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Information for Teachers - MedTeach

Recruiting for MedTeach starts in October. All SFUSD K-5 teachers are sent information inviting them to participate. Generally, two elementary school teachers from the same school are partnered with two to three first-year medical students. The team meets at a dinner orientation hosted by SEP in January where we describe the program’s expectations, share tips for a successful partnership, and provide time for teams to begin planning. Teachers and their medical student partners together plan and teach four lessons in each of the teacher’s classrooms. The lessons are taught during four visits by the volunteers to the school between January and April. The estimated time commitment for teaching and planning the lessons, including the dinner orientation, is 20 hours. SEP staff provide support, including feedback on lessons and help in finding lesson ideas and materials.


Your medical student partners will have a strong general science background with many of them having majored in science as undergraduates. In this, their first year of medical school, their curriculum focuses on the human body with courses including Major Organ Systems; Metabolism and Nutrition; and Brain, Mind, and Behavior. UCSF medical students are a diverse group with nearly one-third of the 2008 entering class being from an underrepresented minority group (10% Black, 10% Mexican American, 3% other Hispanic, 4% Pacific Islander and 1% American Indian students). The medical students’ average age was 24 with the range being from 22 to 34 years old. More than half (56%) of the entering class were women.

Teachers who participate in a MedTeach partnership are mentors to the medical students, providing guidance about whether lessons are age-appropriate and will meet the abilities of their students, how to engage their students and manage the classroom and materials, necessary safety precautions, and more. After a lesson, teachers can provide constructive feedback about what went well, what they would’ve done differently, why a student may have reacted in a certain way, etc.

From surveys of previous MedTeach participants, teachers report that through MedTeach, they have deepened their understanding of some scientific concepts (100%); that during MedTeach lessons, their students have the opportunity to talk about their own scientific ideas (100%), and that their students see the UCSF medical students as role models (91%) and all teachers agree that this program was a valuable experience and that they would recommend it to their colleagues. Medical students report that they learn to explain science and health concepts more simply (88%), acquire communication skills that will be useful when working with patients (75%), and deepen their appreciation of teachers and the work that they do (94%).

I’m interested – how do I sign up?

Applications for the 2017-18 classroom partnership programs will be available this October. Please check back then for application details.