Rare Encounters: Medical Students Give Assertive Community Treatment Team Visits Rave Reviews



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Objective: For 8 years, Albert Einstein College of Medicine students have worked with the Bronx Psychiatric Center Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) team. We relate the medical student ACT team experience using the ratings and words of the students themselves. We describe the history, evolution, and structure of this novel program.

Methods: Third-year medical students (N = 120) spent 1 day of their 6-week psychiatry clerkship visiting patients with the multidisciplinary ACT team. At the end of the clerkship, they were asked to complete a voluntary, anonymous survey of the entire clerkship experience, one component of which was the ACT team experience. A Likert scale of 1–5 was used (5 = excellent and 1 = unsatisfactory). The ACT program was initiated in October 2007, had a 3-year hiatus, and was restarted in 2011.

Results: Fifty-five of the students completed the survey. Seven of the students gave no numerical rating to the ACT team experience and wrote only very favorable comments. In the remaining 48 evaluations, 61% gave the ACT team experience an excellent rating; an additional 30% gave it a very good rating. The students expressed their enthusiasm for this program, calling it a “great” experience. Other student comments included the following: “Good example of how patients can have continuity of care and stability.” “A MUST. It was worth seeing how patients live and interact in home environments.” “Incredible experience seeing the role psychiatrists play in the community.” “One-of-a-kind experience that is different from anything else in medical school.”

Conclusions: ACT teams are an underutilized medical student teaching tool. It is hoped that this review will encourage other schools and program directors to adopt an ACT team training model.

Prim Care Companion CNS Disord 2019;21(2):18m02388