1. Shankar, Sruthi BS
  2. Phinney, Robin PhD
  3. Krapek, Annie MPH
  4. Surapaneni, Vishnu Laalitha MD, MPH


Context: Public health advocacy is increasingly acknowledged as an essential component of practice in medicine. Medical schools, residency programs, and professional organizations have begun developing curricula in an effort to teach advocacy. This article describes the structuring and evolution of the Dr Pete Dehnel Public Health Advocacy Fellowship, an innovative program prioritizing a community-centered approach to teaching physician advocacy to medical students.


Program: Created by the Twin Cities Medical Society (TCMS), the fellowship's curriculum adopts a cohort-based learning model organized around skills training, personalized physician-mentor pairing in a shared field of interest, and hands-on advocacy activities. The curriculum also centers insights and practical knowledge from community members who are outside of the health care sphere alongside those of experienced physician-advocates.


Implementation: TCMS partnered with an independent research organization to conduct an ongoing developmental evaluation (DE) of the fellowship. DE focuses on rapid-cycle feedback and utilization of findings to inform the development of program components. This enables TCMS to customize the fellowship's curricular components to the local context and in response to student and mentor feedback.


Evaluation: Early findings have allowed TCMS to refine curricular components while providing evidence of significant gains in 3 areas of growth among fellows: perceived knowledge and advocacy skills proficiency; perceived self-efficacy; and motivation for lifelong advocacy practice.


Discussion: Key fellowship components, including a flexible curricular structure with built-in adaptability and emphasis on long-term health advocacy engagement, are associated with student growth. These core elements along with a focus on community-centeredness can be integrated into curricula of other programs seeking to train medical learners and physicians to embrace a lifelong commitment to public health advocacy.