MD/Masters Program in Health Equity
REACH Scholars in Health Equity MD/Masters Program
The REACH Scholars in Health Equity Program is a 5 year MD/Masters program that is committed to developing a cohort of physician-leaders with the skills and resources to promote Social Justice and Health Equity.
The program will encompass the entirety of the student’s medical school education. The program will fully fund tuition and stipend to complete a one year masters program of the student’s choice. REACH Scholars in Health Equity programming will provide a foundation in theory; exposure to a wide range of content areas and methodologies; as well as the tools to translate scholarship into advocacy and action. The program will also provide community, mentorship, and networking opportunities.
We envision that the REACH Scholars in Health Equity will have a wide range of subject area interests and scholarly expertise focused by the common lens of Health Equity. We envision creating a vibrant community of Scholars who will continue to support each other throughout their careers. We will work in synergy with the other REACH initiatives to train a cohort of physicians with a commitment to promote social justice and health equity.
Applications will open on October 1, 2023 and close on January 4, 2024.
Students should apply via this website.
Five-year REACH Scholars in Health Equity MD/Master Program Timeline
2023 fall cohort: MD students matriculating in the fall of 2023 (SMSI) will be given precedent, however we may consider, on a case-by-case basis, 2nd or even 3rd year students committed to the REACH Scholar in Health Equity vision. We anticipate students entering in later years might not be able to complete the programming as laid out below and will work with chosen students individually to provide a solid foundation, community, and mentoring.
Training and career development program for all REACH Scholars in Health Equity
Health Equity Programming
Preclinical programming has the objectives of: fostering community, providing theoretical foundations, content and research method exposure, and experience in the area of social justice and health equity research.
- Students will participate in the REACH Scholar in Health Equity Research seminar series.
- Students will choose a scholarly concentration area from which to approach health equity and take the scholarly concentration introductory seminar and methods coursework.
- Students are highly encouraged to take the REACH Health Equity and Social Justice scholarly concentration application core course (Med269A).
- Students will complete a research project focused on Health Equity during the MS1 summer (anticipated funding from Medical Scholars program).
Advanced programming has the objectives of: fostering community, building lifelong networks and learning how to translate research into action e.g., leadership, communication and advocacy training.
Masters Program Choice and Application
Students will identify and apply to the masters program from which they wish to focus their health equity scholarship. All programs must be at Stanford, unless Stanford does not have the program of study e.g., Masters of Public Health. The masters program, will start after the preclinical years and passing STEP 1 exam. We anticipate students will enroll after the 2nd year of medical school, but we are open to enrollment after a year of clinical experience.
Masters Program Year
Masters course work and research hours are anticipated to take one full-time year and possibly a few additional months interspersed with the last year of clerkships. (Students in the past have often finished their masters thesis during the last clinical year, concurrent with away rotations and match applications). In order to obtain the masters degree, students must fulfill all requirements of the degree program in which they enroll. It is our intention that some of the REACH programming could fulfill masters programs required courses and electives so that students will not be subject to duplicative coursework. The masters program year would include REACH Research in Progress sessions as well as program activities as allowed by schedule.
Regarding the Program:
1) What is the REACH Scholars in Health Equity program?
A: The REACH Scholars in Health Equity MD/Masters program is a 5 year MD/Masters program that is committed to developing a community of physicians with a life-long commitment to use scholarship as a tool to promote social justice and health equity. The program will fully fund tuition and stipend to complete a one year masters program of the student’s choice.
REACH Scholars in Health Equity programming will provide a foundation in theory; exposure to a wide range of content areas and methodologies; as well as the tools to translate scholarship into advocacy and action. The program will also provide community, mentorship, and networking opportunities.
2) What does the REACH scholars in Health Equity MD/Masters program pay for?
A: The program will pay the entire tuition and stipend to obtain a one year masters degree. Additionally the program will support activities and events during the preclinical and clinical years.
3) Does this program provide a masters degree in Health Equity?
A: No. This program provides support for the student to pursue a masters degree in one of the many areas of study which will provide expertise/a tool kit to use to achieve health equity. (See above regarding possible masters degrees)
4) How does financing work if I am accepted to the program?
A: The program commits to paying a year of masters tuition and a living stipend for that year. We seek to fund the maximum number of students possible, so we ask you to apply for financial aid for the masters year and accept the aid you are allotted. The program will make up the difference between tuition + stipend and your financial aid. Please speak to the director if you have questions.
5) I am very interested in Social Justice and Health Equity but I am not sure if I am interested in committing to a masters program. Should I apply and what if I change my mind?
