Visiting Electives Program for Students Underrepresented
in Medicine (VEPSUM) Fellowship

Sponsored by the Center for Multicultural and Community Affairs, VEPSUM offers four-week electives at Mount Sinai Health System and its teaching affiliates in the Graduate Medical Education Consortium to a limited number of qualified fourth-year medical students who attend U.S.-accredited medical schools, and who are from groups underrepresented in medicine. For the purposes of this program, we define groups underrepresented in medicine as Black/African-American, Hispanic/Latino, Native American/Alaska Native, and Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian.  VEPSUM is designed to increase diversity in the house staff and the faculty of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and its affiliated institutions by helping talented minority medical students gain access to electives in our programs. The total number of accepted VEPSUM students is contingent upon available funding and placement capacity.

The majority of the electives will take place throughout The Mount Sinai Health System, the teaching hospital of the Icahn School of Medicine, or within its two clinical teaching affiliates: 1) James J. Peters Veterans Affairs Medical Center (Bronx) and 2) Elmhurst Hospital Center.

Visiting elective options are limited to the following programs at this time:

  • Anesthesiology
  • Dermatology
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Internal Medicine
  • Neurological Surgery
  • Neurology
  • Obstetrics, Gynecology, & Reproductive Science
  • Ophthalmology
  • Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Otolaryngology
  • Pathology
  • Pediatrics
  • Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine
  • Plastic Surgery
  • Psychiatry
  • Radiology
  • Surgery
  • Urology

Who is Eligible for VEPSUM?

Third-year medical students who:

  • Attend U.S. accredited allopathic medical schools [ie, are enrolled in Medical Degree-granting programs]
  • Are from groups under-represented in medicine, specifically Black/African-American, Hispanic/Latino, Native American/Alaska Native, and Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian

Who is NOT Eligible for VEPSUM?

Applications will not be accepted from medical students who:

  • Attend non-US medical schools including currently enrolled in or graduated from foreign medical schools
  • Attend non-AAMC [Association of American Medical Colleges] accredited medical schools
  • Attend osteopathic medical schools [i.e., are enrolled in Doctor of Osteopathy-granting programs]
  • F-1 Visa foreign students who attend U.S. Medical Schools
  • Are not from groups under-represented in medicine.

Please note: The VEPSUM program is separate from the general program for visiting domestic and international medical students offered through our Office for Student Affairs.

Visiting students from international institutions who do not meet the requirements described above for the VEPSUM program can learn more about electives and the application process for visiting students.

Program Details 

  • The application process is open from December 1st through March 15th of the third year of medical school and decisions will be announced on or before May 1, of the same year.
  • The 4-week electives take place between August and October of the fourth year of medical school, depending on availability of individual placements.
  • Students must have completed their required core clerkships before starting the VEPSUM program rotation. 
  • A completed transcript with grades from these clerkships is necessary.
  • There is no VEPSUM application fee.
  • All accepted VEPSUM Students may receive funding up to $2,000 as a stipend to defray living expenses.
  • For accepted VEPSUM applicants who are NOT from New York City metro area housing arrangements are made by the Center for Multicultural and Community Affairs and housing costs are deducted from the total stipend.  Students from the New York City metro area are expected to cover their own housing and travel costs.
  • Students have the opportunity to network with residency program directors, residents, minority faculty, and students, and have access to the Office of Graduate Medical Education, Center for Multicultural and Community Affairs, medical school library, and departmental grand rounds, seminars and workshops.
  • A minority faculty/student dinner seminar is held during each rotation.
  • Educational books and resource materials are distributed at the start of each rotation.
  • On a case by case basis, we will consider eligible applicants who wish to participate in the VEPSUM Program in elective departments not listed above. 

Application Process and Requirements

Electronic applications will be accepted from December 1st through March 15th of the third year of medical school.  Please upload or send all required application materials via e-mail attachments to vepsum@mssm.edu in order for the application to be considered complete.

Paper applications will not be accepted under any circumstances.

Please submit the following electronic materials:

  • Complete Application Here
  • CV/Resume
  • Official Transcripts – Transcripts should be original and printed on either official transcript paper or school letterhead.  Mount Sinai does not accept unofficial copies, web printouts (even with school stamp), or photocopies. The transcript should include all the courses/clerkships taken in medical school, including transferred courses, and the grades awarded. **Please note that Students must have completed their required core clerkships before starting the VEPSUM Fellowship Program. 
  • USMLE Step 1 score and USMLE Step 2 scores if available
  • One letter of recommendation from a Dean at your home institution
  • One letter of recommendation from a faculty member at your home institution who is in the specialty to which you are applying for in VEPSUM
  • Recent Photo 

If accepted into VEPSUM, students will need to apply through the Visiting Student Application Service (VSAS) system. This should be done only AFTER they have been notified by VEPSUM of their acceptance. VEPSUM will not cover any fees associated with the VSAS process or pre-elective clearance such as specific medical screenings or clearance required for eligibility to rotate as a visiting student.

Applications that are sent only through the Visiting Student Application Service and not through the above procedure will not be considered for allocated funding or elective placements available through VEPSUM.

We look forward to receiving your application.

For more information, please contact us at:

Gary C. Butts, MD
Dean for Diversity Programs, Policy & Community Affairs
Director, Center for Multicultural and Community Affairs
Email: gary.butts@mssm.edu

Sherria McDowell, MPH
Senior Program Manager

Phone: 212-241-8276

Email: vepsum@mssm.edu

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