Many faculty members in the Department of Social Medicine periodically supervise topical elective study projects developed by individual students, following their first year of medical school, involving a range of research methods. These elective studies may include readings of archival or literary sources, research in clinical/social epidemiology or health service delivery using institutional datasets and surveys, analysis of international travel experiences, interview-based or observational studies of particular communities or cultural formations, or evaluation of advocacy, service, or administrative projects. They generally involve a summary paper, report, or presentation. Students develop specific elective proposals with individual faculty members and secure prior approval of their projects by the Medical School.

Social Medicine electives are specified according to these categories:

  • 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

Examples of student electives supervised in recent years by various Social Medicine faculty members include:

  • history of anatomic representation
  • portrayals of doctors in selected literary works
  • cultural contexts of telemedicine in the US and China
  • herbal healing practices of patients in Himalayan health clinics
  • ethics of truthtelling in Spanish neurology research
  • Greek health system and reform
  • British health system
  • Chilean health services research