Advising and Mentoring

The Advising and Mentoring System at
UC San Diego School of Medicine is
designed to provide medical students
with a multi-layered system of support
that provides academic, career and
personal guidance and advocates the professional development of each
individual, as well as the collective
community of students.

Faculty, staff and peer advisors function individually and collectively on behalf of each student's journey through the medical school experience. The following are individual elements of this overall system of support.

Academic Communities

One of the cornerstones of the Integrated Scientific Curriculum (ISC) is the creation of six Academic Communities (ACs) at the UCSD School of Medicine. Each incoming student will be assigned to one of the ACs and maintain this affiliation over their entire medical school career.

As such, each AC would contain approximately 21 medical students from each class and a total of approximately 84 medical students. Each community also has a faculty director, in addition to faculty members who participate in each community to provide mentoring, counseling, and support.

The goals of the Academic Communities are to:

  • Optimize advising and
    mentoring of medical students
  • Optimize the teaching of
    clinical skills
  • Better integrate student along
    all four years of medical school

Academic Community Directors

The Academic Community Directors (ACD) will provide structure and support to all medical students throughout the four years of medical education. ACDs will integrate mentoring, service learning, career advice and special community programming for all medical students in their designated communities. The ACD's will hold regular office hours.

The Role of an Academic Community Director

"As an ACD I'm positioned in the middle of our students' lives, providing a great opportunity to mentor and offer general guidance as they make their way through this interesting and challenging educational experience," says Red Tide ACD, Dr. Charles Goldberg. "The fact that I get to know this group of students from the start of school and travel with them over time gives me a chance to offer truly informed and individualized guidance. It also allows us to develop a real sense of community and facilitates vertical mentoring from the other members of our AC. Being an ACD is one of the best jobs in academia as it allows me to connect and learn from an extraordinarily bright, motivated, and caring group of people."

Senior Faculty Advisor         

Students select a Senior Faculty Advisor in the middle of their third year of medical school.  Serving as the student’s academic advisor for the remainder of the curriculum, the duties of the Senior Faculty Advisor include:  reviewing fourth year electives, career counseling and advising about the residency process; review  of postgraduate application materials and personal statement sent in support of postgraduate training. The Senior Faculty Advisor may be any faculty member who agrees to serve in this capacity.

The student may select a faculty member in the field they wish to apply in, or a faculty member with whom the student has worked, such as a clerkship preceptor or ISP chair.  An Agreement to Serve as a Senior Faculty Advisor form can be printed out, signed and submitted to the OSA.  This information will be entered into the student's record and will appear in their My Info tab.

Senior Mentor

Senior Mentors are fourth year medical students who are available to first, second and third year medical students for consultation and guidance. They are there to share valuable information with fellow students, providing support, wisdom and insight from their own recent experiences.

Big Sibs provide informal advising and mentoring that is flexible, proactive and positive in nature. Since preclinical students see each other on a regular basis, there can be frequent contact between
Big Sibs and their Lil Sibs.
These pairings serve as sounding boards for common, everyday questions relating to courses, administrative matters, and the UCSD and San Diego community.