University of Alabama Heersink School of Medicine

UAB: Membership Spotlight

Program Goals: The mission of the Learning Communities Program is to foster longitudinal relationships in a safe and inclusive environment to promote personal wellness and professional development. Our goal is to create healthy people who will be effective physician leaders. Our goals are to:

  • Promote a safe and inclusive learning environment at UAB School of Medicine
  • Promote professional identity formation


Originally founded in 2009, our LC program started as a purely voluntary, student-driven initiative, aimed primarily at community building. In 2015, the program underwent a massive re- organization, with the hiring faculty mentors and the implementation of a four-year curriculum.



  • Monthly classroom sessions on ethics, wellness, professional identity
  • Individual and small group meetings with faculty mentor
  • Peer mentoring
  • Competition between LCs- Olympics, LC Cup
  • 2-3 socials per semester


Program Highlights:

  • Housestaff Mentor Program: Housestaff from the medical center can serve as LC Housestaff apply in May and are assigned to an LC for one year (July to June), leading small group discussions in class and mentoring students under the guidance of the faculty LC mentor. Housestaff find it rewarding and students love the near-peer mentoring.
  • Student’s Choice Day: Every fall, LCs invite faculty from across the school to plan a wellness activity for students on a day we call “Student’s Choice.” On that day, students choose from a menu of faculty-designed wellness activities ranging from a yoga class to a civil rights walking tour to a workshop on healthy meal planning to ice cream in the In addition to providing an opportunity to see faculty members role modeling their own wellness habits, students have fun and learn skills for building resilience.

Student Leadership:

  • LC reps- Each LC has 2 student representatives per class, who organize and support the other students in their LC. These students organize social activities, check in on their peers, and streamline
  • LC Executive Council- Students are elected by their peers to the following roles on the Council:
    • Class Vice President- oversees and supports the LC reps in their class
    • Olympics Chair- organizes the annual LC Olympics
    • Peer Mentoring Chair- organizes our peer mentoring program
    • LC Cup Chair- collects and tabulates points to determine the winner of our annual LC Cup


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  2. Dey S, Lindley G, Ma E, Harada C, Nakano-Okuno M. The nonmedical use of prescription stimulants among medical students: a novel ethics-based curriculum. Int J Med Educ. 2019 Oct 25;10:193-194. PMID: 31655794
  3. Baños JH, Noah JP, Harada CN. Predictors of student engagement in learning J Med Educ Curric Dev. 2019 Apr 17;6:2382120519840330. PMID: 31025001
  4. Altonji SJ, Baños JH, Harada Perceived benefits of a peer mentoring program for first-year medical students. Teach Learn Med. 2019 Aug-Sep;31(4):445-452. PMID: 30776921