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Clinical Excellence Scholars Track (CEST)

Clinical Excellence Scholars Track (CEST)

The Clinical Excellence Scholar Track is a competitive application program started by the Bucksbaum Institute that provides a unique 2-year longitudinal experience for UChicago pre-medical undergraduate students. The Track has thus far awarded transcript designations to more than 100 students as of the spring of 2023. The CEST program committee has defined five overarching program goals and has linked these goals to the mission of the Bucksbaum Institute.

Program Overview

In Fall 2013, the Bucksbaum Institute created a hugely successful competitive application program that consists of a two-year longitudinal experience for UChicago pre-medical undergraduates in the College. The program is entering its thirteenth year in the fall of 2024, having awarded more than 100 transcript designations to graduates.

Each year, around 75 UChicago undergraduate pre-medical students in their 3rd and 4th years participate in the program, organized by year into cohorts led by an individual faculty mentor. Pre-medical students in the CEST program are introduced to clinical medicine, humanism, and compassion in healthcare. CEST student scholars have volunteered over 11,000 hours at the University of Chicago Medicine in fulfillment of the program engagement requirements.

The CEST program is unique to the University of Chicago; to date we have not found a similar program at any of our peer institutions.

CEST Program Components and Requirements

  • Participation in the Joel Schwab, MD “On Being a Doctor” seminars. This quarterly lecture series will feature a clinician presenting on a selected aspect of effective clinical care.
  • Attendance at Clinical Excellence Scholar dinners and physician-led small-group meetings, which take place twice each quarter.
  • Participation in the Bucksbaum Institute for Clinical Excellence and MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics public events, such as the annual symposiums and lecture series. 
  • Completion of one course within the College that relates to the social context of health and medicine.
  • Completion of a creative capstone project, reflecting on the time spent in the program

Application Overview

Students are eligible to apply in the spring of their second year in the College. Competitive candidates have typically demonstrated a commitment to serving others through volunteering and also attended one or more of the Joel Schwab, MD “On Becoming a Doctor” lectures which are open to all. The application for formal entry into the program will go live in January on our website.

Cohort Leaders

Program Advisers