Student-Run Clinics: Opportunities for Interprofessional Education and Increasing Social Accountability

Maxine Holmqvist, Carole Courtney, Ryan Meili, Alixe Dick


Background: Collaborative practice is a necessary component of providing effective, socially responsive, patient-centred care; however, effective teamwork requires training. Canadian student-run clinics are interprofessional community service-learning initiatives where students plan and deliver clinical and health promotion services, with the assistance of licensed healthcare professionals.

Methods and Findings: In this article, we use a reflective approach to examine the phenomenon of student-run clinics in Canada. First, we briefly review the history of student-run clinics and then describe one particular clinic in detail. Then, drawing on the experiences of student-run clinics across the country, we identify common themes and challenges that we believe characterize these programs.

Conclusion: Student-run clinics in Canada emphasize health equity, interprofessionalism, and student leadership. As more student-run clinics are developed, both nationally and internationally, co-ordinated research efforts are needed to determine their effects on students, institutions, communities, and healthcare systems. If educators can learn to collaborate effectively with student leaders, student-run clinics may be ideal sites for advancing learning around interprofessionalism and social accountability.


Interprofessional education; Community service learning; Student-run clinics

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