Excellence in Clinical Training

The Discovery Curriculum provides excellent clinical training through the following courses and programs. Stanford students are trained to provide compassionate patient-centered care, using best practices in the biomedical, clinical, epidemiological, and social-behavioral sciences.

  • Practice of Medicine
  • In the first two years of medical school, the Practice of Medicine (POM) course series provides broad clinical science education with early exposure to patient care and the practice of medicine. POM employs a variety of instructional methods, including clinical problem-based cases and standardized patients, to equip students with the critical thinking and communication skills essential to providing compassionate, expert care. Please visit our required pre-clerkship curriculum page to learn more about the POM series.
  • Educators-4-CARE
  • The Educators-4-CARE (E4C) program enhances the development of students as skilled and compassionate physicians by providing a formal curriculum that cultivates compassion, advocacy, responsibility, and empathy. Each incoming medical student is matched with an E4C faculty who serves as a clinical teacher and mentor for the entirety of their time at the School of Medicine. Please visit the E4C website to learn more.
  • Early Clinical Engagement
  • Early Clinical Engagement (ECE) is an innovative course for first year medical students to participate in clinical experiences that inform their vision as future physicians. Course goals include integration into the clinical setting with preceptors, development of concrete skills, and introduction to different career paths. ECE includes three components: (1) clinical experiences, (2) interactive large group seminars, and (3) small group sessions for reflection of clinical sessions.
  • Flexible Clinical Training
  • After pre-clerkship, students continue their clinical training and career exploration through clerkships. The structure of clinical training is flexible, allowing considerable customization of the order in which core clerkships are completed and offering a wide variety of selective/elective clerkships. Students receive outstanding patient care training offered at Stanford hospital and affiliated sites. Please visit our required clerkship curriculum page to learn about clerkships.
  • Stanford Healthcare Innovations and Experiential Learning Directive
  • The Stanford Healthcare Innovations and Experiential Learning Directive (SHIELD) program offers innovative elective courses and creates opportunities for longitudinal and cumulative clinical experiences. Students enrolled in a SHIELD course engage in patient-facing activities at their assigned clinical sites for one half day per week and ideally remain in the program for the entirety of medical school. Please visit the SHIELD website to learn more.
  • Cardinal Free Clinics
  • Stanford's Cardinal Free Clinics provide opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience and early patient exposure. Through volunteering for the Arbor Free Clinic and the Pacific Free Clinic, students learn basic clinical skills and how to work closely with diverse and underserved patient populations. Please visit the Cardinal Free Clinics website to learn more.