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Elective Pathways

You are more than a science education, or a simple research project. At the University of Rochester, we use our extensive expertise and your passions to influence how you will deliver health care. Our Elective Pathways are certificate programs that run in conjunction with the Double Helix Curriculum over your 4-year education. You will have the opportunity to work with like-minded students and faculty to explore nuances, create curriculum, institute policy and delve into the science of your interests. Read below to learn more about the specifics of each pathway.

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

Table of Contents

  1. Deaf Health Pathway
  2. Global Health Pathway
  3. Health, Equity, and Law Policy (HELP) Pathway
  4. Latinx Health Pathway
  5. Medical Education Pathway
  6. Medical Humanities and Bioethics Pathways

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 approximately to 10 students each year.


  1. Appreciate the health disparities between the Deaf community and the general population
  2. Increase awareness of unique Deaf health needs within a medical system
  3. Introduce successful community engagement strategies
  4. Provide opportunities for linguistic and cultural immersion
  5. Learn about resources available to help meet the healthcare needs of Deaf patients
  6. Prepare students to care for Deaf patients (and other minority groups)

Helpful Documents

Deaf Health Pathway Presentation

If interested in enrolling in the Deaf Health Pathway then complete this form.

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.

Interest forms will be due in the Fall. Click Here to complete the survey.


  • Gain knowledge and skills in health problems and solutions for various people groups
  • Improve the ability to practice community-based medicine under diverse social, economic and cultural situations
  • To 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 five 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

  • Between year 1 and year 2
  • International experience or working with underserved population in or away from Rochester
  • Funded by the OME Summer Research Office (applications handled by the CACHED Office)
  • Participate in Annual Medical Student Poster Session forum fall Year 2
  • Submit research abstract (OME research funding requirement)

Humanities Seminar 

Year 2

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

Clinical Experience 

  • 4 weeks of consecutive elective providing clinical care either in international site or in  US caring for refugee population or non-native US population
  • Approved by advisory dean - safe to go
  • Approved by GHP committee
  • Year 3 or year 4

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

  • Scholarly project during year 4
  • Relate students activities
  • Discuss community/communities student involved in- including barriers, students work and potential solutions
  • Include information re: overseas experience
  • Reflective piece
  • 8-10 pages
  • Previous students have completed projects that were photo diaries


Students who successfully complete each pathway requirements and maintain good academic standing will receive a certificate of completion, Dean’s Letter.

Students can apply to the Global Health Pathway when applying for OME Summer Research through the CACHED Office. If you have questions about your project meeting the pathway requirements please contact Dr. Brown prior to submitting your research application.

Helpful Documents

Global Health Pathway Presentation

The Health, Equity, and Law Policy Pathway

The Health, Equity, and Law Policy Pathway (HELP) is designed for students who understand social determinants of health have an important influence on health inequalities and are interested in how policy is formed and implemented. With local and national opportunities, participants learn and experience how policy makers control health, everything from finances to pre-authorization requirements for procedures and medication, to the cost of prescription drugs. The HELP Pathway enables participants to find and use their voice to influence policy and help shape their future patients’ experiences related to health and healthcare.


Participants will:

  • Gain an understanding of policy from idea to implementation. Discussions focus on legislative policy as well as rule making and court mandates, helping attendees understand the difference between statute and case law.
  • Engage in thoughtful conversation to understand how policy makers control health, everything from finances to pre-authorization requirements for procedures and medication, to the cost of prescription drugs.
  • Work in a community-based agency attending to health policy. By the end of the fourth year, they will have drafted a policy response to a pressing health issue, and shared ideas with not-for-profit organizations and elected officials through a variety of mixed-media and meetings.


The HELP Pathway curriculum is grounded in Universal Design for Learning. Attendees will be self-directed with opportunity for critical reflection through weekly journaling. Participants will be empowered to utilize their lived experience when learning as well as sharing reflections in a classroom environment that respects and encourages diversity, inclusion and equity. The goal of the fourth year project is to enable students to find their voice to influence the world around them through policy and help shape their future patients’ experiences related to health and healthcare. Each cohort will participate with in-classroom learning experiences as well as community-based field trips and internships. Materials will be diverse to engage students’ myriad learning styles: visual, aural, print, tactile, interactive and kinesthetic.

