From Student to Physician

Doctoring in Years 1 and 2 at Alpert Medical School is a two-year, five-course required preclinical program designed to teach the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors of the competent, ethical, and humane physician. Doctoring combines instruction and assessment in both clinical skills and professional development.

In the Classroom

Physician (“MD”) faculty and Social and behavioral science (“SBS”) faculty co-teach small groups of students in the classroom setting.

 Physician specialties include family medicine, pediatrics, internal medicine, emergency medicine, and surgery. SBS faculty have a variety of different training and interests including nursing, social work, psychology, education, medical administration, and public health. Together with standardized patients in a simulated exam room setting, faculty teach students basic clinical skills, including medical interviewing, history taking, and physical diagnosis, while emphasizing professional conduct.

In the Field

Doctoring years 1 and 2 also uses more than 300 physician community mentors each year as mentors in the outpatient, inpatient, and emergency room setting. Over the course of 14 half-days each year, students observe doctor-patient interactions and practice their nascent clinical skills.


This early exposure to real patients and medical practice is excellent preparation for the immersion at practice sites during clinical rotations in the third and fourth year of medical school. Doctoring also gives students a context for the immense amount of science that students must master in your core academic courses, reinforcing the importance of viewing every patient as an individual, as a person with a family, and a member of a community. Mostly, Doctoring reminds students why they came to medical school in the first place—to help people get well and stay healthy.

“There are so many learning moments every mentor session. This experience has made me see the value of continuity of care and interacting with patients in the context of their families and communities." --First-year student

If you’re a physician, physician’s assistant, or nurse practioner who would like to be a community mentor, click here. If you’re already a community mentor, click here.