• We have three tracks leading to internal medicine certification - a Categorical track (which includes the Molecular Medicine Pathway) and 2 Primary Care Tracks. Our Primary Care Tracks include: UCSF Primary Care General Internal Medicine (UCPC-GIM) Track and ZSFG (SFPC) Primary Care Track.
  • Learn more about the different tracks by using the navigation in the side bar.

Pathways to Discovery

In addition to choosing a track to individualize your experience and gain exposure to a core group of faculty for mentorship, you may also enter an area of distinction Pathway to Discovery during the PGY2 and PGY3 years.

A few key points and frequent questions about the Pathways:

  • Residents choose their Pathway during their intern year, except for Molecular Medicine. Applicants interested in Molecular Medicine must choose this pathway when applying for internship.
  • With the exception of PRIME and Molecular Medicine (only for categoricals), residents from any of the tracks may enter any of the other Pathways.

Descriptions of the Pathways 

Health Professions Education (HPE) Pathway

This program is geared for residents who are interested in making medical education part of their future career plans--including academic medicine faculty positions (clinician educators and general medicine research), medical education research, and medical education administration. Participants will obtain hands-on experience teaching and mentoring on the UCSF campus and join a local community of like-minded faculty and trainees. Residents will participate in didactic curriculum specifically addressing issues of how to improve one's teaching, curricular development, medical education research, learning theory, assessment and evaluation, education technology, and leadership skills. Participants will also complete a mentored scholarly project relating to medical education and will formally teach medical students on the UCSF campus.

HPE Pathway Resident Betty Kifle

HPE Pathway Alum '22 Caroline Nguyen

HPE Pathway Director: Kate Lupton, MD 
[email protected]

Co-Directors of HPE Pathway

Clinical Research Track - PRIME Program

The Clinical Research Track or PRIME Program, (also known as "Program in Residency Investigation Methods and Epidemiology" or "People Really Into Medical Epidemiology") is an area of distinction that focuses on outpatient clinical training, behavioral medicine, and clinical research skills. PRIME Residents may go into subspecialty or primary care fields. The Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) and clinical research training that make up a large part of the PRIME curriculum teaches residents the fundamentals of clinical evidence by giving them the skills in clinical research methods, mentoring, and protected time to complete a clinical research project during residency. EBM curriculum is taught through participation in the Resident TICR course as well as continuity sessions during other outpatient months.

Our goal is to give the residents a chance to "try out" a career in clinical outcomes research during residency by completing an academic "PRIME project". These projects range from educational interventions (e.g. an examination of residents' screening habits for domestic violence) to secondary data analyses in outcomes research (e.g. evaluation of kidney disease as a predictor of revascularization outcomes); to meta-analysis (e.g., examination of the test-characteristics of alpha-feto protein levels in screening for hepatocellular carcinoma). Residents pursue topics that they feel passionate about and that can be utilized to become experts in their field. Approximately 66% of PRIME projects are accepted for publication.

PRIME Pathway Directors Beth Cohen & Evan Walker

PRIME Pathway Alum '21 Maria Duarte

Faculty Contacts:

Global Health Pathway

The vision of the Pathway to Discovery in Global Health at UCSF is to support and develop lifetime commitments to decreasing the health inequities and disparities in populations throughout the world.

For internal medicine residents, the pathway is a one-year curriculum involving dedicated cross-disciplinary education to teach fundamental topics such health and development, health metrics, ethics and human rights, communicable and parasitic diseases, non-communicable diseases and injuries, at-risk populations, global health players, and leadership skills utilizing a self-paced online course, intensive two-week core elective, and quarterly didactic sessions. The longitudinal curriculum consists of quarterly didactic sessions as well as connecting with mentors for project development and support. Global health residents are strongly encouraged to do a rural health longitudinal clinic and/or elective at our Clearlake or Eureka VA sites as PGY-2s and can do a one month away rotation as a PGY-3.

All residents interested in this pathway will be required to apply to also apply to the University Wide Global Health Pathway program in order to participate in the required three-week core elective. Application deadlines are announced yearly and will be provided to all interested R1s. Thus, two applications must be submitted (one to Dr. Dandu in the Department of Medicine, and one to the pathways program).

Global Health Pathway Director Carmen Cobb-Walch

Global Health Pathway Resident Max Pillsbury

Faculty Contact:

Carmen Cobb-Walch, MD 
[email protected]

Internal Medicine Residency Program Director

Health Equities Track

The Health Equities Track is centered at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. All residents receive training in Social Medicine, and it is this training curriculum that makes up an integral part of the track. Through a series of seminars, lectures, field trips and case conferences, residents explore how social factors influence illness and the practice of medicine and gain an in-depth knowledge of the issues surrounding disparities in health and health care by concentrating on care of vulnerable patients both within the context of the doctor-patient relationship and healthcare delivery systems. The ambulatory/elective time will include such didactic sessions as well as clinical rotations. Training for primary care, subspecialty bound, and international medicine residents will be similar, though clinic elective rotations might be different. All residents will complete and present mentored scholarly projects that are community-based or advocacy.

Health Equity Director Joanie Addington-White

Health Equity Pathway Alum '21 Ilana Garcia-Grossman

Health Equity Alumni '22 Irving Ling


Track contact is Joan Addington-White, MD at [email protected].

Health Systems and Leadership (HSL)
This this track provides physician-trainees with knowledge, skills, and mentorship in preparation for leadership careers in healthcare systems improvement. HSL welcomes participation by residents with prior experience and/or interest in healthcare administration, organizational management, systems or quality improvement, patient safety, and health policy.
The curriculum consists of these core elements:
  • A 2-year, longitudinal curriculum—including Friday morning half-day sessions while on elective/outpatient rotations and 1 week-long seminar --that emphasizes personal development of leadership skills, core knowledge in both systems improvement (quality & safety) and current health care policy, and novel frameworks for individual inquiry.
  • A speaker series that introduces residents to a wide range of physician career trajectories: entrepreneurship, health care policy, program building and administration, medical education, and philanthropy leadership. Speakers often serve as future mentors.
  • A challenging, intensive group project each year that addresses current quality or policy concerns for important clients. Recent clients include the UCSF Medical Center, the UCSF Health Office for Population Health and Accountable Care, the Blue Cross Foundation of California, the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, the San Francisco Department of Public Health, and the Pacific Business Group on Health.
  • A group legacy project based on the group project. Examples include, but are not limited to, publication in a peer-reviewed journal, abstract/poster presentation at a regional or national meeting, conference talk, online module, educational reference tool, position paper/op-ed piece, or creation of a new organization.

HSL Pathway Alum '22 Esther Hsiang

HSL Pathway Resident Laura Derry

HSL Pathway Director Edgar Pierluissi


The HSL track is open to all medicine residents on any block schedule. Interested current and prospective housestaff should contact the faculty leadership (Edgar Pierluissi, MD, [email protected]).
Clinical Informatics Pathway

The Clinical Informatics and Data Science (CI-DS) Pathway is an introduction to the fields of Clinical Informatics and Data Science. It is intended as an opportunity for learners to learn basic concepts, principals, and skills in these fields, as well as act as a resource to help them consider and pursue careers in these areas.

Learn more about the Clinical Informatics and Data Science Pathway