Service Learning Program

Where academic study and community service unite in the spirit of social accountability


CACMS (6.6)

Dalhousie Medicine encourages and supports undergraduate medical education students to participate in service learning activities as an opportunity to gain knowledge of community and patient needs.

Service learning is defined as “A structured learning experience that combines community service with preparation and reflection(CACMS, 2015)

Through its social accountability mandate, Dalhousie Medicine offers an optional Service Learning Program (aligned with Professional Competencies 1 and 2) available to pre-clerkship Undergraduate Medical Education students in both Halifax and DMNB campuses. The Service Learning Program includes preparation, orientation, community-based service learning experiences (minimum of 20 hours – includes participation in orientation, completion of a project based on community-identified needs, self and group reflection), student assessment and program evaluation. Service Learning is a learning enrichment program integrated into the established UGME curriculum and facilitated in partnership through the Global Health Office. 

The goals of the Service Learning Program include: 

  1. Enhance students’ learning by enabling them to practice skills and test classroom knowledge through related service experiences in the community 
  2. Enable students to provide needed assistance to community organizations and to the people they serve 
  3. Ensure students contribute to the Faculty of Medicine’s commitment to social accountability 
  4. Assist faculty in their role as facilitators of service learning and in their engagement with the community 
  5. Provide leadership training and scholarly activity to advance service learning in the Faculty of Medicine with our community organizations 

On completion of the Service Learning Program, the student will be able to: 

  1. Describe the social determinants of health encountered and develop a critical analysis of how these determinants affected the health of individuals;
    (Professional 1, 4; Community Contributor 1; Skilled Clinician 1c)
  2. Identify the availability of and access to resources for the community or population served by a community organization;
    (Community Contributor 3, 4; Skilled Clinician 1d)
  3. Demonstrate the ability to learn through experience and reflection;
    (Professional 3, 6; Lifelong Learner 3, 6; Skilled Clinician 1c)
  4. Demonstrate the integration of learning in the classroom and community organization context; (Community Contributor 3, Lifelong Learner 3)

Important Dates

Application launch: March 31st, 2017
Application closes: May 31st, 2017 in draft format with final version prepared for September 2017
Orientation: September 8th, 2017 in Saint John and September 11th, 2017 in Halifax
Mid-unit reflections and formative assessments due: January 5th, 2018
Final unit reflections and summative assessments due: April 27th, 2018

Additional Information

Service Learning Syllabus 2018 - 19

Service Learning manual with FAQs for students & community partners

Available service learning experiences (by campus for 2019 - 20)

Student application form and worksheet 2019 - 20

Service Learning Launch and Learn Information Session PPT

For more information contact:

Sarah Peddle

Program Manager, Service Learning | 902-494-8054