The Medical School curriculum gives students the skills and abilities they need to become excellent physicians and scientists. Enabling students to be the architects of their own education has long been a hallmark of the Brown curriculum, and for medical students, this includes providing meaningful feedback on their education every step of the way. Some programs take this concept a step further by encouraging students to help design courses for students who will follow in their footsteps.
Building off activities supported by gifts to the Women’s Reproductive Health Fund, the Medical School recently launched a program that invites medical students to propose innovative ways to teach evidence-based reproductive and sexual health policy and advocacy to their peers. The new Brown Sexual Health Advocacy and Policy Education (SHAPE) grant program engages students in a year-long project to develop potential curricular elements for The Warren Alpert Medical School.
“Students are often ahead of the curve, especially on societal changes,” says Mimi Pichey ’72, an avid supporter of reproductive health education at Brown. “Their insights and contributions can help the medical curriculum to address emerging areas, ultimately enriching the training of future generations of physicians and improving the delivery of care to countless patients.”
The goal of the SHAPE grant is to fund ideas that provide students with skills in policy analysis or advocacy, strengthen relationships between medical students and community-based and governmental organizations in Rhode Island, and generate publishable data on current gaps in medical student policy and advocacy training. With the support of faculty mentors, grantees will work to implement their projects, publish and publicize the results, and plan for ongoing implementation of educational interventions.
The inaugural round of SHAPE grants funded three projects:
- Building a Longitudinal Reproductive Justice Curriculum (Gisel Bello MD’22 and Adrian Chiem MD’21)
- Caring for Sex Workers: Development and Implementation of Educational Materials for Medical Students on Sex Worker Health (Julianna Brown ’18 MD’22 and Skenda Jean-Charles ’18 MD’22)
- Name and Gender Marker Change Policy and Advocacy in Rhode Island (M. Arianna Price MD’22)
This program is under the leadership of Benjamin P. Brown ’08 MD’12, MS, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology, clinician educator. “The Brown students I have mentored through the SHAPE grant program have an incredible combination of curiosity, creativity, and scholarly insight,” says Brown. “It is wonderful to be able to support them as they use these skills to develop innovative learning opportunities for their classmates.”
To support future SHAPE grants, contributions may be made to the Women’s Reproductive Health Fund.