Go to University of Chicago Medicine Home


Special Initiatives

The Bucksbaum Institute for Clinician Excellence works across the University of Chicago campus and around the world to support and forge unique and special initiatives and collaboration.

Bucksbaum Interest Group (BIG)

The Bucksbaum Interest Group is a Pritzker School of Medicine student group that was approved in May 2013 and has since created opportunities for medical students to participate in Bucksbaum Institute lecture series and seminars as well as other sponsored academic activities. These programs foster greater understanding of the doctor-patient relationship, good communication and shared decision-making. These events bring medical students in close contact with the Junior and Senior Bucksbaum Institute Faculty Scholars for mentoring, research and educational opportunities.

“Joel Schwab, MD On Being a Doctor” Lecture Series

The “Joel Schwab, MD On Being a Doctor” Lecture Series is a monthly lecture series featuring Bucksbaum Faculty Scholars from UChicago and around the US presenting on a selected aspect of effective clinical care.

For over 30 years, Joel Schwab, M.D. was a beloved pediatrician, faculty member, and mentor at the University of Chicago. He conceived of this series as a way to help our undergraduates learn more about the doctor-patient relationship and explore their interests in medicine. Upon his passing in June of 2013, the series was renamed in his honor.

While the ODB series is a required component for the UChicago Clinical Excellence Scholars, the lecture series is open to students from across the country.

The 2022-2023 schedule of lectures is as follows*:

Adam Cifu, MD Senior Faculty ScholarUChicago MedicineNovember 8, 2022Bucksbaum Institute for Clinical Excellence Intro and Mission Zoom
Sonia Oyola, MD Associate Junior Faculty ScholarUChicago MedicineNovember 17, 2022Physician Resilience and Caring for Sexual Assault Survivors Zoom
Nicola Orlov, MD Junior Faculty ScholarUChicago MedicineJanuary 10, 2022Navigating Relationship with Pediatric Patients and Their Guardians Zoom
Tanya Zakrison, MD, MPH Senior Faculty ScholarUChicago MedicineFebruary 7, 2022Biases in Diagnosis and Trauma Care Zoom
David Hampton, MD Associate Junior Faculty ScholarUChicago MedicineMarch 21, 2022Self-care as a Trauma Surgeon Zoom
Kiran Turaga, MD, MPH Senior Faculty Scholar (Alumni)Yale New Haven HealthMay 2, 2022Breaking Bad News as a Surgical Oncologist Zoom

*Schedules and speakers are subject to change. Please check back often, leading up to your desired lecture of attendance.

Clinical Excellence Scholars Track (CEST)

The Clinical Excellence Scholar Track is a competitive application program started by the Bucksbaum Institute that provides a unique 3-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 2020. 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 three-year longitudinal experience for UChicago pre-medical undergraduates in the College. The program entered its ninth year in the fall of 2020, having awarded more than 100 transcript designations to graduates.

The Institute’s first Master Clinician, Ross Milner, as well as two senior faculty scholars, Dr. Christopher Straus and Dr. Neethi Pinto, have provided leadership to the students in the track. Beginning in January 2020 Dr. Bree Andrews joined the program to replace the departing Dr. Pinto as a cohort leader. Each year, around 75 UChicago undergraduate pre-medical students in their 2nd, 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

  • Successful completion of 100 hours of volunteer service, through UChicago Medicine, prior to applying to the program during the student’s second year
  • 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.
  • Successful completion of the Shadowing Program at UChicago Medicine, which requires a minimum of 36 hours of shadowing (12 per 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

For interested second-year students

During your second year, you should plan to complete 100 hours of volunteer service through UChicago Medicine. Your hours will be reported to the Bucksbaum Institute each quarter directly from UChicago Medicine Volunteer Services Office. You must also attend two “On Being a Doctor” lectures over the course of the year. The application for formal entry into the program will go live in January on our website.

Faculty Leadership