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Community Outreach

University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine

At the Miller School, we are dedicated to improving the health and the lives of our community. As you will see here, our faculty and students find creative ways to address the needs of the medically underserved here in Miami and across the globe – and bring a fresh perspective to tackle previously unmet health challenges.

Woman getting blood pressure checked

DOCS  Department of Community Service

An important part of our Miller School students’ commitment to community service began in 1971 when a group of students started a health fair in Big Pine Key, Florida. This fair flourished due to its popularity in the community and the medical school. It served a dual purpose by providing health care to the underserved, while providing invaluable learning experiences for students. More than 35 years later, the project expanded and evolved into the Mitchell Wolfson Sr. Department of Community Service (DOCS).

Visit Docs Website

man in front of idea exchange

IDEA Exchange

In 2017, the Miller School launched the IDEA Syringe Services Program as the first legal program in Florida and later implemented routine opt-out screening for HIV and hepatitis C (HCV). After the change in protocol in early 2018, the team identified the newly infected individuals, and began the process of getting them into treatment.

Visit Idea Exchange

Eight individuals involved with Shop Docs program

Shop Docs

"We want to make health care more accessible to African-American men, and the barbershop is the perfect place,” said Annette Grotheer, a fourth-year student in the Miller School’s M.D./M.P.H. program, who created The Shop Docs, an outreach initiative she launched three years ago. “We have a captive audience, so our volunteer nursing and medical students have time to build trust, answer their questions and educate them on a healthy lifestyle. We also bring a physician who can provide other resources for improving their health.”

Visit Shop Docs Website

Bascom Palmer vision van

Bascom Palmer’s Vision Van

Bascom Palmer Eye Institute provides vision-saving eye screenings to the medically underserved throughout South Florida in the Vision Van, a 40-foot mobile eye clinic.  When the devastating Tohoku-Pacific Ocean earthquake and tsunami struck Japan in 2011, the Vision Van was flown overseas to provide support to the hard-hit Sendai province.

Across Bascom Palmer, faculty members, residents, and fellows continually volunteer in much-needed ophthalmic missions throughout the world, including in Haiti, one of the most medically underserved countries in the Western Hemisphere.


Pediatric mobile service van

Pediatric Mobile Clinic

UM’s Pediatric Mobile Clinic drives into underserved and impoverished communities, setting up near schools, community service centers, and houses of worship. There, the multicultural staff provides access to comprehensive, quality medical and mental health care, social service assistance, and case management services, regardless of the family’s ability to pay.


Students gathered around sylvester cancer center game changer vehicle

GameChanger Vehicle

Sylvester launched its Game Changer community vehicle to bring cancer screenings and health information to underserved communities in South Florida.

“Early cancer detection is crucial to better outcomes, and this van will help us reach people who are now disconnected from the health system and positively impact their health.”

Stephen Nimer, M.D.


Four male and one female firefighter

Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Firefighter Cancer Initiative

The primary goals of the Firefighter Cancer Initiative are to better document and understand the excess burden of cancer among Florida firefighters, and identify novel, evidence-based methods for reducing risk.

The initiative now includes departments from across the state of Florida and is continually working on expanding its reach to ensure representation from a diverse set of departments, regions, and firefighters.