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Galvanizing medical students in the administration of influenza vaccines: the Stanford Flu Crew

Authors Rizal R, Mediratta RP, Xie J, Kambhampati S, Hills-Evans K, Montacute T, Zhang M, Zaw C, He J, Sanchez M, Pischel L

Received 30 June 2014

Accepted for publication 20 October 2014

Published 1 July 2015 Volume 2015:6 Pages 471—477


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 5

Editor who approved publication: Dr Anwarul Azim Majumder

Rachel E Rizal,1,* Rishi P Mediratta,1,* James Xie,1 Swetha Kambhampati,1 Kelsey Hills-Evans,1 Tamara Montacute,1 Michael Zhang,1 Catherine Zaw,2 Jimmy He,2 Magali Sanchez,2 Lauren Pischel1
1Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA; 2Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Abstract: Many national organizations call for medical students to receive more public health education in medical school. Nonetheless, limited evidence exists about successful service-learning programs that administer preventive health services in nonclinical settings. The Flu Crew program, started in 2001 at the Stanford University School of Medicine, provides preclinical medical students with opportunities to administer influenza immunizations in the local community. Medical students consider Flu Crew to be an important part of their medical education that cannot be learned in the classroom. Through delivering vaccines to where people live, eat, work, and pray, Flu Crew teaches medical students about patient care, preventive medicine, and population health needs. Additionally, Flu Crew allows students to work with several partners in the community in order to understand how various stakeholders improve the delivery of population health services. Flu Crew teaches students how to address common vaccination myths and provides insights into implementing public health interventions. This article describes the Stanford Flu Crew curriculum, outlines the planning needed to organize immunization events, shares findings from medical students' attitudes about population health, highlights the program’s outcomes, and summarizes the lessons learned. This article suggests that Flu Crew is an example of one viable service-learning modality that supports influenza vaccinations in nonclinical settings while simultaneously benefiting future clinicians.

Keywords: immunizations, vaccine delivery, vaccinations

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