Students Adding Value: Improving Patient Care Measures While Learning Valuable Population Health Skills

Amy W. Shaheen, Kelly Bossenbroek Fedoriw, Susanna Khachaturyan, Beat Steiner, Julie Golding, Julie S. Byerley, Erika S. Helgeson, Gary L. Beck Dallaghan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Medical students are potential resources for ambulatory primary care practices if learning goals can align with clinical needs. The authors introduced a quality improvement (QI) curriculum in the ambulatory clinical rotation that matched student learning expectations with practice needs. In 2016-2017, 128 students were assigned to academic, university affiliated, community health, and private practices. Student project measures were matched with appropriate outcome measures on monthly practice dashboards. Binomial mixed effects models were used to model QI measures. For university collaborative practices with student involvement, the estimated odds of a patient being screened for breast cancer in March 2017 was approximately 2 times greater than in 2016. This odds ratio was 36.2% greater than the comparable odds ratio for collaborative practices without student involvement (95% confidence interval = 22.7% to 51.2% greater). When student curriculum and assignments align with practice needs, practice metrics improve and students contribute to improvements in real-world settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)70-78
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Quality
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors wish to acknowledge the physicians and leadership at Piedmont Health Services Community Health Clinic and the University of North Carolina Physicians Network who provided student learning opportunities, data for analysis, and logistical support. The authors also would like to acknowledge the UNC Practice Quality and Innovation group for their support of the students, physicians, and practices. The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This study was supported by a North Carolina Area Health Education Centers Campus Innovation Grant.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2019.


  • medical school curriculum
  • medical students
  • population health
  • quality metrics


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