Longitudinal Educational Experience Advancing Patient Partnerships

LEAP (Longitudinal Educational Experience Advancing Patient Partnerships) is an innovative program that allows students to participate in the health care experiences of patients residing in the community throughout the four years of medical school. LEAP allows students to participate in the care of their assigned patients right from the beginning of their medical school experience.

The goals of the LEAP program are:

  1. To allow students to partner with patients early in their medical school careers
  2. To provide a clinical experience that will complement and enrich basic science learning
  3. To help students learn the complexity of the health care system and appreciate patients experiences within the system
  4. To foster humanistic and culturally sensitive medical care
  5. To explore the meaning of professionalism and collegiality
  6. To experience the richness of the doctor-patient relationship over time

First year students will be paired with a second year medical student (and possibly a third year and/or fourth student) and assigned approximately 2 patients initially (the number may increase over 4 years). Students will be expected to engage with these patients at least once a month ideally in the context of a medical office visit, hospitalization, home visit, or phone call. Students will meet monthly in small groups with a faculty member to discuss these experiences, review the clinical and psychosocial dimensions of patient care and reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of the health care system.

As students transition to the 3rd and 4th years they will maintain a role in the care of their patients but will adopt a teaching and mentoring role for the first and second year students entering the program.

Frequently Asked Questions

How are patients assigned?

Patients are assigned to each dyad group before they begin the program. Every effort is made to select different types of patients to give the students a diversity of experience. Students will receive their patients' names and contact information the LEAP orientation.

Do students have a choice in the type of patient assigned to them?

Students can express an interest in a certain type of patient (i.e. pediatric), but there is no guarantee that their request will be filled. There are a limited number of patients and we cannot promise that students will be able to get a patient that fits their primary interests.

How are we introduced to the patients?

At the LEAP student orientation students will be introduced to their partner/team and will be given the names of their patients and the contact information. Students are expected to reach out to their patients and set up a time to meet.

Will the patients expect us to provide medical advice?

Under no circumstances should a student provide any medical advice, other than to help the patient understand the instructions/advice given by the doctor.

What if I don't know the answer to one of my patient questions?

It is fine to say that you don't know the answer. The patient understands that you are student and not expected to have all the answers.

Do we have to go see the patients in pairs or can we go alone if necessary?

Either way is fine. If one student cannot make an appointment it is fine for the other to go alone. The only exception to this is home visits, which should always be done together.

How will I know when my patient is admitted or has an appointment?

All students will have access to EPIC, our patient management system, which will allow you to see admissions and appointments.

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