'Pals' - A medical student public service program

J. L. Schaechter, E. H. Canning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


We designed a public service and educational program to aid children and families coping with chronic illness and to augment medical student education. Medical students developed relationships with chronically ill children and families based on the Big Brother-Big Sister program model. In addition, students attended bimonthly seminars on childhood chronic illness and family dynamics. Medical students learned about the psychosocial aspects of illness through these relationships and reported that the program contributed to their sense of worth as caregivers. By fostering students' innate altruism, medical schools may succeed in cultivating caring and humanism in their student physicians. We propose a model that encourages medical students to relate personally with patients and their families. A program such as this has the potential to nurture compassion in medical students, contribute to medical education, and provide support to patients and families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)390-392
Number of pages3
JournalWestern Journal of Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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