Distinction in Service to the Community (DISC)


This prestigious and rigorous program is intended to support and recognize Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School students who have shown exceptional interest, leadership and commitment to volunteering in the community and working with underserved populations. Students will distinguish themselves by assuming a significant level of responsibility in the collaborative planning, implementation, evaluation and dissemination of a focused, sustainable community health initiative. Students who are accepted into this program and who fulfill all requirements as approved by the DISC committee will receive diplomas at Commencement stating that they have graduated with “Distinction in Service to the Community.”

→ Program Application and Forms

Goals of DISC

The goals of the DISC program are: to recognize students who have demonstrated exceptional and sustained commitment to the community; provide mentorship for students in conducting a sustainable community project; and promote effective community-campus partnerships.


The following objectives must be achieved

  1. Complete prerequisite elective “Students Interested in Restoring Community Health”
  2. Assess and identify health issues of targeted communities and the historical, social, cultural, environmental, and economic factors
  3. Develop a DISC team (3-4 students) with their DISC liaison, faculty and community mentors
  4. Collaborate with community partners in program design and implementation
  5. Create a program that directly impacts an underserved, at-risk or vulnerable population
  6. Develop culturally and linguistically appropriate programs and materials
  7. Show evidence of individual participation in the project during all four years
  8. Evaluate and report on the effectiveness of the program
  9. Demonstrate long-term program implementation and sustainability

Guidelines and Timeline for Achieving Distinction in Community Service

M1 year

  • Complete the SIRCH/ICCUCE elective (8 lectures) and volunteer at four different community service events (at least 2 hours each)
  • Complete and submit didactic attendance and community service form
  • Begin a journal documenting DISC activities including community service, assessment, meetings, and progress.

M2 year

  • Existing M2 DISC students must submit an interim program update
  • Prior to submitting application, interested M2 DISC applicants work with the DISC director, faculty advisor, and community mentor, to identify an appropriate community issue, site location, and program
  • New DISC applicants submit application including proposal, DISC forms, and CVs, by September 30th of the M2 year (No incomplete applications will be reviewed)
  • Notifications of approved DISC projects will be sent out by mid-October of the M2 year (not all projects will be approved)
  • DISC project implementation must begin soon after project approval with the guidance of your community mentor, DISC liaison and faculty advisor
  • Maintain DISC journal

M3 year

  • Continue DISC project implementation
  • Make plans for sustainability
  • Submit interim progress update by November 1st
  • For projects with a M4 team member are required to present their work at the DISC symposium in the Spring and collaboratively submit a final report with their M4 team member

M4 year

  • Continue DISC project implementation
  • Complete sustainability plan
  • Submit a final paper summarizing your project, accomplishments, and how the program personally impacted you
  • For M4 team members who previously submitted a final report an addendum is required
  • If not previously done, present your completed project at the DISC Spring Symposium

For more information, please contact DISC Co-Directors:

Susan Giordano

Office of Community Health

Maria Pellerano

Family Medicine & Community Health