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About the Program

Description and Objectives

UC San Diego-San Diego State University General Preventive Medicine Residency Program is a fully accredited (ACGME) residency, co-sponsored by UC San Diego and San Diego State University School of Public Health. Residents of the program are both UC San Diego housestaff and San Diego State University graduate students throughout their residency experience.

Preventive Medicine is a specialized field of medical practice composed of distinct disciplines; public health and preventive medicine (GFM), aerospace medicine (AM), and occupational medicine (OM), which utilize skills focusing on defined populat

General Preventive Medicine is the sub-specialty of Preventive Medicine emphasized in our program. The residency has been fully accredited by the American College of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) since its inception. We offer training in two of the three “years” required for board eligibility. The didactic and exponential rotations year are obtained concurrently. Therefore, applicants must have completed by time of entry at least one full-year of acceptable clinical training ( PGY1 internship) and Step III of the USMLE. It is important to note that a Masters of Public Health or the equivalent is required for board certification in this specialty.

Rotations at UC San Diego and in the community provide training on competencies to deal with clinical preventive medicine and population-level problems such as health care for indigent, bioterrorism prevention and response, communicable disease control, and health care delivery. Clinical and population-based training takes place mainly in the community, at community health centers, public health departments, and community research facilities. Residents concurrently obtain a master's in public health degree at San Diego State University during their training; the MPH degree or its equivalent is required for board certification in this specialty.

Joint sponsorship of this program results in a training environment with access to both academic and clinical medicine through UC San Diego School of Medicine, and academic public health resources through San Diego State University School of Public Health. Residents are San Diego State University graduate students throughout their residency, and as UC San Diego housestaff, they benefit appropriately from UC San Diego's high quality systems for graduate medical education.

Curriculum- Didactics

The program is accredited by the ACGME to train five PGY-2 residents and five PGY-3 residents.  All residents spend 24 months in the program, and didactic and practicum rotations are done concurrently.

The didactic component includes: coursework towards the Masters in Public Health (MPH); weekly seminars; weekly journal club; board preparation sessions; grand rounds; local seminars in our department and others; and local and national conferences.  The program requires completion of the MPH with concentration in:  a) epidemiology, b) health promotion, c) environmental health, or d) health services administration.

The weekly didactics include clinical preventive medicine, occupational medicine, community health, research design, health economics, health policy, health law, and other core subjects.  Weekly journal clubs enhance these didactic sessions, and residents are encouraged to choose topics useful for board preparation.  Additional didactics are offered at both San Diego State University and UC San Diego, including CME at San Diego State University Student Health Services, and epidemiology and toxicology grand rounds, and clinical grand rounds in each residency specialty, at UC San Diego. 

Residents attend regional and national meetings such as the ACPM Preventive Medicine annual conference, the San Diego Epidemiology Exchange, the CDC Chronic Disease Conference, and others pertinent to their interests.  

Curriculum-Practicum Rotations

The practicum rotations train all the residents in the following three areas:

  1. Clinical Preventive Medicine:   The foundation of the clinical preventive medicine training is underserved medicine and lifestyle medicine. The underserved rotations take place at clinical sites serving underserved populations, immigrants, and asylum seekers.  They include Federal 330 HRSA-funded community health centers (CHCs), an asylum seeker screening clinic, and a rural health center. One of our aims is to develop the skills of residents to work in medically-underserved settings in order to help address the maldistribution of physicians in the U.S.  The lifestyle medicine clinical training is described in detail in that tab. Other clinical sites enhance the specific training needs of residents in each track and take advantage of the vast opportunities at UC San Diego Health, the clinical services at the public health department, and other clinical partners.

  2. Population-Based Medicine:  All residents rotate in the San Diego County Public Health Department.  This experience supports core competencies in public health, with residents gaining knowledge and experience of the full range of services provided in public health settings. This experience includes a one-week introduction to all public health services, followed by resident-specific rotations in units addressing communicable disease, STDs, TB, border health and refugee services, and others. Other population-based rotations include activities such as surveillance, population-based interventions, outbreak investigation, contact investigation, grant proposal writing, needs assessment, program planning, community interventions and quality improvement.

  3. Research:  All residents engage in research that culminates in writing a manuscript of publishable quality in a peer-reviewed journal. This activity assists in the development of core preventive medicine competencies such as written and oral communication skills, computer skills, epidemiological and biostatistical skills required for data analysis, management of research resources, and, if appropriate, supervision of research assistants. The final product may meet the requirements of the Masters in Public Health, or residents present an alternative research project to residency faculty and the residency advisory committee, where the manuscript is reviewed and critiqued by a committee of residency faculty.

Curriculum-Track Rotations

In addition to the required components above, the program recognizes the breadth of career opportunities in preventive medicine and the specific skills and competencies required for each career path. Therefore, we encourage residents to concentrate their practicum rotation efforts in one of the following seven tracks, each of which has specific learning objectives and enhances the skills of residents beyond the basic training described above.

  1. Community-Oriented Preventive Medicine (COPM): This track provides extensive training of residents in medically-underserved communities, including community health centers (CHCs), Indian Health Services, asylum seeker shelters, and public health agency centers. Skills are developed in a combination of quality assurance, health care administration, community outreach, needs assessment, and research; and residents are encouraged to maintain – and even strengthen – their skills in patient care. Dr. Linda Hill, who has worked in the CHCs since 1980, coordinates resident placement in this track. Residents are supervised by preceptors whose duties are specified in memoranda of understanding (MOUs) between the residency program and the host entity. Residents in this track often assume employment in these settings upon graduation, and our experience is that many graduates become CHC medical directors.

