Physician Shadowing Opportunities in Los Angeles! (2022 Update)

Shadowing is integral to starting off a career in healthcare. But it’s also tough to find reliable placements.

If you’re located in Los Angeles, these physician shadowing opportunities could be a good match for you.

Before we dive into the list of physician shadowing programs in LA, why don’t you check out our hospital volunteering guide for Los Angeles? You might be able to gain clinical experience through some of these listings too!

List Of Physician Shadowing Programs In Los Angeles

California Hospital Medical Center Physician Mentor Program

The Physician Mentor Program at California Hospital Medical Center is a one-semester commitment open to students that can help them gain exposure to specialties like orthopedics, obstetrics, emergency medicine, and more.

The program is run via USC’s Trojan Health Volunteers.


Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Shadowing

Although it specifically states that the environment at Children’s Hospital LA doesn’t lend itself well to “shadowing” or “observation” opportunities, the hospital does run a couple of organized shadowing programs

The Internship for Undergraduate Students is an offering of two, highly competitive programs that are open to students from the California Institute of Technology (3-week shadowing program) and the University of Southern California (via the USC-CHLA Preceptorship Program).

Clinical electives are also available to students of U.S. and Canadian Medical Schools and for a select group of students outside these countries.

See the website for more information on all of CHLA’s program offerings.


Cedars-Sinai Pre-Med Volunteer Shadowing

Cedars-Sinai has various shadowing opportunities for a broad range of people.

Their High School Student Volunteers is a summer program (currently postponed due to the pandemic) that runs annually for students aged 14-18. This gives students the chance to work closely with physicians, helping new patients get oriented, answering calls, and helping run errands.

The Pre-Med Student Volunteer Program, under the leadership of Jason Cohen, MD, is for undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students who are planning to attend medical school. The program provides shadowing and mentorship, as well as a glimpse into what it means to be a physician today. The program offers students a chance to gauge and affirm their interest in medicine as a career.

Over the 8- to 10-week program, pre-med volunteers will be assigned to a team of mentors within a specific specialty. Volunteers may shadow physicians on patient clinic visits, rounds, grand rounds, collaboration meetings, and even into the operating room if they are assigned to a surgical specialty. The program includes weekly meetings with guest physicians to hear about their journeys into and through medicine. 

Rotations are offered 3 times per year, Summer, Fall, and Spring.

Interested individuals should contact Aaron Elson at concerning virtual shadowing opportunities.


Clinical UCLA Health Sciences Volunteer Program

Distinct from their hospital-based volunteer program, UCLA’s Clinical Volunteer Program gives an opportunity for invited students and other eligible individuals to take part in clinical research, administrative projects, and shadowing.

Their Approved Formalized Shadowing Programs are made on an invite and is at the discretion of the departments at the school.

UCLA operates a strict shadowing policy that has a lengthy onboarding process (more details on the website). The program is open to anyone 18 years or older that doesn’t already hold a professional degree (Ph.D., MD, DDS).

Visit the website to begin the pre-screening process. You’ll need an inviting faculty or supervisor member to provide you with signed Clinical Assignment Forms first.


SCOPE Los Angeles

Students for Community Outreach, Promotion, and Education (SCOPE), have been running a Physician Shadowing Program at the Simms-Mann Health and Wellness Center since 2009.

Allowing SCOPE volunteers to shadow UCLA residents in a one-on-one setting, the program expanded in 2010 to the UCLA Medical Plaza.

The latest program is a 16-week curriculum that runs across four elementary schools that includes an 8-week-long Running Program.

if you’re a young person interested in potential healthcare shadowing in the Los Angeles area be sure to check them out.


Mobile Clinic at USC

The Mobile Clinic at USC works with Keck School of Medicine and John Wesley Community Health to provide primary care to residents at Homeless Shelters across Los Angeles.

Their website states the group provides students with the opportunity to engage in hands-on medical service and shadowing of medical teams working with the various homeless shelters under their care.

Check out the website for additional info.


United Care Family Medical Center

United Care Family Medical Center (UCFMC) runs a popular college, pre-PA, and pre-med match system for students interested in shadowing physicians or physician assistants.

Physicians or PA’s will need to agree on the arrangement beforehand, but other volunteer opportunities do exist to help you network with existing medics via medical assistance, patient help, and program enrollments.

UCFMC advises submitting your CV/resume and a cover letter stating your availability, interest, and potential time commitments via email.

Spanish and Farsi speakers will receive priority.


Western University of Health Sciences

Western University of Health Sciences, situated in Pomona, has several shadowing opportunities for individuals interested in varying medical specialties.

Here’s a list of contacts that could be worth contacting:


Other Opportunities For Clinical Shadowing In Los Angeles

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

There’s also this article for interested hospital volunteers living in Orange County.

What About Private Shadowing?

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

Here are some top tips on how to secure further shadowing opportunities in the city:

  • 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)
  • Check out the UCLA Medical Center website and look up faculty. Get a list of doctor’s names and send out mass emails.
  • Focus on smaller/less competitive hospitals and clinics in surrounding areas (Orange County, Ventura County, Riverside, etc.)
  • 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.

Landing opportunities are broadly the same across all areas of medicine and health. You’ll want to contact departments directly and see if they can put you in contact with specialist healthcare workers in areas you’re interested in.

For students looking for specific shadowing guides after they’ve landed opportunities, make sure you check out our articles on anesthetics and psychiatry shadowing. There are some additional tips there!

Final Thoughts

A physician or hospital-based shadowing program is important for students looking to apply and learn more about various healthcare education programs.

If you remain open-minded, flexible, and persistent, there’s no reason you can’t secure something in Los Angeles itself to help get you started.

Hopefully, the programs above can help give you a taste of what’s out there.

If you enjoyed this article you may find the following interesting: