Certificate Programs

Academic Surgery

The Academic Surgery certificate familiarizes medical students with basic surgical concepts, techniques and terminologies to augment learning in the operating room.


  • Mandatory 8 week pre-clerkship lessons in 2nd year
  • 6 hour pre-subinternship session on suturing and laparoscopy skills in 3rd year
  • 2 week bootcamp at the Simulation Center in 4th year
  • Accrual of points by attending symposiums, participating in Agnew Scholars Program, or presentation of research at qualifying local/regional/national scientific meetings
  • 1 page write-up after attending lectures/grand rounds/symposium 
  • Scholarly Pursuit with Dept. of Surgery mentor
  • Teach surgical curriculum to MS2 and MS3 students during 4th year

Contact and Certificate Leader


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Clinical Neuroscience Training (CNST)

This certificate program trains clinical neuroscience specialists who will eventually participate at the forefront of clinical and academic practice and research. The program combines curricular enrichment in the neurosciences, mentoring, special extracurricular activities and research opportunities within the four-year medical school structure. 


  • Attend 20 required CNST biweekly seminars during MS1–MS4. 
  • Complete a qualifying summer research project in a clinical neuroscience area between MS1–MS2. 
  • Present research findings at a qualifying local, regional or national scientific meeting. 
  • Complete two clinical neurosciences electives. 
  • Complete a clinical neurosciences-related Scholarly Pursuit project during MS3–MS4. 

Contact and Certificate Leaders 

Roy Hamilton, MD 

Daniel Wolf, MD, PhD

Website: http://www.med.upenn.edu/cnst 

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Community Health: Bridging the Gaps Clinical Scholar

The Bridging the Gaps (BTG) program links the provision of health-related service for vulnerable populations with the interprofessional training of health and social service professionals.


  • BTG Community Health Internship Program (BTG CHIP): Complete the seven-week summer internship offered once a year at one of approximately 100 community sites (information sessions begin in December). 
  • Bridging the Gaps Seminar Series: Attend six BTG seminars between years 1–4 of medical school (see link for schedule of topics). 
  • Clinical Program (one month): Complete a rotation at one of the BTG clinical sites (see link). 
    Complete a Scholarly Pursuit (three months) at one of the BTG clinical sites.  

Contact and Certificate Leaders

Lucy Wolf Tuton, PhD 

Ellen Martinak, MS  

Website: http://www.med.upenn.edu/btg/BTG_Scholars.htm 

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Community Health: IMPaCT Program

The IMPaCT certificate provides an understanding of the challenges faced by low-SES patients in maintaining health and obtaining health care. The certificate helps students develop cross-cultural communication and negotiation skills, acquire knowledge of health care resources and services available to low-SES patients, and learn to advocate in the health care setting for patients to obtain care and services. 


  • Complete the Bridging the Gaps Community Health Internship Program (BTG CHIP).
  • Complete the Bridging the Gaps Seminar Series.
  • Complete the IMPaCT Teaching Service
  • Complete a Scholarly Pursuit related to the social determinants of health and reducing health disparities. 

Contact and Certificate Leaders  

Horace DeLisser, MD 

Shreya Kangovi 

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Global Health

This certificate program provides students with an in-depth exploration of global health issues through international experiences, coursework and research.  


Students must complete two field experiences lasting a minimum of four weeks each (but preferably six to eight weeks), usually between years MS1–MS2 and during MS3–MS4. (See Bridging the Gaps for an alternative). To have these field experiences qualify, students must:  

  • Complete  PUBH519 - Issues in Global Health  (ANCHOR LINK to PUBH519 on that page) offered by the Master of Public Health program in the Perelman School of Medicine, 1 credit unit, fall semester.  
  • Complete a Scholarly Pursuit (link to our Scholarly Pursuit), or equivalent, that has global health relevance. 

Contact and Certificate Leader 

Megan Doherty, MPH 

Website: http://www.med.upenn.edu/globalhealth/penn-med-students.html 

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Health Care Management, Entrepreneurship & Technology (H-MET)

The H-MET certificate program helps enable future health professionals to impact an evolving health care system by pursuing interdisciplinary education in health care innovation. H-MET facilitates skill development and project experience. H-MET promotes mentorship and joint ventures among students, faculty, alumni and the health care industry.  


  • Attend at a minimum of 12 H-MET seminars between the first year and mid-December of the fourth year of medical school. 
  • Complete two courses: one from the Health Care Management Department at Wharton or other departments within the University of Pennsylvania; one content-appropriate Frontiers in Medical Science course. 
  • Complete two of the following: 
    • Scholarly Pursuit project in an H-MET topic.  
    • A research project in an H-MET topic within the University of Pennsylvania and its hospital system during a Year Out (link to Year Out). 
    • An approved project-based course within the University of Pennsylvania. 
    • An internship in an H-MET-related industry. 
    • An administrative experience in which the student is paired with a faculty member or physician who carries out an H-MET-related role in the University or hospital system and the student is required to assist him or her in a project. 

Contact and Certificate Leaders 

David Asch, MD 

Nalaka Goonerante, MD 

Shivan Mehta, MD 

Website: http://pennhealthx.com/ 

The Certificate in Health Care Management, Entrepreneurship & Technology is administered by the School of Medicine in conjunction with the medical-student-run Penn HealthX group. Please contact pennhealthx@gmail.com with any questions. 

