Pathways in Pediatric Education (PATH)

This page provides information for a year-long preceptorship program in pediatrics and is designed for undergraduate students from historically underrepresented and underserved backgrounds* who are considering careers in medicine, though students of any background are eligible to participate. If you are looking for its one-day partner program, URiM Pathway to Pediatrics, click here.

UVMCH Mission Statement on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

We recognize that we are enriched as a community and better able to serve children and families when we include voices from all perspectives.  We value a compassionate and collaborative work environment that promotes diversity, inclusiveness, and cultural humility of our faculty, staff, and trainees.  We are committed to advocacy initiatives that allow children and their families to thrive in safe environments free from bias and discrimination.  We will work to reduce barriers to health equity for all children and families.

What is PATH?

Pathways in Pediatric Education (PATH) is a program through the Department of Pediatrics at University of Vermont Children’s Hospital and the Larner College of Medicine that aims to provide longitudinal clinical opportunities in pediatrics to pre-medical students, including those from groups that are historically under-represented in medicine.  

The Larner College of Medicine Department of Pediatrics recognizes that a diverse workforce is essential to improving health outcomes for all children and families.  We are committed to developing and supporting programs that prepare people from diverse backgrounds to enter medical school and provide early exposure to the field of pediatrics.

For PATH Students

PATH students are paired with a pediatric faculty member, based on shared interests where possible.  Students will work with their faculty member to arrange at least one half-day (4 hours) of shadowing per month over the course of the academic year.  This may include time in clinic, the inpatient hospital ward, procedural areas, or (if relevant) laboratory or research meetings.  

PATH has engaged students at many places along their pre-health journey.  Some students think they might be interested in medicine but have never spent time in a clinical setting and want to learn more about what it is like to see patients.  Some students have had a lot of experience in clinics or hospitals with adult patients but have not spent time focused on child health.  Some are currently in the process of applying to medical school and are hoping to learn more about different career options and build connections with faculty.  Students at various stages in their career planning can benefit from their experiences in the PATH program.

This experience is intended to allow pre-medical students time to:

  • Gain first-hand exposure to careers in pediatrics
  • Validate their interest in medicine
  • Reflect on how their own goals and strengths may align with a career in pediatrics  

Students may benefit from writing brief reflections after each session to help them connect their observations to their personal journey.  These written reflections are encouraged but not required or collected.  Learning opportunities through the PATH program include the option to attend weekly Pediatric Grand Rounds in the Department of Pediatrics (virtually or in-person) as well as educational sessions specific to each preceptor’s specialty.  Some students have worked with their preceptor’s team on specific projects related to child health.  Students will not have clinical responsibilities as part of this program.   


  • Pre-medical students who self-identify as under-represented in medicine as defined by the American Association of Medical Colleges
  • For college-level students: 
    • Completed at least two full years of undergraduate coursework
  • For college graduates: 
    • Graduated college within the last two years 
    • OR currently enrolled post-baccalaureate or masters level program as preparation for medical school
    • OR have completed a post-baccalaureate or masters level program in the last two years

Additionally, students will be expected to:

  • Complete training modules required by UVM Medical Center for clinical observers and acquire the appropriate identification badge before entering the clinical setting.
  • Wear business casual clothing (scrubs will be provided if appropriate)
  • Behave professionally in the clinical setting (the LCOM Professionalism policy statement is here
  • Arrive on time, ready to learn, and fully present for the experience
  • Provide end-of-year feedback and agree to be contacted by their preferred method 1 and 5 years after program completion to complete a brief survey regarding their current activities and plans   

Scheduling Considerations

Many pediatrician preceptors work primarily in outpatient clinics that operate between typical business hours on weekdays.  These clinics are typically 8 AM to 12 PM and/or 1 PM to 5 PM.  Applicants who have schedules that can accommodate this type of schedule will likely find more regular opportunities to work with their preceptor.  Evening or weekend hours with preceptors who practice inpatient medicine (general pediatric service, pediatric intensive care unit, neonatal intensive care unit) may be available but are limited in number.  Applicants with schedules that do not have regular blocks of time during which they can work with a preceptor should consider applying during a different cycle.


At this time, the PATH program cannot provide funds to support travel to or from clinical sites.  We understand that lack of transportation can be a barrier to accessing this opportunity and hope to be able to provide transportation supports in the future.

For PATH Faculty 

PATH faculty are expected to engage with the student during their clinical experience, which includes teaching and answering questions (between and not during patient encounters).  Faculty should expect to spend about 15 minutes “wrapping up” a shadowing experience, during which they can provide more context and information about careers in pediatrics.  PATH faculty should make themselves available to review student writing samples as part of preparation for medical school applications.  Faculty do not have additional responsibilities to students.  Although this pilot program is not specifically designed as a mentorship program, students and faculty can decide to establish a mentoring relationship if both parties deem appropriate.   

Program Feedback

PATH students who complete the program report positive experiences and 100% of them would recommend the program to a peer.  The program was awarded the Larner College of Medicine Teaching Academy Innovation in Curriculum Development or Pedagogy Award.  
Specific feedback from participants includes the following:

 “This was the first time I was able to shadow a primary care doctor and got to see the importance and impact that she had on her patients’ lives.”

“Spending time with my preceptor in clinic has reinforced my goals and drive to keep pursuing medicine.”

“I loved seeing how my preceptor not only interacted with her pediatric patients but with their parents and families as well. I also learned a lot during undergraduate studies about social determinants of health, and being able to observe a lengthy and detailed section in every patient's chart that outlined all of their social determinants of health was really interesting. It was valuable to know that SDOH are prioritized in health.”

“The field of pediatrics is a very interdisciplinary field that has so many specialties and subspecialties one can pursue. I was able to see how interdisciplinary the field of pediatrics is by having the opportunity to shadow my preceptor, attend pediatric grand rounds, and having the opportunity to shadow other pediatricians. All these cumulative experiences have also expanded my interests in developmental and behavioral pediatrics, adolescent medicine, neonatal-perinatal medicine, pediatric emergency medicine, and pediatric pulmonary medicine.”

“The most valuable part of my experience was how diverse it was. Although I was paired with one preceptor for the year, I was exposed to over a dozen different cases and treatment options, each of which was unique and informational.  I am grateful to have met my preceptor through this program.”

* Underrepresented and underserved in medicine includes those groups that are statistically underrepresented in medicine based on their numbers in the U.S. population and encompasses students who fall into an of the following categories:

  • From racial or ethnic groups underrepresented in medicine, including Latino/a, Hispanic, Black, African American, Alaska/Hawaii Native, and Native American
  • From economically disadvantaged backgrounds
  • In the first generation of those in their family to attend college
  • Identify as having (a) disability(ies)
  • Vermont residents from rural areas

How to Apply

Interested applicants who self-determine that they meet the eligibility criteria can apply here.   

Undergraduates should apply by July 15. Post-graduate/Master’s level students should apply by August 15.

Please be sure to submit contact information that includes an email address that will be checked regularly over the summer. 

A selection committee including pediatric faculty will review each application with special attention to mission alignment and individual career goals. 

Selected applicants will be invited to interview virtually in August and notified of whether they are accepted to the program in early September.