Humanistic Elective in Activism,

Reflective Transformation, and Integrative Medicine (HEART-IM)

March 28 – April 22, 2016
Quaker Center, Ben Lomond, CA


It is only with the heart that one can see clearly; what is essential is invisible to the eyes….



Rolling Deadline
Second Round Deadline is July 31, 2015

The Humanistic Elective in Activism, Reflective Transformation, and Integrative Medicine (HEART-IM), will provide twenty-five (25) fourth-year medical students with a unique and rewarding way to conclude their medical school careers and prepare for their future work as healer-physicians. Applicants should have a strong interest in exploring the path of healing within the modern world and medical system. The month-long elective will be structured as a group exploration of what it means to be a healer and how we can each work to embody it as we progress in our careers.

Students will spend the month in a cooperative living and learning environment. We will create a community focused around the exploration of the healing path. We will cook and clean together, teach and learn from each other. At the same time, we will be expanding our knowledge on a number of important topics not typically emphasized in medical school curricula. Ample time will be available for reflection and self-care.

Didactic and experiential sessions will be facilitated by inspiring physician mentors and other experts. Specific sessions will be focused on intentional community building, complementary and alternative/holistic and integrative medicine, social justice and activism, reflective transformation including meditative practices, and personal growth skills such as communication and intention. Any clinical site visits will demonstrate ways to incorporate social justice and patient advocacy into clinical care.

Formal and informal dialogue throughout the month may include the following topics: physician social responsibility and activism, racism, humanism, gender in medicine, health policy, mentoring, the practice of CAM, medical history, death and dying, suffering and compassion, healing through the creative arts, sexuality, body image, violence, substance abuse, childbirth, religion, self-care, and more.

Tuition costs ($1000), will cover all major expenses for the month, including housing, meals, snacks, lectures, evening on-site activities, and local transportation for official activities. Students pay their own way to the designated airport, and transportation is provided from there. Some weekends will be free, with optional scheduled activities each weekend.

We hope the experience will cultivate each participant’s vision of what it means to be a healer, as well as the motivation to strive for it. The planning team for HEART is currently working on fundraising and logistical planning for this unique experience. We welcome your support and suggestions. To contribute to this effort, please contact the HEART-IM Student Leadership Team at heart@amsa.org​.

Support HEART-IM

HEART-IM is an AMSA student project funded by student tuition and donations. If you would like to make a donation to support HEART-IM please visit the AMSA Self-Service website and select “Make a Donation.” Thank you for your support!