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This program gives medical students opportunities to immerse themselves in legal issues related to their areas of academic interest in order to gain a better understanding of legal approaches and perspectives and to engage in legal research.


Complete four courses, achieving a grade of B- or above, in the general area of law and related issues:  

  • LAW511 must be taken in addition to two other courses at Penn Law. 

  • One additional course may be taken at Penn Law or may be approved from related coursework (e.g., a law-focused Scholarly Pursuit). 

Website: https://www.law.upenn.edu/registrar/certificate-in-law.php 

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Medical Education

This certificate prepares upper-level students to become leaders in medical education: 

  • Through training in the science of medical education, theoretical frameworks and principles 
  • By developing skills in scholarship via medical education research or curriculum development 
  • By developing effective teaching skills  
  • Through mentoring by faculty with experience in medical education leadership or scholarship  


Didactic components: 

  • Frontiers in Medical Education (two weeks), which includes didactics, interactive skill-building exercises and a capstone project 
  • Perelman School of Medicine Medical Education Journal Club (participating in 60% of sessions), including one presentation during the certificate program 
  • Monthly medical education certificate seminar meetings 

Practical components: 

  • Teaching Assistant  (i.e., Anatomy/MDTI/ICM/Student Reports) with structured peer/ faculty feedback on teaching using behavioral checklists/reflection exercises 
  • Observing master teachers using behavioral checklists/reflection exercises 
  • Didactic teaching (4 hours)  
  • Clinical teaching (4 hours) 
  • Medical education leadership: opportunities include course representatives and curriculum committees 

Mentoring components: 

  • Mentoring by faculty medical educator with monthly meetings  
  • Field trips to NBME, ECFMG, ABIM, ACP 

Scholarship components:  

  • Curriculum development opportunities or medical education research project 
  • Final capstone presentation to group 

Contact and Certificate Leader 

Jennifer Kogan, MD 

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Public Health in Medicine

This program provides transcript-level recognition for students who complete public-health-related scholarly activities. 


Public Health Coursework – (pass/fail grading acceptable): 

  • One public health course (1 course unit) with a PUBH prefix* 
  • One additional public health course unit satisfying one of the following criteria: 
    • PUBH prefix* 
    • Non-PUBH course at Penn that is pre-approved by the MPH Curriculum Committee as a public-health-related elective for MPH students: FRO502, FRO503, FRO511, FRO517, FRO520, FRO522, FRO528 or ITD355 
    • Other courses may be considered on a case-by-case basis 

Public Health Immersion Experience (one of the following): 

  • Bridging the Gaps: Must be at a site relevant to public health, as determined by the MD-MPH Advisory Committee† 
  • Student leader at one of the student-led community clinics  
  • A global health immersion experience (students should confirm eligibility in advance to ensure that their planned summer experience is appropriate)* 
  • Other experiences may be considered by the MD-MPH Advisory Committee on a case-by-case basis. 

* Due to overlap with medical school course MOD 320 Health Care Systems, PUBH 505 Health Administration and Policy is ineligible and should not be taken by medical students to satisfy requirements of this certificate. 
†Registration is via the PSOM Registrar. A performance evaluation documenting completion of activity will be needed. 

Scholarly Pursuit 

Students must complete a Scholarly Pursuit (link on our site) project that is public-health focused, as determined by the chair of the MD-MPH Advisory Committee or an assigned proxy. Students should consult with the MPH Program Office prior to project selection. Students register via the standard MD process, which includes approval from the Associate Dean for Curriculum. 

Contact and Certificate Leaders

Hillary C.M. Nelson, PhD, MPH


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Spirituality and Health

This program enables students to describe the importance of incorporating spiritual care into a health care system; to integrate patients’ spiritual issues and resources into ongoing treatment and plans for care; to demonstrate the ability to engage and remain fully present with a patient; to practice curious inquiry—a nonjudgmental practice of exploration without goals or expectations; and to identify the role spirituality plays in one’s professional life.


  • Six-week summer internship program (a stipend is provided and applications are due March 1 of each year) 
  • Non-credit training experience 
    • Healer's Arts parts I & II (years 1 and 4) 
  • Observational experiences 
    • Chaplain shadowing (year 1) 
    • Grief rounds in the MICU (year 4) 
    • Observation of clergy doing social engagement in the community 
  • Didactic experiences  
    • Attend a minimum of four of the annual Sparkman Lectures in Spirituality, Religion and Medicine and/or monthly Spirituality, Religion and Health Interest Group Lectures 
    • Frontiers in Palliative Care (year 4) 
  • Clinical/patient rotations (years 3 and 4), choose one: 
    • Palliative Medicine 
    • Geriatric Medicine 
    • IMPaCT 
  • An experience in counseling, advising or mentoring:  
    • A medical school experience, such as facilitating in the Doctoring 1A course or serving as a coordinator for PDI’s Summer Mentor Program for Philadelphia High School 
    • An experience around some aspect of clinical care  
    • An experience engaging people in crisis (e.g., domestic violence, suicide risk, etc.) 
  • Scholarly Pursuit in Spirituality and Health (year 4) 

Contact and Certificate Leader 

Horace DeLisser, MD 

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