University of Southern California

Primary Care Community Medicine Shadowing Program

Through a shadowing experience with a primary care provider in a community clinic, medical students will be exposed to a variety of aspects of community-based primary care over the course of their first two years of medical school. Such  experiences include learning about the establishment of medical homes, chronic disease management, and public health.

These ad hoc shadowing experiences can be conducted anytime during the year. If you are interested in being matched with a primary care community medicine preceptor, please contact Lynn Kawabe at or call 323-442-1678 to discuss the process and your preferences. Also, please visit the Participating Clinics, Hospitals, and Organizations page to learn more about the sites involved in this program.

Student/Resident Experiences and Rotations in Community Health (SEARCH)

Provides health professions students and residents with opportunities to work on interdisciplinary health care teams. Currently, 21 states and U.S. territories offer SEARCH programs, extending a unique, hands-on, primary care training experience working with people in underserved rural and urban areas. Applicants who qualify for the program will be placed in a community where they can make a difference through NHSC’s network of primary care associations and primary care offices. Students who have NHSC scholarships are given priority for the SEARCH program. Different programs accept students with different levels of experience, and some accept out of state students.

For more information, please visit:

Community Memorial Hospital Summer Preceptor Program

Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura, CA offers a unique summer opportunity for USC medical students entering their second year of medical school. The program gives students who previously have only experienced a large, urban teaching facility like USC, a comprehensive introduction to a smaller community hospital setting. Almost 80% of our nation’s healthcare is provided at community hospitals, so this experience is an incredible opportunity for students who will most likely practice in such a facility later on in their careers. The preceptorship focuses on introducing students to a wide array of disciplines and specialties while providing hands-on experience through one-on-one mentorship with an attending physician. Students rotate through many disciplines, including family practice, internal medicine, emergency medicine, general surgery, orthopedics, pediatrics, OB-GYN, NICU nursery, and radiology. In addition to rotations, students participate in daily, one-hour lectures, covering topics such as professionalism, team building, community relationships, economics, and medical ethics.

Housing is provided by the Ventura Beach Marriott, and meals are subsidized by Community Memorial Hospital.

For more information, contact Lynn Kawabe at or call 323-442-1678.

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 Predoctoral 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.

For more information, please visit: