College welcomes second class of Primary Care Track campers

July 31, 2023

The College of Community Health Sciences kicked off its second Primary Care Track summer camp July 5.

Camp PCT is a three-week program in Tuscaloosa for first- and second-year students at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Marinex E. Heersink School of Medicine who plan to complete their final two years of medical school at the College as part of the Primary Care Track.

The Primary Care Track, which is only offered at CCHS, is a medical school education track designed for third- and fourth-year medical students who want to practice primary care. The track provides students with a strong foundation in clinical medicine through longitudinal experiences with patients, lasting relationships with mentoring physicians and special programming on leadership skills.

During Camp PCT, first- and second-year medical students have opportunities to learn more about community-based research through partnerships and to further enhance their clinical, population health and primary care knowledge and skills before entering their third year as part of the Primary Care Track.

Camp PCT was piloted in 2022 with five students; this summer the program has 20 students.

So far during the camp, students have learned about Tuscaloosa community-based programs, including Tuscaloosa One Place, Good Samaritan Clinic, Success by 6 of the United Way Success of West Alabama, Hospice of West Alabama, YMCA of Tuscaloosa, Five Horizons Health Services, West Alabama Food Bank and Habitat for Humanity.

Camp PCT students said they have learned a lot about service organizations in the local community. Lauren Huguley, a former Camp PCT student and third-year medical student, said: “The camp really helps with the transition going into third year. The students gain experience and get a real up-close look at what goes on in our community. It also helps build future partnerships.”

Huguley is a camp counselor this summer along with Cody Anger, also a third-year medical student. “I wish that I could have (participated in) the program because I see that it helps to (get to) know the community. When I came here, I really didn’t know anyone. This camp helps build those important connections and partnerships,” Anger said.

“I’m excited for our students to have the opportunity to learn more about our Tuscaloosa community and our surrounding West Alabama communities, along with the patients that we serve,” said Dr. Lea Yerby, associate professor of community medicine and population health with CCHS and a medical student educator. “The students are able to connect resources to clinical care through rural relationships that help pay back to the community. This program helps them find their long-term community partnerships to elevate them into higher levels to provide excellent quality health care.”

Dr. Tiffany Watson