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Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to speak fluent Spanish to apply to PRIME-LC?

No, but applicants need to have a strong foundation at the beginning of the program. During the summer immersion in Mexico, students live with Spanish-speaking families, take courses in Spanish and work with Mexican physicians.  Full participation in these activities requires basic Spanish proficiency.  Language acquisition continues throughout the five-year dual-degree program.

Do I need to be of Latino descent to apply to PRIME-LC?

No, applicants from all backgrounds are welcome to apply to PRIME-LC. 

What additional courses do I need to take during medical school?

Medical students in the program take all required medical school courses.  In addition, PRIME-LC students are required to take a specialized Chicano/Latino Studies curriculum. This curriculum begins with the summer immersion in Mexico and continues with graduate courses in year 2 and 3. Other courses such as Clinical Foundations have been modified to allow PRIME-LC students to work directly with Spanish-speaking patients.

What master's degrees options are currently available?

Current students have chosen master's degree programs in Public Health, Business Administration, Public Policy and Health Administration. Other degrees related to the mission of the PRIME-LC program will be considered with prior faculty approval.

Do I take all the same courses as non-PRIME students?

Yes, PRIME-LC students need to meet all medical school requirements and are required to take all basic science and clinical courses in addition to the Chicano/Latino Studies courses.

What regular PRIME-LC sponsored events are hosted throughout the year?

PRIME-LC activities include a quarterly lecture series with guest speakers from different fields who present material on a variety of topics affecting underserved populations. Additionally, students in the program meet monthly with program faculty and guests. Two student-run retreats are held in the academic year. 

Is PRIME-LC a medical Spanish immersion program?

No, PRIME-LC is not a Spanish language immersion program or an international medical program. The goal of PRIME-LC is to prepare competent physician-leaders to address the health needs of underserved Latino communities in California.

What is the mission of PRIME-LC?

PRIME-LC's mission is to provide specialized training for future physicians committed to careers in public service.  PRIME-LC graduates are expected to work on closing the healthcare gap of the nation's largest ethnic group by improving healthcare delivery, research and policy in California's underserved Latino communities.

What criteria is there for acceptance into the PRIME-LC program?

Accepted applicants must meet all requirements to UC Irvine School of Medicine in addition to the PRIME-LC requirements: 1) demonstrated commitment to community service, particularly in the Latino community; and 2) basic Spanish proficiency.

If I choose the MBA through the Paul Merage School of Business at UCI when will I graduate?

PRIME-LC students in the MD/MBA program will graduate in 5 years.

Are PRIME-LC students entitled to any additional financial grants or loans?

Yes, because of the additional year to complete the Master's degree, additional financial assistance is available. Students in the program finance their education through a combination of grants and loans.

Do PRIME-LC students secure housing before leaving for Mexico?

Students in the program receive priority housing status, provided all requirements are met. This means that students can live on campus for up to 4 years.  By the time newly accepted students leave for Mexico, most have been placed in campus housing. The rest receive housing offers while in Mexico.

Are there any community outreach opportunities available to PRIME students--local and international?

Orange County is home to many non-profit community organizations. Current students have developed several opportunities to work in the community.  For instance, many have received training through Latino Health Access and work side-by-side with promotoras.  This community partnership has a local component in Santa Ana and an international component in Chiapas, Mexico.

How do I apply to the PRIME-LC program?
Once your AMCAS application is verified and sent to UC Irvine School of Medicine, a selected group of applicants will be invited to submit a secondary application. Check the PRIME-LC box in the secondary application and provide the additional information to apply to the program.

Does PRIME-LC hold its own admission process?

Yes. Applicants accepted to UC Irvine School of Medicine who applied to PRIME-LC will be considered for acceptance into the program by an admissions committee formed by students and faculty from PRIME-LC.

If I'm not accepted to PRIME-LC, does that affect my admittance to the regular class?

No, successful applicants get admitted to the regular class first. If accepted into PRIME-LC, the applicants can decide to participate in the regular class or PRIME-LC without any consequences.  Each year we have students in the regular class who did not get accepted into the PRIME-LC program.

Is completing this program significantly harder than the normal MD program alone?

Unquestionably additional work is required of the PRIME-LC students, in part because of the second degree and in part because of the unique courses and activities related to PRIME-LC.  Across the board, however, PRIME-LC students state that they would not have it any other way.  These students are strongly committed to working with underserved Latino communities and they recognize that the additional training they receive is important to their future careers as physician-leaders in Latino communities.