5 Physician Shadowing Programs in Chicago!

Shadowing is critical in helping you decide on a career in healthcare. But finding programs near to you can sometimes prove difficult.

If you’re based in Chicago, these physician shadowing programs could be a great fit for you.

Before we dive into the list of physician shadowing programs in Chicago, why don’t you check out our other physician shadowing guides? We cover all major U.S. cities!

List Of Physician Shadowing Programs In Chicago

AHEC Chicago Programs – AHEC Scholars

Illinois Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) specialize in connecting students with healthcare professionals across a range of career specializations.

The AHEC Scholars program, a two-year 40-hour community-based, experiential training experience, gives students the opportunity to network and work closely with health departments and health centers across Chicago and Illinois state.

The Scholars program includes:

  • Career coaching
  • Job shadowing
  • Immersion experiences in underserved communities

And more!

To be eligible for the program you must be a student interested in learning more about rural and underserved communities, as well as enrolled in a health professions degree or certification program (and be in the final two years of career preparation).

Applications are made via the program website.


  • Name: Illinois Area Health Education Centers
  • Location: 1601 Parkview Ave. Rockford IL 61107
  • Phone: 888-395-6424  
  • Website: ilahec.uic.edu/ahec-scholars

Dr. Susan Scanlon’s Mentor Program

Dr. Scanlon, MD, NCMP, FACOG, is a board-certified physician and surgeon based in the Chicago area that specializes in women’s and adolescent health.

Her career as a professional mentor for high school, college, and graduate and medical students sees her offer shadowing opportunities to students interested in medical or nursing careers.

Here’s Dr. Scanlon talking at one of her College Prep Workshops…

The official mentor program can happen in both a formal and informal setting via shadowing in her office and participating as a student leader at a College Prep Workshop or Robotic Surgical Event.

Dr. Scanlon works on staff at Amita Health St. Alexius Medical Center, Hoffman Estates, Il and Northwest Community Hospital, Arlington Heights, Il.

See her website for more details.


Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital’s Student Observation and Job Shadow

Marianjoy Rehabilitation offers internships, elective rotations, and shadowing opportunities for interested individuals.

Students interested in pharmacy or nursing roles should contact:

For Pharmacy: Helen Afolarin, 630.909.8475, helen.afolarin@nm.org
For Nursing: Linda McGovern 630.909.8081, Linda.McGovern@nm.org

Please note that owing to the pandemic; shadowing and student observation may be temporarily suspended.


Northwestern Medicine Pre-Med Internship Program

Northwestern Medicine runs a popular summer Pre-Med Internship that provides students with an opportunity to work at Northwestern Memorial participating in clinical observations.

An 8-week long paid program, running through Monday to Thursday, only students already enrolled on a four-year university course are eligible to apply.

Internships start in June and finish mid-way through August.

Clinical observation gives students the chance to step into the operating room and shadow physicians while they perform procedures or tests, while the project also grants the opportunity to build upon coursework and present at a poster session attended by organizational leaders.


Elmhurst University Shadowing and Clinical Experience

Elmhurst University Health Professions Advising has connections with family practice physicians, physician assistants, pharmacists, and respiratory therapists across teaching hospitals and private institutions.

Although their program is open primarily to their own students, it might be worth an inquiry from interested outsiders wanting to gain more insight into allied health careers.


Other Opportunities For Clinical Shadowing In Chicago

As well as applying to the organized shadowing programs listed above, it can be worth researching and enquiring about possible hospital volunteering programs in Chicago and the surrounding area.

Signing up to volunteer can help you build a network among physicians, nurses, physician assistants, and other healthcare workers that could lead to important shadowing opportunities.

Check out our list of opportunities for hospital volunteers in Chicago here.

PA Shadowing Chicago

  • Illinoispa.org/pa-shadowing

What About Private Shadowing?

It’s possible to set up private shadowing programs with physicians (and other healthcare workers) in Chicago.

Here are some important tips on how to secure further shadowing opportunities in the city and surrounding areas:

  • Contact your own personal care provider (PCP) and enquire about shadowing
  • Look up major hospitals in the area and check to see if doctors practicing there are alumni of your college (email them and explain the situation)
  • Try cold calling/emailing physicians listed on the faculty list of Chicago’s major medical schools
  • Check out volunteer opportunities in the city, get orientated and introduce yourselves to members of the medical team personally
  • Consider applying for hospital scribing jobs in the city

I Want To Shadow A Certain Specialty Doctor, What Can I Do?

If you’re looking to learn more about the various areas of medicine (and the differing roles) then shadowing can help.

Finding opportunities is generally the same across all areas of medicine and health. You’ll want to contact departments (and physicians) directly and see if they can put you in contact with specialist healthcare workers in areas you may be interested in.

Final Thoughts

A physician or clinical-based shadowing program is important for any student interested in allied health careers. Not just future doctors but nurses, physician assistants, and anyone in between!

Hopefully, the programs above can help give you an introduction as to what life in healthcare is all about.

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