Penn State University  | College of Medicine |  Research |  George T. Harrell Library |  Medical Center |  Clinical & Translational Science Institute |  StudyFinder

Patients as Teachers Project – Linking patients with future physicians

Making a Difference

In their own words, medical students relate why The Patients as Teachers Project is an invaluable experience:

“The Patients as Teachers Project allowed me to see the patient as a whole person, from how her illness affected her daily activities to hearing her hopes and fears. I think this is the type of experience every aspiring doctor should have.”

“This is a learning experience I will never forget. The lessons I learned from my patient will follow me in my practice and in my life.”

“It gave me the chance to see what it is like to live with a chronic, lifelong illness and to rely on physicians support.”

“Our best textbooks at the most can only give a technical breadth to the relationship of illness and patient, but only through The Patients as Teachers Project have I encountered the emotional, spiritual, and financial breadth.”

“…no textbook could replace such an experience.”

Touching the future of health care

Penn State College of Medicine’s vision is to lead in the education of health professionals and scientists, the provision of patient-centered health care, and the discovery of biomedical knowledge.

Help us train caring physicians

Patient volunteers of all ages–from children to senior adults–are needed to help our first year medical students understand illness from the patient’s perspective. To be selected for The Patient Project, you need to fit the following guidelines:

  • have a continuing illness that affects your life
  • be willing to talk freely with medical students about your illness and treatments
  • have family members who are willing to share what your illness has meant to their lives
  • live within 30 minutes driving time from Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

All information you share will be kept confidential.

Our medical students maintain strict confidentiality about their patients and their families. While students will give reports to faculty and groups of other students about what they learned, students will only use initials when referring to their patients. Faculty and students who hear these reports also maintain strict confidentiality.

What you can expect and what happens if I participate in the Patient Project?

You will be contacted by two first-year medical students who will arrange to come to your home and talk to you for about one hour. Visits take place approximately once every other month between September and May.

  • Medical students talk with you about your illness and related issues. Family members are welcome to be present.
  • During at least one visit, students will need to talk with family members about what your illness has meant to their lives.
  • Students will have access to your medical records and may interview your professional health care providers.

What will NOT happen if I participate in The Patient Project?

  • Students will not perform a physical examination, offer any medical advice, or involve themselves in any way in your medical care.
  • You will not be charged or paid for participation in The Patient Project.

If you are interested in helping Penn State College of Medicine students understand your experience with illness please contact:

The Patient Project Coordinator
The Office of Medical Education, H176
Penn State College of Medicine
P.O. Box 850
Hershey, PA 17033-0850
phone: 717- 531-3877
Monday – Friday 8 a.m.- 5 p.m.

Permanent link to this article: