Course Work

Overview of Required Courses

Students who pursue the Scholarly Concentration in Community Health solely or in conjunction with an application (e.g., Women's Health, Immunology, Global Health, Prevention Research), are required to complete a total of 12 units. If you are pursuing an application, the 6 units of elective course will be taken in the application area.

1. PEDS 250: The Social and Environmental Determinants of Health (3 units)

2. AND one of the following methods courses:

  • MED 247: Methods in Community Assessment, Evaluation and Research (3 units)
  • PEDS 202C: Qualitative Research Methods and Study Design (3 units)
  • PEDS 202A and 202B: Practical Applications for Qualitative Data Analysis (Aut, Win; 2 course series; 3 units each)
  • HRP 258: Introduction to Probability and Statistics for Clinical Research (3 units)
  • Other methods course: If a student believes another methods course is more applicable to their project, please discuss with the Foundation Director prior to taking the course and include justification for why this course is needed to conduct the scholarly project.


3. AND a selection of elective courses (6 units):

  • Community Health Option: For students interested in completing all 12 units in Community Health, the 6 elective units can be selected based upon specific interests and preferences.
  • Application Option: For students interested in pursuing an application, the 6 elective units will be determined by the application director (i.e. Immunology, International Health).
  • Note: Students also may chose to build on their course work in the pursuit of a Master’s degree in Public Health, as a joint degree program between Stanford and the University of California, Berkeley. Any course taken in pursuit of a joint degree will count toward the 6 elective units.

Required Course Options

  • PEDS 250: Social and Environmental Determinants of Health (3 units) How race/ethnicity and SES contribute to health disparities, how vulnerable populations are uniquely at health risk, and how the built environment relates to health and wellness. Topics include: gender, age, race/ethnicity, language, education, individual SES and neighborhood SES as related to health; individual and structural race bias; health needs of vulnerable populations (e.g., the homeless, the incarcerated, immigrant populations, children, and uninsured/underinsured); and environmental forces (e.g., urban design/planning, traffic/car culture, green space, housing, food access/culture, law enforcement, and media).
  • PEDS 202C: Qualitative Research Methods and Study Design (2-3 units)Introduction to qualitative research methods and study design. Students gain practical experience designing a qualitative study. Explore qualitative methods through class lectures, foundational readings and hands-on learning. Core topics include: theoretical frameworks, research questions, methodological approaches (e.g., interviews, focus groups, participant observation, photovoice), data collection, sampling, reliability and validity, and IRB protocols. This course is designed for students needing support to plan and design an independent research project (e.g., Med Scholars, Honors Thesis). Prerequisite: Consent from instructor for undergraduates.
  • PEDS 202A and 202B: Practical Applications for Qualitative Data Analysis (Aut, Win; 2 course series; 3 units each) Gain experience analyzing qualitative data using qualitative analysis software (i.e. Nvivo, Dedoose). Conduct analysis using your own or existing data sources. Explore multiple qualitative data analysis topics through class lectures, foundational readings and hands-on learning. Core topics include: grounded theory, qualitative data analysis approaches, software-based analysis, cleaning and coding of data, and interpreting data. Final course product will be a draft manuscript for submission with students listed as co-authors. Core topics include: identifying themes and representative quotes, community-engaged dissemination, abstract submission, posters, oral presentations, manuscript writing, and journal selection.
  • MED 247: Methods in Community Assessment, Evaluation, and Research (3 units) Students will learn pragmatic skills necessary for the design, implementation, and analysis of structured interviews, focus groups, survey questionnaires, and field observations. Based on in-class exercises, students will identify strengths and limitations of different study designs; construct interview and focus group questions; moderate focus groups; content analyze qualitative data using qualitative software; design questionnaire surveys, and correctly interpret commonly used statistical analyses. Open to medical students, graduate students, and undergraduates.
  • HRP 258: Introduction to Probability and Statistics for Clinical Research (3 units) Fundamentals of probability and statistics for clinical researchers. Equips students with the tools to understand and critically evaluate the medical literature. Topics to include: random variables, expectation, variance, probability distributions, the Central Limit Theorem, sampling theory, hypothesis testing, confidence intervals, correlation, regression, analysis of variance, and survival analysis.

    Electives Course Options

    Course options include, but are not limited to:
  • BIOE 375: Biodesign and Entrepreneurship for Societal Health (MED 236)
    (Win; 3 units) Addressing the systemic (Behavioral, Social, Environmental, Structural) drivers of health is a new frontier of entrepreneurship to improve global and public health at scale. In this hybrid seminar-based and experiential course, you will learn about challenges and opportunities for innovating in these areas. You will also design solutions and ventures aimed at tackling specific societal health problems. Our instructors and speakers are inspiring innovators and leaders in the fields of entrepreneurship and health. Cardinal Course certified by the Haas Center.
  • EMED 134: The Impact of Climate Change on Human Health (EMED 234) (Win; 1 unit) Climate change is one of the most pressing issues facing all subsequent generations of patients and physicians. This nweekly lunch seminar aims to introduce medical trainees to a variety of climate change topics and advanced clinical nskills specific to climate change. Course content will cover climate and disease, sustainable medicine, and advocacy. The course will feature speakers who are leaders in this emerging domain and patient perspectives of climate change. Each class session is designed to be interactive, with a mix of didactic lecture and small group discussion. Optional study materials will supplement each weekly topic for further study. Lunch provided for enrolled students.

    EDUC 193P: Peer Counseling at the Bridge (Aut, Win, Spr: 1 unit) Mental health issues such as relationships, substance abuse, sexual assault, depression, eating disorders, academic stressors, suicide, and grief and bereavement. Guest speakers.
  • EMED 225: The ED as a Safety Net (Aut: 1 unit) As the sole source of medical care and social services available 24/7 to all patients regardless of insurance status, ability to pay or even complaint, Emergency Departments (ED) are safety nets for local communities. EDs serve as a window into society and offer opportunities for intervention. The field of Social Emergency Medicine uses this unique position to investigate societal patterns of health inequity and develop solutions to decrease health disparities for vulnerable populations. This dinner seminar will explore psychosocial, economic, and medical factors that contribute to human health from the perspective of ED providers. Each session will cover a different topic of societal emergency medicine such as opioid use, human trafficking, firearms, and homelessness. Possible interventions will also be discussed including buprenorphine, screening, and identification tools, medical-legal partnerships, and legislative advocacy.
  • FAMMED 216: Caring for Individuals with Disabilities (Win; 1 unit) Over 57 million individuals in the US (20%) have a disability and face significant healthcare disparities, stigmas, and difficulty accessing care. This interactive seminar course has been designed to better prepare MD and PA students to care for individuals with disabilities throughout their careers. Throughout the course, individuals with disabilities, caregivers and physicians will discuss a variety of topics including: disability framework, medical model vs. social model of disability, healthcare disparities, language and disability, communication, ethics, government and non-governmental services, laws and policies, and coordinating complex care. Students will be matched with a patient partner whom they meet outside of class at a mutually convenient time to learn about the patient and caregiver journey, and to further explore the impact of topics discussed in the course at the individual level. Upon finishing this course, students will have a fundamental knowledge of common disabilities, understand patient-centered care for people with disabilities, and foster skills necessary to improve the lives of their patients. Course open to MD and PA students only.
    FAMMED 244: Ethnicity and Medicine (Spr; 1-3 units) Weekly lecture series. Examines the linguistic, social class, and cultural factors that impact patient care. Presentations promote culturally sensitive health care services and review contemporary research issues involving minority and underserved populations. Topics include health care inequities and medical practices of African Americans, Asians, Latinos, Native Americans, immigrants, and refugees in both urban and rural settings. 1 unit requires weekly lecture attendance, completion of required readings, completion of response questions; 2 units requires weekly lecture attendance and discussion session, completion of required readings and weekly response questions; additional requirement for 3 units (HUMBIO only) is completion of a significant term paper Only students taking the course for 3 units may request a letter grade. Enrollment limited to students with sophomore academic standing or above.This course must be taken for a minimum of 3 units to be eligible for Ways credit.
  • FAMMED 280: Student Community Out Reach and Physician Support (S-CORPS) In a time of crisis and social isolation, reassuring an anxious, panicked patient is just as crucial impact to our healthcare system as titrating ventilator settings on a critically ill ICU patient. This course empowers smart, capable and eager medical students who are limited in their scope to participate in a hands-on, team-based virtual outreach under the guidance of an attending physician. You will obtain skills of implementing an interprofessional practice innovation while providing a community-based longitudinal experience with the goal of reducing anxiety and improving the overall well-being of patients, while avoiding highly impacted traditional healthcare venues. Enrollment is limited to medical students.
