Elective Pathways

A variety of certificate programs are offered to medical students during their medical school education in the following areas.

Medical Humanities and Bioethics Pathways

The Medical Humanities and Bioethics Pathways provide medical students with an enriched experience in medical humanities and bioethics throughout their four years of medical school. Students have diversified opportunities in a variety of clinical and research activities, courses and electives, as well as special events and competitive awards. Admission to the Pathways is through a competitive application process and is limited to ten students each year.


* To provide creative, research and teaching opportunities for students with interest and skills in medical humanities or bioethics.

* To develop student' knowledge, skills and attitudes about healthcare, the theories and practices of medicine and the consequences for patients through the study of humanities perspectives and methods.

* To reinforce the biospychosocial approach to the patient-centered, humanistic medical practices through the integration of the humanities with the sciences in the curriculum.

Pathway Requirements

Students are required to take three Medical Humanities seminars by the end of the second year (non-pathway students must complete one seminar in first year and one in second year). Students must also complete four weeks of electives in Medical Humanities and Bioethics (not all four weeks need to be in one elective).

Students are required to complete a project of their choosing — it can be a medical humanities or bioethics research project, a creative project (visual arts, narrative, film, photography, theatre), or an educational project to develop and teach a Medical Humanities seminar or elective with a faculty co-teacher during fourth year.

Students select an advisor/mentor for this project from the Medical Humanities and Ethics faculty or other faculty approved by the Pathway Director. The student's project must be completed and submitted by February 1 of the fourth year.

Students must meet with their advisor to identify areas of interest, learning goals and appropriate activities; identify, research and develop a project in year one and year two; and have the mentor sign-off on requirements and plan.

Information Session

Students interested in the Medical Humanities Pathway or Bioethics Pathway are invited to attend an Information Session in the fall of their first year. For additional information regarding the Medical Humanities & Bioethics Pathways, follow this link .


Medical Humanities Pathways
Stephanie Brown Clark, MD, PhD
Associate Professor, Medical Humanities and Bioethics
Co-Director, Pathway in Medical Humanities and Bioethics
Director, Division of Medical Humanities and Bioethics

Bioethics Pathways
Margie Hodges Shaw, JD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Medical Humanities and Bioethics
Co-Director, Pathway in Medical Humanities and Bioethics

Latino Health Pathway

The Latino Health Pathway provides an enriched learning experience over the four years of medical school for those students with intermediate and advanced Spanish language proficiency interested in developing language, cultural and clinical skills to work with Spanish speaking patients, families, and communities. Admission to the Pathway is through an application process and language assessment. Enrollment is limited to 10 students each year.


1. To develop communication skills in medical/clinical Spanish, knowledge and sensitivity about Spanish culture, and healthcare issues relevant to the diverse population of Latinos in the Rochester area
2. To consolidate and develop clinical skills in taking a history and performing a physical exam in Spanish so that students can work competently and effectively in clinical settings with Spanish speaking patients
3. To strengthen the relationship between medical students at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and the local Latino community
4. To provide opportunities for clinical electives locally and internationally in Spanish speaking communities

Information Session

Students will have an opportunity to meet with the Pathway Director to learn about the Latino Health Pathway program in the fall of Year 1.
Latino Health Pathway Information


Jimena Cubillos, MD
Assistant Professor - Department of Urology
Director, Latino Health Pathway

Deaf Health Pathway

The Deaf Health Pathway provides additional courses, electives, activities and projects over the four years of medical school for those students with interests in the health, language and culture of the Deaf community.  This Pathway is a student-centered curriculum with faculty support and oversight through the Division of Medical Humanities. Admission to the Pathway is through a competitive application process. Enrollment is limited to 10 students each year.


1.Provide students with a foundation in Deaf health, language, and culture to care for Deaf patients
2.Increase awareness on unique Deaf health needs
3.Provide language and cultural immersion
4.Learn about health disparities and successful community engagement strategies
5.Learn about resources available to help meet the healthcare needs of Deaf patients

Helpful Documents

Deaf Health Pathway Presentation


Robert C. Nutt, M.D.
Fellow, Academic General Pediatrics & Neurodevelopmental-Behavioral Pediatrics
Director, Deaf Health Pathway

Medical Education Pathway

The purpose of the medical education pathway (MEP) is to prepare students to become academic medical educators with skills in teaching as well as a knowledge of educational theory.


