The Generalist Scholars Program

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The Generalist Scholars Program

What Our Students Say

What Our Students Say

Quote from a GSP student at a domestic violence shelter, 2010-11, where GSP students taught health topics to shelter residents, e.g. healthy eating, stress reduction, etc.

“I really valued the increased freedom we were afforded by doing our Social Issues in Medicine service project through GSP. Instead of being assigned to a site and a project, we chose as a group to work at the Shelter for Help in Emergency, and were able to develop our project in an organic way by talking to the shelter's staff about what they needed and designing a series of classes for the residents specifically to address those needs.  Working on the project as a group was a wonderful experience as well; I learned so much from my fellow classmates, and we were each able to bring our individual skills and experiences to the project in various ways (our classes ranged from yoga and relaxation to healthy eating to tips for interacting with the health care system).  Plus, it was such a wonderful way to bond with my fellow GSPers, who have become some of my closest friends from medical school!"

- Peggy Lynch, SOM class of 2014

Quote from a GSP student at the regional jail, 2011-12, where GSP students taught male and female inmates in the Transitions Program about living a healthy lifestyle

“Although at first I was skeptical and quite nervous about teaching in this unfamiliar setting, our SIM experience at the Jail turned out to be very valuable and worthwhile. We built on team work by creating lesson plans and teaching alongside fellow GSPers.  I learned a lot about the topics for our lessons, and was able to interact with people who, despite finding themselves in difficult circumstances, were appreciative and eager to learn. I enjoyed the experience not only for allowing me an opportunity to be of service to others, but also for helping me build on skills that I will surely use in the future.”

- Rafael Villarreal-Calderon, SOM class of 2015

Training the Next Generation of Leaders in Primary Care

Training the Next Generation of Leaders in Primary Care

Development of Student Leaders

The Generalist Scholars Program (GSP) is a mentoring and scholarship program established in 1994 with support from a Robert Wood Johnson Generalist Initiative Grant and the Commonwealth of Virginia General Assembly. The program was developed as one attempt to address the dwindling supply of generalist physicians, particularly in the underserved areas of the Commonwealth. The primary focus of the program remains the development of student leaders who intend to pursue a career in a field of generalist medicine (family medicine, general internal medicine and general pediatrics).

Tour Local Community

Students also participate in unique educational experiences and clinical opportunities during the four year program.

During a three week summer orientation, students tour our local community and make site visits to select programs and community centers to learn about our unique patient populations. During their first year, and in conjunction with the Social Issues in Medicine course, students also participate in a group community service experience through which they become more familiar with a specific community partner or population.

Complete a Scholarship Project

Students in the GSP complete a scholarship project in an area of their choosing related to primary care medicine. Students are free to choose from a wide range of scholarly activities including qualitative and quantitative research, curriculum development and other forms of scholarship. They are guided through this process by their faculty mentor and work one-on-one with the GSP Scholarship Coordinator from the Department of Public Health Sciences.

Personal and Professional

Personal and professional mentoring is a fundamental element of the program. A faculty advisor is paired with each GSP student at the conclusion of the summer orientation. This relationship continues throughout all four years. Students also form strong peer to peer relationships outside their own graduating class. These relationships offer positive benefits to both mentors and mentees. A strong sense of collegiality is enjoyed between students and faculty.

Scholarship Funds Awarded

Individuals who receive an offer of admission to the University of Virginia School of Medicine who are interested in a career in general medicine are encouraged to apply to the Generalist Scholars Program (GSP). Scholarship funds are awarded to participating students during each year of enrollment.


For more information contact our office at (434) 982-6317 or email Ms. Dela Alexander at