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Graduates Gain Insight on Careers in Healthcare Through Community Engaged Medicine Seminar

Connecting students with practical applications of effective community healthcare is at the heart of Furman University’s M.S. in Community Engaged Medicine (MSCEM). Through a semesterly healthcare seminar course, students have the opportunity to hear from and interact with experts from the Upstate’s medical and broader healthcare communities. These local professionals provide students with expert insight through lectures and first hand accounts of developing community health projects. Through professional and personal connections made in the seminar, students are able to form lifelong relationships that benefit them into their future careers.

The healthcare seminar topics are crucial for cultivating connections and broadening perspectives. Dr. Rachael Bowers, Director of Education and Co-Director of Furman’s MSCEM program, explains that the seminar topics are inspired by research and evaluation activities taking place in the community. The topics are wide-ranging, as, “We have students that bring in training from different fields, which makes for richer seminar conversations,” Dr. Bowers stated.  

For example, a recent healthcare seminar topic in the MSCEM program has been exploring innovations and trends in healthcare to reduce disparities and improve health outcomes for under-resourced populations that live in the margins of healthcare. In other words, students are learning how to find solutions for communities that do not have direct access to healthcare. Students are asked to report on these populations through questions that force reflection and inspection on the system such as:

  • What are the professional hierarchies that exist?
  • What are the organizational barriers?
  • What are the workflows that weren’t considered from a consumer or patient perspective? 

Dr. Bowers described this reporting process as a “learning laboratory in the community.” 

MSCEM alumni have cited these seminar courses as their favorite class in the program. One alumni, Gabby Maiolo (22’), said the seminar class was her favorite because it integrated field experiences of public health with classroom concepts. “In the healthcare seminar, real life concepts are brought into classroom concepts, and we get to see how they present themselves in the community,” Miaolo stated. She added, “It is really interesting because in undergrad, we only hear about the concepts.” The actual experiences students have in the healthcare seminars allow them to see the concepts for what they are in the real world. 

Guest lecturers are another highlight of the healthcare seminar based on MSCEM alumni feedback. Hearing first hand accounts from the field helps students have a stronger understanding of the significance their fieldwork plays in the community. Maiolo stated, “There are a lot of awesome presenters that come in to give lectures on different concepts.” These concepts, such as equity and accessibility, can lead MSCEM students to discover career fields they never knew were out there. 

Alumni, Patricia Greene (22’), also said she loved hearing guest lecturers tell their stories because learning about their perspectives provides a deeper understanding of their work in the community. Specifically, she enjoyed hearing a guest lecture regarding the impact future physicians have on the mental and bodily health of LGBTQ+ patients, as well as the intersectionality between sexual orientation, gender roles, and gender fluidity. 

Through connections, diverse seminar topics, and the merging of fieldwork with classroom concepts, Furman’s MSCEM healthcare seminar creates a unique educational experience that prepares students for careers who are passionate about community healthcare. At the end of graduate school, MSCEM students may be surprised by the avenues the healthcare seminar course opened for them just from the spark of a new interest or an unforgettable interaction with a healthcare expert. 



Furman University’s Masters of Science in Community Engaged Medicine is a multi-disciplinary program that provides students with the required knowledge and skills in order to make an impact in diverse communities through public health. For more information about Furman University’s Masters of Science in Community Engaged Medicine program click HERE.