Participation in the MEP provides students with the skills:
1. Prepare and deliver a lecture to a large group
2. Serve as a PBL tutor
3. Lead a small group teaching session (laboratory, problem solving and/or clinical skills format)
4. Write high quality learning objectives
5. Write high quality exam questions in a number of formats
6. Perform assessments and apply effective ways of giving feedback
7. Critically evaluate the medical education literature.


Second year medical students or MD/PhD students with at least two years remaining in their program submit proposals and a teaching plan which are approved by their faculty mentor and relevant course directors. Students accepted into the MEP give two large group lectures and feedback is provided by the student audience as well as the course director, a member of the MEP committee, and their mentor(s).  In addition, students conduct small group teaching and serve as PBL Tutors during their third and fourth years.  MEP students also participate in faculty development workshops focusing on lecture skills, small group teaching, PBL tutoring, writing exam questions, assessment, and giving feedback.  Participation in journal clubs and seminars fosters discussion about educational and learning theory and current issues in medical education.

Upon completion of the MEP, students receive a certificate and their participation is noted in their Dean’s Letter and on their transcripts.


* Must be in good academic standing with a minimum of two years remaining until your expected date of graduation.
* Must have consistently demonstrated professional behavior in the learning environment including regular attendance in class and compliance with evaluation requests.

View the informational Medical Education Pathway Presentation


Barbara Davis, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy
Director, Medical Education Pathway

Global Health Pathway

The Global Health Pathway (GHP) at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry is an elective program available to selected medical students that have an interest or demonstrated commitment to careers in the future that include global and public health. Medical students will gain additional knowledge and skills in the health problems and solutions of populations that transcend socioeconomic and ethnic status and national borders. Knowledge will be gained through a didactic lecture series, direct experience and independent projects.

The required clinical experiences will build on the clinical skill set present in the Double Helix Curriculum to improve the ability to practice community-based medicine under diverse social, economic and cultural situations. Volunteer work and patient interactions will foster compassion and an appreciation for the plights of underserved populations. They will develop a sense of global health advocacy appreciating the role of the physician as an agent for change in community and global health.

Pathway Requirements
There are 5 categories of requirements for the Global Health Pathway

Lecture Series
Attendance at 75% of Global Health lectures over two years that take place approximately every 6-8 weeks during the academic year.

Summer Experience
Students will be expected to complete a global health focused project between the summer of first and second year. All projects submitted will follow the format for Offices of Medical Education (OME) summer research funding and be reviewed by the GHP committee as part of the application process. Upon completion of their summer experience, students will be expected to participate in the student research forum in the fall of year 2 and submit a summer research abstract to the GHP.

Humanities Seminar
Year 2
Explore Global Health through 8 week humanities seminar looking more in depth at a variety of topics.

Clinical Experience
Four consecutive weeks of medical school approved elective credit in year 3 or year 4 providing clinical care either: internationally or in a community in the US that is either not- native to the US or otherwise displaced, underserved (ie. Refugee- displaced persons, Indian Health service, etc).

Volunteer Work
20 hours of volunteer work during medical school in the Rochester area providing services to a population of immigrants or displaced individuals.

Summation Project
All students will complete a scholarly project during year 4 describing their experiences in the pathway and drawing upon knowledge of global health. The project should relate to the student’s activities in the pathway chronologically. It must provide a background on the community/communities the student worked with, the barriers the community faces, the student’s work and potential solutions to overcome some barriers. Students who travel internationally just include their international experience in their summary document. The expected format is a short description of the student’s activities then a referenced discussion about future directions these activities could take to improve the health of the patient groups. Students are invited to include a reflective piece summarizing their experience and achievements. The expected length of this paper is 8 to 10 double-spaced pages.

Application Process

Students are expected to apply for the Global Health Pathway by March 31 of year 1 of medical school. The application includes a letter of intent (maximum 1 page, single spaced) on why they have an interest in the GHP along with their curriculum vitae (resume). The student must also include a description of their planned summer project between year 1 and year 2; if they applied for outside funding, the funding proposal will suffice as a description of their project. Good academic standing must be confirmed by the student’s Advisory Dean.


Students who successfully complete each pathway requirements and maintain good academic standing will receive a certificate of completion.

Helpful Documents

Global Health Pathway Presentation


Elizabeth Brown, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor
Department of Family Medicine
Director, Global Health Pathway

If applying for the Medical Education Pathway Program, please fill out the
Medical Education Pathway Preliminary Application

For all other Pathways, please fill out the Pathways preliminary application.