A: There are many ways to work to achieve Health Equity. If you are accepted into this program, you are a part of the cohort which has demonstrated and articulated an intent to use scholarship as a tool to approach Health Equity. However, also know that plans may change. Please inform the director about your plans as they evolve.
6) What if I want to go into a subspecialty e.g., cardiac surgery/ ENT. Can I still participate in this program?
A: Absolutely! We believe that everyone in health care has a responsibility to work towards Health Equity and the REACH Scholars experience will contribute to your qualifications to match in whatever specialty you are interested in. The program will work with you to gain the experience in the specialty in which you are interested. Please speak with the director if you have any specific questions.
7) If you do a masters degree, you are not required to do a scholarly concentration. Why do you require both?
A: This is a program to prepare interested Stanford Medical students to use scholarship to achieve health equity. The scholarly concentrations provide a structured program for in depth learning and scholarship and thus supplement the REACH scholar experience. This requirement is flexible during this first year of the program. If there is a problem with timing and course load (especially for students who are not MS1s), please speak with the REACH program director.
8) I am interested in “splitting.” Can I participate in the REACH Scholars program?
A: Splitting the curriculum will be very difficult to fulfill the course requirements for many of the masters programs. We do not recommend it. If you are splitting to do bench or clinical research please see “Regarding the REACH Scholars Masters Degree” Question 6, below.
Regarding the REACH Scholars Masters Degree:
Note that REACH Scholars in Health Equity are required to apply and be accepted to this program and to the chosen Masters Degree separately from applying to this program.
1) Can I do a masters degree outside of the Stanford School of Medicine?
A: We presently have the strongest infrastructure and relationship with masters program within the Stanford School of Medicine. However, this program will support a REACH Scholar’s study in any Stanford masters program with compelling rationale. The program director will work with the masters degree leadership to assure that the experience will be fulfilling and provide the training needed to conduct scholarship in health equity.
2) Can I complete a masters degree outside of Stanford?
A: The REACH scholars programs aims to build a community, thus all masters programs must be done at Stanford. An MPH at UC Berkeley is the only option outside of Stanford since Stanford does not offer an MPH.
3) What if the masters degree takes longer than a year?
A: It is our experience that students typically only want to take one year out of their studies. In the past, when students have had additional masters work to finish, they did so in the last clinical year of medical school. That being said, please speak with the faculty director if there are questions.
4) I just received another fellowship, am I still eligible for this program?
A: Congratulations! We seek to fund the maximum number of students possible, so if you have other funding /or fellowship options, you must use that funding. HOWEVER, please speak to the director regarding participation in other parts of the REACH Scholars in Health Equity program.
5) What if I want to do basic science or clinical research masters degree. Can I still participate in this program?
A: YES, Health Equity pertains to all areas of science and health. A “wet science lab” is fine, but you would use the Berg Scholars mechanism for funding. Please speak with the director if you have any specific questions.
6) Do I need to apply to the masters programs separately or am I automatically admitted into a masters program if I am accepted into the REACH Scholars in Health Equity Program?
A: YES! YOU NEED TO APPLY TO THE MASTERS PROGRAM SEPARATELY. You need to apply to the masters program separately, according to their application requirements and by the program’s deadlines. It is highly recommended that you discuss your interests and plans for application with both the REACH director and the director(s) of the Stanford masters programs of interest.
1) What are you looking for?
A: We are looking for students with a commitment to work towards social justice and health equity and with an intent to use scholarship as their superpower to achieve these goals. We seek students with a variety of interests and visions to achieve health equity. While students do not have to have in-depth experience, they must be able to articulate their interest and its connection to health equity. In this second class, we are looking for students who have a strong interest in co-creating the program with a tolerance for some ambiguity.
2) I am not an SMSI. Can I still apply?
A: Yes! While medical students matriculating in the fall of 2023 will be given precedent, we hope to benefit from, and be a resource to Stanford medical students their 2nd and 3rd year who are committed to this vision. even if already enrolled.
3) How many students will you accept?
A: We anticipate being able to fund at least 5 students a year for the masters program. This will vary according to the chosen masters program and existing financial aid.
4) I am interested! How do I apply?
A: Applications will open on October 1, 2023 and close on January 4, 2024. Students should apply via the REACH Scholars in Health Equity website (https://med.stanford.edu/reach/programs/md-ms.html). Note that if the student wishes to start a masters program in fall of 2024, the application for that program is likely due around the same time. Students must apply to and be accepted to the masters programs separately from this program.