Sunny Smith, MD

Sunny Smith Q&A: Learning and Practicing Empathy and Compassion

Sunny Smith is a clinical professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health at UC San Diego School of Medicine, co-directing and teaching several courses spanning the medical school curriculum. She is also co-medical director of the UC San Diego Student-Run Free Clinic Project, with which she has been involved since she was a first-year medical school student at UC San Diego. Additionally, she is an academic community director where she advises one-sixth of each medical school class regarding their personal and professional development. Her interests include underserved medicine, patient advocacy, increasing access to care and medical student education and she combines these passions in her teaching and mentorship duties.

Smith has been featured in documentaries on medical student and physician wellness – including The Residents, Suffering in Silence and Do No Harm — and cares deeply about these issues. She has received numerous teaching awards and honors including the Excellence in Teaching award, Humanism in Medicine award and Outstanding Community Leader award. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians. Her work has published in many peer-reviewed journals regarding student-run free clinics, underserved medicine and the medical student learning environment. Smith is an alumna of UC San Diego School of Medicine. She completed her internship at Santa Monica­UCLA and her residency at the Santa Rosa Family Medicine Residency Program where she was chief resident.

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