When it comes to clinical experiences, Alpert Medical School offers faculty, trainees, and medical students unparalleled variety and access. As the only medical school in the state, the School has exclusive relationships with a wide range of community practices and clinics and with its seven affiliated hospitals. They serve 1.5 million people from a diverse socioeconomic, ethnic, and diagnostic mix. Census data from 2010 show that minorities make up 20 percent of Rhode Island’s population (up from 16 percent in 2000) and that Rhode Island's Hispanic population surged nearly 44 percent in the past decade.
Medical students are introduced to Rhode Island’s patients in Doctoring, a course that begins in the first year and extends through year four. In the course, students are paired with a community physician with whom they will work side-by-side one day a week. Clinical sites range widely: students work in community health centers with underserved patients, in emergency rooms, in rural parts of the state, and everywhere in between. Beginning in year three, students have 44 weeks of core clerkships and 30 weeks of clinical electives. The clerkships and electives are centered in the School’s seven affiliated hospitals, which include a Level I trauma center, a children’s hospital, a veteran’s hospital, and a psychiatric facility.
Interactions between faculty and trainees and the patients they serve extend beyond the formal curriculum. The Alpert Medical School community is a group of committed clinical volunteers, involved health activists, and vocal patient advocates. Faculty and students staff Rhode Island Free Clinic, serving Rhode Islanders without health insurance, they mentor high school students interested in health careers, and advocate for Rhode Island's refugee and immigrant populations. Where there is need, the Alpert medical community is there to help.