Active Citizenship Program

In 2010, TUSM partnered with the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service, a national leader in civic education, to provide the Active Citizenship Concentration Program (ACP). This program is designed for medical students who have completed the preclinical curriculum to pursue an intensive six consective month to one year experience in active citizenship as it relates to the practice of medicine or public health either abroad or in the United States. The program was developed as a reflection of the value that both TUSM and the Tisch College place on active civic engagement and community service.

The Tisch College and TUSM prepare students to be lifelong active citizens and place great value on creating an enduring culture of active citizenship. We know through published research, that medical students who participate in clinical experiences in underserved communities are more likely to remain actively engaged in volunteer activities and community service throughout their careers. The ACP is designed to allow students with some clinical experience (generally having completed the third year core clinical clerkships) to pursue fulltime volunteer work in an underserved area. Students must have a mentor at TUSM (although they may also have a local mentor) and they must complete reading and training modules prior to their immersion in the field.

There is no break in enrollment status during the ACP, therefore, students are eligible to take out loans for living expenses and are entitled to other benefits of enrollment (aside from taking classes). Students are not charged tuition during their time in the program, however they will be charged the Continuation Fee. Students are required to have their ACP experience approved by the Dean for Students. In addition, students must complete the Tisch/TUSM curriculum and mentors must give both midterm and final evaluations.

What is Active Citizenship?

Active Citizenship means  building  stronger,  healthier,  and  safer  communities. Active citizens are in every sector and field of study. There are citizen physicians, citizen engineers, citizen bankers, citizen artists, and citizen mathematicians, to name a few. They come from all backgrounds and experiences, but share a commitment to actively engaging in their communities.

Where does Active Citizenship occur?

Active citizenship occurs in communities of every description – including residential, professional, and faith-based communities. Active citizenship occurs whenever and wherever individuals take responsibility for building stronger, healthier, and safer communities.

Medical students who decide to become involved in an Active Citizenship Program during their medical school careers may elect to interrupt the regular curriculum and register for the Active Citizenship Program full time for a minimum of six continuous months and up to a full year.   Students who wish to participate in a project that relates to their medical school curriculum may apply to participate in the Active Citizenship Program (ACP). Students applying to the Active Citizenship Program must receive approval from the Dean for Students or the Associate Dean for Students prior to undertaking the project.  Students in a joint degree program must also obtain their Program Directors approval.

To apply, the student must identify a citizenship preceptor, complete the ACP form (available from the Registrar's Office) and provide a description of the project that they will undertake. The student and the preceptor must detail:

  • The  nature  of  the  student’s  proposed  project  and  its  relationship to ongoing work, if any
  • The role of the student in the project
  • Specific aims/goals of the project
  • Project design and methods to be used
  • Description of the activities to be conducted by the student
  • The working relationship with the student; indicate who will supervise the student in carrying out the project plan
  • Plan for regular student-preceptor meetings

The ACP preceptor is responsible for overseeing the student’s project and functions in a mentorship capacity.   The student is responsible for completing the TUSM/Tisch ACP curriculum, including selected readings and reflective learning modules. Should any questions or problems come up during the ACP time, the preceptor should contact the Dean for Students or Associate Dean of Students at 617 636-6534.

The ACP must be full time for a minimum of six consecutive months and is not to exceed one year.  Full time is considered a minimum of 35 hours per week/4 weeks per month. Students are generally not permitted to take any coursework or clerkships while on ACP. While a student participates in the ACP, the student remains enrolled full time at TUSM and is responsible for payment of all required school fees including the Continuation Fee. There is no tuition charge for the time on ACP.

An ACP report/evaluation from the student’s project preceptor is required at the midpoint and at the completion of the ACP. The ACP report form will be emailed to the student at the midpoint and near the conclusion of their ACP. The student must ensure that their preceptor completes and returns the reports to the Registrar’s Office in a timely manner. The student must provide their preceptor with a copy of this information.