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Many faculty members in the Department of Social Medicine periodically supervise scholarly elective projects developed by individual students, following their first year of medical school, involving various topics and research methods. Elective studies may include readings of archival or literary sources, research in social epidemiology or health service delivery using institutional datasets or surveys, analysis of international travel experiences, interview-based or observational studies of particular groups or settings, or evaluation of advocacy or service projects. Electives generally culminate in a summary paper, report, or presentation. Students develop specific elective proposals with individual faculty members.

Barry Saunders is Course Director for Electives.

Student elective guidance document.

The SOM Electives Catalog describes these course opportunities for Individualization Phase students:

  • Readings and Projects in Social Medicine
  • Global/International Projects in Social Medicine
  • Clinical Epidemiology or Population Health Research
  • Advanced Fourth-Year Elective in Social Medicine
  • Clinical Ethics Elective

(Foundation Phase students can look here.)

Recent examples of Social Medicine electives:

  • thematic analysis of writings from RICE (SHS4)
  • research toward parental leave policy changes in SOM
  • access to pain treatment among underserved populations
  • herbal healing practices of patients in Himalayan health clinics
  • ethics of truthtelling in Spanish neurology research
  • guide for caregivers of patients seeking gender-affirming bottom surgeries
  • portraiture and racial identity
  • Chilean health services research

Some students extend their elective experience longitudinally through participation in the Humanities & Social Sciences Scholarly Concentration.