Physician Advising COM-Unity Program

The vision of the COM-Unity Advising structure is to create a sense of “belonging in medicine” for each student by fostering relationships that support students’ professional and personal development during medical school.

There are 8 COM-Unities which are named for famous UI-College of Medicine Alumni and former faculty. Each COM-Unity has four houses, with each house comprised of students from a different entering class.  There are two physician house advisors (PHAs) per COM-Unity. Our PHAs represent ten different specialties; seven PHAs are UI-COM Alumni, and thirteen did some portion of their training at UIC/UI Health.

The PHA works with the students in a longitudinal fashion, creating long-term meaningful relationships.  In close collaboration with the Office of Student Affairs, the PHA performs three major functions: individually advising and coaching each student in their house, facilitating small groups for the curriculum,  and checking in with the students in their house approximately monthly.

The goals of the COM-Unity programs are as follows:

  • Students will be able to name a trusted physician faculty member at COM who can offer advice, coaching and support without any risk of effect on students’ grades or evaluations
  • Students will learn to actively listen and effectively share information with peers in small groups, to enhance the knowledge, skills and attitudes of the group
    • To show respect for divergent opinions
    • To demonstrate cultural humility
  • Students will practice self-reflection and self-assessment in order to:
    • Identify and discuss strengths within medicine
    • Identify areas for improvement within medicine and plan a path to this improvement
    • Welcome feedback and incorporate it into daily practice
  • Students will discuss areas of interest within medicine and plan a path to pursue these interests