Steven Schroeder, former CEO at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, refers to academic medicine as a “public trust,” entreating us to move beyond a narrow definition of our central mission and expand our current activities in recognition of academic medicine’s “implicit social contract.”

Thus, medical education is faced with new challenges. Not only must future physicians develop strong skills in clinical practice and scientific research, they must also gain broad understanding of the context and practice of health care among diverse communities, especially those that are underserved. In particular, as our society becomes increasingly interdependent and diverse, it is critical to understand the role of social, political, environmental, and economic factors that contribute to existing gender, ethnic, and social class inequities in health. Understanding these factors and gaining competence in partnering with diverse populations of patients, families, and communities will enable students to effectively meet challenges of medicine in the 21st century.

The Community Health concentration creates an intellectual environment that encourages rigorous scholarly work that strengthens the practice of community-based medicine and health-focused activism in diverse settings.

This scholarly area focuses on the development of knowledge and skills necessary for addressing health challenges of diverse and often underserved communities domestically and overseas. Curriculum topics include: the civic role of physicians, community health assessment and health interventions, program planning and evaluation, community-based research methods, practice and politics of health-focused public service, and cultural competencies and organizing strategies necessary for working in diverse communities. The scholarly area encourages the development of physicians with the commitment and capacity to become effective, life-long leaders in community health and community-focused domestic and international health policy.

The Concentration draws upon the resources of the following cooperating University Centers, departments, and student organizations:

  • Free Clinics
  • Center of Excellence (COE)
  • Center for Education in Family and Community Medicine (CEFCM)
  • Emergency Medicine (EM)
  • Infectious Disease (ID)
  • John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Families
  • Global Health (Office of International Health)
  • Primary Care Associate (PCA) Program
  • Stanford Center on Ethics
  • Stanford Prevention Research Center (SPRC)
  • Office of Community Health (OCH)

Most importantly its establishment has been encouraged and informed by numerous students interested in community and international health.