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Frequently Asked Questions

Work Environment

Which hospitals do residents rotate through?

Residents rotate through UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest, the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System (VASDHS) in La Jolla, the Jacobs Medical Center at UC San Diego Health in La Jolla, and the Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center at UC San Diego Health in La Jolla.

Where do residents spend their time?

  • 40% at UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest
  • 40% at VA San Diego Healthcare System (VASDHS) in La Jolla
  • 10–15% at Jacobs Medical Center at UC San Diego Health in La Jolla
  • 10–15% at Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center at UC San Diego Health in La Jolla

How much inpatient time is there?

  • In the intern year: 8–9 blocks
  • In the second year: 5–6 blocks
  • In the third year: 3–4 blocks

What outpatient experiences/locations do residents rotate through?

Residents have the opportunity to rotate through several different clinic sites including outpatient clinics at UC San Diego, the VA San Diego Healthcare System, Kaiser Permanente (one of the largest HMO organizations), Federally Qualified Health Centers, and refugee clinic sites.

What is the continuity clinic experience like?

All categorical residents will be assigned to a continuity clinic for their three years at UC San Diego. At the majority of the sites, you will have your own patient panel and be the primary doctor for these patients. On average, you will have one full continuity clinic day per month during wards and ICU rotations and 1-2 days of continuity clinic per week for outpatient or consult rotations. This is done to minimize the burden of continuity clinic while on inpatient rotations, while maintaining a larger percentage of time available for elective rotations. We have ten primary care sites for the continuity clinic rotation, including multiple UC San Diego Health and VASDHS locations. For those interested in clinics for Spanish-speaking or underserved patients, those options are available as well.

Does UC San Diego use an "X+Y" schedule for continuity clinics?

Currently, UC San Diego does not use "X+Y" scheduling for internal medicine continuity clinics. This is to reserve as much time as possible for consult and outpatient electives instead of using outpatient time for the "+Y" continuity clinic weeks.

The traditional scheduling of continuity clinics also provides for more potential scheduling flexibility for residents as well as for better resident continuity during inpatient rotations. To help mitigate the demands of continuity clinic during inpatient rotations, UC San Diego utilizes an "accordion" schedule for continuity clinics. For inpatient rotations, residents attend continuity clinic for one full day per month. This full day of clinic eliminates the need for rushed inpatient work during the continuity clinic day and the need for midday driving to a clinic site. For outpatient and consult rotations, continuity clinic is more frequent and averages 1–2 days per week.

What is the patient population like?

Our patient population is very diverse. UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest is a safety net hospital that cares for the underserved community, including significant homeless, immigrant, and HIV/AIDS populations. The Jacobs Medical Center and Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center at UC San Diego Health in La Jolla are referral centers for the greater San Diego area, including many desert communities east of San Diego with large Hispanic populations. These experiences provide opportunities to speak Spanish on a regular basis, although interpreter services are always available.

At UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest, we also have a dedicated HIV outpatient clinic (Owen Clinic). Owen Clinic attendings also lend their expertise as consultants for patients with HIV who are admitted to the inpatient service, and these attendings work closely with the housestaff. VASDHS provides exposure to San Diego's very large veteran population, which tends to be younger, be more ethnically diverse, and has a higher percentage of females than many other VA referral areas. At the Jacobs Medical Center in La Jolla, the patient population includes quaternary referrals from communities all over California, the United States, and beyond, including patients requiring services in organ transplantation, bone marrow transplantation, advanced oncology, and advanced heart failure.


What is the conference schedule like?

Morning conference is held at both UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest and VASDHS four mornings per week. The exception is Wednesday morning, when we have Medicine Grand Rounds. At the VA, we also have radiology rounds on Friday mornings. At noon, we have a weekly Excellence in Quality Improvement and Patient Safety (EQIPS) or Clinical Reasoning Conference (CRC), weekly faculty lunch lecture, and weekly intern report. In addition, we have our didactics on Friday afternoons (interns) and Wednesday mornings (residents) and a primary care curriculum during the first 30 minutes of each continuity clinic day.

Is there a didactics component to the curriculum?

Wednesday School (for residents) and Friday School (for interns) is a protected time for focused sessions on specialties within internal medicine. We spend 8 weeks on each specialty, which allows us to cover important topics in more depth. These sessions are intended to be more interactive and often involve skills workshops (ultrasound or injections, for example) and evidence-based journal clubs.

Mentorship/Research/Global Medicine

How easy is it to find a mentor?

Mentorship is an important part of your training, and there are many great mentors who are accessible at UC San Diego. As an intern, you will be assigned to a faculty member interested in mentorship. This will be your first mentor at UC San Diego, but you will be able to identify others as you establish your specialty and research interests. During the fall of intern year, the program hosts specialty and career meetings to help connect residents to research and career mentors.

How much research time do you get?

All categorical residents may do two months of research during their second or third year. These two months can be consecutive or separate. All residents who participate in a research block make presentations at an Annual Resident Research Symposium held in April or May.

Does the program support presentations at national conferences?

Yes, a vast majority of our residents present research at regional and national meetings, and most publish their research in peer-reviewed journals. To support these endeavors, all residents get three academic days for attending conferences. The residency program also reimburses for costs associated with traveling to conferences, up to $750 over the course of the training.

Who can go to Maputo, Mozambique?

We have a well-established relationship and bidirectional exchange program with Maputo Central Hospital in Mozambique. Prior to the pandemic, all categorical residents had the opportunity to go to Mozambique for 1–2 months whether or not they were in the Global Medicine Pathway. Given the current global situation, travel to Mozambique through the residency program is on a hold, but we hope to resume this opportunity soon. Please check back to learn more about this opportunity.

Life in San Diego

Where do most residents live?

Residents live in many neighborhoods in San Diego. Most live in Hillcrest or La Jolla/University Towne Center. Other neighborhoods where residents live include North Park, the Gaslamp District (Downtown), Little Italy, Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, and Mission Valley.


What stipends are offered?

All residents receive an annual $10,000 housing stipend that is included in the salary. There is also an annual $750 educational stipend (included in the October paycheck) that you can use at your discretion for professional association memberships, abstract submissions, poster printing, UWorld, and the like.

The program also offers $750 over the course of the program for conference travel, and up to $299 in reimbursement for MKSAP books. Please contact the residency office for reimbursement details.

USMLE Step 3 fees, the Postgraduate Training License, and the Physician and Surgeons License are reimbursed by the GME Office.

Meal allowance of $200 is deposited into your account monthly.

How much vacation do residents get?

All interns and residents get four weeks of vacation each year, in the form of two 2-week blocks per year.

Does the program provide food?

The program provides lunch at both UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest and VASDHS three days a week (during EQIPS and CRC conferences, faculty lunch lectures, and intern report).

Meal allowance of $200 is deposited into your account once a month!

How is parking?

All interns and residents are able to purchase a UC San Diego "B" parking pass for $90/month or a "A" parking pass for $103/month. This allows for easy parking at all three hospital sites.

Future Career Paths

What do UC San Diego graduates do after graduation?

Graduates of the UC San Diego Internal Medicine Residency Training Program are highly trained internists who have successfully pursued a wide variety of career paths, ranging from fellowships to hospital medicine, primary care medicine, or global health.

Approximately 2/3 of the graduating housestaff seek subspecialty training. In the past three years, 63% of our graduates have pursued fellowship training following completion of residency. The majority of our residents obtain their top choices for fellowship training at prestigious programs around the country, including many who choose to stay at UC San Diego.

See Career Planning and Graduate Career Paths on our site for details.