Public Health Systems Clerkship

Course Director

Dr. Madelon Finkel
(646) 962-8038

Course Coordinator

Maritza Montalvo
(646) 962-8005

Course Goals

The goal of the fourth year Health Systems clerkship is to have the student gain a greater knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of the social, economic, political, and clinical aspects of the current health care delivery system. The clerkship strives to build upon issues raised in the Health Care systems course presented in the second year. Specifically, this clerkship seeks to present a more in-depth exposure to issues in managed care as well as in health care financing and delivery by means of lectures, panel seminars, and field assignments to health care organizations and agencies. At the end of the rotation, the student should have gained an understanding of the complexities of the health care system and how issues in delivery and financing are affecting patients, practitioners, and the general population. For specific course learning objectives, please click on the link in the upper right of this page.

Course Description

The Public Health clerkship is a two-week course. Students are introduced to a series of themes/topics that are currently being debated in the health care field. This rotation relies on small group collaboration. Working in teams is an important exercise as is the coordination of written and oral communication skills. This interactive approach to learning necessitates organization, coordination, and small group peer collaboration. Students will be assigned to groups to research a specific topic and to prepare an oral report to be presented to the group at the end of the rotation. Each group will have the opportunity to visit up to five sites in order to obtain different perspectives on how different organizations are addressing the assigned topic. That is, one group may be assigned to research quality assessment. Six sites will be visited and it is the studentís role to ascertain how each of the six organizations/facilities is addressing quality assessment. In addition to the field trips, library research will be necessary to show an in-depth understanding of the topic.

Student Responsibilities

Each student will be expected to contribute to the preparation of the oral presentation to the class. These oral presentations represent an opportunity for shared learning experiences. Further, the student is expected to hand in a written paper, which is based on his or her contribution to the oral presentation. The written paper should demonstrate an understanding of the current literature and the student's analytic thinking based on interviews with individuals at each field site. Participation in seminar discussions and debates is expected as well.

Didactic Sessions

The seminars, which the students are required to attend, provide an outlet for debate and discussion of specified topics of discussion.

Evaluation and Examinations

Each student will be assessed on the basis of his or her oral presentation, written paper, and seminar participation. There is no written examination.


This clerkship is Pass-Fail. The grade will be determined by the faculty member leading the rotation. There is no formula that determines grades and there is no pre-determined proportion of students who will receive a given grade.

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