Community Health Scholars (CHS) Mission

The mission of the CHS programs (Rural PRIME, TEACH-MS, Tribal Health PRIME and REACH) is to train medical student leaders to identify, understand, and serve the unique health needs of California's rural, urban, Native American and Central valley communities.

Curriculum Objectives

The CHS Curriculum spans four years of medical training and aims to provide students with the foundation to provide outstanding clinical care for underserved communities, with a focus on 5 pillars of excellence: community engagement, leadership, professional development, mentorship, and scholarship.

Graduates of the Community Health Scholars programs complete all requirements and competencies in the School of Medicine with the following additional goals.

Community Health Scholars are expected to:

  • Provide outstanding clinical and culturally humble care for patients from a disadvantaged background utilizing an interprofessional team approach.
  • Identify unique health disparities in a community and understand how social determinants of health and structural inequities contribute to the development of such disparities.
  • Improve the health of a community through a longitudinal scholarly project that incorporates principles of asset-based community engagement.
  • Demonstrate leadership skills such as effective advocacy, change management, team facilitation, and dissemination of knowledge.
  • Exemplify professionalism in relationships with patients, colleagues, and staff with capacity for continuous self-improvement and adaptability.
  • Serve as effective mentors for learners from diverse backgrounds to achieve their stated career goals or objectives.

Curriculum Overview

All four CHS programs (Rural PRIME, TEACH-MS, Tribal Health PRIME and REACH) share a similar curriculum structure. Efforts will be made to customize activities to be region-specific where applicable.

Curriculum Components

All components are required for Community Health Scholars unless otherwise specified.

  1. CHS Orientation: 1-week long orientation prior to pre-matriculation to introduce students to each other, CHS program leadership, and community partners.
  2. Pre-Matriculation Program: This 3-week program is open to all incoming first year students and provides students with an early introduction to learning skills that will facilitate success in medical school. Given the additional expectations of CHS students, all are strongly encouraged to enroll in this program to ensure a solid foundation for academic success. All Tribal Health scholars are required to enroll in the pre-matriculation program.

  3. CHS Class: 1-hour sessions occurring 1-2 times a month during the first and second year of medical school. The sessions are a combination of faculty and community guest speakers, as well as student-led seminars. Each session aims to address at least one of the curricular pillars as it relates to caring for vulnerable and marginalized populations. For student-led seminars, 2-3 CHS scholars work together to present on a topic related to care of medically underserved communities, examining the unique challenges in different geographic regions (rural vs. urban vs. tribal vs. Central CA), and reviewing community resources or possible solutions with fellow students. CHS students are required to attend 80% of CHS class sessions.

  4. CHS Days: These are half- or full-day sessions occur on average once monthly during the pre-clerkship curriculum. No other medical school responsibilities are scheduled so that CHS students may engage in experiential activities. These activities include visits to community partners to engage in active dialogue with community members and understand how community organizations work to address social determinants of health in their community. CHS students will also participate in case-based interprofessional educational activities with nurse practitioner or physician assistant students during this time. 

  5. Longitudinal Scholarly Activity: As Community Health Scholars, students are required to engage in a longitudinal scholarly activity that spans the entirety of their medical school experience. Students may work together or alone, and their scholarly activity must address a specific need or issue within the community that they identified in their first year through collaborative conversations with community members. Examples of acceptable scholarly projects include a community engagement project with a local organization, needs assessment with formulation of recommendations, community-based health fairs, community-oriented research, and curriculum development. Students will regularly present their work-in-progress and receive peer and faculty feedback throughout medical school, with a final capstone project presentation at the end of their fourth year prior to graduation.

  6. I-RESTORE Summer elective (4 weeks). To meet the I-RESTORE requirements, CHS students are expected to participate in the following:
    1. TEACH-MS students are required to enroll in the Summer Institute on Race and Health.
    2. REACH students are required to enroll in the Summer REACH (research, education and community health) program.
    3. Rural PRIME students are required to enroll in the Summer Institute on Race and Health, the Summer REACH program, or engage in a rural-based activity with advanced approval required from the CHS Director of Curriculum.
    4. Tribal Health students are required to enroll in the Summer Institute on Race and Health or engage in a tribal health- or urban Indian health-based activity with advanced approval required from the CHS Director of Curriculum.
  7. Clinical Rotations: CHS students will be assigned to both inpatient and outpatient sites throughout the Northern California, rural California and Central Valley region for their core clerkships: Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Ob/Gyn, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, and Surgery. These training sites have been thoroughly vetted by the program leadership to meet the programs’ expectations and mission. Please see separate Clinical Training Site Policy.

  8. Clinical Intersessions: Starting in 2021, CHS students will have one half-day reserved for CHS activities during the six one-week intersessions during their clerkship year (third year). This time will be used to visit community organizations, gain additional clinical skills in addiction medicine, and to make progress on students’ longitudinal CHS scholarly activity.

  9. Clinical Skills Facilitation (Doctoring 4): In their fourth year, all CHS students are strongly encouraged to apply to serve as clinical skills facilitators for first-, second-, or third- year CHS students, to develop both their mentorship and medical education skills. CHS students who do not serve as a CHS doctoring facilitator are required to facilitate at least one teaching activity for junior CHS students during CHS class or CHS days.

  10. Medical Care for Underserved and Marginalized Communities (IMD 490): This 2-week rotation is required for all CHS students in their fourth year. Students will reflect on their medical training, learn new clinical skills, and make plans to utilize these skills during their residency training and future careers in service for patients from marginalized communities.