The UCSD Student-Run Free Clinic Project is truly a treasure of the UCSD SOM. The UCSD free clinics, aside from being a boon to underserved communities in San Diego, provide an unrivaled amount of clinical exposure to medical students, especially during the pre-clinical years. With faculty supervision, students interview, examine, diagnose, treat, and follow-up with patients. The students are the primary providers of healthcare for the patients, giving students a great deal of responsibility in managing care for patients very early on in their careers.
While the free clinics are not formally part of the UCSD MSTP, we encourage all MSTP students to be involved in the free clinics. Almost all MSTP students are involved in the free clinics during the first two years of their careers. Some continue their involvement while doing their graduate work. In recent years, some MSTP students have taken on leadership roles in the clinics from managing specialty clinics like endocrinology or dermatology to even managing entire clinics.
Dr. Ellen Beck, a professor at UCSD who started and leads the Free Clinic Project, recently received a leadership award from the James Irvine Foundation for her work with the free clinics. The short video below was created to highlight the efforts of Dr. Beck and her students.