The Student Navigator Project (SNaP): Preparing Students Through Longitudinal Learning

Reem Hasan, Rachel Caron, Hannah Kim, Gina M. Phillipi, Tajwar Taher, Kanwarabijit Thind, Erin Urbanowicz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Introduction: Early medical school education has historically focused on teaching basic medical sciences. More recently, medical schools are encouraged to incorporate health systems science (HSS) into early curricula. Addressing all of these components in an overcrowded curriculum remains challenging. Methods: We report on the Student Navigator Project (SNaP), a pre-clinical experience where students engage longitudinally with medically and socially complex patients. SNaP is built on a foundation of trust, responsibility, and ownership in the student-patient relationship. Early learners take an active role in navigating, advocating, and coaching for their patients. In addition, students are integrated as medical assistants into a primary care clinic; complete a mentored, team-based quality improvement project; and engage in evidence-based medicine, teaching, and handoff activities. Results: As a result of these activities, students learn firsthand about HSS, contribute meaningfully to their patients’ care, and are immersed in a systems-based practice approach early in their medical school education. Preliminary outcomes (2016–2019) show satisfaction with the program and knowledge of program focus areas. Conclusions: The authors are engaged in improvement cycles to modify program structure and curriculum in order to promote dissemination in diverse clinical settings. Ultimately, we plan to measure longer-term outcomes, including clerkship and residency preparation, career choice, and practice setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)833-841
Number of pages9
JournalMedical Science Educator
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020


  • Health systems science
  • Pre-clinical integration
  • Situated active learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Education


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