  2. Border and International Health: This track trains residents in health issues related to immigration, migration and refugee status, as well as in the public health and policy issues of border and international health care. Residents develop clinical skills in infectious and chronic disease, mental health, screening, family planning, and health promotion for these populations. Public health and policy training provides skills in outreach, surveillance, research, community needs assessments, epidemiology, and public outreach. Training sites include a refugee health clinic, public health clinics, international rotations, CHCs, international research experiences, travel clinics, and others.

  3. Public Health: This track emphasizes training in the local public health department. Because of the safety-net role the San Diego County Public Health Department plays in providing services to the underserved, this rotation helps us meet our goal of training physicians to support underserved populations. Clinical services are provided for tuberculosis and sexually transmitted diseases. Other areas of emphasis include community health promotion programs, border health programs, communicable diseases, and epidemiology. Track graduates are poised to assume roles in public health facilities. Our alumni are/were in local, state and federal public health positions, including the NIH, FDA, HRSA and CDC/EIS.

  4. Academic and Research-Related Preventive Medicine: This track focuses on developing and enhancing the research and evaluation skills of residents who are interested in full-time careers in academic preventive medicine or as researchers in private or public settings. In addition to the required research, residents in this track participate in more extensive research projects with mentors at UC San Diego or San Diego State University where internationally-known experts in fields such as epidemiology, health behavior, infectious disease, and health outcomes research have labs.  Residents in this track also have increased opportunities to build skills in teaching and mentoring those more junior to themselves. A specialization on the academic track is the Cancer Prevention and Control Research and Practice track. This is the track for residents with a specific interest in cancer-related preventive medicine. This track provides residents with the skills needed for cancer prevention and control activities in both research and applied settings. Residents in these training activities often continue in academic or research settings.

  5. Addiction Medicine: This track focuses on providing prevention and mitigation of addiction for individuals and communities. Training is provided in a variety of addiction clinical sites, as well as public health and research opportunities.

  6. Lifestyle Medicine: Residents wishing to gain even more training in lifestyle medicine may focus their elective/track time on gaining additional experience in lifestyle medicine. These experiences are described in that track.

  7. Maternal Health: The maternal health track addresses disparities in maternal health. The focus is on population-based and public health approaches to factors contributing to poor maternal health outcomes. The curriculum includes a wide and exciting diversity of rotations that address: Rural maternal health care; addiction in pre-conception, prenatal and post-conception; chronic disease in maternal health; research program, including the Center for Better Beginnings and the Teratogen Registry of California. While the focus is on population approaches to reducing disparities, these rotations include a variety of clinical maternal health opportunities.

Board Eligibility

Completion of this preventive medicine residency will make residents eligible to apply for board certification in public health and general preventive medicine through the American Board of Preventive Medicine (ABPM).

More information can be found on the ABPM site. 

Governance and Administration

The residency is co-sponsored by UC San Diego and San Diego State University. At UC San Diego, the residency is with Health Sciences, in the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science. At San Diego State University, the residency is with the School of Public health.

The residency is governed by the Program Evaluation Committee (PEC) which includes representatives from the following institutions: UC San Diego; San Diego State University; United States Navy; Kaiser Permanente Medical Center. The residency core faculty and chief resident hold ex-officio positions.

The PEC supervises the activities of the program director and faculty. The Committee meets once a year and is responsible for evaluating residents for admission and graduation. They monitor residency progress, approve residency placement and affiliation agreements. The PEC is apprised of budgetary and funding issues and provides advice and feedback from the community and their institutions. The PEC reports to the Graduate Medical Education committee at UC San Diego.

Stipends, Benefits, and Facilities


Residents are provided an annual salary at approximately PGY2-3 level ($78,515-$85,521). Funding for the preventive medicine residency comes from a variety of sources. For purposes of compensation and benefits, residents are classified as UC San Diego residents/housestaff.


Residents are eligible for enrollment in the UC San Diego housestaff health, dental, vision, life, and disability insurance plans. There is no premium charge to the housestaff for the cost of enrollment in the health, dental, and vision plans either for him/herself, for a spouse, for dependent children or for a domestic same or opposite sex partner. There is no premium charge to the housestaff for enrollment in either the life or disability plans. Malpractice insurance is provided by the University at no cost as well. The residents have health and dental insurances, vacation and other benefits comparable with the UC San Diego applicable policies.


UC San Diego is a world renowned research facility. As UC San Diego housestaff, the residents have access to both clinical and research activities. The grand rounds from each department and division, including epidemiology are open to the residents. The San Diego State University campus provides access to the faculty and research activities of the School of Public Health as well as other departments. San Diego State University has a state-of-the-art media center, with consultants in education and the use of media available to the residents. The large libraries at both institutions are computerized with free access to Medline and other electronic databases.

Terms and Conditions

Documentation regarding the terms and conditions of appointments to UC San Diego Graduate Medical Education training programs is provided below under the corresponding year of residency terms and conditions. The following sample documents are also included:
  • Appointment Letter (Preventive Medicine)
  • Acceptance Form (Preventive Medicine)
  • Position Description
  • Appointment Addendum

Additional information, such as the House Officer Policy and Procedure Document (HOPPD) and the GME Administrative Policy and Procedure Document, may be found by visiting the website of the UC San Diego Office of Graduate Medical Education. These documents provide information regarding:
  • Institutional eligibility, selection and nondiscrimination criteria
  • Hours and working conditions policy
  • Supervision policy
  • Policies regarding evaluation, promotion, corrective action, and dismissal
  • The specifics of the Housestaff group health, life, dental, vision and disability programs

Contact Information

For more information, contact the program coordinator