Residents head back to school

By Kali Dingman, a student at the University of Minnesota

Starting this fall, some family medicine residents will have the opportunity to go back to high school — and to provide care for teens through the little-known Minneapolis School-Based Clinics.

Housed in all seven Minneapolis public high schools, the clinics provide a variety of health care services, including mental health, health education, and nutrition consultation.

Nicole Chaisson, M.D., M.P.H., medical director of the program, describes the clinics as hidden gems. “No one knows about them, even though they’ve been around forever,” she says.

In fact, for the past 40 years, these school-based clinics have been providing direct care to adolescents, who are more likely than some populations to be medically underserved. Now the clinics will also provide medical residents the opportunity to learn more about adolescent health care in a nontraditional medical setting.

“It’s important for families to know that their future doctors have actually worked with teenagers before they get out in their own practice,” says Chaisson, who also is associate program director of the University of Minnesota Medical Center Family Medicine Residency Program.

She will be matching six third-year family medicine residents to school-based clinics in Minneapolis as part of an outpatient adolescent medicine rotation that also includes training at Teen-Age Medical Services and the Hubert H. Humphrey Job Corps Center.

“Teens can be a vulnerable population, and sometimes they are misunderstood by health care professionals, but they are actually really great to work with,” Chaisson says.

Besides, the clinics may offer teens an extra perk: “Maybe it could spark an interest in medicine for somebody,” she says. “It may connect students who use those clinics to the greater world of medical education.”

Published on March 24, 2015