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Scholarly Projects

Scholarly Projects for Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine Students: Rural, Tribal, and Urban Underserved Communities

Core Curriculum Overview

WSU clinical scholars will be assigned a university-based mentor through the Northwest Health Education and Research Outcomes Network (NW HERON), a practice-based research network with a focus on primary care that offers health care to rural, Tribal, and urban medically underserved communities. Practice-based research networks are groups of primary care clinicians and practices working together to answer questions about health and health care priorities and translate findings into clinical practice. Research conducted in practice-based research networks is grounded in clinical care and local community needs and addresses quality improvement and community interests.


Students working in teams of 2-3 will employ a community-oriented primary care (COPC) approach in conducting their scholarly activities. COPC is “the practice of primary care with population responsibility, oriented to health improvement of a defined community served by the health service, with the progressive participation of the community and in coordination with all services involved with the health of the community or its determinants.1

NW HERON will assign students to work with a site preceptor at a partner primary care clinic with experience in delivering health care services to rural, Tribal, or urban underserved communities, including populations that experience significant health disparities, have low socio-economic status, or reside in federally designated health professional shortage or medically underserved areas. Students will have the opportunity to shadow a leader in primary care and take part in a curriculum that integrates community-oriented primary care, leadership, health disparities, American Indian health, rural health, and research methods modules. In addition, students will address learning objectives through literature reviews, public datasets, clinic data if available, and key informant interviews/focus groups with various stakeholders.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe (define and characterize) the population served by the primary care clinic
  • Describe priorities identified by the primary care clinic (e.g., integration of primary care and behavioral health, COVID-19), local critical access hospital (e.g., community health improvement plan), or local health department
  • Describe/recommend evidence-based intervention(s) to address the priority from clinical and population health perspectives
  • Describe initiatives undertaken to evaluate intervention or recommend evaluation of intervention effectiveness
  • Assess the specific role of primary care in the health care system with regard to factors that facilitate or prevent public health actions at the community level
  • Identify and assess opportunities and challenges encountered in the application of a community orientation in health service delivery
  • Describe how the organization works with stakeholders to improve population health in the delivery area
  • Describe the organization’s patient/constituent focus and the integration of constituents’ (patients, families, providers, other stakeholders) perspectives in the delivery of health services
  • Develop executive summary and present results from findings
  • Complete 320 hours of associated scholarly project research, including meetings, conference calls, site visits, research, peer-to peer mentoring, and report writing
Washington Map, Student Placements

Student Placements

Partner organizationLocationTopics
Camas Center ClinicCusickTelemedicine
Columbia County HealthDaytonTBD
Coulee Medical CenterGrand CouleeBehavioral health
Ferry County HealthRepublicOB/Gyn services
IREACHSeattleImpact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the well-being of rural and American Indian cancer patients
IREACHSeattlePBRN development & clinical site profiles
Jefferson HealthcarePort TownsendTBD
Klickitat Valley HealthGoldendaleTelemedicine

NW HERON welcomes WSU student scholars who have compatible interests or areas of research to join this team. Students enrolling with an independent project will submit a proposal for review. Upon approval they will follow a similar path and will be matched with a university-based mentor to develop and accomplish a set of learning objectives.


1Foz G, Gofin J, Montaner I. Atencion primaria orientada a la comunidad: Una vision actual. In: Martin Zurro A, Cano Perez JF, ed. Atencion primaria -  conceptos, organizacio y practica clinica. 6th ed. Madrid, Spain,: Elsevier; 2008:345-366.