Q1. Do I have to have a chronic illness to participate?
A. Yes. We're looking for individuals who have a chronic illness or medical condition that has a major impact on their daily life and are willing and able to discuss their thoughts, feelings, and experiences with beginning medical students.

Q2. What's my commitment to the program?
A. There are four (4) visits in the first year and two (2) in the second year. Most visits take place in your home and last approximately 1-2 hours. FCE students have a six-week window to find a time that works with both your schedules for one visit. We are looking for a commitment of two years so that students can follow a volunteer through all required visits.

Q3. Will I be compensated for my time?
A. Not monetarily. Our volunteer families receive satisfaction from influencing the training of tomorrow’s doctors in a deep and significant way. At the beginning of the program, we hold a formal reception to thank the volunteers and their families for this commitment.

Q4. Do I have to have a traditional family to qualify for the program?
A. No. The term “family” in the Family Centered Experience is very broadly defined as a group of people on whom one depends for emotional or other support. The FCE Program is deeply committed to diversity among the volunteers who teach our students. We can all learn from the mixture of voices and experiences that come from our community.

Q5. Will the students live with me?
A. No. Students have housing established already.

Q6. When the students are in my home, do I need to serve them refreshments or dinner?
A. Not necessary. Your willingness to talk to your students about deeply personal things is a gift. Some families invite students to share a meal; however, it is not expected and you are under absolutely no obligation to do so.

Q7. Can the students give me or my family medical care?
A. No. FCE asks that you keep medical questions for the team treating you and not your medical students as they are in the very early training stages. They are not yet qualified to provide any medical advice or medical care.

Q8. Why does a FCE volunteer need to live within 30 miles of the campus?
A. Students need to be able to get to you for a visit and back to campus in a reasonable period of time for other classes/coursework.

Q9. Will you need to see my medical records?
A. If you are a patient at the U-M Health System, with your permission, the FCE office may review your medical records to determine suitability for the program or to update contact information. Students will not have access to your medical records because FCE wants your story to come from you.

Q10. How will the students use confidential information?
A. The students will discuss and explore their thoughts and insights in small groups led by a skilled clinician-instructor. Great efforts are made to preserve confidentiality, within and outside of the small groups. In fact, understanding the importance of confidentiality related to medical care is a primary goal for our medical students.
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