Early Clinical Experiences

How to gain more exposure to early, authentic, clinical experiences from the first month of medical school

Walk With Me: A Patient Centered Exploration of Health and the Health Care System

This innovative elective course for first year medical students places patients front and center of the exploration of the patient’s perspective, and challenges of managing optimal health in a complex health care system. In a unique 3-part monthly workshop format, students will:

  1. Learn about national, state, and local perspectives from experts from Stanford and the community and explore the broad impact of the monthly topic on patient care and health
  2. Gain insight into the patient/family perspective, directly from a patient/families, with time to engage in discussion
  3. Engage in a workshop activity related to the impact of the monthly topic, and establish a framework for clinical exploration

Outside the monthly workshop session, students are matched with a patient/family partner for the duration of the course, and meet on a monthly basis at the medical center or other location that relates to learning about the patient’s journey, and explore together the impact of the monthly topic at the individual level.

Monthly Workshop Session Structure

Excite Talk


Objective: Students will hear a National, State, and/or Local perspective and the broad impact of the monthly topic area on patient care and health.

Patient Narrative


Objective:  Students will learn from a patient and/or their caregiver and family, how their journey to optimal health has been impacted, in relation to the monthly topic.

Skills Workshop


Objective:  Students will engage in a workshop activity related to the impact of the monthly topic, and establish a framework for clinical exploration.

Brief Q & A

Q: I am really excited about the opportunity for authentic interaction between patients and families early on in my training, but concerned about the time commitment. What is expected, and what is the difference between all of the options?

A: These courses have been developed with the consideration of the time constraints of first year medical students. Each has also been developed as a 1 unit course, to allow for students to take one or more, depending on their individual schedule.

Example time commitments:

  • INDE 290: The workshop is one evening a month, the first Monday, just after POM. The students and patients arrange their monthly meetings at a time that works with their schedules.  Quarters: Aut/Win/Spr


Q: I am unclear about the difference between INDE 290 and INDE 291, and whether I have to take both.

A: INDE 290 is the monthly workshop series. INDE 291 is a separate practicum where first year students are matched with a physician mentor, at a clinical site. Students may enroll in INDE 290 and not INDE 291, but not the other way around. Students are encouraged to take both, but this is not required. Students who continue from previous quarters will have priority enrollment in INDE 291.


Q: I understand that INDE 291 requires co-enrollment in INDE 290, but I just want a brief shadowing experience. Is that possible?

A: Currently brief shadowing experiences are arranged with individual physicians, with their approval and that of their department. This is still the individual path that you would follow if you are looking to arrange shadowing on your own.


Q: How does this relate to the Practice of Medicine (POM) course?

A: These elective experiences are meant to complement the content and objectives of POM. These courses are designed for students who want additional, authentic interactions with patients and members of our clinical community.