Summer Medical Institute
The Summer Medical Institute (SMI) Philadelphia 2013 (June 29-July 20, 2013) is a three-week health outreach program sponsored by the Medical Campus Outreach (MCO) ministry of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia and Esperanza Health Center. During SMI Philadelphia, a team of volunteer health professions students, together with local church members and volunteers, seek to address health and spiritual needs of the North Philadelphia community, while providing a way for students to learn to integrate their faith within their medical careers.
After initial training sessions, students conduct door-to-door health outreach in teams throughout North Philadelphia’s neighborhoods, offering diabetes and blood pressure screenings, as well as nutrition and healthy lifestyle education. Through these encounters, they seek to share the love of Christ, the Great Physician, with individuals and families they meet.
Students live together in community during SMI Philadelphia, and learn first-hand the impact of social, cultural, emotional, spiritual, and economic factors on individuals’ health. Also, through interaction with clinicians and staff members at Esperanza Health Center, students have the opportunity to observe an effective model of Christian primary health care.
History of the Summer Medical Institute
The Summer Medical Institute originally started in North Philadelphia in 1992 as a partnership of Esperanza Health Center and Medical Campus Outreach. The focus of the initial SMI was to provide childhood immunizations in response to a measles outbreak that affected North Philadelphia’s Latino community. The program continued in Philadelphia for nearly 10 years before being relocated to an underserved area in Texas, near the border with Mexico.
With a renewed vision for an SMI outreach in Philadelphia, Esperanza and Medical Campus Outreach again partnered to conduct the SMI Philadelphia in the summers of 2010, 2011 and 2012. In addition to the SMI Philadelphia, the SMI in Texas has continued, as have 13 other SMI-like programs that have been started throughout the United States and around the world.