Clerkship in Community Health

Clerkship Summary

The Community Health Clerkship is a six week highly individualized rotation based out of the School of Public Health. The general approach of the clerkship is to present the major themes in core curriculum didactic sessions; small group interactive meetings; and topic specific seminars. In addition, students participate in one of a variety of individual field experiences, generally correlating with the students' interests, where they can focus on a single community/public health issue to help them understand and apply the material presented in the core curriculum. The clerkship culminates in students designing and completing a community/public health focused project within the context of their field experience topic. While enrolled in the field experience, students work closely with a designated faculty preceptor in a specific area of interest; the preceptor consults with the individual student on the project design, supervises clinical and project related activities, and monitors the student's progress, in conjunction with support from the Clerkship Co-Directors.

Mission Statement

The Community Health Clerkship is an applied learning experience designed to help develop in medical students the knowledge, skills and perspectives of community health and population-based medicine that are necessary to become a complete, highly competent physician, with the intent that this will help foster in students an informed sense of social responsibility and help students develop the skills needed to become strong patient advocates and community leaders in areas important to the public's health.

Educational Goals

The specific educational objectives of the clerkship focus on developing the ability of clinicians to utilize population-level information in the treatment of individuals, incorporating population-based data, as well as developing an understanding of health care systems in a population context. Acquiring an understanding of the community context of health, illness, and health care can nurture an appreciation of the public health and resource implications of caring for individual patients. Students will demonstrate knowledge and skills in the following areas:

  1. Health and disease in populations
  2. Population risk factors
  3. Prevention and treatment from a community health perspective
  4. Health care systems in a population context
  5. Community health and the physician


  • Leon Gordis. Epidemiology. 3rd Edition. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Company, 2004. 
    Rose G. The Strategy of Preventive Medicine. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992.

Required Projects

Students are required to complete a project that demonstrates their understanding of the community context of health and disease; epidemiological concepts; and health care systems. Students will present their projects during the last week of the rotation by giving a fifteen minute oral presentation, as well as designing a scientific poster; students must also complete a final product (i.e. formal paper; manuscript draft; IRB research proposal; data collection instrument; educational materials; website; film or video; etc.), which is due on the last day of the clerkship.

Clerkship Sites

The majority of the didactic sessions and seminars take place at 121 South Main Street. The field experience sites are topic specific and include a wide range of clinical and community sites.

Key Personnel

Community Health Clerkship Co-Directors

Patricia Nolan, MD, MPH; Edward Feller, MD & Michael Mello, MD, MPH

Clinical Associate Professor of Community Health
Patricia Nolan, MD, MPH
phone: 401/863-6416; 401/714-9530
office location: 121 South Main St.  Room 204

Clinical Professor of Medicine
Edward Feller, MD
phone: 401/863-6149; 401/272-7607
office location: 121 South Main St. Room 205

Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine and Community Health
Michael J. Mello, MD, MPH
phone: 401/444-2685; 401/863-3699
office location: 593 Eddy St., Claverick 2

Coordinator, Community Health Clerkship
Kayla Cetrone
phone: 401/863-3699
mailing address: Box G-S121 / Brown University / Providence, RI 02912
office location: 121 South Main St.  Room 203