Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine

The Youth Leadership Forum in Medicine is a one-week program designed to encourage rising high school seniors and 2019 high school graduates to consider careers in medicine.  During the course of the week, students will learn about careers in medicine, job shadow physicians who practice in several areas of medicine, including internal medicine, surgery, pathology, radiology, family practice, and pediatrics, and enjoy roundtable discussions with physicians.

The 2019 Youth Leadership Forum will be June 3-6. 

Applications for the 2019 YLF are due 4 p.m. Friday, April 26.

How to Apply

Application forms are available at the Medical Society, 1917 E. Third Street or by calling 622-2872. You may also download the form using the button below. 

2017 Youth Leadership Forum students with YLF program founder Dr. Mark Brzezienski.

2017 Youth Leadership Forum students with YLF program founder Dr. Mark Brzezienski.

The program is designed to:

  • Provide rising high school seniors and 2019 high school graduates the opportunity to learn more about life as a physician and inspire them to consider a career in medicine.

  • Educate students about options available to assist with the cost of medical education.

  • Provide students and local physicians with a community-based mentoring/teaching experience

  • Increase the number of students who pursue careers in health care.

  • Assist with efforts to increase the pipeline of health care providers in Southeastern Tennessee.

more about ylf

The Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine program deals with practice aspects of a career in health care. It will make participants aware of job opportunities in health care, as well as financial aid available for students pursuing careers in medicine, and the challenges and rewards of medicine. This work fills a critical need in many underserved communities, where primarily minority and disadvantaged people are not getting the health care they need.

Pathologist Dr. Sanford Sharp leads a discussion with YLF students.

Pathologist Dr. Sanford Sharp leads a discussion with YLF students.

UT College of Medicine Residents share their experiences with the YLF students.

UT College of Medicine Residents share their experiences with the YLF students.

The Selection Process

Rising high school seniors and 2019 high school graduates can be nominated by high school principals, guidance counselors, science teachers, and other youth program and civic leaders. No more than 25 students will be selected for the program.

Criteria for selection will be:

  • Academic achievement

  • Recommendation from science teacher, guidance counselor, principal, or civic leader

  • Student statement

  • High school diversity

Medical Explorations

If students 18 and older have an interest in extending their real-world experience in medicine, they can apply for the Medical Explorations Program and spend an additional 2 weeks working with faculty and resident physicians of the UT College of Medicine Chattanooga and Erlanger Health System. Any student that has already participated in the Youth Leadership Forum in the past is also eligible to apply to the Medical Explorations program. 

The Medical Society and Mukta Panda, MD, Assistant Dean for Medical Education, oversee Medical Explorations.  The 2019 dates are July 22-August 2.  Students selected to participate in Medical Explorations will observe University of Tennessee faculty physicians within Erlanger Health Systems locations from 8am to noon. The afternoon is optional, giving students the chance to work a summer job or continue their experience at the hospital.   Click here to download the application for Medical Explorations. Applications will open May 6 through June 17, 2019. 

Students will have the opportunity to rotate through various clinical services at Erlanger, including Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Orthopaedic Surgery, Radiology, Surgery, and other subspecialties.  

 Applicants must submit the application, three essays, 2 letters of recommendation, proof of GPA (typically 3.5 or higher).  Only complete applications will be considered. 

"The purpose of the program is to generate interest and inspire students to go into healthcare.  The students will participate in tasks that are closer to what medical students do when they come to the hospital. It will give them a very unique behind-the-scenes look at a career in medicine." 

The two-week summer program gives students up to 40 hours in a medical setting observing specialties in which they are interested and some specialties they may have not already known.

 "We encourage students to develop skills in communication and networking.  We will work closely with the UTCOM Chattanooga, and students will meet a variety of individuals such as medical students and residents, instructors and the Dean of UT College of Medicine Chattanooga. The students will also visit several hospital departments assigned to them each week, attend lectures on various topics and participate in discussions."  All participants are expected to maintain a professional manner, undergo mandatory training and follow hospital regulations. 

The Medical Explorations program is modeled on a successful program offered each summer at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville. Students must submit official documentation of a GPA of 3.5 or higher and grade level of a high school senior or 2018 or 2019 high school graduate, an essay explaining why they were interested in participating, a letter of reference from a teacher in order to be considered for the selection process. 

For more information, contact Rae Bond at 423-622-2872 or

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