Jefferson Health Mentors Program

It takes a team of people working together and communicating effectively to ensure a person's total care. The Jefferson Health Mentors Program (JHMP), the Center’s flagship program for over 10 years, is a critical piece of the interprofessional education movement, which is changing the culture of healthcare. JHMP creates a unique opportunity for students to learn firsthand about what matters to people living with chronic health conditions, while working in a collaborative environment with peers from multiple disciplines.

Our patients are our teachers. Health Mentors are volunteers who teach Jefferson students about the role of healthcare in their lives. Explore this page to learn more about how the JHMP is transforming how JCIPE trains future healthcare professionals. 

Health Mentors are community-based volunteers who are living and coping with one or more chronic health conditions or impairments, and have decided to share their journey with students. Each year, over 200 volunteer Health Mentors partner with JCIPE to provide this rich educational opportunity to Jefferson students seeking to become healthcare professionals.

The JHMP curriculum takes students through three modules over the course of 1.5 years. They meet three times with their Health Mentors and complete key assignments along the way.

By participating in JHMP, students will:

  • Understand how a person’s environment (social and physical) interacts with health and well-being.
  • Understand and value person-centered care.
  • Identify the attributes of successful teams and demonstrate the responsibilities and practices of effective team member(s).
  • Value and respect the varied and changing roles and contributions of the members of the interprofessional healthcare team.

Frequently Asked Questions

Adults of any age, who have one or more chronic medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, heart problems, cancer, or others) can volunteer to be a Health Mentor.

Health Mentors meet with a small group (4 to 6) of Jefferson students three times over the course of 1.5 years. Each meeting will take about an hour. Meeting 1 takes place in the fall of students' first year. This meeting is scheduled by faculty and takes place on TJU's campus. Lunch and travel reimbursement are provided for the Health Mentor. Meeting 2 takes place in the spring of the students' first year, and the students travel to the Health Mentor's home to complete a team-based home visit. This meeting is scheduled by the students. Meeting 3 takes place in the fall of the students' second year and is also scheduled directly by the students at the Health Mentor's convenience.

Jefferson students will talk to their Health Mentors about things that are important to being a good doctor, nurse, pharmacist, physician assistant, therapist, or laboratory scientist. For instance, in the first year, they will ask their mentors to tell them about events in their lives, about their social and health history, about their community, and what makes a good health professional from a patient's perspective. Health Mentors will never have to answer any questions that they aren't comfortable with.

All Health Mentors get an orientation from Jefferson professors before they meet their students. Health Mentors can call Jefferson professors in charge of the program anytime they have questions or concerns.

Unfortunately, we can't pay Health Mentors for their time – this is a volunteer job. But Health Mentors will know that they are playing an important role in training future health professionals to take better care of patients with chronic conditions.

Additional Resources