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Community-Health Electives

School of Medicine students can choose from a variety of community-health related elective courses. Each course centers on a specific need within the local San Diego community. 

students at a wellness fair table

FPM-224: Health Fair Medicine

Students explore alternative way to deliver healthcare to underserved communities: health fairs. In conjunction with Asian Pacific Health Foundation (APHF), students are trained to volunteer at events where they will practice screening methods for diseases that disproportionately affect Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities.

FPM-244: VIIDAI Clinical & Public Health Elective

VIIDAI is an integrated clinical and public health experience for U.S. and Mexican medical and graduate students. Faculty and student teams spend 3 days in San Quintin, Baja California, Mexico, addressing common clinical and public health problems in underserved populations. Students take part in activities ranging from clinical practice, to survey research, to health promotion and education.

Man in white coat speaking with two mothers with small children on their laps

FPM-272: Community Advocacy-Free Clinic I

This is the required introductory course for participation in the Student-run Free Clinic Project. In partnership with the community, our mission is to provide respectful, empowering, high quality health care with the underserved while inspiring the next generation of health professionals.

Student-Run Free Clinic

FPM-286: Community Advocacy-Free Clinic II

The UC San Diego Student-Run Free Clinic Project, in partnership with the community, provides accessible, quality healthcare for the underserved in a respectful environment in which students, health professionals, patients, and community members learn from one another.

Student-Run Free Clinic

MED-235: Tribal Ambulatory Healthcare Experience

Students observe physicians at the Indian Health Council in Pauma Valley. The clinic provides a broad spectrum of on-site and outreach services and programs to the North San Diego County reservations. Students further their understanding of Native American health and learn key components of the physical exam, health history and physical,  and chronic disease management. 

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Native American physician and medical student  talking while looking at computer monitor
group of students sitting on benches smiling at camera holding bright orange backpacks

MED-236: Refugee Immigrant Health

This course allows students to immerse themselves in site-based visits to local community organizations, fostering a deep understanding of the challenges faced by displaced communities. Forge meaningful connections, broaden cultural awareness, and contribute to community well-being. This elective goes beyond clinical skills, emphasizing the power of community engagement.

MED-239: Health Frontiers in Tijuana

The UC San Diego Health Frontiers in Tijuana Student-run Free Clinic (HFiT) is located in Tijuana's Zona Centro, an area where drug use and sex work are pervasive and hundreds of deportees and homeless live.

Health Frontiers in Tijuana

female student wearing a mask checking on male patient
students working at desks

MED-250: Medical Spanish

The course is primarily focused on developing medical Spanish language communication for students with preexisting Spanish conversational skills, who have at least one year of college level Spanish or 3 years of high school Spanish or equivalent. For students with less formal training in Spanish, and who want to enroll in the Intermediate level sequence, a screening test will be available upon request. 

SOMI-230: Health Education Outreach / DOC-4-A- DAY

Doc-4-A-Day is a "service-learning" activity. Medical students interact with and engage underrepresented high school students in an event geared towards exposing inner city kids to the possibility of pursuing a career in science or medicine.


Medical student showing heart model to high school students
students and faculty advisor with man getting his blood pressure checked

SOMI-236: Fade Hypertension

Emphasizing the importance of developing relationships with local communities to deliver effective healthcare, particularly with regards to disparities in cardiovascular disease, students will address health disparities in cardiovascular disease primarily through screening local populations for hypertension. 

Read More about Fade Hypertension