Cooper Medical School of Rowan Univerisity
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Volunteerism is an integral part of the culture on the CMSRU campus.

Community & Social Health: Service Learning

Service to the community is a core component of CMSRU’s mission and an integral part of the culture on our campus. All CMSRU students are required to engage in a minimum of 40 hours of service each academic year in community-based projects that support residents of Camden. This commitment not only reflects what we believe is a professional responsibility of those in medicine, but also, our belief that the community has much to teach students about what it means to provide compassionate, empathic, and high quality health care.


By spending time in neighborhood sites and engaging with Camden residents, CMSRU students directly observe and analyze social conditions and qualities of individual and community environments that can potentially drive behaviors and influence health status, health maintenance, treatment, and healing. As service learning, all students participate in small group discussion sessions and complete reflections essays to consider their community experiences as they develop their personal approach to healthcare delivery, spending time in the Cooper Rowan Clinic (the student-run free primary care clinic), as well as their clinical rotations in the inpatient and outpatient settings.


As the landscape of the healthcare delivery system continues to evolve and change, we believe that addressing social determinants of health is increasingly vital in the delivery of effective care services. This component of the CMSRU curriculum is designed to not only train students on the variance and effects of these characteristics, but also to prepare students to uphold the commitment to service, advocacy, and excellence of care to vulnerable patients and communities.


Current CMSRU service learning program fall under the following service domains:

• Health/Social Outreach
• Tutoring/Student Mentoring
• Community Engagement
• Youth Activity/Fitness


Health/ Social Outreach

Cathedral Kitchen
A monthly opportunity for CMSRU students and staff to support Cathedral Kitchen's evening meal service to working families in Camden and others challenged with food insecurity.

Cooper Social Outreach
Students work and learn directly from social work staff at Cooper Hospital, then serve as care coordinators in the Cooper Rowan Clinic.

ESL Class at Center for Family Services
Teaching English as a Second Language to Spanish-speaking Camden residents with limited or basic English ability.

Sidekicks at CMSRU
Students are paired with a pediatric patients with life threatening or chronic health conditions to build relationships with their patient and support family members as they continuously seek treatment for their health conditions.

Street Medicine Outreach
Meeting weekly, this group ventures to various parts of Camden to provide basic necessities, social connection, and support to men and women who live on the street.

Playpals
Volunteers have the opportunity to spend time on the pediatric unit each evening to be with hospitalized children who are alone.

Tutoring/ Student Mentoring

CAMP (Cooper After-School Mentoring Program)
Pairs CMSRU students with local college bound high school students to provide academic support and individualized mentorship as they manage the application process.

Science on Saturdays: Upward Bound for English Language Learners
CMSRU students provide support to the Upward Bound program, teaching science to students in the program. This service learning opportunity encourages medical students with formal teaching experience to continue to use their teaching skills, while also serving as an important resource to these students.

Primary Urban Partnership (PUP) at Wiggins Elementary School
The goal of PUP is to provide elementary school students early exposure to health professions. CMSRU students, faculty, and staff conduct bi-monthly sessions with 5th graders from Wiggins Elementary that engage students in health related subjects.

Primary Urban Partnership (PUP) at ECO Charter School
The goal of PUP is to provide elementary school students early exposure to health professions. The program with our partners at ECO Charter School uses a small group format to teach and engage kids in science related activities and lessons.

JUMP High Academy
JUMP is a Saturday program for area high school students who excel in math and science. The program's hands-on activities and interactive learning sessions expose students to applied science, and provide an overview of a variety of science and healthcare careers.

Tutor Time
Tutor Time is a student mentoring program that takes place in the Ferry Avenue Library, where med students provide help with homework, engage kids in activities, and build consistent relationships with kids and teens from the local neighborhood.

Brimm Medical Arts High School

CMSRU students are involved in assisting students at Brimm Medical Arts High School with science fairs, teaching special program modules, and teaching a bi-weekly health education class to 11th graders.

Community Engagement

Camden Green and Clean
Camden Green and Clean is a service learning opportunity in partnership with the Cooper’s Ferry Development Corporation and provides students opportunities to serve in neighborhood cleanups, community garden startups, municipal festivals and block parties, as well as tree planting events organized by the New Jersey Tree Foundation.

Cooper Sprouts Community Garden

The Cooper Sprouts’ Community Garden works with residents of the Cooper Square and Lanning Square neighborhoods, where CMSRU resides. Together with the neighborhood associations, medical students support the garden by helping with planting, maintaining, harvesting and distributing fresh produce at no cost to neighborhood residents.

Youth Activity/ Wellness

Camden Youth Soccer Club (CYSC)
The Camden Youth Soccer Club (CYSC) provides organized soccer instruction and games for Camden kids aged 4-14. CMSRU students serve as coaches for the 4-6 age group, teaching basic soccer skills, teamwork, self-esteem, fitness and social skills.

Steve's Club: Heart of Camden
Steve’s Club is a national Cross-Fit program that targets at-risk youth. The Heart of Camden chapter, run out of CMSRU, provides Cross-Fit workouts for local teens that are looking for a safe and nurturing environment to become fit and strong.

Girls on the Run
Girls on the Run is a physical activity based positive youth development program for girls in 3rd-8th grade. CMSRU's program operates in partnership with Wiggins Elementary and works with participating 5th grade girls.

Cooper Youth Arts Program (YAP)
The Youth Arts Program (YAP) was started in 2013 by CMSRU students with backgrounds in music, dance, and the visual arts, and an interest in bringing arts programming to Camden youth.