University of Southern California

As a second year medical student, you can continue to explore a career in family medicine through the KSOM FMIG, FMIG leadership, CAFP state leadership committees and the Fall CAFP conference and July AAFP conference. Additionally, you can use your KSOM required student project (RSP) to explore the field of family medicine through shadowing experiences and through primary care/community based research interest projects. You can continue to be involved in community opportunities that are listed for the first year family medicine student. You will take Step 1 of your Boards at the end of the second year. The mean USMLE step 1 score for U.S. students who successfully matched into family medicine residency in 2007 was 211

Required Student Projects (RSP)

The RSP is a required research project that KSOM students complete in their second year of medical school. Many students who are interested in family medicine chose to do their research project on a topic which highlights community medicine such as experiences that focus on homeless health care, women’s health, etc. Other students chose to shadow family medicine doctors in a variety of clinical experiences and write up their experiences. Students interested in advocacy work or international health work have used their RSP to explore and develop ideas in these areas as well.
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

For more information, visit:

Family Medicine Externship Program

*NOTE* This opportunity is ONLY available to second- and third-year California medical students and is NOT available to international medical graduates.

The student Externship Program is an opportunity to work with a practicing or academic family physician to conduct clinical or educational research. In cooperation with the AAFP Foundation, the program funds research activities for second- and third-year medical students, is typically conducted over the summer and runs approximately two to three months. Students do, however, have the option of working on these projects during the academic year.

Past topics have included:

  • Prevalence of Diabetes Mellitus and Pre-diabetes in Latinos
  • Sensitivity and Specificity of the Glaucoma Risk Factor Analysis in Identifying Glaucoma Suspect
  • Undiagnosed Glaucoma in a Primary Care Setting

For more information on this opportunity, please visit:

Planning Your 3rd Year

There is much discussion among medical students on the “right way” to plan third year in order to best prepare them for applying to a family medicine residency. There is no “right way”. Because much of the KSOM 3rd year consists of “required” clerkships, there is little flexibility in diverting from the standard third year curriculum. The order in which students do their “required” clerkships is not very important. Some students prefer to do their family medicine clerkship early in their third year in order to explore a particular residency program, a particular area of the country in which they may later like to work or have a “gut check” early on in their third year, that family medicine is really the specialty that most interests them. Other students may prefer waiting to do their family medicine clerkship until later in their third year as they are getting closer to applying to residency programs. They may have a better sense of the program they are interested in and would like to plan their family medicine clerkship “closer” to the ERAS application process. If you have questions and concerns about where and when to do your family medicine clerkship during your third year, you should talk with the KSOM family medicine faculty.

For more information, please visit the Family Medicine Clerkship page located on the Clerkships tab.