What is EXPLORE Rush?

EXPLORE Rush stands for EXPeriential Learning Opportunities for pRE-clerkship students at Rush, and is a program that pairs first- and second-year medical students with faculty preceptors and authentic clinical work, research or advocacy experiences to reinforce and invigorate classroom learning, as well as to infuse joy and meaning throughout the preclerkship years.

First year students, participate in EXPLORE Essentials which is the first component of EXPLORE Rush. EXPLORE Essentials stands for EXPeriential Learning Opportunities for pREclerkship students – the Essentials. Held in the fall semester of the M1 year (first year of medical school), EXPLORE Essentials focuses on skills building through history-taking and oral presentation of the medical history, as well as on fostering mentorship and facilitating career exploration. The skills you’ll learn in EXPLORE Essentials will prepare you to be active learners throughout your work in EXPLORE Rush and are crucial for the daily practice of medicine throughout your careers.

Second year students, students (individually, in pairs or in groups) are matched with a faculty preceptor and spend 20 hours together over the course of the semester caring for patients, conducting research or advocating for patients, communities or policies. The time may be divided into several half-day sessions (e.g., 4-5 half-day sessions working with a faculty preceptor in the office), several full-day sessions (e.g., 2.5-3 eight-hour shifts in the emergency room) or a single session (e.g., one 20-24-hour call on trauma surgery).

The aim of EXPLORE Rush is to allow you to be the architects of your own education, participating in experiences based on your interests and learning goals. The objectives of the EXPLORE program are 1) to identify clinical interests and learning goals; 2) work with a physician or advanced practice practitioner, observe their practice and reflect on the EXPLORE experience.

Each term you’ll have the opportunity to select a new experience (for a total of up to five different experiences over the first two years) or continue with a single experience for two semesters or more, depending on your interests and learning goals.

Faculty preceptors span the clinical spectrum from community-based to hospital- based, OR to ER to ICU, the safety net, and virtually everything in between. Across disciplines, experiential learning and fostering connections between students and faculty are the heart and soul of this program.


Susan Glick, MD
Director of Early Clinical Experiences