  • HRP 272 (CHPR 227): The Science of Community Engagement in Health Research (Win; 3 units) The Science of Community Engagement in Health Research course will focus on how the science of community engagement can be applied to diverse health-related research topics across the translational spectrum with the ultimate goal of high quality research that transforms human health and addresses health disparities. The course will provide historical context, theoretical frameworks, foundational skills in diverse community engagement methodologies, and tools for examining the effectiveness of various engagement strategies aimed. Specifically, the course will cover: 1) Historical context for community engagement in health-related research; 2) Evolution of community engagement as a science; 3) Theoretical frameworks for various community engagement approaches; 4) Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR); 5) Community engagement strategies for different stages of translational research; and 6) Evaluation of various engagement strategies; and 7) Ethics of community engagement.
  • INDE 240: Humanistic Medicine: Engaging Difference by Design (Spr: 1 unit)
    In the changing healthcare landscape, maintaining a human connection with patients is more essential than ever. Humanistic medicine is defined by its focus on building a patient-provider relationship grounded in compassion and empathy. It¿s medicine practiced with sensitivity to diverse cultural backgrounds, values, and preferences. How do our own unique identities as healthcare practitioners intersect with those of our patients? Our colleagues? This course incorporates experiential activities with active discussion to explore the complex ways that identities intersect in medicine, starting with our own. 
    • INDE 215: Queer Health and Medicine (Spr; 1 unit) Explores specific, pertinent, and timely issues impacting the health of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community; examines the role of the primary care physician in addressing the health care needs of this community. Guest lecturers provide a gender-sensitive approach to the medical care of the LGBT patient, breaking down homophobic barriers and reaffirming patient diversity. May be repeated for credit.
  • LAW 808D/SUSTAIN 329: Policy Pracitcum: Smoke: Wildfire Science and Policy Lab (Aut, Win, Spr; 3 units) In this course, students will learn the basics of the wildfire policy debate in the west with a focus on California. Lectures will focus on both scientific and legal aspects of the challenge. In addition, students will work in groups on legal and regulatory analysis aimed at supporting better decision making on wildfire at the state and federal level.
  • MED 208: Health Systems Science: Measuring What Matters For Change
    (Win, Spr; 1 unit) Physicians can and should be leaders in changing our health care systems for the better. To make our institutions more equitable, more efficient, and serve patients with the best of medical knowledge, we must use the same effective scientific methods to guide our work as we do in other fields of inquiry. That is health systems science. In this course students will learn the basics of methods needed for studying health systems: health services research and economics, implementation/ delivery science, quality improvement. Students will learn to distinguish key categories of outcomes: clinical (e.g. mortality) health services (e.g. access, quality, cost, provider wellness) and implementation: (e.g. acceptability, adoption, appropriateness, fidelity, reach).
  • MED 219: Housing Equity & Intro to Community-led Case Management (Spr; 1-2 units)
    This course will provide students with foundational skills in basic on-site case management, with a particular focus on benefits navigation. Through a combination of classroom instruction and service learning, students will develop an understanding of community-based social work services and their value in improving the lives of people experiencing homelessness and those experiencing material deprivation. The course will emphasize the importance of centering the lived experiences of this population, as well as strategies for connecting them with essential resources. The course will also seek to elucidate to students the barriers to housing and financial stability faced by low-income community members
  • MED 241: Clinical Skills for Patient Care in Free Clinics (Win, Spr; 1 unit) Enrollment in this course is by application only for advanced volunteers at the Cardinal Free Clinics. Focus is on preparing students to gain early clinical experience by teaching basic skills such as taking patient histories, working with interpreters, providing motivational interviewing, and presenting cases to medical students or physicians. Students learn through classroom lectures and practice sessions. Upon successful completion of a competency assessment, students are able to serve in a clinic role in the Cardinal Free Clinics. Prerequisite: Advanced standing as a volunteer at the Cardinal Free Clinics.
  • MED 243: Citizen Science Theory to Practice: Advancing Community-Driven Solutions for Health (Aut; 2 units) Harnessing and activating the insights of community members is essential to achieving health equity “from the bottom up.” Students will 1) learn and apply a novel data-driven, technology-enabled approach to improving community health through systematic documentation of lived experience and application of collective data to inform local change; 2) examine global project case studies targeting physical activity, food access, transportation, affordable housing, gender-based violence, and age-friendly environments; and 3) complete assessments of their local built environments using a Stanford-developed app and web platform, then use their data to develop and explore feasible strategies to improve community health.
  • MED 269: Health Equity Advancement and Leadership Through Community Engagement  (HEAL-CE) (Win; 2-3 units) Health Equity Advancement and Leadership Through Community Engagement (HEAL-CE) is a new course for first and second-year medical students with an interest in better understanding how to engage with communities as physicians to advance a health equity agenda. Through self-reflection, group discussions, and working through cases, students will develop practical skills to examine the drivers of health inequities and develop as physician advocates able to better address these inequities. This course has been uniquely co-developed by six current Stanford Medical School students, and will be facilitated by faculty, peer students, and experts in the areas of health equity and community engagement. Students wishing to commit to a service-learning project or working with a community partner have the option to take the class for 3 units.

