INcommunity – Immersions in neglected communities is a pre-clinical internship during the summer period oriented towards the discovery of neglected and marginalized communities in Quebec. This internship is available in the Montreal region for students from the University of Montreal and McGill University, as well as in the city of Saguenay and Sherbrooke for students from the University of Sherbrooke.
In order to actively assist with local needs, we send medical students to meet vulnerable populations in Quebec to allow a human exchange and understanding that cannot be obtained on the school benches.
Neglected populations is a concept that brings together the different communities that, in terms of social determinants of health, experience a major gap with the rest of the population. Whether it is through their marginalization, by the non-respect of their rights, by the prejudices they are subjected to or by any other political, economic, social or cultural factor, these populations find themselves with poorer quality health conditions, despite access to care that claims to be universal.
The themes identified for our internships are Migrants, Offenders, Urban and Indigenous communities for the Montreal region, Women’s Health and Urban settings for the Sherbrooke region, as well as a set of all these themes for the city of Saguenay.
The project implements 6 different learning methods which are dispersed throughout the experience for the most complete possible understanding of the issues that affect the health conditions of neglected populations.
- Basic training in intercultural skills, approach to communities, social determinants of health, biopsychosocial analysis, etc;
- Daily immersion in the communities with the organizations and stakeholders that work there;
- Periods of mentoring with a physician involved in the community;
- Weekly debriefing around a friendly dinner with participants from other backgrounds and course managers to follow up on learning and share our experiences;
- Reading of a complete, relevant and interesting selection of texts and articles related to our immersion community, to complete our learning, answer our questions and push our reflections;
- Writing of a reflection guided by a series of questions designed to improve our global vision of the problems experienced by our communities.
Applications take place in February following advertising on each campus to explain the project to students. Responses will be given in March. The training of the selected students takes place around the beginning of May. In order to ensure the most complete experience for students, the program is spread over a period of four (4) weeks during the months of June or July. Here is a typical one-week schedule for one of the courses:
“This internship opened my eyes to the issues of neglected populations and will definitely change my future practice. » – Participant 2012
“I already had a great interest in this ‘type of vulnerable community’ and it just made me want to go into this type of practice even more later. » – Participant 2012
If you are a professional or an organization and you are interested in hosting our students, you will find more information by downloading the partners document !