The Generalist Scholars Program

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The Generalist Scholars Program

What Our Students Say

What Our Students Say

When I applied to medical schools I specifically sought out programs that offered a public health or primary care track, and the Generalist Scholars Program was one of the things that drew me to UVA. GSP quickly became my med school family and has given me the opportunity to meet wonderful people who support and challenge me throughout the ups and downs of medical school. From an academic standpoint, the program has ensured that I stay connected to the big picture - public health, health care reform, and local community health - throughout the preclinical and clinical years. I was able to design a global health project after my first year that connected work in Guatemala with research in my local community of Charlottesville. The mentorship I have received from GSP faculty has made a huge difference in my experience at UVA, and I feel privileged to be part of this wonderful community.

- Kate Donowitz, SOM class of 2015


The GSP is a big part of why I came to the University of Virginia School of Medicine and it has been one of my most valuable experiences. I knew coming into medical school that I wanted to continue working with high-needs populations and community and public health projects, so I was excited to find a group of kindred spirits!

The GSP was an excellent way to get involved in different collaborations from the very beginning of medical school. My faculty mentors have been wonderful and helped me set up my own research project with the local health department. Afterwards, they guided me through the process of writing up my work and gave me feedback on my posters and presentations. I am better prepared to continue doing projects throughout residency and my career.

The GSP lunches were a great opportunity to stay connected to a primary care community and public health mindset. We had excellent speakers and discussions on topics that complemented the general medical school curriculum.

Finally, I am most thankful for the friendships I have made through the GSP. We started as a cohort about two weeks before everyone else and have remained close ever since. If you join the GSP, these are the same people you will likely sit together with in lecture and do your clinical rotations with. We've been able to support and challenge eachother throughout medical school. I think this is best demonstrated by the fact that every single GSP student in my cohort will be completing a residency in Pediatrics, Internal Medicine or Family Medicine. I look forward to a lifetime of weddings, birth announcements and reunions with my GSP family!

- David Richards, 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 up to a maximum of $40,000 are awarded to participating students upon the completion of medical school at the University of Virginia, fulfillment of the requirements of the Generalist Scholars Program and matching into an approved primary care residency. Scholarship funds will be awarded during the student’s final year.


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