • Demonstrate the importance of working in a team

 

Activities

CBP incorporates a range of activities:

  • Placement at Non-government organisations: Students spend approximately one and a half semesters (one day per week for 15 weeks) at these organisations to undertake attachment work.
  • A series of lectures ranging from in-house lectures to talks and workshops by invited speakers and professionals.
  • Tutorials with designated academic advisors.
  • Assignments that encourage critical and reflective thinking, including a journal for individual reflection.
  • Presentation & Symposium: The presentation and symposium is the highlight of the CBP program. It is a day-long activity, which is held at the end of the program. The themed symposium showcases the students’ oral presentations of their agency activity and a poster presentation of their Health Promotion project. In addition, there are invited speakers, panel discussions and an exhibition by our community partners.

 

Coordinating Team

Assoc Prof Dr Wong Chee Piau
(CBP Academic Convenor)
Phone: (+603) 5514 6338
Email: wong.chee.piau@monash.edu

Ms. Renee Loke
(CBP Coordinator)
Phone: (+603) 5514 6000 ext. 61824
Email: loke.may.qi@monash.edu

Associate Professor Dr Quek Kia Fatt
(Committee member)

 

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