Students - How can I connect with Patients & Families?

"I’ve begun to notice that there is great rapport being built between me and her by virtue of the longevity of our relationship – this has given me glimpses into the power of longitudinal relationships with patients and what impact it could have on perceived and actual trust."

- Walk with Me Student

You may be wondering, “how do I learn to be empathetic and understanding about something I have no firsthand knowledge about?” Some students arrive at Stanford with in-depth, personal experiences with the health and the health care system. For others, engagement with the system outside of an annual visit to their primary care provider has been infrequent, and the experience of being a patient or family member of someone with a chronic illness is even less familiar. Stanford offers the opportunity for students with both limited and broad experiences to connect with patients & families from the beginning of medical school, both in the required curriculum, more deeply through longitudinal experiences, and through lunchtime seminar series. Students enrolled in these elective courses gain further insight into what it means to be the person behind the diagnosis, how lives and entire families are impacted by illness, the importance of engaging patients and their families in their care, and how the health care system is indeed still learning. Insights gained in these early experiences will create seeds of understanding and empathy that will serve as the foundation for the development and retention of empathy through the clinical years and into practice. Check out the different Ways to Engage on this page.

Ways to Engage

Connecting to Faculty Mentorship and Research

Are you interested in connecting with faculty who are engaged in developing a curriculum that includes the patient & family perspective, in research in patient & family engaged medical education, or in patient-centered clinical quality improvement projects? Submit an inquiry using the Student Inquiry Form. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question? It may already be included in our list of Frequently Asked Questions. Read more.

Having the opportunity to shape a future doctor by just sharing my experiences and my life was a wonderfully gratifying experience beyond my expectations. I loved this program and felt so honored to be in it!
- Walk with Me Patient & Family Partner

Interested in learning more, or ready to engage with patients, families, caregivers, and faculty? Send an inquiry via this form.