The Metropolitan Physician Associate Program (MetroPAP) is designed for current medical students who are seeking hands-on experience in an urban setting, often working with underserved and diverse communities.
Students from both the Twin Cities and Duluth campuses may apply.
MetroPAP is a parallel curriculum with the Rural Physician Associate Program (RPAP). Students who participate in MetroPAP are part of the overall RPAP/MetroPAP cohort each year.
During this 36-week (9-month) longitudinal integrated clerkship, students learn how to effectively address the needs of underserved patients in urban communities. They focus on the impact of poverty on individual and population health, as well as the value of advocacy for patients and for systems change.
All MetroPAP students receive a $20,000 tuition offset from the University of Minnesota.
Students complete the requirements for clerkships in the following:
- Primary Care (fulfilling requirements for Family Medicine and Primary Care Selective)
- Emergency Medicine
Each student completes these requirements within the broader context of the primary care system, following patients to and from the specialty areas. They continue active engagement in their learning with their primary care preceptor, who is generally a family physician, throughout the nine months.
Students also work with family medicine faculty and residents, community preceptors in multiple specialties, and health professionals in pharmacy, behavioral health, and nursing. In addition, they complete a community health assessment project that increases their understanding of urban health issues.
Students who want to engage in urban, underserved care and become more comfortable with the psychosocial aspects of wellness, regardless of specialty, should consider applying to the MetroPAP program. Ultimately, MetroPAP students learn how to:
- Provide culturally sensitive, comprehensive care to individuals from a variety of backgrounds
- Work effectively with other members of the local healthcare team to enhance individual and community health
- Communicate in a way that’s sensitive to psychosocial, sexual, and family components of medical problems
- Understand and address urban environmental effects on health and the impact of poverty on the health of individuals and populations
- Identify the factors which contribute to and perpetuate health disparities
- Become advocates for patients and their communities
The Metropolitan Physician Associate Program was established in 2010. The curriculum was developed by then director Dr. Kathleen Brooks with advice from her colleagues at the University of Minnesota, the Harvard Macy Program for Educators and the international Consortium of Longitudinal Integrated Clerkships. It was one of the early urban longitudinal integrated clerkships (LICs) and the first known LIC in the world with a specific mission to nurture student interest in urban underserved primary care medicine. As an LIC, it was created to provide third-year medical students with a nine-month clinical curriculum that incorporated the core clinical clerkships within it, including both inpatient and outpatient experiences in multiple disciplines. Incorporating a number of the success elements of the University of Minnesota’s longstanding RPAP program, MetroPAP became an urban “sister” program to RPAP. It is a novel LIC model in locating the student’s primary care experience within a family medicine residency.
Drs. Shailey Prasad and Michael Wootten agreed to be the first primary preceptors and to base the first MetroPAP students at the Broadway Family Medicine Clinic, a part of the University of Minnesota North Memorial Family Medicine residency program. They worked with Dr. Brooks to engage the community preceptors in multiple disciplines at North Memorial to participate as teachers. Some of those specialists had been RPAP students years earlier.
The program has expanded over ensuing years to other sites, including other family medicine residency sites. Students have engaged in significant social justice and community health work along with their clinical education.