The Boston University Advocacy Training Program (BUATP) is a student-led, faculty-mentored, longitudinal training program for students interested in health equity and social justice. The program aims to prepare the next generation of physician-advocates by providing didactic teaching, opportunities for experiential learning, and spaces for like-minded trainees to gather.

Our formal programming includes:

  • A longitudinal, four-year core curriculum on the Spectrum of Physician Advocacy (SPA) that students can choose to participate in part or all of:
    • SPA-1: Typically for first year medical students. A free time spring elective consisting of ten two-hour sessions facilitated by second year medical students that covers a different advocacy topic each session. The first half of each session is usually dedicated to peer-led, evidence-based didactics, discussions, and activities, while the second half usually consists of a (medical or non-medical) speaker with expertise in the topic of interest.
    • SPA-2: Typically for second year medical students. A free time fall elective consisting of eight two-hour sessions facilitated by fourth year medical students that focuses on developing advocacy skills, from power-mapping to writing opinion-editorials. Each class usually has a guest speaker as well as various activities and exercises to practice the skill of the session.
    • SPA-3: For third year medical students. A free time year-long elective consisting of four two-hour sessions facilitated by fourth year medical students that focuses on personal narrative development and encourages third year clerkship students to discuss advocacy interests and opportunities they are experiencing on the wards. Sessions consist of assigned readings, facilitated discussions, and writing exercises.
    • SPA-4: An elective rotation designed to provide fourth year medical students an opportunity to take a deeper dive into an advocacy area of their interest. In this independently-designed rotation, students spend roughly half of the four-week rotation in a clinical setting while the other half is spent executing an advocacy-oriented research or quality improvement project.
  • An annual grand rounds series to spread awareness of the social determinants of health and advocacy among the broader BUSM community
  • Journal club style potluck dinners to promote conversation about advocacy during medical training
  • Summer student scholarships for advocacy-oriented projects between 1st and 2nd year

Each year, we participate in other projects and initiatives aligned to current student interests.  Some examples include:

  • Advocacy for improved access to homeless shelters and addiction treatment facilities after the closure of the Long Island Bridge in 2014
  • Collaborating with medical students at Harvard Medical School and Tufts University School of Medicine to organize the Boston Student Health Activist Community (BSHAC) Summit and Reimagining Advocacy in Medicine Conference