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Social Mission


Social Mission Committee 2021-2022
Social Mission Committee 2021-2022

Medicine means more than memorizing anatomy diagrams and identifying the symptoms of a disease. Being an excellent physician means attending to the holistic needs of your patients—including needs that arise from social factors.

The Social Mission Committee (SMC) stands as one of the four pillar student organizations at VUSM and seeks to further the following mission:

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine empowers students, faculty, and staff to actively partner with individuals and communities to achieve health equity.

Our philosophy is to educate diverse, socially, and culturally accountable future physician leaders who understand systems of care and social determinants of health.

By advocating to meet the needs of all persons within the context of their care and working for larger systemic changes, our physicians will promote equity and justice within their local and global communities.

Executive directors lead six subcommittees dedicated to creating and enacting new visions of health care and medical education, gleaning support from countless medical students who participate in events and initiatives.


Goal: Enhance structural and cultural humility in the School of Medicine curriculum and expand opportunities for meaningful clinical engagement with underserved populations

Ongoing initiatives:

  • Medical Student Guide to Advocating for Patients: a student-developed guide to caring for the social needs of patients, including local resources, that continues to expand
  • Race in Medicine curriculum: incorporation of continuous curriculum components that explore structural racism and its intersection with medicine through lectures, discussions, and case-based learning


Goal: Promote mentoring relationships across various levels of training through programs and events

  • 615 Pre-Med: virtual advising series for premed students in the Nashville area who are underrepresented in medicine (URM)
  • Mentorship in Medicine: one-on-one mentoring program for students at undergraduate institutions in Vanderbilt’s pipeline program (Berea, Fisk, Morehouse, and Spelman)
  • Events: Advocacy Writing Workshop, Faculty Mentor Discussion Series, Book Club

Monitoring & Evaluation

Goal: Evaluate the impact of SMC on the Vanderbilt community over time, understand the national social mission climate in medical education, and promote SMC work through publications and conferences

  • VUSM Health Equity Needs Assessment: developing and distributing a survey to gather student attitudes and perspectives on current health equity efforts at VUSM
  • SMC Annual Report: summary of SMC’s progress over the past academic year


Goal: Improve diversity within the medical profession and community by recruiting students from underrepresented groups to Vanderbilt, as well as students interested in health justice, equity, service and advocacy

  • Serve as an umbrella for various identity groups to streamline ways to recruit diverse students
  • Partner with the Offices of MD Admissions and Diversity Affairs to understand admissions processes and increase recruitment of underrepresented students to Vanderbilt


Goal: Increase student exposure to health equity research and connect students with mentors to guide them towards careers that combine research with social justice

  • Health equity research panels: opportunities to hear from upper-level students, VUMC faculty, and other researchers at Vanderbilt and beyond about ongoing health equity research projects
  • Research curriculum update: working with course directors to add health equity and community-based research principles into introductory research courses


Goal: Coordinate service efforts across VUSM and form partnerships with local community organizations to connect students to longitudinal service-learning opportunities

  • Community partnerships: ongoing service opportunities with Siloam Health Clinic, Dismas House, Nashville Tree Foundation and more
  • MLK Day of Service: yearly service event available to all medical students in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.

Please email the Social Mission Committee for more information