Our Mission

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world;
indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead

Our students at Moreno Valley City Council Meeting, Feb 2017

Our students at Moreno Valley City Council Meeting, Feb 2017


The primary aim of our program is to provide students with the tools and confidence to successfully advocate for health issues in their communities.

Through our HEADS UP Toolkit, resident physicians lead training sessions that introduce students from local high schools to concepts related to health advocacy: identifying upstream causes of health disparities, investigating the social determinants of health, establishing assets/barriers to change, and creating effective strategies for accomplishing their project goals.

We believe lasting change for a community starts from within. Our focus is giving the students a voice to share their brilliance and become agents for healthy change.


A secondary goal of the program is to encourage future health professionals to enter the primary care/public health workforce within their home communities.

The health advocacy program is led entirely by resident physicians and public health professionals working in the communities where the students live, play, and go to school. The relationship developed between physicians and students over the course of the program provides a meaningful mentorship opportunity.

The students will experience firsthand the excitement of advocating for health issues, as this is one of the fundamental roles of the primary care provider. By realizing their collective abilities to address local health needs, these students are empowered to pursue careers in primary care and public health in their respective underserved communities.



Our program enhances the well-being of resident physicians by providing a leadership role in active community involvement.

The epidemic of depression and detachment among residents plagues every field, and family medicine is not immune from its reach. The combination of emotional exhaustion, de-personalization, and lack of personal accomplishment all contribute to the deterioration of the passionate spirit. Our program seeks to curb this alarming trend through re-igniting resident mission values: putting residents in mentoring and leadership roles with local students, increasing civic involvement in community events, enhancing academic teaching skills, and establishing their foundation as future leaders in family medicine.

“If physicians are leaders as they come into the workforce, they are often more mindful about how they will give back to their specialty, and how they can impact that in even bigger ways than just in the exam room.”  Jason Marker, MD,  AAFP Emering Leaders Institute Co-Chair