Humanistic Elective in Activism,

Reflective Transformation, and Integrative Medicine (HEART-IM)

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

The Humanistic Elective in Activism, Reflective Transformation, and Integrative Medicine (HEART-IM) provides up to 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 integrative medicine, activism, and exploring the path of healing within the modern world and medical system.

Students will expand their knowledge on a number of important topics not typically emphasized in medical school curricula. Students will dedicate the majority of their time during the day immersed in the curriculum. Didactic and experiential sessions will be facilitated by inspiring physician mentors and experts on a variety of topics. Specific sessions will be focused on integrative medicine, intentional community building, social justice and activism, reflective transformation including meditative practices, and personal growth skills such as communication and intention. The experience is designed to cultivate each participant’s vision of what it means to be a healer and support a plan for maintaining that vision throughout residency and beyond. Students will leave HEART-IM with a rich knowledge base in integrative medicine and activism, preparing them for patient care and advocacy.

UNM Health Sciences vertical logoOver the last several years, HEART-IM has taken place at the Quaker Center in Ben Lomond, California, where students spent the month in a cooperative living and learning environment, cooking and cleaning together, teaching and learning from each other. Due to COVID-19, HEART-IM 2020 was converted to a virtual experience with very high participant satisfaction. Given the uncertainty regarding the pandemic, HEART-IM 2021 is being planned as a virtual experience, though the planners are actively exploring the possibility of an in-person option should it be safe. The elective will take place from March 29-April 23, 2021 and four weeks of elective credit will be offered through the University of New Mexico School of Medicine.

See below for a typical day at HEART-IM, both the in-person and virtual versions. Specific learning sessions will vary year to year based on student feedback and speaker availability, but examples of workshops in past years include advocacy in community mental health and in times of political change, healing in nature, how to stay healthy in residency, nutrition and cooking demonstrations, and yoga as medicine.

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 planners at heart@amsa.org.

If In-Person HEART-IM Becomes an Option – What Your Day Will Look Like

Meet the 2021 HEART-IM Planning Committee

HEART-IM is powered by a group of students, faculty, and AMSA staff. Meet the leaders who make this elective a possibility.

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Registration for
Virtual Program is
now closed

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 Donation Page and select “Make a Donation.” Thank you for your support!


HEART-IM is sponsored by AMSA and accredited by the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. Therefore, some pieces of the registration and payment process must go through the UNM and others must go through AMSA.

  • Participation cost
    • $200 virtual program course fee through AMSA for members
    • $225 virtual program course fee through AMSA for non-members
    • $125 registration fee to be a UNM School of Med student (HEART-IM student planners will provide details to accepted applicants)

AMSA tuition fees cover the cost of the virtual program, faculty sessions and special packages delivered to each student.

October 15th, 2020

  • Round 1 Student Applications Due to AMSA – click button on the right side of this web page to apply

October 15th – 20th, 2020

  • HEART-IM Application Review
  • Student selections made & notified if accepted or deferred

December 15th, 2020

  • Tuition payment due to AMSAClick here to pay AMSA tuition fees.
  • If positions remain open after December 15 additional applications will be considered on a rolling basis until March 1, 2021. Applicants accepted after December 15, 2020 will need to make their tuition payment to AMSA within 48 hours of acceptance notification to confirm their slot.

March 1st, 2021

  • Student MUST submit VSAS application to UNM School of Medicine (Step A)
  • $125 registration payment due to UNM School of Medicine – UNM will provide payment information once VSAS application has been submitted and approved (Step B)


Applicants will be contacted if an in-person option becomes available for 2021, the cost would be $1000 for AMSA members and $1100 for non-members.  This would 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. Additional $125 tuition fees will be paid directly to the University of New Mexico.

All cancellation requests must be submitted in writing via email to heart@amsa.org by March 1, 2021, for consideration.   Telephone cancellations will not be accepted. Cancellations after March 1, 2021, are not refundable. Partial refunds – registration amount minus 10% processing fee –  will be considered only if AMSA is able to fill your spot.  If you would like to transfer your registration to another person to attend this event, please email heart@amsa.org to allow facilitation of the new registration. In the event that AMSA should need to cancel an event or shift the date/location of an event for any reason, all paid registrants will have the option of receiving a full refund or applying registration fees to a future HEART-IM event. All refunds will be processed within 10-14 business days. AMSA is not responsible for any transportation (airfare, train, taxi, etc.), lodging or other costs incurred by attendees.

Each individual attending and/or participating in this program/event assumes all risks associated with his/her attendance and participation in all on- and off-site activities that occur during this time. By registering you agree to indemnify and hold  harmless AMSA and its governing bodies, officers and employees from all loss, damage or liability arising out of or related to your attendance and/or participation at this program/event.

AMSA has official photographers and videographers for their meetings and events. Photos, videos, and audio taken may be used, without compensation, in future marketing, publicity, promotions, advertising and training activities for AMSA. By registering for this event, you agree to allow AMSA to use the photographs, video and audio-which may include you-in all media formats worldwide.

By registering for this event, you acknowledge that your email address may be included on attendee lists made available to AMSA’s Exhibitors and Sponsors for this event. You will only receive email regarding this event and only during the time-frame leading up to the event.