ST. LOUIS (AP) New medical students at Washington University in St. Louis are stepping outside the classroom to see a side of the city far different than the exclusive private school’s leafy campus.

A weeklong program allows incoming students to visit some of St. Louis’ most distressed neighborhoods to expose the doctors-in-training to public health needs. The voluntary program is in its 14th year and becomes mandatory next year.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch ( ) reports the program drew 85 of the school’s 122 incoming medical students. Just 10 participated in its first year. Organizers say the university is one of few in the country to offer such a program.

Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

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