The University of Connecticut Community Health Leaders (UCHL) is a community-based pre-health program founded for bridging health care disparities by addressing the social determinants of health for the State of Connecticut. The University of Connecticut is the main health system that takes care of Medicaid patients in our state, thus a great environment for such a program to exist.
UCHL will function all academic year, focusing on training pre-professional students on how they can help advocate and improve the way we deliver health care for our patients. In return, we hope these students will enter their career field more eager and prepared to tackle the social determinants of health that affect the health of our patients.
The UCHL mission is to train the next generation of health care providers who will bridge gaps in health care for patients in Connecticut by addressing the social determinants of health or other barriers that may exist for such patients.
- Create a medical student-driven pre-health pipeline program giving students the opportunity to gain clinical, research and educational experience in health care.
- Expose and develop the volunteers to care of marginalized populations through direct patient care and advocacy.
- Develop the volunteers’ knowledge of health disparities and social determinants of health through participation in structured didactic lessons and direct care of patients.
- Teach students to effectively advocate for and educate individual patients to address social determinants of health.
- Enhance the students’ competencies-based skills (e.g., personal and professional development skills) needed to enter and succeed in health care professions.
- Improve the health care outcomes of patients in participating clinical sites through activities such as patient education, connection to resources, improved access to preventative care and health wellness classes.