Social Emergency Medicine Research Diversity Externship

Highland Emergency Medicine aims to provide research opportunities and clinical coaching for medical students underrepresented in medicine, preparing students to advocate for the incorporation of social determinants of health into the practice of emergency medicine, and to offer mentorship for medical students considering careers in emergency medicine.

This opportunity is open to US medical students in good standing who can dedicate 6-8 continuous weeks to spend at Highland Hospital in Oakland, CA.  Candidates must have successfully completed the first year of medical school and have submitted a complete application packet.  Immunizations for clinical practice must also be up to date.

Between June-August 2024

Externs will receive a $3500 fellowship stipend intended to defray costs of living.

Highland Hospital- Alameda Health System.  The Emergency Department at Highland Hospital in Oakland, CA is a Level 1 trauma center and STEMI receiving center with an annual census of over 65,000 patients.  We serve one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse communities in the US. Highland Hospital is an affiliated Undergraduate Medical Education site for University of California, San Francisco, but has its own free-standing Graduate Medical Education office, housing Internal Medicine, Oral Maxillofacial Surgery, and Emergency Medicine residencies (

Fellowship Experience

Clinical Experiences

Externs will spend at least 1 shift per week in the Highland ED for hands-on training in the clinical practice of Emergency Medicine (EM).  Externs will have faculty supervision, bedside teaching of patient care, and feedback on their clinical skills.  Externs will also have the opportunity to attend residency and medical student teaching sessions on core clinical topics in EM. Externs will also meet with EM residency leadership for advising on the residency application process.

Research Experience

Externs will engage in social emergency medicine research through exposure to scholarly inquiry, research methodology, ethical data collection, and the foundations of social determinants of health.  Externs will be supervised by Highland Emergency Medicine faculty in pursuing research questions and implementing interventions with potential for publication authorship.  Externs will have didactics and case studies on topics in social emergency medicine, leadership, and research methodology.

Community Engagement Experience

Externs will participate in a 4-week structured community engagement experience, including activities sponsored by MIMS (Mentoring in Medicine and Sciences, such as mentoring local high school and undergraduate students, visiting community-based organizations, and meeting community leaders, and exposure to advocacy and public health policy issues of Alameda County and emergency medicine nationally.

How to Apply

2024 Highland Social EM Research Externship Application Form 

  • The deadline is January 12, 2024 at 11:59 PST


Faculty Advisors

Dr. Alter is Professor Emeritus for Research at Highland Hospital – Alameda Health System,  emergency medicine department. He is a Clinical Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Dr. Alter also serves as Founding Director of the Andrew Levitt Center for Social Emergency Medicine ( Prior to his current appointment, Dr. Alter was on the faculty of emergency medicine at the University of Washington and its Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, and served also as an emergency physician for the Navajo Nation. Dr. Alter received his medical degree and Master’s in Health and Medical sciences from the UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program, and was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at the University of Washington. He is a graduate of Brown University, with a concentration in Comparative Literature. His interests include fiction, hockey, skiing and his children.

Dr. Duong is the Residency Program Director at Highland Hospital, Alameda Health System, with an academic appointment of Associate Professor at the University of California, San Francisco.  After graduating from the UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program, he trained in Emergency Medicine at Boston University Medical Center and served as chief resident.   He is a member of the UCSF Academy of Medical Educators and the ACEP Education committee.  Dr. Duong’s academic interests are in medical education and enhancing diversity and inclusion in Emergency Medicine. His interests include mixology, poi, science fiction, drag queens, and travel.

Dr. Freeman Garrick was an undergraduate at UC Berkeley and attended medical school at the University of Southern California. She trained in Emergency Medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine-Jacobi/Montefiore Emergency Medicine Residency Program in New York, serving as chief resident during her final year in 2001. She is a board-certified Emergency Medicine physician who, after completing her residency, obtained a Master’s in Science in Epidemiology from Cornell University. Dr. Freeman Garrick currently serves as an attending physician at Alameda Health System- Highland Hospital and is an attending physician in the Emergency Department. She is the Deputy Medical Director for Emergency Medical Services in Alameda County, Director for the Alameda County Health Pipeline Partnership and she is the founder of Mentoring in Medicine & Science. Dr. Freeman Garrick is primarily interested in research that addresses violence prevention through health education and economic opportunities as well as societal impacts on health. Dr. Freeman Garrick’s interests include dancing and travel.

Resident Advisors

Dr. Jose Acosta is a PGY-4 Emergency Medicine Resident at Highland Hospital. He completed his undergraduate degree at Fresno State in Fresno, CA and his medical degree at the University of California, Davis in Sacramento, CA. Prior to residency, he served on various executive boards, such as LMSA, MiMentor, and PRIME to increase mentorship and diversity in underrepresented minorities in medicine and to serve underserved populations.  Jose’s academic interests include pain management, ultrasound, and increasing diversity and mentorship in medicine.

His personal interests include hiking, playing basketball, traveling with his partner and spending quality time with family and friends.

DaShawn Hickman is from Columbia, South Carolina and earned a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering from Yale University. He graduated from the Medical Scientist Training Program (MD/PhD), at Case Western Reserve University. He is a fourth year and Chief Resident Physician in Emergency Medicine at Highland Hospital in Oakland, CA. He is a Board member of the Andrew Levitt Center for Social Emergency Medicine and has served on the SNMA Board of Directors for 7 years, including as Chair of the Board of Directors. His long-term goal is to use his training as an emergency medicine physician-scientist and social activist to lead a health care system aimed at eliminating health disparities.