Underserved Pathway

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The Underserved Pathway (UP) is a curricular and experiential program that aims to address physician shortages in under-resourced communities. The Pathway supports medical students who are interested in caring for rural and urban under-resourced, marginalized, and historically-excluded populations. The Pathway engages students in three educational avenues: longitudinal mentoring, a foundation of knowledge, and a variety of real-world experiences.

Who are the underserved?  By underserved, we mean people who have difficulty accessing quality health care for a variety of reasons. They are often also vulnerable: they are at risk for poor health due to difficulty accessing the resources necessary for good health. Learn more in our web module. Please note: anyone can view the content of our modules, but certain videos and the assignments are restricted to enrolled students.

NOTE: We are dedicated to making our program and events accessible for all Underserved Pathway students. If you are a UP student with approved DRS captioning accommodations, please make sure that you have requested your accommodations for the pathway through the DRS office. If you have any other accessibility-related question or concern please email us at upath@uw.edu.

Prospective Students Current Students Mentors

Explore the UP

Underserved Pathway Benefits

  • Longitudinal guidance and support from an Underserved Pathway mentor
  • Unique curriculum to build a knowledge base about issues that affect under-resourced and vulnerable populations
  • Access to a dedicated Underserved Pathway advising team, including faculty physicians and a program manager
  • Opportunities to meet and collaborate with other students and physicians dedicated to caring for underserved populations
  • Ability to include participation in the Underserved Pathway in the Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE) for residency applications
  • Certificate of Completion given at graduation
  • Acknowledgment in the Hooding Ceremony program

Students can customize their pathway to meet their own educational goals and interests – some may focus on a specific population or community while other may explore broader issues surrounding the underserved, such as advocacy or policy.

The Underserved Pathway works closely with the other School of Medicine Pathways, such as the Black Health Justice Pathway, the Global Health Pathway, the Indian Health Pathway, the Latinx Health Pathway, and the LGBTQ Health Pathway. Many students are enrolled in more than one pathway. All courses and experiences from these pathways may be applied toward relevant Underserved Pathway requirements.

Quick Links:
Apply to join the Underserved Pathway

Access the web modules
Update your tracker

Are you a physician that works with underserved populations? Help support the next generation of doctors by becoming a Pathway mentor! Read more here.

Follow us on X @UWSOM_UP
The Underserved Pathway Team:

Samira Farah, MD

Associate Director
Genya Shimkin, MPH

Faculty Advisor
Robin Christian, MD

Program Manager
Alisse Cassell

Dr. Rahaf Baker, 2020 Underserved Pathway graduate, talks about why she joined the Pathway and how it helped her education and career goals related to caring for the underserved. This video was recorded while Rahaf was in her fourth year at UWSOM.

Dr. Rachel Safran is an Underserved Pathway graduate and now a mentor with the Pathway! An HIV specialist, Dr. Safran practices in Spokane, Washington. Find out why she found the Underserved Pathway valuable in her medical school journey.