University of Southern California

As a first year medical student, there are multiple ways that you can explore a career in family medicine:


You can become involved in the KSOM student family medicine interest group (FMIG). This organization holds meetings throughout the year on topics pertinent to a career in family medicine, family medicine resident exposure and contact with KSOM family medicine faculty. There are KSOM FMIG leadership opportunities, leadership opportunities at the state level within the California Academy of Family Physicians (CAFP)) committees, a CAFP state Fall medical student conference and a July American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) medical student conference and a state advocacy program through the CAFP.

Family Medicine Interest Group (FMIG)


There are many shadowing/preceptorship opportunities such as the CAFP summer preceptorship program that will allow you to explore one of a variety of family medicine settings from urban inner city to rural sites or you can apply for a CAFP student research scholarship. Community Hospital of Ventura also has a summer shadowing program. You may consider spending your summer working with the Indian Health Service on a Native American reservation or doing a community health service project with an underserved or rural area of the U.S.

CAFP-F Summer Preceptorship

Since 1993, the California Academy of Family Physicians Foundation (CAFP-F) has been funding first-year medical students to explore careers in family medicine through CAFP’s summer Family Medicine Preceptorship Program. Participating students spend four weeks precepting full-time with a family medicine physician. Forty $1,200 scholarships are awarded to students on a competitive basis.

Rural and Urban Sites

Students are placed in a wide range of California locations and practices – from inner city to rural locations, from HMOs to small group or private practices. Because many rural and inner-city communities continue to experience physician shortages and a lack of diversity, the CAFP-F strives to build student interest in serving these communities through this program.

Preceptors at rural sites are matched by staff. All other participants are matched with an urban or suburban family medicine physician by the Pre-doctoral Coordinator in their school’s family medicine department, in consultation with CAFP.

For students who are not accepted to the rural track, assistance in finding preceptors outside of their school’s local area is not available.

Rural Community Preceptorship

The community preceptorship allows students to rotate between multiple sites within the same rural community. This increases their exposure to the community as a whole, and gives them the opportunity to learn from physicians with different backgrounds and interests. Students selected to precept at rural sites will live in the communities they serve. CAFP will work with students to obtain housing in rural sites, but students will share the responsibility of securing their housing. Additional scholarship money may be available to fund travel and housing for rural preceptorships.

The Experience

Students generally have an observation-only preceptorship and are given the opportunity to see patient interviewing/history taking, physical exams, and procedures; however, practice experiences vary. In addition, students learn about patient-physician interactions and gain a basic knowledge of the scope and nature of family medicine.

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The Schweitzer Fellowship

The U.S. Schweitzer Fellows Programs® provide community service fellowships for graduate students in health-related professional fields who are dedicated to addressing unmet health needs in their local areas.

Since its launch in 1991, the Schweitzer Fellows Programs have grown to include programs in Baltimore, Bay Area, Boston, Chicago, Greater Philadelphia, Los Angeles, New Hampshire/Vermont, New Orleans, North Carolina, and Pittsburgh.

The U.S. Schweitzer Fellows Program has four overall goals:

  1. Provide direct services that address health-related needs of underserved communities
  2. Influence the professional development of students in health-related fields in ways that strengthen their commitment to, and skills in, public service
  3. Alter the culture of professional schools so they more effectively address needs of surrounding disadvantaged communities
  4. Support program alumni who continue in lifelong community service and who, as Schweitzer Fellows for Life, are influential role models for other professionals

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Other Shadow/Preceptor Opportunities

For more information about other shadowing/preceptor opportunities, please visit the Shadowing/Preceptor Opportunities page.

Shadowing/Preceptor Opportunities


There are also research and service community opportunities throughout your first year such as the Screen Now and Prevent Program (SNAPP) clinic, Healing Hearts Across Borders Program in Mexico, and Flying Samaritans in Mexico. For example, Flying Samaritans is a medical service club at the University of California, San Diego in association with the non-profit service organization, The Flying Samaritans Inc. The program is dedicated to providing free medical services to the underprivileged people of Mexico through a clinic staffed entirely of volunteer physicians, nurses, medical and pre-medical students. The main clinic is located in Ensenada, Baja California.

We are presently working on opportunities for community research. Please visit the site again for updates.

Student Run Clinic

KSRC (formerly known as SNAPP) has long been an idea at the Keck School of Medicine (KSOM). Though there had been several attempts to begin a free clinic in the past, the task repetitively became too challenging with the many legal, official, city-required paperwork it entailed.

USC Keck SOM students began work again in 2006, and this time, the clinic has become a reality, first opening its doors on Thursday January 10, 2008. Faculty, medical students, and other USC students will continue to volunteer their time to help screen community members, in the hope that future complications and life difficulties can be prevented.

KSRCC is currently run by medical students. We will do our best to recognize any comments, concerns, and offers of help, in a timely fashion.

Please email us at:

For more information, please visit:

Keck Student Run Community Clinic (KSRCC)
Other Research and Service Opportunities

For more information about other research and service opportunities, please visit the Research & Service Opportunities page.

Other Research and Service Opportunities – link to the  Research and Service Opportunities Page