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Training the Next Generation of Leaders in Primary Care

Happy studentsThe Generalist Scholars Program (GSP) is a mentoring and scholarship program established in 1994 with support from a Robert Wood Johnson Generalist Initiative Grant and the Commonwealth of Virginia General Assembly. The program was developed as one attempt to address the dwindling supply of generalist physicians, particularly in the under-served areas of the Commonwealth. The primary focus of the program remains the development of student leaders who intend to pursue a career in a field of generalist medicine (family medicine, general internal medicine, and general pediatrics). The GSP offers its students annual financial support in the form of an interest-free loan up to a maximum of $10,000/year to support their medical education studies. At the completion of the program and upon fulfillment of the program requirements, the loan is forgiven.

Enriched Generalist Curriculum

Throughout the 4 years of medical school, students are offered an enriched curriculum that focuses on the acquisition of knowledge pertaining to primary care practice, the advancement of leadership skills, the cultivation of wellness and mindfulness, community engagement opportunities, knowledge of public policy, and the development of scholarship skills. Students participate in unique educational experiences and clinical opportunities during the 4 year program.


Personal and professional mentoring is a fundamental element of the program. A faculty advisor is paired with each GSP student at the conclusion of the summer orientation. This relationship continues throughout all 4 years. Students also form strong peer-to-peer relationships outside their own graduating class. These relationships offer positive benefits to mentors and mentees, allowing both to enjoy a strong sense of collegiality.

Community Engagement

During a 3 week summer orientation, students tour our local community and make site visits to select programs and community centers to learn about our unique patient populations. During their first year and in conjunction with the Social Issues in Medicine course, students also participate in a group community service experience through which they become more familiar with a specific community partner or population.

Scholarship Project

Students in the GSP complete a scholarship project in an area of their choosing related to primary care medicine. Students are free to choose from a wide range of scholarly activities including qualitative and quantitative research, curriculum development, and other forms of scholarship. They are guided through this process by their faculty mentor and work one-on-one with the GSP Scholarship Coordinator from the Department of Public Health Sciences. Upon completion of their scholarship project, students make an oral presentation to their GSP classmates and faculty, and the larger medical school community.


Individuals who receive an offer of admission to the University of Virginia School of Medicine who are interested in a career in generalist medicine (family medicine, general internal medicine, and general pediatrics) are encouraged to apply to the Generalist Scholars Program (GSP). Students can receive financial support up to a maximum of $40,000. Financial aid is awarded during the student’s final year upon the completion of medical school at the University of Virginia, fulfillment of the requirements of the Generalist Scholars Program, and matching into an approved primary care residency.


For more information contact our office at (434) 982-6317 or email Ms. Dela Alexander at