Community Health Advocacy Fellowship

The Community Health Advocacy Fellowship aims to provide undergraduate students with concrete skills for working with and advocating for underserved populations. Through coursework and placements in community health clinics and social service organizations, Fellows will broaden and deepen their understanding of the social and economic determinants of health, how they impact underserved populations, and the various levels at which these challenges can – and should – be addressed.  Fellows engage in multi-level structured activities that center around supporting the mission of their placement organization:  direct service with clients; design and implementation of a capacity-building project at the partner site; engagement with relevant coalitions and networks; and legislative and policy advocacy.  Regular classroom meetings serve as a forum for teaching and training, discussion of class readings and placement experiences, and troubleshooting and support.


  • MED 157 (offered Spring quarter) or equivalent coursework. 
  • Spanish language proficiency is a requirement for most placements. 

Faculty Director

  • Gabriel Garcia, MD

Learning Objectives

Over the course of the year, Fellows will gain the knowledge and skills to:

  • Differentiate between the medical and public health models for addressing health challenges
  • Characterize the underserved populations in the Bay Area as well as the specific health, health care, and social challenges that they face
  • Analyze the upstream factors impacting the health of individual clients/patients and their families
  • Describe the key programs that fund health care for local poor and underserved populations
  • Articulate a position on the social role of health care providers in community settings
  • Identify and access key community resources to improve individual and community health
  • Research and synthesize peer-reviewed literature on a specific health/health care topic
  • Develop and implement a project to build capacity at a partnering clinic or social service agency
  • Fully comply with HIPAA standards regarding patient/client confidentiality
  • Fully comply with occupational safety standards regarding bloodborne pathogens
  • Describe the policy process and current legislation in California
  • Identify and track key legislation impacting local community clinics and social service agencies as well as the specific populations they serve
  • Track and interpret media coverage of health issues impacting local community clinics and their patient populations
  • Implement media advocacy strategies to advance a health policy goals

Fellowship Requirements

All Fellows must commit to:

  • Enrollment in a year-long course series (MED 257A/B/C) – 2 units per quarter, letter grade only
    • Full participation in weekly Monday evening (5:15-7:00pm) course meetings throughout the year
  • Enrollment in an additional Spring quarter course (MED258) – 2 units, letter grade only
    • Full participation in weekly Thursday evening (5:15-7:00pm) course meetings during spring
  • Regular shifts at one of the community partner sites throughout the year (weekly or bi-weekly depending on site; see below)
  • Design and implementation of a year-long project that meets a partner-identified need
  • Legislative and policy advocacy activities, including a lobby day in Sacramento (April 2015)
  • Presentation of Fellowship project at June 2015 Program Reception and Fall 2015 Community Health Symposium
  • Fulfillment of all other course requirements

Community Partner Sites

Arbor Free Clinic   

Please note: Fellows who select this site must have at least six months of prior experience at Arbor

795 Willow Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025 – carpools available (15-20 min drive)

Arbor was established in 1990 by Stanford medical students.  This student-run Sunday clinic provides free quality health care services to medically uninsured residents of San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Alameda counties. Current patient population: Hispanic and African-American adults and some children. Arbor also serves as an interactive, clinical learning environment for Stanford medical students and undergraduates.

Shifts: Sundays 9:45am – 3:00pm (requirement: 4+ shifts/quarter)

Day Worker Center of Mountain View

113 Escuela Avenue, Mountain View, CA 94040 – accessible by bus (10-15 min drive)

The Day Worker Center of Mountain View is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization serving the communities surrounding Mountain View, Los Altos, and Sunnyvale. The Center was established in 1996 by leaders from local businesses, churches, and the community to provide job-matching services for hundreds of local homeowners and businesses annually. The mission is to connect workers and employers in a safe and supportive environment; empower workers to improve their socio-economic condition through fair employment, education, and job skills training; and participate in advocacy efforts that support the day laborer community.

Shifts: Flexible; during week and on Saturday mornings (requirement: 4 hr shift/week)

MayView Community Health Center (2 sites)

  • 270 Grant Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94306 – accessible by Marguerite Shuttle
  • 900 Miramonte Ave., 2nd Floor, Mountain View, CA 94040 -- accessible by bus (15-20 min drive)

Provides high quality primary health care to people from all cultural and ethnic backgrounds regardless of their ability to pay; serving 4,000 patients with >14,775 services per year. Current patient population: Hispanic monolingual Spanish-speaking families.

