MED 493A (Pre-Health Experiential Learning)

Course Purpose

The purpose of the MED 493A (Pre-Health Experiential Learning) course is to prepare you for the next step in your education as a health care professional. Preparation includes a clinical shadowing experience, reflective learning, hands-on learning and special workshop and seminar topics.

In the clinical shadowing component you will be placed in a clinical setting where you will learn by observing. Working with the clinician(s) whom you shadow, you will learn about how clinicians diagnose and treat, clinical communication, professionalism, and the humanistic aspects of medicine. You may also discover if a particular specialty is (or is not) something you wish to investigate further. In this shadowing experience, you will encounter firsthand what patient-centered care looks like.

Based on these observations you will complete reflective writing assignments using the four unit topical lenses discussed in class: clinical learning, socio-cultural issues in medicine, and looking ahead: practical steps for the future. In your reflective writing you will consider the multi-faceted issues that emerge in patient care environments, including: how clinical expertise is developed and maintained, issues of health disparities and medical access, and cultural impacts on medicine. In particular, this class focuses on several aspects of clinical thinking and reasoning as well as the socio-economic disparities in healthcare and cultural barriers to health and healthcare.  Students who successfully complete all assignments earn 3 units of Superior/Pass/Fail credit.

Clinical shadowing takes places at various locations across Tucson, days and times subject to the mentors' and students' respective schedules.

Plan for at least one course that can be dropped or retained depending on the Pre-Health Experiential Learning (MED 493A) course admissions decision. Please ensure that you will not have any class schedule conflicts in the event of acceptance into the course. If accepted into the Pre-Health Experiential Learning (MED 493A) course, the course will be added to your schedule by the Office of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion through a manual registration process.

Classes are held Tuesdays from 3:00pm-5:00pm in the College of Medicine, room TBD.

Course Requirements

  • Classroon Component:  Weekly class meetings include speakers, presentations, and classroom discussions on assigned materials. Attendance is mandatory.
  • Clinical Component: Student will spend approximately 4 hours per week shadowing clinicians at health care facilities. Students will shadow the clinicians they are matched with for a minimum of 40 hours over the course of the semester. 

To Apply

This course is open only to The University of Arizona undergraduate students. This class is especially geared to meet the needs of students who are characterized by one or more of the following:

  • First in the family to graduate from a four-year college (parents or guardians)
  • From a rural or urban medically underserved community
  • Educationally or economically disadvantaged
  • Non-traditional students or military veteran
  • Member of a racial/ethnic group underrepresented in medicine
  • Member of a federally-recognized Native American tribe


For more information contact: Dr. Tiffany Sorrell at or call the Office of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion at (520) 621-5531.