Continuity Clinic

Course Directors: Jesse Ehrenfeld, MD, MPH; Jennifer Green, MD, MPH; and Morgan McDonald, MD.

Program Manager: Tamie Swah.

Continuity Clinic began with VUSM’s class of 2016. Students are assigned to a physician preceptor who will mentor the student through all four years of their training. Experiences in clinic stimulate a “need to know,” promoting curiosity and making the relevance of other coursework more apparent to the student. A longitudinal experience in a specific setting allows students to observe, and ultimately to influence, the impact of systems science on patient outcomes. Early and active clinical work will foster professional identity formation.

The current VSM II’s have thoroughly enjoyed continuity clinic as a new way to directly interact with patients in a patient-care setting early on and be able to see the fruits of their hard work in the real-world, tying theoretical knowledge from the classroom to patients’ real everyday problems in Vanderbilt hospital and clinic settings.


In order to meet the challenge of providing health care in the 21st century, educators across the nation have called for new approaches to health professions education, including opportunities for work-based learning, longitudinal clinical experiences extending across the duration of the formal program, and the chance to work in inter-professional teams.

To answer this call, a group of educators from Belmont University and Lipscomb University Colleges of Pharmacy, Mid Tennessee Collaborative Master of Social Work Program at Tennessee State University Department of Social Work, and Vanderbilt University Schools of Medicine and Nursing designed an innovative pilot program for incoming students. From the very start of their respective curricula, students will contribute to the care of patients in meaningful ways by working in interprofessional clinical teams.

VPIL began with VUSM’s class of 2014, and each year 8-10 VMS students are accepted to the program. Students apply to be a part of VPIL (which is an alternative to Continuity Clinic) and work on inter-professional teams through every aspect of patient care.