Letters to Medical Students (Cartas a Estudantes de Medicina)

Name of the activity: Letters to Medical Students (Cartas a Estudantes de Medicina)

Country/NMO: Portugal (ANEM)

Program: Ethics & Human Rights in Health

Contact information: Email address: [email protected] Phone number: +351932902978

Type of the activity: Education. Education on health issues for specific societal groups, either in the form of projects (set of tasks for a certain group over a fixed period of time), events (something notable that happens) or conferences (form meeting about ideas related to a particular topic, usually over several days).

General description:

Letters to Medical Students (Cartas a Estudantes de Medicina) is a project that consists of the writing of an anonymous letter from a patient admitted to a Health Institution, addressed to medical students. It is an activity that seeks to promote the awareness of students to the act of caring for the patient, thus promoting the humanization of health care. In addition, students are expected to take action within the community and actively collaborate with them in order to improve health care delivery.

This project enables us to hear the needs of the sick, his side of view about health care, true stories about his healthcare experience and the failures of doctor-patient communication, so it is a wonderful opportunity to make a more warming and centered in the Human particularities Medicine. This makes it possible, from a very early stage in the formation of a future doctor, to raise awareness of human rights in health and to promote a positive overall health outcome.

Focus area:

Medical Ethics (Patient Centered Care, Good Medical Practice, direct doctor-patient relationship)

Problem statement:

The respect for Human Rights and the particularities of each person we contact with are crucial for good medical care.

Taking these values ​​into account, our main goal is to sensitize students to the art of well-cared Medical practice. In addition, our goals are to increase the number of students involved in the community and foster capacities to develop relational skills, in order to increase the humanization of health care.

Target groups:

General population, Medical students, Doctors, Other health professionals


General population

Objectives and indicators of success:


Sensitize at least 10% of Portuguese medical students to the art of well-cared medical practice and the needs of patients.

Increase the number of students involved in the community, by having at least 50 students working on the Task Force;

Collection of at least 100 letters for each edition of the project;

To foster capacities to develop relational skills and to listen to the needs of others, in order to increase the humanization of healthcare, in at least 50 Portuguese medical students;

Sensitize the community for the work developed in favor of a more humane medicine, by sharing the letters every month in social media;

Training at least 50 of Portuguese medical students to practice medicine as humanly as possible;

Enable contact with patients and the hospital environment from the first year of college.

Indicators of success:

Number of letters written by patients;

Number of student volunteers who joined the Task Force on the project;

Number of letters distributed nationally and locally;

Number of people who viewed the publications relative to Letters to a Medical Student.


To carry out this activity is necessary the authorization from the Medical Facilities for the students to collect the letters. Then, we open a Call for a group of volunteer students to help you with the collection of letters process. To help this Task Force with the process, we made two guiding documents. The first one, is dedicated to the students and have all the information and guiding points they have to follow in the process of collection of letters. The second one, is aimed to the patients, who must read before writing the letter. This document has the information about the project, namely their objectives and the follow-up done with the letters that are written. Within all the duration of activity we gather all the letters that was written by patients we share them creatively with all the medical students both online and locally. Also, we contact the Task Force in a weekly base, to ask their feedback about the collection of letters and help with whatever is needed.

Plans for evaluation:

Firstly, we will monetize the indicators of success that were written above.

Then, we will constantly monitor the views, likes and interactions of shared letters with community via Facebook and website, so we can adjust our strategy to the response.

Within all the duration of activity we contact the Task Force through Facebook ® to ask their feedback to constantly improve the project to their needs.

In the end of the activity, we will ask the Task Force their opinion by an online form about the collection of letters process, their suggestion to improve the project and, lastly, their evaluation of all the Task Force, namely communication, hospital relationship, organization, OC availability and the project in the global. The received feedback and suggestions are crucial to improve the project from one edition to the next edition.

Having the information on the indicators and the Task Force evaluation, we will discuss ways to improve the project and achieve our objectives.

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