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Medical Student Program

UCSF/Kaiser Permanente Undergraduate Research Internship (URI)

URI Program Update 2014

The past year has seen a lot of success by URI interns. We now have 13 URI grads in health professional schools and are so proud of them, with 8 applying to medical school this year. URI mentoring continues on beyond the URI summer program and into medical school, as some of our URI grads come back to us the summer after their first year in medical school to do another research project at UCSF. We also have several URI grads working at UCSF and Stanford in clinical research during their gap years before applying to medical school.

UCSF Undergraduate Research Internships
Vickie Garica, URI 3, receiving a Pendleton blanket on graduation from UC Berkeley

“One of the things I realized while I was in URI was how valuable my perspective is because an indigenous voice isn’t usually heard in a medical setting. To have the experience of coming from a reservation in rural Covelo, California where lack of access forces people to travel 45 miles to a hospital, to being a UCB undergrad at the URI internship, I recognized how important it was for me to be there … URI opened so many doors and is one of the major stepping stones on my path to become a physician.”
- Vickie Garica, URI 3

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Program Background

In 2008, Patricia Robertson, MD (Professor and Endowed Chair for Obstetric and Gynecologic Education in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences at UCSF), and Juan Guerra, MD (member of the Ob-Gyn UCSF Volunteer Clinical Faculty on staff at Kaiser Oakland and former Site Director for third year UCSF medical students there) decided to combine their efforts to increase the diversity of medical students interested in women's health by establishing the Women's Health Undergraduate Research Internship (WHURI) at UCSF. At the UC undergraduate level, a "leak in the pipeline" of ethnic minority students (associated with the large science classes) has been documented, which then decreases diversity in medical schools, residencies and ultimately faculty. This WHURI program is for University of California at Berkeley (UCB) undergraduate pre-med students interested in women's health.

Juan Guerra, MD, Patty Robertson, MD, Directors of UCSF-Kaiser Undergraduate Research Internship
URI Directors Juan Guerra, MD and Patty Robertson, MD

The program started with 10 interns in women's health for the summer of 2009. In 2010, the program expanded to 15 interns to also include pediatrics (PURI) and internal medicine (MURI). The goal of the overall program (URI) is to inspire diverse students interested in women's health, pediatrics and internal medicine with clinical shadowing at UCSF and Kaiser Oakland, didactics, and a meaningful research project. Student stipends ($2,500 each) and supplies are provided by funds from Dr. Robertson's Endowed Chair (funded by the Academy of Medical Educators and her department), Northern Kaiser Permanente, and philanthropy. The Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at UCSF provides in-kind administrative support.