SMI Philadelphia

During this unique three-week, urban immersion program, Christian health professions students learn to address health needs of the largely low-income, urban community in Hispanic North Philadelphia and integrate their faith and the medical practice. Through service to the community, students are discipled, develop their relationship with God and examine their role as Christians in healthcare. The program partners with Esperanza Health Center, a Christian, federally qualified low-income health center with three locations in North Philadelphia. Students from all levels are welcome.

The application for SMI 2019 is located on the link here.

The student support for participating in the SMI is $1400, which is tax deductible if donors itemize deductions. Many students choose to raise support to cover this cost. If you choose to support raise, we can provide sample letters, forms and guidelines to help you, and will provide support and information throughout the process.

SMI Philadelphia offers:

  • Urban medical outreach: Students live and work together in the dense urban environment, daily providing door-to-door health screens for blood sugar and blood pressure, as well as providing educational information about diabetes, hypertension, HIV, asthma and nutrition while sharing the love of Christ through conversation and prayer with those they meet. Through immersion in the community and personal interaction with people in the neighborhoods, students learn first-hand the impact of social, cultural, spiritual, and economic factors on health.
  • Education: Students can each shadow health care providers at Esperanza and observe an effective model of Christian primary care. Third and fourth year medical students and other upper-level health care students may participate in SMI as an academic rotation, pending school approval and availability.
  • Mentoring: Christian clinicians from all fields volunteer to work alongside the students during the outreaches, as well as share meals and even some downtime activities. They will also teach students on topics relevant to medical practitioners during orientation, breakout teaching sessions (“Institute Days”), and the final “Return Training.”
  • Discipleship: Small group Bible study, daily debriefing, twice-weekly teaching on biblical foundations, and daily prayer and worship are integrated throughout the program. Through this, students are able to develop their relationship with God, learn to process and respond to the issues they encounter, and help develop a vision for their own career in health care.
  • Community: As one participant said, “There are many layers of community in SMI!”  Participants live, work and fellowship together during SMI and often develop close relationships. Students also learn to know the local community, and work in partnership with area churches, who provide follow up to those who request it. SMI participants come to know people in the community by meeting them in their homes, in the clinic, in the churches and on the streets.

To read the student blog,  visit