Latinx Health Pathway

The Latinx 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.

LHP Educational Goals:

  • To strengthen Medical Spanish clinical skills with the goal of communicating effectively in Spanish with a Latinx patient population.
  • To augment knowledge regarding the specific medical challenges faced by the diverse Latinx population in the United States.
  • To strengthen the relationship between medical students at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and the local Latinx community.

Who Should Participate?

The LHP is intended for those students with at least intermediate Spanish language proficiency who have an interest in developing language, cultural, and clinical skills to work with Spanish speaking patients, families, and communities. Enrollment is limited to 10 students each year.

How To Apply?

In order to apply, a completed application form and language assessment needs to be completed by December 6th.

Pathway Requirements:

  1. First year: LHP Seminar: From January to March. 8- 2 hour seminars scheduled weekly. Two community events required.
  2. Second year: LHP Seminar: From August to October. 8- 2 hour seminars scheduled weekly. Four community events required.
  3. Completion of an OSCE interviewing and completing a physical exam in Spanish (incorporated into the 2nd year seminar).
  4. Third/Fourth years:
    1. 4 community events/year (8 total prior to graduation).
    2. A total of 4 weeks of electives related to Latinx Health over the 3rd and 4th year of medical school:
      1. 2-week elective with interpreter services is highly recommended. This elective is exclusively for pathway students.
      2. Reading electives for up to 2 weeks of credit are an option. Part of this time may be used to complete your project (see below).
      3. Latinx Health related International Electives may count for up to 2 weeks of credit. If an international elective is completed after the first or second year of medical school in a Latinx Community, this may be accepted for credit as well on a case by case basis.
      4. Other Electives on a case by case basis will be reviewed.
    3. Community Events (self-reported) - Self-reported activities that do not have to be related to medicine, but should be an activity that involves interaction with the local Latinx population. Examples include, but are not limited to:​​
      1. Health fairs
      2. Religious services
      3. Volunteer activities
      4. Spanish chat groups
      5. Board meetings
      6. Hispanic Heritage activities
      7. Festivals
      8. LMSA or other events which involve a speaker from the community
      9. Lectures at other institutions
    4. Latinx Health Project:
      1. Needs to be submitted by February 1st of the Spring of your Graduation.
      2. Goal is to pursue an interest. A literature review, a research idea, a project related to improving language skills will all be considered.
        1. Research/pilot projects (ex-Medical Student Attitudes toward Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Cusco, Peru, Hispanic NCDB Data & Adherence to Stage III Colon Cancer NCCN Guidelines: One Size Does Not Fit All).
        2. Submitting Spanish patient education articles to a local magazine
        3. Performing Spanish community outreach presentations
        4. Revising or translating relevant Spanish patient information or instructions for clinical use
        5. Reviewing resources used for a medical Spanish curriculum
        6. Quality Assurance projects related to Latinx Health

Helpful Documents

Latinx Health Pathway Guide

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.

Please note: Students apply in their second year of medical school.

Medical Humanities and Bioethics Pathways

The Medical Humanities and Bioethics Pathway provides medical students with an enriched experience in medical humanities or 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 20 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 from humanities/arts and bioethics. 
  • To reinforce the biopsychosocial approach to the patient-centered, humanistic medical practices through the integration of the humanities/arts and bioethics with sciences in the curriculum.

The Medical Humanities Pathway or Bioethics Pathways has a website with additional information regarding pathway components, deadlines, and applications.

Note: If interested in applying to the Medical Humanities and Bioethics Pathway, a preliminary application must be submitted by November 15th. The website and applications can be found here.

Helpful Documents

For additional information, please contact:

University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry 

Office of Admissions

(585) 275 - 3112