  • MED 282: Early Clinical Experience at the Cardinal Free Clinics (MED 182) (Aut, Win, Spr, Sum; 1-2 units) The Cardinal Free Clinics, consisting of Arbor and Pacific Free Clinic, provide culturally appropriate, high quality transitional medical care for underserved patient populations in the Bay Area. Students volunteer in various clinic roles to offer services including health education, interpretation, referrals, and labs. In clinic students are guided in the practice of medical interviews, history-taking and physical examinations as appropriate, and work with attending physicians to arrive at a diagnosis and management plan. Visit for more information. For questions related to the course or volunteering, please email and/or pacific@
  • PEDS 219: Design for Child Health Equity: Redesigning Healthcare Delivery (Spr; 3 units) In this class, our aim is to imagine novel interventions that may reduce health disparities for discharged NICU babies with medical complexity (CMC). We will be focused on patients and families from low-income communities served by Stanford's General Pediatrics Division. This class will define and address Essential Disparities in child health, informed by national evidence and community needs assessments. We will engage hospitals, clinicians, families, social service experts, policy experts, technologists and YOU to imagine and redesign post-NICU care. Students will participate in a field trip to the hospital Neonatal ICU, and visit homes of discharged NICU families. Students will enjoy an expert panel day incorporating a parent advocate, policy and hospital experts. From this research, students will design products, services and systems firmly rooted in human-centered design methodology.
  • PEDS 220: Covid-19 Elective (Aut, Spr; 1 unit) The purpose of this course is to localize information surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic to stay informed and better advise our patients, families, friends, and broader community. We will focus on aspects of the virus including virology, pathogenesis, clinical presentation, and prognosis. We will also be looking at the epidemiology, diagnostic tools, current clinical research, and the societal and economic impacts of COVID-19. Students will engage in lectures from faculty in the School of Medicine.
  • PSYC 225: Mentorship and Clinical Engagement in Child/Adolescent and Adult Psychiatry (Aut, Win, Spr; 1 unit) A mentoring program designed to expose first and second-year medical students to the rewarding fields of child/adolescent and adult psychiatry, and to increase awareness and education about child/adolescent and adult mental health issues. The early years of medical training consist primarily of didactic instruction, an almost universal challenge for students who enter medicine desiring to help and interact with patients. To increase engagement with the field, we bring clinical psychiatry to preclinical students, by interacting with patients and families, as follows. During our weekly seminar time, we interview a patient and family one week, then offer a debriefing, Q&A session the following week. The seminar includes open discussion, addressing questions about specific interactions with the child/adolescent or adult, diagnoses, and therapies used for treatment. Responses to students¿ questions invariably address evidence-based approaches to assessment and treatment of specific disorders, such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, autism, and attentional disorders. We also facilitate opportunities for the students to get involved in cutting-edge scientific research, networking/collaborating (including with medical students and faculty around the world), and attending professional conferences. The course is offered during autumn, winter and spring quarters and is intended as a longitudinal seminar to be taken continuously across these quarters. Medical students who cannot attend three quarters may enroll with permission of the instructor. Non-medical students interested in the course should contact the instructor. 
  • PEDS 229: Reducing Health Disparities and Closing the Achievement Gap through Health Integration in Schools (EDUC 429, HUMBIO 122E) (Winter; 3 units) Health and education are inextricably linked. If kids aren't healthy, they won't realize their full potential in school. This is especially true for children living in poverty. This course proposes to: 1) examine the important relationship between children's health and their ability to learn in school as a way to reduce heath disparities; 2) discuss pioneering efforts to identify and address manageable health barriers to learning by integrating health and education in school environments.
  • SURG 234: Service Through Surgery: Surgeons with an Impact (Winter; 2 units) Surgeons with an Impact is a weekly lunch seminar course with guest lectures and facilitated workshops with the following objectives: 1) Participants will be able to understand the role of surgeons in addressing health inequities, social justice, and poverty, 2) Participants will be exposed to the potential of expert surgeons through lectures from diverse professionals, 3) Participants will reflect on how addressing inequities can align with their career goals in surgery. Health justice topics covered will include: surgery and global health, advocacy and trauma surgery, transplant justice, inequities in pediatric surgery, serving veterans through surgery, accessing surgical obstetrics and gynecology care, women in surgery, LGBTQ advocacy and surgery, and race and surgery; as well as diversity among surgeons themselves. Course open to MD and PA students only.