Yale University of Medicine


Activism and Medicine Course, Spring 2004
10 classes and 1 workshop day

Main Goals:
1. Students are exposed to and inspired by the different ways physicians incorporate activism.
2. Students develop skills and learn strategies for combining activism in their careers as physicians.
3. Students develop research-based activism skills by creating a research protocol or develop and implement a media, political or community-based campaign focused on an issue of interest. (optional)

1. Students are exposed to and inspired by the different ways physicians incorporate activism.

  • Speakers selected to provide a breadth of coverage of topics and examples of how activism can be combined with a career as a health professional.
  • Speakers further selected based on success using a particular activism strategy or technique such as grassroots organizing, introduction legislative changes, media advocacy, educational outreach, and courtroom advocacy.

2. Students develop skills and learn strategies for combining activism in their careers as physicians. These skills include:

  • Research-based activism techniques, especially those that can be applied in a clinical setting.
  • Mobilizing media
  • Political strategizing
  • Coalition building and developing collaborative relationships
  • Grassroots organizing
  • Educational outreach in and out of the classroom

* With exception of research-based activism, these skills will be introduced as part of a 1-day workshop modeled on AMSA’s Political Leadership Institute curriculum. Research-based activism will be covered in a class session. In addition, speakers will highlight how they use different strategies to accomplish their activism goals.

3. Students develop research-based activism skills by creating a research protocol or develop and implement a media, political or community-based campaign focused on an issue of interest. (optional)

  • Interested students meet for an additional 30-minute session following every class in order to work on a project of interest and receive feedback from the group. These projects can be based on activities in which students are already involved.
  • If we receive project money, we will divide funds available among students who develop projects to help them implement their proposals.

Research-specific goals:

  • Students identify and work with a faculty advisor to develop their research proposal.
  • Students evaluate ways results from their research might be applied within an activist context.
  • If applicable, students implement their research proposals during summer and/or as part of their medical thesis project.

Course structure:

  • 10 classes and 1 workshop day. Classes meet every other week throughout Spring semester.
  • Class meets Monday evenings from 6.30 to 8 pm with the exception of the first week when class will meet Wednesday evening from 6.30 to 8 pm. The workshop will be held on a Saturday sometime between the 1st and 3rd class session.
  • Speakers will be invited for all but 1 of the class sessions, making a total of 9 speakers.
  • The 5th or 4th class session will be devoted to an interactive session covering the following topics:
    • Why are doctor activists needed?
    • The difference between activism and clinical service
    • Placing activism in context: a brief political education/ overview of social movements that have historically worked to produce change.