Shifts vary by site. Evening shifts available at both locations; Saturday shifts available at the Mountain View site. (requirement: 4 hr shift/week)

Pacific Free Clinic

Please note:  Fellows who select this site must have at least 6 months of prior PFC experience

1835 Cunningham Avenue, San Jose, CA 95122 – carpools available (30-35 min drive)

PFC is a student-run clinic established in 2003 by Stanford medical students. The clinic provides high-quality screenings, preventive health, and referral services to the medical uninsured adults in the San Jose area. Like Arbor, PFC also serves as an interactive, clinical learning environment for Stanford medical students and undergraduates. Current patient population: Immigrant Vietnamese, Hispanic, and Chinese.

Shifts: Saturdays 9:45am – 3:00pm (requirement: 4+ shifts/quarter)

Puente de la Costa Sur

620 North Street Pescadero, CA 94060 – car required (45-50 minute drive)

Puente is an integral and active member of our rural San Mateo County South Coast community—a community that is healthy, inclusive, and sustainable, with diverse populations that accomplish their highest individual and community dreams.  As the region’s only Community Resource Center, Puente serves the San Mateo County South Coast communities of Pescadero, La Honda, Loma Mar, and San Gregorio. Puente both advocates for its communities and leverages resources that foster economic prosperity and security and promote individual and community health and wellness.

Shifts: varied; weekly or bi-weekly (requirement: 16 hours/month)

Samaritan House Free Clinic

114 5th Ave., Redwood City, CA 94063 accessible by bus (15-20 minute drive)

Established in 1974, Samaritan House is a non-profit health and human services agency that runs a Free Clinic for low income individuals in San Mateo County, CA. The current service population: Hispanic monolingual Spanish-speaking adults.

Shifts: M-F 9:00am-12:30pm, 2:00-5:00pm (requirement: 3-4 hr shift/week)

Stanford Health Advocacy & Research Program

Stanford Emergency Department

Stanford Health Advocacy & Research Program (SHARP) is an undergraduate volunteer program focusing on social emergency medicine.  Through direct patient contact and community engagement, students work to meet the social needs of emergency department (ED) patients such as hunger, housing, health care access, and substance abuse.  Current patient population is extremely diverse and includes monolingual Spanish, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Tagalog, and Russian speaking individuals.  We serve both adults and children.  Current on-going projects include screening ED patients for social and legal assistance needs and making appropriate community referrals; and facilitating Stanford Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention.

Shifts: Any day, any time, but must commit to 4-hour shift/week.  All SHARP students will be expected to enroll for 1 additional course credit in the fall. Students will spend their shift time in the first month primarily spent on didactics specific to emergency medicine and its intersection with population and public health.

Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula (BGCP)

401 Pierce Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025

The mission of BGCP is to help the at-risk youth of our community develop the academic and life skills needed to complete high school ready for college or a career. As the area's largest at-risk youth development organization, BGCP works with parents, corporate partners, and schools to serve 1,700 K-12 youth in East Palo Alto, Redwood City, and East Menlo Park. Among its many initiatives, a Health and Wellness Task Force (HWTF) was formed at BGCP to educate and provide support to youth, their families, and BGCP staff about healthy food and physical activity choices. Community Health Advocacy Fellows will have the opportunity to develop, implement, and evaluate initiatives related to the Health and Wellness Task Force.

Shifts: Weekly 4-hour shifts at Boys and Girls Club or other afterschool sites

Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties

750 Curtner Avenue, San Jose or 1051 Bing Street, San Carlos

Second Harvest is one of the largest food banks in the US, providing over a quarter million meals per month. After initial training, students will provide 1:1 and small-group nutrition education sessions at food distribution sites in Santa Clara or San Mateo Counties. Our clients speak many languages, including Spanish, Vietnamese, Tagalo, Mandarin and Russian (note: there is no additional language requirement for this placement). Capacity building projects can include community needs assessments, program evaluations, culturally appropriate translations, or others in response to student interests.

Shifts: weekdays, varied, 3-4 hours, weekly or bi-weekly

Apply for 2015-16 Fellowship

2015-2016 Program Description

2015-2016 Application

Have questions? Contact or