Student-Led Clinical Opportunities

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, compassion and service are essential components of being a doctor. The Perelman School of Medicine students' commitment to community service demonstrates this belief. Their service provides support to communities that too often are left out of the health care system, while allowing students to learn valuable skills.

Please click on each title to expand and find out more details about the student-led community clinics at Perelman. For more information, please reach out to the IDEAL XP Coordinator, Ashley Banks (

The mission of the Center for Surgical Heath Center for Surgical Health is to create sustainable infrastructure through which all members of our community can access high-quality, cost-conscious surgical care, despite socioeconomic, political, racial, cultural or gender-based disparities. We have subspecialty clinics in General Surgery, Urology, Orthopedic Surgery, Plastics & Hand Surgery, Neurosurgery, ENT, and Women’s Health. Volunteers serve as Personal Patient Navigators (PPNs) that support, educate, and advocate for vulnerable Philadelphians with surgical disease. At clinic, PPNs assist surgical residents to intake patients and evaluate for surgical need. PPNs are then assigned individual patients to follow through the perioperative continuum. In this role, PPNs help acquire insurance coverage, schedule appointments, communicate with the surgical team, and more. Then, PPNs accompany their patients to appointments and ultimately surgery.

CHOP Family Connects works to provide emotional support and identify social need among families presenting to the CHOP ED and provide information about applicable community-based resources. During the pandemic, Family Connects reached out to families at ED visits both in-person and via phone call and offered assistance in connecting them to needed services.

The Homeless Health Initiative provides free health services to women and children living in local emergency housing shelters. As part of a clinical team, medical student volunteers assist with history and physical exams, and medical counseling of patients. Volunteers also interact with patients and their families to gain exposure to and knowledge of the impact of homelessness on children’s lives and health.

Covenant House provides a full range of services to meet the complex needs of homeless and runaway youth. Medical students conduct history and physical examinations, and engage with the youth in non-clinical activities, such as board games and karaoke.

The Student National Medical Association (SNMA) provides blood pressure screenings and information about the risks of hypertension, especially among Black males, every Saturday in a barber shop in the heart of West Philadelphia.


A branch of the United Community Clinic, Heart Health Bridge to Care Clinic provides long-term care to underinsured individuals in the Parkside section of Philadelphia. Medical students work with nursing, pharmacy, and social work students, as well as faculty to develop care plans for patients with heart disease.

Medical student volunteers work with Philly Restart to connect individuals experiencing homelessness with healthcare and social services.

PHRC is a student-run organization with a mission to provide no-cost psychiatric and physical evaluations of survivors of persecution seeking asylum in the United States.

Puentes de Salud works to ensure the wellness of the Latino immigrant population in South Philadelphia by offering medical care, education, and social services. Medical student volunteers contribute to clinical teams for patient care, and participate in the Diabetes Management Program, a longitudinal experience. There are also leadership opportunities for other non-clinical projects run by the organization.

Refugee Health Clinic provides health education and culturally competent healthcare to refugees who have resettled in Philadelphia. Medical students plan and provide patient education sessions on various health topics, as well as contribute to clinical care.

SNRT is a clinical social worker-supervised virtual interdisciplinary team of graduate-level health professionals (medicine, nursing, social work) who seek to address patient safety, distress, and a myriad of other unmet social needs in order to effectively mitigate their compounding negative effects on health. Students work in teams of 2-3 to intake and triage referrals to a Pennchart pool and phone line, screen referrals for social needs, safety and distress and appropriately refer for resources as well as support those referred to us in connecting to those resources.

United Community Clinic is a free health clinic coordinated by University of Pennsylvania students that provides care to mostly African American men and women between the ages of 16-65, often uninsured or underinsured. Medical students help by taking patient histories, performing physical exams, and presenting to resident and attending physicians.

The Unity Health Clinic is a free clinic that primarily serves uninsured Indonesian immigrants of Chinese descent. Medical student volunteers assist and shadow Penn faculty and residents. On clinic evenings, medical students are involved in medical scribing, taking patient histories, checking blood pressure, calculating BMI, retrieving medications, and more. Volunteers also give presentations to small groups of patients on basic topics in health and medicine.

The University City Hospitality Coalition provides services to the homeless in West Philadelphia, including hot meals, a medical clinic, a dental clinic, a legal clinic, and referral services for shelter, housing, food, and clothing. The medical clinic is staffed by Penn Medicine students, physicians, and pharmacists. Services provided by the medical clinic include: acute and emergent care; diabetes and hypertension screenings; podiatry consultations; dermatology consultations; flu shots; condom distribution; and referrals to social services.