Skip to Main Content

Medicine - Experience

Shadowing, Internships, Gap Year

Shadowing - Getting professional exposure in healthcare is important for a pre-health student.  Professional school admission’s committees need to know that you understand what it means to be a practitioner.  One valuable way to get this experience is through shadowing.  Visit your pre-health advisor if you need help obtaining contacts of professionals to shadow.

For general information on shadowing protocol, click here.  Additional tips from Kevin, MD, can be found here.

An extended shadowing experience is also called an externship.  The Wabash College Career Center provides assistance in finding externship possibilities.  You can find this information at Career Test Drives.

Internships - Pre-health students need to obtain meaningful health and service related experience to prepare for professional school.  Students are often interested in finding internships over the summer. 

Visit the AAMC Aspiring Docs information site on finding meaningful experiences over the summer.  Below are resources to help guide you as you search for options.

This resource from University of Chicago has many interesting gap-year options.


Premed internships:  a link to numerous research opportunities for pre-meds and pre-dents.

Biology internships:  a link to research opportunities in biology created by Columbia University.

Summer Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Visit WabashWorks! to look for on-campus summer research opportunities in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Psychology.

Visit the Council on Undergraduate Research to learn more about making connections with graduate programs.

NIH:  Training opportunities at the NIH  

Cold Spring Harbor:  Summer research opportunities at Cold Spring Harbor

National Science Foundation

HHMI:  Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research opportunities (summer)

Janelia Farms

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center Summer Internships

SULI:  Department of Energy Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships

Indiana University School of Medicine summer opportunities in research

Indiana University Undergraduate Research

Public Health and Policy Internships:

CDC:  Pathways Internship Program at the Center for Disease Control.

AHEC—serves west and central Indiana with a focus on rural medicine and connecting students to careers in medicine.

Idealist—internships and jobs in policy, service.

Student Jobs: Search for government internships in public health and science at this website.  Also check the websites of the specific agencies that interest you, and if you don’t see an internship posted, call or visit the office to see if they might have internships available.  Not all internships are posted on the internet.

Understanding your role when volunteering in health-related environments, particularly abroad, requires an understanding your limitations.  See here.


Teach for America Partnerships with Medical Schools:   Students can defer medical school while serving in TFA

Lutheran Volunteer Corps helps in underserved communities

Frontier Nursing Service:  The Courier Program is a service learning internship in Appalachia.  Summer interns help provide access to health services for patients living in underserved areas.

Serious Fun Summer Camp—Work as camp counselor for children with chronic health conditions

Bradford Woods Camp - Camp Riley summer camp for children with medical needs.

Service Year Fellows - Service Year selects, trains, and empowers top college graduates to launch a career and make an immediate social impact by securely deferring their positions at leading private-sector corporations for one year of service. 

Unite for Sight—Volunteer abroad

Montgomery County Free Clinic

Idealist:  internships in policy/service.

Oxfam International--mobilizing the power of people against poverty

Montgomery County Community Outreach (see categories below)

Health Services

                Montgomery County Free Clinic

                                Faith Alliance (local support and resource center for breast cancer)

Youth services

Youth Service Bureau

                                NOURISH project

                                JUMP (like Big Brothers, Big Sisters)

                                Teen Court

Boys and Girls Club of Montgomery County

Mountie Mission of Ladoga

Food Security

                FISH pantry

                NOURISH project

                The Friendship Kitchen, HUB Ministries

                Bernie’s Buffet

Domestic Violence

                Family Crisis Shelter (also provides free food for families in need)

Disaster Relief/Emergency Care

                Red Cross of Montgomery County

                Community Chest


                Ability Services

Senior Services

                Sunshine Van (for transportation to medical appointments, etc)

                Meals on Wheels


                Pam’s Promise Transitional Housing

                Family Crisis Shelter (also provides free food for families in need)

                Half Way Home, in progress

Clinical/Educational Opportunities:

Montgomery County Free Clinic

Summer Medical and Dental Education Programs (SMDEP):  For underrepresented students interested in healthcare careers

Frontier Nursing Service:  The Courier Program is a service learning internship in Appalachia.  Summer interns help provide access to health services for patients living in underserved areas.

Midwest Alliance For Health Education:  Fort Wayne clinical internships

Community Howard Regional Health Internship Program:  Kokomo

Summer Internships at the Indianapolis Zoo (for pre-vet students)

Scribe Positions (full time and part time)

Gap year - Students opt to take a year or two off between undergraduate and professional school for several reasons.  If grades and preparation are the issue, students should speak with their pre-health advisor and consider a post-bac program or other methods for academic record enhancement. 

If a student feels that building in an extra year to complete prerequisite coursework and gain experience is their best choice, finding a rewarding and meaningful opportunity during their “year off” is important.  Below are resources students should consider when thinking through their gap year.

How do health professional school admission’s committees view a gap year (or two)??

Visit The Wabash Career Center Website for information about Fellowship opportunities and internships. For Fellowship Advising, contact the Wabash College Graduate Fellowship Advisor, Susan Albrecht (  Several resources provide links to non-profit/service organizations (see idealist and backdoor jobs).


  1.  NIH IRTA Fellowship—provides a one or two year opportunity to conduct full-time research with NIH scientists.  For students hoping to gain research experience before applying to MD, DO, or MD/PhD programs. 
  2. You may wish to apply to a government study being done in your area.  Visit clinical trials to search for clinical trials that might interest you.  Inquire with the investigator about the possibility of working as a research assistant.
  3. Council on Undergraduate Research:  Organization that connects undergraduates with research experience with graduate programs and organizations.
  4. HHMI Medical Fellows Program

Health care service, policy and education:

  1.  FamiliesUSA:
    1. Villers Fellowship Social Justice and Healthcare
    2. Internships
    3. Wellstone Fellowship Intended to increase underrepresented populations in leadership positions involving healthcare advocacy.
  2. Healthcorps:  Founded by “Dr. Oz” (Mehmet Oz, MD) for educating students about healthy lifestyles.  Coordinators for school programs hired across the country.
  3. Americorps:.  Intern positions with US non-profit organizations.
  4. City year:   10 month US and International opportunities.  Tutor and act as role model for youth.
  5. Doctors without Borders:  Internships available.
  6. Unite for Sight:  High-impact positions in global and public health.
  7. CDC:  Pathways Program for recent graduates

Global opportunities:

(Guidlines for Premedical Students Providing Patient Care During Clinical Experiences Abroad)

  1.  Concern America:  International development and refugee organization.  Should have some experience/training in healthcare or education.  Most countries are Spanish speaking, so language skills a plus.
  2. Mercy Corp, Be the Change.  Community development opportunities.  International, or based in Portland.
  3. Adventures in Health, Education, and Agriculture Development, Inc (AHEAD)
  4. Child Family Health Interaction:  Health science students placed in global health education programs.  Need to raise own funds.
  5. City year:   10 month US and International opportunities.  Tutor and act as role model for youth.
  6. Foundation for sustainable development:   International internships.
  7. Forth World Movement:  Reaching out to people in extreme poverty.
  8. Unite for Sight  A global health volunteer abroad experience. 
  9. Somos Hermanos:  Gain language and cultural competantcy to help provide healthcare in underserved global communities